Sleep much?
June 04 2020 01:39 AM
Hala Bader al-Humaidhi
Hala Bader al-Humaidhi

By Hala Bader al-Humaidhi

Since the 20th century, scientists have been trying vigorously to study, comprehend, and discover the effects of sleep on the human body and mind. By the first decade of the current century, scientists ascertained a large number of sleep disorders and their high prevalence in humans. The EEG patterns (occurring during sleep) helped in correlating different stages during sleep, which in turn led to salutary identification of abnormal behaviours and the relation between sleep and health.  
Today, the interest of researchers is in deep-rooted effects of disrupted sleep, as well as effects of sleep deprivation on the body’s metabolism, hormone regulation, and athletic performance. Recent studies have inaugurated the relationship between inadequate sleep and disorders such as obesity, diabetes (type 2), heart problems, mood swings, neurological degeneration, and memory loss. Even though the substantial amount of sleep is important, the time of the day for sleep is also beneficial. 

Brain and Neurological Functioning:
This latest revelation is monumental in Sleep Medicine. This illustrates how ‘waste’ gets washed out by the brain during sleep. This article was published by Maria Cohut; PhD. The experiment was performed by researchers at Boston University. A few of the results are enlisted below:
1. During sleep, the wastes in the brain and spinal cord get washed out by waves of ‘Cerebrospinal fluid’ which gushes in and out of the brain, like ocean waves.
2. During the process, researchers found that the cerebrospinal fluid appears to ‘synchronise’ with brainwaves which are most likely to remove the brain waste. This waste includes harmful proteins, which if not taken out, might become the cause for disrupted information flow among neurons.
These findings would be particularly useful in finding the underlying causes of Alzheimer’s disease since these toxic proteins are the reason behind the loss of memory and cognitive problems. 

Circadian Rhythm:
This term is used to elucidate the brain’s natural sleep-wake schedule or biological clock. The people are sleepiest at two points of the day.
1. 1pm – 3pm
2. 2am – 4 am
If one is animated at these naturally lazy hours, one can be soporific throughout the day, thus feeling listless and nebulous.

Physical Health:
Cardiac problems and obesity are two of the most prevalent diseases in the world right now and sleep deficiency is directly linked to it. In the study that was published in Journal Science Advances, 15 young men were deprived of a night of sleep. The following were two of the most discernible effects
1. The body had a sudden surge in its fat storage capacity.
2. The tissues of the skeletal muscles manifested symptoms of increased muscle tears.
Author Dr Jonathan Cedernaes, an endocrinologist at Northwestern University - Feinberg School of Medicine has said that these studies might help in expounding the interconnection between circadian rhythms and high probability of diabetes and obesity.

Athletic Performance:
Coaches and trainers around the globe put extreme emphasis on a tight sleep schedule. World-class athletes have a remarkable number of sleep hours e.g. Lionel Messi sleeps around a total of 12 hours a day. The consequences of the sleep cycle for athletes can be broken down into two steps:
1. REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep: This occurs in 90-120 minutes cycles throughout sleep and takes up about a quarter of total sleep in adults. This cycle provides energy to the brain, helping with memory-making and restoring its functionality before waking up.
2. Non-REM sleep: This is also known as deep or slow sleep. This cycle is for muscle recovery and restoring the robustness of the body. It accounts for 40 percent of total sleep. During this phase, the brain rests with little energy consumption, breathing slows down, and the blood supply to the muscle increases, providing extra nutrients and oxygen to help them recover and grow.
So, the non-REM phase helps athletes with muscle recovery and muscle gain, but this phase is also accompanied by the secretion of Growth Hormone. During this time, the body undertakes deep sleep in this cycle; the pituitary gland releases a small load of growth hormone that stimulates tissue growth. Lack of growth hormones is connected with a loss of muscle mass and reduced caliber to exercise.
In short, sleep is not only beneficial to our physical health but also our emotional and mental state. To be creative, focused, and attentive, we need to have a good night sleep of 7-9 hours. Along with the right amount of sleep, the time of sleep is of mammoth gravity. Sleep Medicine is still working to find more relations between humans and their sleep patterns. 
In total, we spend around 25 years of our life asleep, so let’s make it effective!

* The author is a consultant in Public Relations and Personality Types. Instagram: @Tipsbyhalahill

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