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Sleep: how much do we really need?

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https://www.theguardian.com/science/2018/oct/08/sleep-how-much-do-we-really-need

theguardian.com

Sleep: how much do we really need?
"The only known function of sleep is to cure sleepiness," the Harvard sleep scientist Dr J Allan Hobson once joked. This isn't quite true, but the questions of why we spend about a third of our lives asleep and what goes on in our head during this time are far from being solved.

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Slow-wave sleep (deep sleep) – SWS

About 80% of our sleeping is of the SWS variety, identified by slow brain waves, relaxed muscles and deep breathing.

Deep sleep is important for the consolidation of memories. New experience...

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Rapid eye movement (dreaming) - REM

Dreaming accounts for 20% of our sleeping time.

The length of dreams can vary from a few seconds to almost an hour. During REM sleep, the brain is highly active. The muscles are paralyzed, a...

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Sleep quantity

Although eight hours is the common mention, optimum sleep can vary from person to person and from age to age.

One review that worked through 320 research articles concluded 7 - 9 hours of sle...

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It matters when you sleep

Our bodies are synchronized with the day-night cycle as our planet rotates. Our circadian rhythms continue even in the absence of any external input. Even plants that are kept in a dark cupboard a...

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Our clock genes

We have a gene that releases a protein that builds up in cells overnight and gets broken down in the daytime. The clock gene is active in almost every cell type in the body and under circadian cont...

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Anxiety about sleep problems

Poor sleeping habits are not a modern problem.

One study found tribes that don't have access to modern electrical devices to be prone to intermittent sleep. The main difference is that they d...

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Sleep deprivation

A day or two of sleep deprivation can cause healthy people to suffer hallucinations and physical symptoms.

Cognitive abilities are impaired after a poor night's sleep. Concentration and memor...

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Physical health

Sleep deprivation has been shown to change the body’s basic metabolism and the balance between fat and muscle mass.

A review of existing studies found permanent night-shift workers were 29 % ...

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SIMILAR ARTICLES & IDEAS:

The Science of Sleep

The average adult spends 36 % (or about one-third) of his or her life asleep.

Purpose of Sleep:

  • Restoration
  • Memory Consolidation
  • Metabolic Health

Restoration

The first purpose of sleep is restoration.

Every day, your brain accumulates metabolic waste as it goes about its normal neural activities. Sleeping restores the brains healthy condition by removing these waste products. Accumulation of these waste products has been linked to many brain-related disorders.

Memory Consolidation

The second purpose of sleep is memory consolidation.

Sleep is crucial for memory consolidation, which is responsible for your long term memories. Insufficient or fragmented sleep can hamper your ability to remember facts and feelings/emotions.

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5 hours of sleep is enough

Habitual sleep deprivation is associated with diverse and far-reaching health effects and none of them is good.

Between 7 and 9 hours of sleep per night are recommended. You can get used to l...

Watching Television before bed

Cellphones, tablets, and all kinds of personal electronics are not a good idea when you’re getting ready for bed.

Researchers have increasingly focused on “blue light” emitted by screens and its effect on sleep and negative sleep-related health outcomes.

It doesn’t matter when you sleep

Our bodies tend to follow a natural rhythm of wakefulness and sleep that is attuned to sunrise and sunset for a reason.

While some missed sleep here and there isn’t necessarily a big deal, shifting your sleep schedule long term isn’t healthy.

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Snoring isn’t harmful

Although snoring may be harmless for most people, it can be a symptom of a life-threatening sleep disorder called sleep apnea, especially if it is accompanied by severe daytime sleepiness. 

You can "cheat" on sleep

Sleep experts say most adults need between seven and nine hours of sleep each night for optimum performance, health, and safety. 

The resulting sleep deprivation has been linked to health problems such as obesity and high blood pressure, negative mood and behavior, decreased productivity, and safety issues in the home, on the job, and on the road.

Turning up the radio

... opening the window, or turning on the air conditioner are effective ways to stay awake when driving.

These "aids" are ineffective and can be dangerous to the person who is driving while feeling drowsy or sleepy. 

It's best to pull off the road in a safe rest area and take a nap for 15-45 minutes. Caffeinated beverages can help overcome drowsiness for a short period of time. 

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