The Importance of Getting a Goodnight Sleep

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You always hear that you need at least 8 hours of sleep per night. With that being said, there is not a large percentage of humans that do. With all the distractions we have at night time, it is getting tougher to obtain a well rested state when you are trying to fall asleep. Lack of sleep for some people can hurt them, and others seem to be not even affected at all. Sleep is a main part of our lives. On average a human being throughout their lifetime sleeps a total of 24 years.

Depriving oneself of sleep is very impactful. A study that was done recently has compared patients with those who currently suffer from a sleeping disorder known as insomnia. Using MRI imaging for effects to the brain, it shows insomniacs have weakened connections in the thalamus. The thalamus is the section of the brain that controls your sleep and controls your conscience. A decent amount of participants that got fed up had MRI scans that showed damage on the brains in the white areas.The farthest points that are in this white matter of the thalamus are directly connected with the duration of participants’ insomnia. The more trouble among the connections in the thalamus, the worse the sleep deprivation and depression is for the individual. Therefore, their self-rated scores on a depression questionnaire showed upon dealing with these abnormalities. This has been known to cause complications among our biological clock and its ability to obtain and stay in circadian rhythm. More research is being done for the fact that researchers are still not up to speed on. They are not caught up yet on as to why the permanence of these abnormalities are all caused from deprived amount of sleep. One thing is clear to them, lack of sleep has a significantly devastating impaction on neural function of the brain and just the brain as a whole. Memory, focus, and mood are all impacted by lacking sleeping hours as what scientists have found.Also, these things may be improved with more sleep and better sleep more often of time (Lull).

Getting the right amount of sleep that is recommended at night is very good for you. Once you get your good nights sleep you can awake and feel great the next day which jump starts your day. The effects in your body are the cause of this. Your brain plays a huge part while you are past out, it stays busy while you rest sorting and storing all the information it has taken in that day. This process is especially important for how we have long term memories because it helps create them. This is also a time for your hormones to act. Many different hormones are released during sleep, all of them with different purposes of course. Melatonin is a hormone released by the pineal gland. This helps control your patterns for sleep. Melatonin levels rise at night fall, making you feel tired. Once someone is actually sleeping, your pituitary gland releases growth hormone. This helps the body to grow and repair things like muscle fibers that have been damaged. This commonly occurs from one working out or just performing everyday activities. While sleeping, the system that controls your fight or flight response known as sympathetic nerve system gets a chance to relax. When in sleep debt, this system increases in the activity it is doing. This has been known to cause and increase in blood pressure. There is also a talk of decreased sleep duration and its connections with increased risk of heart disease. Levels of cortisol, which is known to be your stress hormone, decreases during the first few hours of sleep. Although this is the case, it begins to rise to its peak not too long after you wake up. This is the cause of you eventually feeling perky and ready to go. Upon waking up, cortisol starts up our appetite. It is weird how we throughout the day we have to use the bathroom so much, depending on the amount of fluids we intake. With the Anti-Diuretic Hormone (ADH) this actually helps our body hold that urine in. ADH is released by our brains while in the circadian rhythm. While we are asleep our body is hard at work fighting off things such as infections. The immune system lets off small proteins known as cytokines. They also help fight off inflammation when one is injured, and also trauma. (Queensland Health)

Children our are future. These children have developing and growing bodies and minds that need nurtured. For these kids to become our future it starts with a good education. Young ones who do not get the right amount of sleep have trouble paying attention at school. They might have ‘temper tantrums’ at both school and or home. Dr. Holland has said, “Sleep is important for emotional regulation. The brain needs enough ‘brainpower’ to be able to control those automatic, knee jerk, emotional reactions. Kids without enough sleep may have trouble with that and may tend to be more irritable.” Poor sleep overtime can affect a child’s memory and cause it to be less effective and make their ability to learn more challenging. Sleep-deprived children have slower reaction times so they become less alert and more easily distracted. For teenagers who are 16 or older this could potentially put them at high risk for accidents (Children’s Health). A study in the Journal of Adolescent Health claims only about 29 percent of students get 8 hours of sleep each night which is the recommended. The ones that stay up all night are one of the many causes for this being such a low percentage. Teenager and even ‘Pre-teens’ too often have irregular sleep patterns throughout their week.They normally stay up late and sleep in late on the weekends which is normal for them. This can affect their biological clocks and harm the quality of sleep they are getting night in and night out. (INews Network)

In older adults the required hours of sleep does not change. They, as well as us, also need in between 7 and 9 hours of rest at night time. Most people have the idea that as we get older we need less and less sleep. This is very wrong and is not the case. However, it is possible for senior citizens both male and female to have troubles falling asleep at night. Most also say they have a tough time staying asleep. The National Sleep Foundation hosted a poll where elderly were surveyed in 2005. They asked them questions about the amount of sleep they got and the quality of that sleep. One of the more important questions they asked was about how they felt the morning after. This found that more elderly folks were saying they wake up a lot throughout the night. The reasons most said for this was just waking up in the middle of the night many times. Other reasons include just not being able to rest along with frequent bathroom visits. The bright side of the survey showed older adults were more likely to report getting a good night's sleep. More were unlikely to say they awoke feeling unrefreshed. Even though aging happens to affect certain aspects of sleep which makes it more difficult, many seniors will say they feel good and ready to go when the day first starts. Biological changes make sleep tougher the older we get. For example, older adults can experience a certain shift in their circadian rhythm. This means that they become tired and more groggy in the afternoon and awake too early before noon. Certain medical problems and common sleep malfunctions can also cause insomnia. Gastrointestinal and respiratory problems can interrupt sleep. This is the case when after they eat a big meal of something normally unhealthy and their stomach cannot handle it. Sleep apnea is a condition where one repeatedly stops breathing during sleep but with brief intermissions. This is also a case that can cause restlessness. Many things can help this in senior citizens. They could stop taking naps during the day and putting the time of them more on schedule. Cutting out things like coffee or just cutting back on things with caffeine in them goes a long way(National Sleep Foundation).

We all know someone that doesn’t get that full amount of sleep at night. You always wonder how that person keeps up with everyone that does. Maybe we do not need a full 8 hours, maybe it is just a myth. In a recent study Daniel Kripke, a very popular researcher about sleep, claimed that “people who sleep between 6.5 hr. and 7.5 hr. a night, live the longest, are happier and most productive”(Buffer). Some scientists even believe that having 8 hours of sleep can cause more deaths than having fewer. A good way to test this is look at death rates matched with time of sleep. One study saw less than 6 hours of rest and more than 7 have death risks that are increased. The sleep that was associated with the least amount of death risk was recorded from 5 to 6 and a half hours. The average person believes 8 hours of sleep is the best, this is all they have known. In reality, we see this is a myth. These results are only time asleep not time just laying in bed trying to fall asleep. When people have the lesser amount of sleep they start to worry. This is when they start taking sleeping pills to try to help them out. Sleeping pills have increased health risks. These include depression, accidents, overdose, infections, and cancer. Causes from the oddly increasing risks of infections were found in a test among a large group. For this reason it was said to be proven. All of these causes the death at night time. What that means is the stopping of breathing. They can flat out stop the breathing or slow it to where death slowly creeps in. Patients who are prescribed to sleeping pills often said they do not even see the benefits. Many doctors tell you to take them even when they know it will not help. You take these pills which mean nothing, but your brain hears what they are for and goes off of that. So you are the one getting better sleep not the pills (Rogue).

When it comes to kids sleep is definitely an essential for their bodies and their minds. It is very key for their minds especially. Academic is directly related to sleep. This is an issue in the more brain working classes such as math and english. These classes require the the skills called executive functions.These things include not becoming distracted, thought out planning, and memorization. “The hardware that supports those skills is in the prefrontal cortex of the brain, which is very sensitive to the effects of poor sleep or insufficient sleep”, said clinical psychologist Reut Gruber. His team did a poll on 75 children that attended school everyday in the age group of 7-11. These kids were given a device that looked like a wristwatch. This device was known as an actigraph. This watched their night time activity and evaluated number and quality if sleep. From their they averaged the data over a 5 day period and compared it to report cards the students were given. “We found that 14% of the variability we found in math was explained by sleep deficiency. It was 7% and 8% for English”, said Gruber (Time). However, college students give more of their time, effort, and patience to the courses they are taking. Lack of sleep can affect academic performance, longevity and mindset in a negative way. Forty-four percent of college students say to have only felt rested and refreshed during the morning for 3-5 days throughout a regular week they are in school. This is said to be from the American College Health Association-National College Health Assessment (ACHA-NCHA). The benefits of sufficient sleep not only include the feeling of being well-rested, but sleep is also necessary for our nervous system to function properly. Deprived sleep has an extreme negative effect called loss of concentration. This can can lead to impaired memory and lacking of physical performance. Chronic sleep deprivation can also cause physiological condition such as mood swings and hallucinations (Hoag).

There can be many causes as to why we do not get the full amount of sleep in the first place. For most people today technology is the main reason. People think that watching television before they go to bed helps them fall asleep, but in reality it makes your quality of sleep worse. This takes your focus off of sleeping. The brightness and noise takes away from bedtime cues. These include, darkness, yawning, and exhaustion. Caffeine is a big part too. You should not eat or drink anything with caffeine it it or high amounts of sugar right before you lie down. This causes that sugar and energy to break down while you are trying to fall asleep. This takes away from your quality of sleep because you will be too energetic to sleep. Coffee and Doughnuts are saved for the morning, not at night. Staying in bed is a big thing too and also not good for you. If you are up and very alert while lying in bed, sleep experts suggest that you should hop out of bed and start a quiet activity that you do not need light for. Let your eyes rest still and do not strain them. Do this instead of lying in bed still where you can potentially fall back asleep and be late for work or school that day (Saavta).

Not everyone gets the ‘recommended’ amount of sleep. Scientists are still trying to figure out how much that actually is. No one still knows for sure how much is the most beneficial and what that actually does. With all the distractions throughout the day and night it makes it challenging for us to get a good night's sleep. All that I know is that however much someone gets, they normally can manage. Sleep deprivation is not good for anyone, but it is especially worse for children. It makes them suffer academically, mentally, physically and psychologically.  

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The Importance of Getting a Goodnight Sleep. (2021, Feb 27). Retrieved July 12, 2024 , from

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