Sleep is something we crave when we’re tired, something we resist when we’re having fun, and something we lose when we’re stressed.
Regardless of if we want it or not, we all know that sleep is something we need.
But why do we need it? Why couldn’t we just stay awake forever?
Well, it turns out, there are tons of biological reasons why our bodies actually need sleep. A few of them include:
- Heart health
- Emotional well-being
- Weight Management
Even though we know that sleep is good for us, and that we would die without it, scientists aren’t 100% sure why we sleep. But there are a few theories that help us understand the biology behind it:
Inactivity theory, or evolutionary theory, is one that pulls its information from several thousands of years ago.
Back in the day, animals of prey needed to stay as quiet and as still as possible during the night so they could hide from predators. They would do this at night because this was the time that they were most vulnerable.
Over thousands of years, this stillness turned into sleep. Scientists believe that sleep is an adaption from this animal behaviour.
Although this is quite possible, it’s fairly easy to refute this theory. If an animal was trying to protect itself from a possible predator, it would be more beneficial for the animal to stay conscious than for it to fall asleep. Even so, it’s food for thought.
Energy Conservation Theory
The energy conservation theory comes from a history when animals would have a shortage of food. If animals didn’t know when they were going to have their next meal, they had to save as much energy as possible for when they needed it most.
So, to save energy, animals would sleep—especially during the times when they wouldn’t be able to hunt (ie. the nighttime).
Sleep is the best way to conserve energy. In fact, it’s proven that our bodies require 10% less energy while we sleep than when we’re awake.
Another theory for why we sleep is the restorative theory. This is one of the most widely accepted theories as there is scientific proof that our bodies restore themselves while we sleep.
The gist of the theory is that sleep serves a purpose to restore what has been lost in the body during waking hours. For instance, animals that have been deprived of sleep will lose all immune function within a few days.
During our sleep, our bodies produce essential hormones and proteins that aid in muscle growth, tissue repair, and protein synthesis. Some of these processes only occur when we’re asleep, which is why it’s so important for us to go to bed when we’re tired.
Also, while we sleep, our body clears all the built-up adenosine in our system, making us feel refreshed the following day.
Brain Plasticity Theory
The final theory as to why we sleep is the brain plasticity theory. This recognizes how sleep plays a crucial role in brain development—especially by storing new information and getting rid of waste.
During sleep, our nerve cells communicate and reorganize, which supports a healthy brain.
It’s easy to see that sleep is an important part of life. And that’s why we have to value it so highly. Make the most out of your slumber by investing in a top-quality mattress from Majestic Mattress in Kelowna, BC. Find the bed of your dreams by contacting us today for more information!