How Sleep Regenerates the Body
In today’s fast-paced world, we often put the needs of careers and money before taking care of the one vehicle that we cannot replace: Our Bodies. Generally speaking, we don’t get enough sleep. At all.
We find creative ways to stay up later and wake up sooner: pulling all-nighters to study for tests, waking up at 3 am to commute several hours to work each day, and finding more and more destructive and unnecessary ways to lose essential rest that our body needs.
However, why do we need to get so much rest? I can sleep when I’m dead, right?
According to an article written in 2008 by Meredith Stoll*, a biology student at Bryn Mawr college,
When a person sleeps, the body and mind are working just as hard as when the person is awake, correcting chemical imbalances, assuring proper blood sugar levels for the next day, and maintaining the memory.
While it is difficult to quantify how “hard” the body works, there is definitely a lot of resorting and reorganization happening within. So throughout the day the brain and body negotiate an intimate dance and in this dance, the brain and body communicate with each other through the use of various hormones. This list is immense.At night during sleep, since the need to focus on external stimuli is generally low, we allow for an ample amount of time for the body to re-cultivate a hormonal homeostasis. Sort of clear the inbox, if you will. The body also uses this inward focus period to reorganize memories from the day.
The Division of Sleep Medicine at Harvard Medical School says that…
During sleep, the brain may recharge its energy stores and shift the day’s information that has been stored in temporary memory to regions of the brain associated with long-term memory.
Back in 2012, Scientists at the University of California in LA (UCLA) discovered that, while “sleeping,” the brain is actively trying to remember. The same parts of the brain work while sleeping as when you are attempting to remember the name of that one actor who plays the pirate in one movie and an elf in another or, more practically, when you are learning how to use logarithmic formulas.
In our never-ending quest to make positive changes and to be always growing, a simple change that we can make is to listen to our bodies and rest when we need to. From there we can share the well rested positive aspects of our life in whatever way that we see fit. World, it is time to fall asleep!