Why Do We Sleep?

We all know it’s important…but why?? Whenever I don’t get enough sleep, it is usually a terrible day.  Why do we spend a third of our lives sleeping?

When reading an article about this, I learned that scientists have developed many theories to answer this question, one of them being the inactivity theory. The inactivity theory talks about how animals adapted thousands of years ago to remain still at night in order to avoid predators. Another theory, called energy conservation, says that because night is the least efficient time to hunt for food, we try to fall into a state of sleep in order to conserve energy. One of the most popular theories of this scientific age is the restorative theory, claiming that all our repair and rejuvenation happens while we sleep. All of the great feelings we get when we wake up, like feeling more alert, come from rejuvenation and clearing of wastes.

It is so interesting to think about how our bodies work. Sleep consumes so much of our life and our life revolves so much around sleep. It is interesting to think about physiology and how some people don’t need as much sleep as others, some people have sleeping disorders like insomnia, and some people last for days without sleep. Our society expects doctors and emergency room staff to stay awake and be competent when dealing with such important issues like the healthy of others, all while lasting on an insufficient amount of sleep.

I feel as though teenagers, especially our technology-obsessed generation does not get nearly as much sleep as possible. Different age ranges require different amounts of sleep. It is important for teenagers to get a lot, but we don’t really have enough time to do that. I wonder if eventually our bodies will learn to adapt to the lack of sleep we get, just the opposite of the theories that claimed we started sleeping in order to adapt. I think in some ways, we have already done this. As we grow we learn to function on less and less sleep because there is more to do. As our bodies age and begin to shut down, we can’t help but be more tired and require more sleep.

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3 Responses to Why Do We Sleep?

  1. froglady froglady says:

    Great post about our all-important sleep! One of my favorite times of day is bedtime. Not surprisingly, I have to comment about non-human animals, which sleep much more and much less than we do. Giraffes only need a couple hours, but tigers and lemurs and human babies sleep about 16 h/day! The koala is the winner, though, sleeping through 22 h of its day.

  2. Gabrielle Donahue bballqueen says:

    I agree. It was interesting to hear from Tracy, the nordic skiing coach, on this problem. I think it is such an issue that college students don’t get enough sleep as they should as our bodies are constantly in such high demand. As an athlete I notice significant improvement in my performance when I am well rested, particularly with mental focus as a component of the game. I also notice I am particularly more attentive and efficient with my school work when I am getting a good night’s sleep!

  3. striva says:

    Yeah, it’s so crazy to think that we have spent — amount of YEARS of our life sleeping! So amazing. I definitely strive to prioritize sleep more. It’s a process though. I have a friend who is trying to go to sleep when the sun sets and wake up when it rises. Now that’s dedication!

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