Humans spend about one-third of their lives sleeping, making it an extremely important part of our lives. We know what happens when we sleep, and we know what happens if we get too much or too little, but it is unknown why we must do it and for such long periods of time. Sleep is a time where one is in an unconscious state, but their mind and body are more active than ever. It is still in debate how these processes happen but scientists know they happen every time we go to sleep.
One of the most important roles of sleep is to help cement our memories and experiences in place. Over the course of the day, so many things are logged by the brain but are not stored immediately. Our short-term memory is concreted and becomes more long term. This is called consolidation. The process of consolidating and solidifying memories happens while we are asleep. In addition to storing memory, sleep also restores, revitalizes, builds muscles, repairs damaged tissues, and creates the hormones that our body needs.
Every single stage in being a human requires sleep from when one is born to when one dies. Although we all need sleep, the time that we spend asleep depends on age. Since sleep helps build and restore the body and helps with memory, babies are going to need much more sleep than full grown adults. It is advised that newborns sleep 14-17 hours a day, which is about twice as much as adults need. The suggested time for adults and teens is about 7-8 hours of sleep per day.
Studies show that not getting the "golden" amount of sleep can have short and long-term effects that range from minor to severe. Some short-term side effects are the lack of alertness, impaired memory, irritability, difficulty to focus, and if one gets little to no sleep they will start to hallucinate. More long-term side effects that are linked to the lack of sleep are high blood pressure, cancer, heart disease, obesity, and diabetes. These side effects emphasize just how important sleep is for the body because it shows what could happen if one doesn't get enough.
It is imperative to get enough sleep each night because of how much it does for one's body and what happens if one does not get enough. Getting enough sleep is the only way to counteract all the side effects and the only way to stay on top of things during the day. A healthy routine of sleep helps keep things consistent in one's lives.