Article By: Gift Nwagu
Whether we like it or not, we really need our sleep. Knowing this is a necessity for the average human life, it may be in your best interest if you take good advantage of this natural process and get as many hours in as possible for many reasons.
First of all, sleep helps our learning processes in terms of memory retention and attention spans. We don’t need a decorated research specialist to know this as a fact. I’m sure one or more of us can relate to those moments where we find ourselves unable to learn because we didn’t get enough sleep the day before maybe because we got too caught up in our Netflix series or Xbox game. According to the Science Direct Journal (Atherton et al.), Slow Wave Sleep (SWS) has a key role to play in our declarative memory which happens to be based on knowledge-based information so I suggest that before any exam you take some time off to sleep to commit what you learn to memory.
Sleep also has a big influence on our moods and behaviors. Most times when we don’t get the recommended amount of sleep, which averages at about 8 hours for young adults (Smith et al.), we go through our days in a constantly grouchy, irritable and even more sensitive about the comments made about us in conversations. In short, we turn into angry, emotional people and nobody likes those types for company. Research suggests that mood changes may arise due to the hormonal imbalances that arise due to sleep deprivation (Shaw).
Not only does sleep affect our intellect and behavior, but it also has an impact on our cosmetic appearance. Many people already know of the term, ‘Beauty Sleep’. What people don’t know is just how literal this term is in reality. We actually need our sleep to maintain a wrinkle-free, youthful presence. A 2015 study by the research institute of UCLA suggests that even one night of sleep deprivation causes a gene expression pathway that has an end result of biological aging among the older demographic of a population (Darien).
These are only but a few of the plethora of reasons why sleep is of utmost importance to every human being. Many at times, we often ignore this natural process available at our disposal, taking it for granted and so we lose the opportunity to reap all the benefits it has to offer such as a better mood, mental processing, appearance, and even physical health and so on. Why don’t we take a step in the right direction and try and incorporate more nap times and sleep/rest hours into our daily regimens? It will surely make all your hours awake more productive and worthwhile in the long run.
Atherton K.E. et al.. ' Slow wave sleep and accelerated forgetting'. ScienceDirect. 29 August 2016. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0010945216302374.
‘Sleep, Learning and Memory’, Division of Sleep at Harvard Medical School. 18 December 2007. http://healthysleep.med.harvard.edu/healthy/matters/benefits-of-sleep/learning-memory.
Shaw, Gina. ‘ Women, Hormones and Sleep Problems’. WebMD. 27 December 2011. https://www.webmd.com/sleep-disorders/features/women-hormones-sleep-problems#1
Smith et al. . ‘Sleep Needs’. Help Guide. June 2019. https://www.helpguide.org/articles/sleep/sleep-needs-get-the-sleep-you-need.htm.