The Daily Essence of Sleep and Water
The circadian rhythm
The circadian rhythm is the internal biological approximation of daily time. It tells you when to get sleepy, and when to be alert. It is the linchpin of physical and mental health, but it can be easily deviated and disturbed. Children require 8-9 hours of sleep, while adults can function properly with just 6-8. It varies greatly on an individual basis.
Like everything else in life, your sleep patterns are affected by genetics. The actual time when you are in deep sleep, is when you are truly resting. This period is called REM (rapid eye movement) sleep, and some people get more of it. If you spend more time in the REM phase each night, then 6 hours might be enough. If not, you will have to settle for 8 hrs.
The brains of teenagers function differently. As the mind prepares to enter its final development stage, it is usually very active in the late hours. That’s why teens can stay up so late with little effort, and dread the sound of the alarm clock the next day. Some schools have even considered moving classes to 10 AM, in order to accommodate this natural physiological change.
How much is too much?
Most of us already know that missing sleep is bad. It greatly increases your chance of suffering a heart attack or getting cancer, it impairs memory and learning, and it fosters depression and mental health disorders. However, it is surprising to learn that people who sleep more than 8 hours per day can experience the same symptoms. When it comes to rest, both excess and deprivation can kill.
Of course, this will have to happen many times for it to become a serious risk. A few all night binge study sessions will not kill you, but they will waste your time. In order to store memories, the brain must sleep. If you do not get that rest, everything that you have learned overnight will be stored as short-term memories. These are considerably more volatile and perishable than their long-term counterparts.
Whenever we search for life on a different planet, we always look for water. Without this simple molecule, a cell cannot exist. It is part of the structure of any living organism, including us.
Basically, if you are dehydrated, you are doing it wrong! Chemical properties aside, H2O is a great solvent and lubricant. It makes up the mucus that lines your digestive and respiratory tract, keeps your blood viscosity level low, and it is essential for a crisp, clear mind. Even the vain people among us can recognize the aesthetic appeal of hydrated, moisturized skin. In addition, dehydration can affect the synovial fluid that prevents friction in your joints. If you want to avoid back and knee pain, you should drink plenty of water.
In spite of these benefits, you can overdo it. Water intoxication can cause the salt levels in your body to plummet. This has been known to kill those who drink too much. More mild symptoms include vomiting, headaches and bloating.