Purpose of Sleep

. There are at least 3 purposes of sleep, ie restoration, regulation and learning

i) restoration - after a good night's sleep we feel refreshed, ie full of energy, our brains are alert, etc

"...Human growth hormone is released during the deepest stages of sleep and, apart from stimulating growth, one of its function is to trigger the repair of damaged issue. It is also significant that when we are ill, we tend to sleep more..."

Robert Winston, 2003

ii) regulation - our brain and body are organised into regular cycles known as circadian rhythms. This human body clock tells us when we feel sleepy, or when we should eat, etc

iii) learning, ie

"...sleep acts as oil for the cogwheels of the brain.......The importance of REM sleep in memorising and learning.......The brain goes over itself during sleep, reinforcing new firing patterns and etching them into the memory. Numerous studies have shown that human and animal subjects perform tasks more quickly and more thoroughly after sleep that follows the learning procedure..."

Robert Winston, 2003

Sleep is important in managing stress as cortisol levels increase every time you are deprived of sleep; this can contribute feeling overwhelmed.

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