Anatomy of sleep Benefits of sleep
Almost everywhere we hear people dealing with sleep deprivation and how to sleep is so much important for our body. Yet somewhere in mind, we have this feeling of it to be unnecessary. And it is totally ok to think like that after all, we spend 1/3rd of our entire life sleeping. As a sleep scientist once said “If sleep doesn’t serve an absolutely vital function, then it is the biggest mistake the evolutionary process has ever made. But research shows a different scenario. various research has proven that it is the biological process that impacts every function of the body.
What is sleep?
Sleep is the period where the body rejuvenates and restores body for daily activities. It is a complex biological process that is still a mystery to humans. Sleep affects every single part of the body starting from the brain, heart, metabolism, obesity, blood sugar level, and many more. Without sleep, our brain cannot perform its functions, or even sometimes the neurons fail to communicate with each other.
What is the Anatomy of Sleep?
The hypothalamus of the human brain contains Suprachiasmatic Nucleus (SCN), which communicates with the brain stem to control the transition between the sleep and wakefulness stage. Sleep-promoting cells in the hypothalamus and brain stem produce a chemical called GABA (Gamma-Aminobutyric Acid). This chemical reduces the activity of the arousal center in them. The thalamus. In turn in most of the stages of sleep becomes quiet except for REM Sleep in which the thalamus is active and sends images and sounds that we see in our dreams.
The Pineal gland receives signals from SCN and increases the production of Melatonin which helps in sleeping once the light is out. Release of Adenosine from basal fore-brain helps support sleep drive.
How does our brain generate sleep?
When the sleep cycle of a healthy brain is examined then it is seen that our brain generates certain waves or we can say that brain activity is examined in the form of waves. Our brain activity consists of three stages. Those are:
- Deep Non-conscious (NERM Sleep)
- Delusionally conscious or Dreaming (REM Sleep)
In the above stages the brain activity changes according to different waveforms. But research shows that the brain activity that occurs in NREM and REM Sleep results from the inactivity of two different mind generators. This is how the brain generates sleep and regulates its activities while sleeping.
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How does the brain regulates its activities ?
When you are awake brain shows fast-frequency, chaotic brain waves because different parts of our waking brain are processing different pieces of information of different moments at the same time, in different ways. In the state of wakefulness, the brains are seen to generate 10 waves per second.
But once we get to bed and shift from wakefulness to sleep. Our brain starts to relax Firstly, in the stages 1 and 2 and then with passing time to stage 3 as NREM (Non- Rapid Eye Movement Sleep) has 3 stages where the brain activity slows down to 2-3 waves per second in these muscles are not paralyzed and even sleepwalking is noticed in this stage.
But in REM sleep brain activity is a replica of the brain’s inattentive, alert weakness. Indeed recent MRI scanning studies have found that there are individual parts of the brain that are up to 30 percent more active during REM Sleep than when we are awake. But in this stage muscles are paralyzed and hallucination starts in this phase.
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What are the Benefits of regular sleep?
Sleep is a very complex and dynamic process that is yet to be understood. Although we don’t know about every hidden secret about sleep we know that sleep can cause tremendous health benefits such as
- Proper sleep can make life longer.
- It enhances memory and makes you more creative.
- It lowers food cravings and helps prevent obesity.
- Proper 8 hr of Sleep helps in depression , anxiety problems and makes us happier.
- Sleep also helps in prevention of sickness, cold and flu.
- Proper sleep protects from dementia.
There are many such other benefits of sleep as we know that sleep impacts every aspect of the body.
What are the problems that sleeplessness can cause?
Problems caused due to derivation of proper sleep:
- Sleep deprivation demolishes immune system of the body, more than doubling the risk of cancer.
- Insufficient sleep disrupts blood sugar level to much extent; in some cases this can cause pre-diabetic symptoms.
- Lack of sleep can make people prone to Alzheimer’s disease.
- Lack of sleep can cause coronary arteries becoming blocked and brittle as a result can cause cardiovascular problems such as stroke, congestive heart failure.
- Sleep deprivation can cause major psychiatric conditions such as depression, anxiety, and suicide etc.
- Little sleep increases concentrations of a hormone that triggers hunger and suppresses a companion hormone that signals food satisfaction. Despite being full urge of eating remains which can result in weight gain.
- Sleep deprivation can disrupt microbiome maintenance of the gut and can result in indigestion, constipation, loose motion etc.