There are few things that every person on Earth has in common, and the need for sleep is one of them. No matter who you are, where you are in the world or how you spend your days, you will always fall asleep… eventually. Try as you might to keep your eyes open for a few extra hours of productivity or play, but there’s no way to avoid it. Why would you want to anyway, when dozing off has been proven to benefit your mind and body?
Good sleep for a good mood
A third of our lives are spent in slumber, and we know why. Adequate sleep gives us the boost of energy we need to go through the daily motions. Not to mention, control our ever-changing emotions, too. An interesting study tested the moods of sleep-deprived participants with “high” and “low” performance demands. When faced with low stress situations, they responded with anxiety, irritability and anger. What’s interesting about that? The study also tested a group of well-rested participants, who only responded with those same emotions when faced with much more stressful situations. So whether you’re naturally stoic or a sensitive soul, lack of sleep will affect your psychological state.
But that’s not all.
The science behind snoozing
There are plenty of benefits to getting sufficient sleep other than regulating our behaviour. According to the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine, it’s a biological necessity significantly linked to our brain’s and body’s ability to function healthily. From waking cognitive skills such as our grasp on language, speed, accuracy and memory, to our systemic physiology such as our cardiovascular, cerebrovascular and metabolic health, sleep affects it all.
In fact, with so many nuanced connections with how we feel and act, it’s hard to pinpoint one leading reason for our need to sleep.
Why scientists are still sleeping on it
Despite decades worth of studies and countless approaches, some scientists will not rest – pun intended – until they discover a single overwhelming cause for sleep. Harvard University explored a few theories set forth by prominent figures over the years; from survivability and energy conservation to restoration and brain plasticity. At the end of the day, there are simply too many factors that compel us to get some shut-eye. Don’t lose sleep over it though, as we already know the most important thing; sleep tight and everything will be alright.