We don't know how sleep evolved

We don't know how sleep evolved

  • Research has linked sleep with memory processing, emotional stability and even cleansing.
  • Most animals have their own circadian rhythm, or body clock. Even the cells in the body have a rhythm, so it's vital for organisms to have a way to sync these.

Perhaps sleep arose to group the body's processes, ensuring that specific processes don't conflict with one another.

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Past research found that carriers of a particular gene slept for about 2 hours less than non-carriers. They also found short sleepers who did not carry this gene but had another mutation that appeared to be linked with short sleep.

Natural short sleepers don't seem to suffer health problems associated with getting too little sleep. But it could be that short sleepers are really efficient sleepers.

It is not genetics that determines whether you are an 'early riser' or an 'evening owl'. It is mostly habitual and environmental.

Early research found a connection between night owls and developing schizophrenia later in life. On average, owls also have lower wellbeing and are more likely to develop depression. It could be that owls are experiencing constant jet lag, which may put their bodies under stress.

  • One theory is that dreaming helps with sleep's memory-processing function. During sleep, the brain sorts through information gathered during the day, then decides what to keep and what connections to make between new information.
  • Another theory is that dreams help with emotional processing by removing some emotional associations.
  • Dreams may provide a safe way of testing the brain's reactions to negative events.
  • Or dreams are just the by-product of a brain starved of external input.

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  • More sleep is better for you.
  • Alcohol or weed helps you sleep.
  • Insomniacs have difficulty falling asleep.
  • Lie in bed until you fall back asleep.
  • Everyone needs 7-8 hours of sleep per night.
Why We Sleep

While even experts haven’t reached a consensus explanation for why we sleep, numerous indicators support the view that it serves an essential biological function.

In adults, a lack of sleep has been associated with a wide range of negative health consequences including cardiovascular problems, a weakened immune system, higher risk of obesity and type II diabetes, impaired thinking and memory, and mental health problems like depression and anxiety.

Curious Night Owls

Some people reach their maximum energy point after dark. It’s estimated that about 20 percent of people possess this chronotype . They experience serious difficulties in functioning first thing in the morning. As a matter of fact, they spend their whole lives fighting their own inclinations in order to conform to the rhythms of society and might even be seen as misfits. However, what do we really know about this group of individuals?

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