• Question: Why is sleep so important for your body?

    Asked by mharrak to Mahrukh, Katrina, Ioana on 4 Mar 2020.
    • Photo: Katrina Wesencraft

      Katrina Wesencraft answered on 4 Mar 2020:


      This is a great question! Scientists are really interested in sleep. We think it has an important purpose that we don’t fully understand yet. This is because sleeping isn’t just for resting. Compared to someone just lying down and not moving all night, a person who sleeps doesn’t save much more energy. It’s interesting that animals evolved to sleep, even though it makes them more vulnerable to predators. In humans, researchers have imaged people’s brains while they sleep and found that the fluid that surrounds the brain moves much more at night – we think this might be the brain cleaning itself! Sleep might help your brain wash away toxins that build up during the day.

    • Photo: Mahrukh Shameem

      Mahrukh Shameem answered on 4 Mar 2020:


      So theres many reasons for this and a lot of research around this. I think the main thing is that there is helps your body recover

    • Photo: Ioana Grigoras

      Ioana Grigoras answered on 4 Mar 2020:


      Hi! For a long time, people didn’t really know what the role of sleep was. Recently, we got some hints.

      Some studies showed that the brain clears out some substances during sleep. These substances would become toxic if they would build up over time, so sleep has a role in keeping the brain clean.

      Other studies showed that people consolidate what they’ve learnt during the day when they sleep. So if people learn a small piano piece and then they go and take a nap, they are able to perform it a little bit better when they wake up then they would if they stayed awake, which is pretty cool!

      In children, there are certain hormones that get released during sleep, like the growth hormone, which is why sleep is particularly important for the normal development of children.

      Lastly, sleep is important because you dream when you sleep. No one knows exactly what the roles of dreams are, but people have noticed that if you make someone sleep in the lab and then you wake them up just before they start dreaming, it will have an impact on their behaviour during the day time even if they actually sleep long enough. I think I remember it made people more irritable.

      Hope this explains it! ASK us if you have any more questions 😀

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