Sleep and its benefits

Why do you need to sleep?

Some of the theories for why we need sleep are Immune response; vaccinations have less effect without sleep, and a lack of sleep causes a greater risk of diabetes and can cause a loss of appetite, Energy restoration; the body uses less energy when resting, and the body can replenish the energy used throughout the day during sleep, Brain energy restoration; the body uses less glucose during the night, and the body is less active, Glymphatic function; some chemicals are converted into smaller chemicals during sleep, neurotoxins can be cleared during sleep, the brain is thought to clean itself, and during the day the cell to extracellular ration decreases, and increases in the night, and Physical and Cognitive performance function; sleep improves behavioral and physical performance and synaptic transmission or transmissions between neurons.

What are the different stages of sleep and their influences?

There are three stages of sleep which repeat 4 – 5 times per night, the first of which is sleep latency, the transition between being awake and asleep. The second is three stages of NREM sleep (Non-Rapid Eye Movement); the first stage is mostly a transitional period lasting for 5 – 10 minutes when the brain produces high amplitude theta waves, the second stage is about 20 minutes long, the brain produces sleep spindles (rapid brain wave activity), your awareness of surroundings and body temperature decrease, and in the third stage, responsiveness significantly decreases, and the brain produces delta waves. After this, you would go back to stage two, and then enter REM sleep (Rapid Eye Movement), which lasts for about ⅕ of the time you sleep and is when you have dreams, a more active brain, and your eyes move around. After this, you would go back to stage 2, and the cycle would repeat.

What activities impact sleep?

Using electronic devices during shuteye latency (time spent in bed before falling asleep) is associated with lower sleep quality and longer shuteye latency. Caffeine can increase tiredness early in the morning and alcohol can reduce sleep duration, especially for women. Melatonin, a hormone and drug that helps you fall asleep, was proven to be helpful for treating insomnia and jetlag by a review of 35 randomized controlled trials and is also helpful for sleep disorders. Melatonin and cortisol levels, the main stress hormone, are influenced by distress and light. Over 95% of adolescents report having one or more devices in their bedrooms but a review of a study suggests “patients should refrain from using electronic devices prior to their sleep time”. Many are worried about 5g due to EMFs (electromagnetic frequencies), which are theorized to affect nerve function. are known to lower sleep quality, and negatively impact mood and sleep. Beds can affect sleep quality, and different people may need different beds, so it is recommended for you to get guidelines from a doctor on what bed to use.

How much sleep do teens need?

A person between the ages of 6 and 13 usually needs 9 and 11 hours of sleep, and a person between the ages of 13 and 18 usually needs 8 and 10 hours of sleep, but this is the average amount and might not always fit a person in this age group. Many factors can change the amount of sleep a person needs, like timing, duration, and EEG genes. Sleep quality can also change the amount of sleep you need significantly. It’s good to try different amounts of sleep to see how much is best for you.

What are the affects of not getting enough sleep?

A lack of sleep can cause neuron networks to change, hinder physical and cognitive performance, and can interrupt synaptic transmissions, decreasing the effectiveness of transmissions between neurons, can cause you to make illogical decisions, can cause an increased risk of diabetes, depression, relapse, mood disorders, a higher chance of vehicle crashes. Sleep deprivation can also cause a greater risk of substance use, disrupt the circadian rhythm (physical, behavioral, and mental changes following a 24-hour cycle), and information sent to the hypothalamus when eating while sleepy can increase the risk of overeating and obesity.

Sleep Problems

Insomnia is defined as having problems with sleep despite seeming to sleep well. However, having sleep problems doesn’t mean you have insomnia and it is usually diagnosed by a doctor only if it causes distress. This diagnosis is also often incorrect.

Some major groups of parasomnias are Arousal disorders from NREM sleep, which include; sleepwalking, characterized by partial awakening, starting at age 2, sleep terrors, typically lasting between 30 seconds and five minutes, sometimes triggering the fight or flight response, and possibly caused by an instability of slow-wave sleep, and sleep talking, which can cause sleep apnea, occur in all stages of sleep, and has no known cure but can be reduced, REM parasomnias, which include; REM sleep behavior disorder, characterized by an activity causing sleep disruption or injury, and those most at risk are males over the age of 50 with a pre-existing mental problem such as Alzheimer’s or dementia, recurrent isolated sleep paralysis (“inability to perform voluntary movements at sleep onset or on awakening”), or seizures around the time of sleep, is usually caused by sleep deprivation, nightmare disorder, consistent and violent nightmares that are common for those with PTSD or ASD, and Other parasomnias, more general parasomnias that do not fit into the other groups, which include; exploding head syndrome, which is not able to be categorized into REM or NREM sleep, and is “characterized by loud noises in the head”, and sleep-related hallucinations, which can frighten the sleeper and make the sleeper imagine that something that is not there is there, and can be something simple like being used to having a phone in your pocket and feeling a vibration during sleep even if the phone is not there.

Sleep Disorders

Some sleep disorders include; insomnia, parasomnia, sleep apnea, defined as “the absence of inspiratory airflow for at least ten seconds”, or not being able to breathe while sleeping, which commonly results in snoring, sleep paralysis, being unable to move after sleeping, which can happen at any transition from sleep to wakefulness and affects about a quarter of people at least once, restless leg syndrome, defined as “ a movement disorder characterized by unpleasant feelings in the legs”, and often occurs during rest, sleep, or sleep latency, circadian rhythm disorder, which causes your internal clock to be misaligned with other cycles such as sunlight, disabling your body from detecting whether it’s daytime or night, and narcolepsy, excessive daytime sleepiness, which is often caused by a lack of a chemical known as hypocretin.

Sleep and Mental Health

Problems with sleep can negatively impact your mental health or “play a causal role in development and maintenance of mental health problems”. Behavioral therapy was concluded as effective against anxiety, paranoia, depression, and nightmares by the Oasis randomized controlled trial. Sleep problems are directly associated with anxiety and are a common symptom of anxiety.