We often think of sleep as a time when our minds and bodies switch off and recharge when, in fact, the opposite is true. Sleep is an active period in where essential processing, restoration, and strengthening occurs.
The reason why we sleep is still a mystery to researchers and scientists but we are all understanding more and more what goes on while we do.
Here are just a few vital things that occur while we're asleep:
- Solidify and consolidate memories
- Grow muscle
- Repair tissue
- Synthesise hormones
While we're unsure of exactly why we sleep we certainly know that it makes us feel better and the recommended duration varies from person to person. Newborns and infants generally need 12-17 hours/day and this decreases they become children who usually need around 10 hours. It decreases further still to an approximate 8 hours for adults to 7-8 hours for the elderly.
You may find this chart from the National Sleep Foundation useful.
Can you believe that we spent one third of our lives asleep? Given that it is such a vital and large part of our lives it makes sense to ensure we get the best quality of sleep possible.
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This article was inspired by the National Sleep Foundation