Science of Sleep

     Sleep is a very interesting topic. Everybody sleeps, but we do not really know how much sleep we need and why we need to sleep.
     First of all every human body must get enough sleep to function properly. The amount of sleep varies per age group. Generally, the younger you are the more sleep you need and as you get older you do not need as much sleep. 12 to 18 year olds are recommended to sleep 8.5 - 10 hours a day. Ages 18 and over are recommended 7.5 - 9 hours of sleep. According to the National Institutes of Health, the average adult sleeps less than seven hours per night. This seems like only half an hour less than the recommended time, but it adds up, if left the same, it can lead to chronic sleep deprivation, which can then lead to the risk of obesity, heart disease, stroke, and, diabetes.
     It is not only the number of hours you sleep that is important it is also the quality of your sleep. If you are getting enough sleep, but you have trouble waking up in the morning or get sleepy throughout the day, your quality of sleep is not good. Bad quality of sleep may be caused outside noise around you when you sleep, working right before you go to sleep, smoking or drinking right before going to bed, and exposure to artificial light at night. Artificial light comes from cell phones, televisions, computers, and other electronic devices.
     We need enough sleep because it helps you get a healthy immune system, balances your appetite by helping regulate hormones, and helps you become energetic and successful when you are awake. Sleep is as important to your health as eating. A lack of sleep can have significant effects on the hippocampus, an area around the brain involved with memory creation. If you get too little sleep you’ll go into sleep debt. When a person has been deprived of sleep for several days the amount of sleep you need will increase. However, too much sleep is also unhealthy. Too much sleep can lead to diabetes, obesity, headaches, back pain, depression, heart disease, and in extreme cases death.
     I chose this topic because I felt like I did not get enough sleep. I found Randy Gardner’s record interesting his record is for the longest time a human has intentionally gone without sleep, and he was a highschool student and he went without sleep for 264.4 hours which is 11 days and 24 minutes. He later died due to the effects of not sleeping regularly.






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