Why do we sleep? Why you sleep every day? As simple as the questions might sound, you’ll have the hardest of times arguing it. You are no scientist. Would you consider if I say even the top scientists failed to place a legitimate and justified reason? It’s true and hence agreeing is inevitable.
If you want to live, you need to get a sufficient amount of sound sleeping. You can’t sustain otherwise. Only Dolphins can. Sleeping is the only time when your brain is inactive and yet active. This is the time you cast your memories unconsciously. Scientists even allege that if you don’t sleep well, you might miss some information. Also, this is the time when our brain rests and rebuilds itself.
All that’s fine, but the question remains. Why do we sleep? Let’s look at some of the most prominent theories about the same.
1. The Inactivity Theory
One of the earliest theory of the research on the reason for our sleep was the theory of inactivity. As per this hypothesis, humans and other animals stay inactive for the hours of high vulnerability. So it insists that we slept in the night as the world is dark. This is the time for probable accidents and other mishaps, and if we remained inactive at a place, we would just be defending ourselves from those troubles.
The Theory failed miserably to impress a lot of people. People argued why we need to sleep rather than stay awake and rest inactive. Being awake would make us safer as we could be further alert for situations.
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2. The Theory of Energy Conservation
After the failure of the inactivity theory, scientists proposed the Theory of Energy Conservation. The theory says the most important thing for living beings is an adequate reception and utilisation of energy. Nothing survives without the energy. So the scientists claimed that we sleep to cut down our energy requirements. So when it’s hard to receive energy, we conserve it.
Energy metabolism in humans comes down by about ten percent while sleeping. The reduction is even more in other species. So this theory had a point that we sleep to conserve our energy.
3. Restorative theory
We consume our body for everything that we do while we are awake. Like a machine needs rest and repair after long hours of services, similar is the demand of a living body. So another explanation came as the theory of restoration. This concept claimed that we sleep to repair the damages of our body occurred while it functioned. While we sleep we let our body restore, rejuvenate, and mend up those damages. Further scientists found that the sleep-deprived animals lose immunity and die within no time. This made the theory more valid.
The restorative functions of the sleep include tissues repairs, muscles growth, growth hormones release, and protein synthesis. Also, our sleep reduces the adenosine produced by the neurones in our brain. Adenosine is what makes us feel tired and sleepy. When awake our brain banks this adenosine. So we sleep to cut it down.
4. The Brain Plasticity Theory
The most recent studies on sleep brought forth the theory of brain plasticity. The theory explains our sleep by changes in brain structure and organisation. This is brain plasticity. Sleep is vital for brain development in infants kids. This correlation of brain plasticity with the sleep occurs in adults as well. So this theory suggests that we sleep for the proper growth and functioning of our brain.
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5. The Cleansing Effect
There’s one more theory that suggests that the living beings sleep to clean up their body. The study claimed that sleeping is a waste disposal process of the body. While we doze off, our body thrusts away the toxic proteins that build up in the brain.
Why doesn’t this cleansing happen while we are awake? The theory explained that too. When awake, the body needs a lot of energy to keep the brain active. So the cleansing process and active brain can’t coexist due to the lack of energy. The brain has to choose, and thus cleansing occurs while we sleep.
6. We don’t know yet
Now, this is a purely authentic fact. We don’t know why we sleep. Although scientists have explained it in many ways and some of these seem pretty close to the truth, nothing’s proved as yet. So you need to wait a bit longer to know ‘why you sleep.’
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Above theories are just some of the likely reasons for our sleep. Nothing’s verified, and our sleep will go through more studies before we know it correctly. Till then, we may just believe these theories for the peace of our mind and a sound sleep.