About Sleep

Why you can’t sleep on this issue

We all know what happens the next day when you can’t sleep at night – fatigue, unstable emotions, difficulty in remembering things and an inability to work properly.  But what is sleep, and why does it cause such an effect? Without sleep, we would only be able to survive one third of the time period that we could endure without food.

At some point of your life, you would have said “I can’t sleep”, and shrugged it of as something unimportant. Here’s a detailed answer to “what is sleep”: physically, it is a time when our muscles relax and recover as the body synthesises new proteins. Mentally, it allows for the mind to be restored, reenergised and rejuvenated. That is why having sufficient sleep is especially critical for children; it is required for growth, development and psychological processing, which is why parents are at a loss when their tots can’t sleep. Thus, it is a period of rest integral for maintaining the proper functioning of our bodies. William Dement, who specialises in sleep research, announced that although most college undergraduates have some knowledge of personal health, they draw a blank when questioned “What is sleep” and are unaware of the result when they can’t sleep. He further stated that all students should be educated on the importance of physical fitness, good nutrition and healthy sleep, of which he classifies the three as the “fundamental triumvirate of health.”

Sleep is hardly inactive – the brain goes through tasks like integrating new information, organising long-term memory as well as repairing and renewing tissue, nerve cells and other biochemicals while we sleep. The duration of and quality of sleep attained correlates to the standard and amount of work managed the next day. If you can’t sleep, your body cannot rest and your mind cannot sort out your experiences and emotions – which is definitely a cause for concern.

In addition to being more susceptible to accidents, physical and mental problems, people who can’t sleep experience consequences like significant mood swings, abnormal behaviour, hallucinations and even death in the most severe yet unlikely cases. To find more precise answers as to what is sleep, present research efforts have been focused on examining the result of sleep deprivation on the immune system.

If you can’t sleep at night because you need to finish an important assignment that needs to be submitted the next day, think again. Insufficient sleep will result in a compromise of your physical, emotional and mental health. Your capacity for work declines substantially, causing you to underperform. Due to sleep being linked to the restorative processes of the immune system, sleep deprivation induces a biological response similar to the body fighting off an infection.

It is difficult to conclude exactly “what is sleep”. What is certain is that the next time you can’t sleep, still try to – because you need sufficient shut eye!