What is the reason that we sleep? What is the reason that animals sleep? Did you know that you spend one-third of your life sleeping? Yes, that is true. The truth is that through evolution, the need for sleep has not changed at all and that also includes insects, worms, and invertebrates. Animals need to sleep despite the constant threat of predators. Therefore, all living beings (and plants too, even though they don’t have a nervous system) need to sleep. Let’s talk about why that is.
Why Do Living Beings Need Sleep?
There has been plenty of research conducted on why living beings need sleep. The fact of the matter is when every living being is awake, you begin to feel tired which is known as homeostatic sleep pressure after hours of being awake. That pressure increases for the time of being awake as it decreases when you are sleeping. The lowest pressure you have is when you wake up after a full night of excellent sleep. That is when you are the most energetic and you may also grab a coffee to help stave it off for more time because you need to stay awake to tackle things. If you have a busy day at work or if you have to stay awake and alert for long hours for other reasons, you need to have your coffee. Now, let’s talk about why homeostatic sleep pressure increases.
What Causes Homeostatic Sleep Pressure To Increase?
Why does homeostatic sleep pressure increase to the point that you must get to sleep every night? And also, what happens when you sleep to reduce that pressure? The truth is that when you are awake, damage to DNA builds up in the neurons which are caused by mistakes in enzymes, radiation, oxidative stress, UV light, and activity in the neurons. When you are awake and asleep, repair in the DNA neurons happens. However, when you are awake, the DNA damage that happens can be dangerous which is why you need to shut down for it to repair.
And studies show that DNA repair happens during sleep to help regenerate new cells so that you can have a fresh start after awakening. It is like a computer shutting down or any electronic device shutting down for maintenance so that once things are fixed up, it will be in working order again which is the same idea as to why you need sleep. How many hours of sleep do you need for your cells to regenerate and for your DNA to get repaired?
How Many Hours Of Sleep Do You Need?
Why do you feel very tired after not getting a good night’s sleep? That is because your body did not have the chance to regenerate cells and repair DNA. There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question because some people can do very well on six hours of sleep whereas some don’t do well unless they have seven to eight hours. You will have more repair to DNA damage if you have five hours of excellent quality sleep than you would if you slept for seven hours but kept waking up in the night for whatever reason. Deep sleep is what will help do most of the repair.
Are Daytime Naps Necessary?
If you can catch a cat nap, that would be a good idea as you would give your body some shut-down time to do some repair during the day. It is even more important that you can find time to take a short nap if you did not get a good night’s sleep. However, you don’t want to nap for very long because it will interrupt your sleeping patterns. You want to make sure that you have a solid sleep schedule.