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Author Topic: What is the purpose of sleep?  (Read 1798 times)

Offline thedoc

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What is the purpose of sleep?
« on: 09/04/2013 07:30:01 »
Ed Stam  asked the Naked Scientists:
   
What is the function of sleep at a physiological level? In other words, why is it that we have to waste approximately 1/3 of our time doing nothing?
 
Some interesting related questions:
Why do some people need more or less sleep than others?
Why do young people need more sleep than old people?
Can one survive without sleeping?
Are there animals that don't sleep?
Is it possible to become a more efficient sleeper, i.e. to reduce the time you need for sleeping through some form of training?
 
Hope you'll have some answers.
 
Kind regards,
Ed Stam

What do you think?
« Last Edit: 09/04/2013 07:30:01 by _system »


 

Offline Robert Dinse

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Re: What is the purpose of sleep?
« Reply #1 on: 19/04/2013 06:36:36 »
     For what it's worth, if I am sedentary for months on end, I need 8-9 hours sleep.  If I exercise heavily every day, I can get by with about 6 and still feel rested.  So it would seem the level of fitness effects the efficiency of sleep, at least for me.
 

Offline evan_au

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Re: What is the purpose of sleep?
« Reply #2 on: 19/04/2013 10:35:40 »
Some of the functions of sleep in mental and physical wellbeing have been discovered by studying cases of sleep deprivation.

A genetic disease called fatal familial insomnia results in a progressive inability to achieve deep sleep, causing confusion and eventual death.
« Last Edit: 19/04/2013 10:43:25 by evan_au »
 

Offline cheryl j

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Re: What is the purpose of sleep?
« Reply #3 on: 19/04/2013 19:52:39 »
When ever I look at a basic anatomy and physiology text book, I am so amazed that there is almost nothing in it about sleep, something the body spends almost 1/3 of the day doing. I'm surprised that there seems to be no definitive answer about what function it serves, or why sleep deprivation is bad. It's as weird as if we just totally ignored the pancreas. "Oh yeah, the pancreas. No one really knows what that does, but apparently you really need one. Next..."
 

Offline Pmb

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Re: What is the purpose of sleep?
« Reply #4 on: 02/05/2013 18:12:06 »
I just read the psychology text that I have on this subject and it basically says hat nobody knows why we need to sleep. It does, however, state two theories; the recuperative theory and the circadian theory. The former is as it sounds, i.e. that it gives the body time to repair itself and recover from the days activities while the later is an adaptive response to night and day. I'm not sure what the later means though.
 

Offline distimpson

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Re: What is the purpose of sleep?
« Reply #5 on: 02/05/2013 20:46:14 »
If I may expand the discussion to include dreams or rem sleep. Does anyone know if dreams are necessary?
 

Offline RD

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Re: What is the purpose of sleep?
« Reply #6 on: 02/05/2013 23:22:36 »
Q. What is the purpose of sleep?

Housekeeping in the brain ? : like defragging your computer,  during which the computer cannot be used .
« Last Edit: 02/05/2013 23:26:45 by RD »
 

Offline confusious says

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Re: What is the purpose of sleep?
« Reply #7 on: 07/05/2013 11:03:12 »
Your body needs recharging just like a battery, your brain also needs to store things in it's memory. :)
 

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Re: What is the purpose of sleep?
« Reply #7 on: 07/05/2013 11:03:12 »

 

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