Why do we sleep and how much sleep do we need?

Sleep is probably the most underrated health habit. Did you know, we spend one-third of our lives asleep!

Being a student, I’ve pulled of many all-nighters – whether it was to finish homework, finish writing an essay or finish cramming for an exam – I’ve experience it all; however, one only understands the value of sleep – when waking up (or in some cases not even falling asleep) the next morning.

We are told on average that we need 7-9 hours of sleep, but how much sleep do we actually need? Sleeping more or less than our average recommended hours could prove to be detrimental to our health. The amount of sleep we need varies on our age, lifestyle and overall health. Sleep has many health benefits: boosting immunity and mental well-being, increasing fertility and sex drive and there are also studies indicating that it can prevent diabetes!

The longest a human has intentionally gone without sleep not using stimulants or drugs of any kind is 11 days and 25 minutes (264.4 hours).

Scientists and researches have been trying for years to find an ultimate answer to – why human beings sleep, however experiments such as the group led by Prof Maiken Nedergaard at the University of Rochester Medical centre in New York discovered a network of fluid-filled chemicals in rats that clears waste chemicals from the brain, suggesting that the brain has a unique method of waste removal, also researchers found that during sleep the brain’s cells reduce in size making it more effective to lose waste.



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