Your body is programmed to spend one third of its life asleep – and to sleep in specific cycles of light sleep, deep sleep, and active brain sleep. Each cycle takes about 90 minutes and each has a specific assignment that affects thinking, memory, growth, your immune system and even your weight. So what are the benefits of sleep?
Benefits of Sleep
We spend about a third of our life sleeping for very good reason — or I should say reasons — many of which are yet to be discovered. But what we do know is that sleep allows us to learn new things and transfers the significant ones into our long-term memory. Sleep prepares and replaces damaged neurons, calms disease-triggering inflammation, and keeps us mentally sharp, creative and productive. It even controls the aging process, helps keep our weight down, lowers our blood pressure and impacts our overall health.
Another important benefit of sleep was reported in the February, 2014 issue of Scientific American Mind. Researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison found that sufficient sleep not only restores cognitive functioning, but also may fortify the brain over the long term. During sleep, activity is increased in genes involved in producing brain cells responsible for coating neurons with myelin, the brain`s insulating material. This allows electrical impulses to travel quickly and efficiently to other neurons. Myelin deficiency is at the root of multiple sclerosis disease, and can contribute to symptoms such as fatigue, vision and hearing impairment and a loss of coordination.
A study published by the National Academy of Sciences reports that even an hour or two less sleep a night can negatively impact more than 700 genes required for repairing cell tissue.
Chiara Cirelli, a neuroscientist and author of the paper describing the above research, suggests that sleep helps cells regenerate and repair themselves by helping the body produce new myelin after it has deteriorated.
When it comes to managing time, sleep can be classified as a time management strategy. I explain why in my book, Sleep: a time management strategy, available through Amazon.