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Why Do We Sleep? Essay

1987 words - 8 pages

The average person spends one-third of their life sleeping. Currently very little is known about why we sleep, which is interesting because there has been lot of research. Studies have shown that sleeping can benefit memory, increase awareness, and even lower stress. The study of sleep is important because it could reveal how the brain works, a less time-consuming alternative, leading to a more productivity, and even improvements in general health. Currently there is only speculation and theories for why we sleep, and dream. With all the theories out there it is hard to pick out which one is correct, which is why all should be studied. Through this paper I hope to learn more ...view middle of the document...

Based on how the brain functions while we sleep, a recent and interesting theory, is known as the brain plasticity theory. The Restoration Theory is common, basic belief. This theory proposes, sleep is used as a time period, or window, for the body to restore energy, dispose of waste, and repair cells, optimally during Rapid Eye Movement(REM) sleep Throughout the day, waste chemicals build up in muscle ,neurotransmitters become used up, and the brain gets filled with information. The constant strain and exhaustion from daily life makes sleep the optimal time for your body to “reset itself”(Oswald). While sleeping your body shifts its way back towards homeostasis, preparing for the next day. The most compelling evidence for this theory comes from research on the effects of sleep deprivation. Sleep deprivation causes in condition in the lower back from muscle waste, proving waste is eliminated during sleep. It has also been shown that patients that have recently had brain damage spend more time in the REM stages of sleep, further strengthening this theory. Like all theories, contradictions have also been proposed. Major points have been made against this theory. One discovery, made by Ryback and Lewis, the amount of sleep
does not appear to vary with our daytime activity levels. Research has also shown that the brain is very active during REM, countering the idea of an ideal repair window.
The new and incomplete theory, Brain Plasticity, is based on recent neurology studies. Although still incomplete, it is a valid theory that deserves looking into. Holding, there is a connection between sleep and the development of the brain, sets this theory aside from the others. Like the preceding theory, most of the evidence from this theory comes from sleep deprivation research. Sleep deprived suffer from a lack in attention span, learning becomes harder(Porkka, 122). This shows how sleep is needed for the brain to, not only continue developing, but to learn new things. Another compelling piece of evidence is, sleep deprived have trouble piecing together memories, which is essential in learning new material(Porkka). Further proving the relationship of sleep and the development of the brain. Because this theory is still new and incomplete there are few compelling counters to it.
Although these theories remain unproven, science has come along way in providing evidence for them. WIthout directly answering the question it sets a stage for further progress, generating new ideas.
How Does the Brains Work During Sleep?
Throughout the day the human body gets worn out and needs to rest and relax, logically, so would the brain. As it turns out, the brain is extraordinarily active during sleep, much of this activity helps with learning and memory.The first discovery of our brain working while asleep was in 1953, the discovery of Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep, it galvanized and intensified sleep research. ...

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