Like, why havent people created a pill that makes us not sleep?
While we sleep, a process known as consolidation takes our short-term memories and transfers them into long-term memories. All of the short-term memories are made up of the information we gather during the day, information which needs to be processed. Sleep is vital in that it helps us with this, it enables us to understand the information and strengthen memories.
No sleep, no memories.
There is so much more that is happening during sleep time. We can see it as a waste of time, but sleep is essential for good health. Many biological processes happen during sleep: the brain stores new information and gets rid of toxic waste, nerve cells communicate and reorganize, which supports healthy brain function and the body repairs cells, restores energy and releases molecules like hormones and proteins.
Without these proceses, our bodies can’t function correctly.
Also according to the energy conservation theory, we need sleep to conserve energy. Sleeping allows us to reduce our caloric needs by spending part of our time functioning at a lower metabolism.
There are some interesting resources you can take a look if you would like to know more about sleeping:
- Asif N, et al. (2017) Human immune system during sleep.
- Brain basics: Understanding sleep. (2019).
- Brinkman JE, et al. (2019). Physiology, sleep.
- Cedernaes J, et al. (2018) Acute sleep loss results in tissue-specific alterations in genome-wide DNA methylation state and metabolic fuel utilization in humans. DOI:
- How does sleep affect your heart health? (2018)
- Eugene AR, et al. (2015). The neuroprotective aspects of sleep.
- Goldstein AN, et al. (2014). The role of sleep in emotional brain function.
- Helfrich RF, et al. (2019). Bidirectional prefrontal-hippocampal dynamics organize information transfer during sleep in humans. DOI:
- Insulin resistance and prediabetes. (2018).
- Jessen NA, et al. (2015). The glymphatic system: A beginner’s guide. DOI:
- Motomura Y, et al. (2014). Sleep and emotion: The role of sleep in emotion regulation.
- Poe G. (2017). Sleep is for forgetting. DOI:
- Saghir Z, et al. (2018). The amygdala, sleep debt, sleep deprivation, and the emotion of anger: A possible connection? DOI:
- Schmidt MH, et al. (2017). State-dependent metabolic partitioning and energy conservation: A theoretical framework for understanding the function of sleep.
- Scott AJ, et al. (2017). Does improving sleep lead to better mental health? A protocol for a meta-analytic review of randomised controlled trials. DOI:
- Sleep deprivation and deficiency. (n.d.).
- What Is the Purpose of Sleep? https://www.healthline.com/health/why-do-we-sleep
I’ve got Major Depressive Disorder, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, ADD, a very obvious tech addiction, a caffeine addiction, and have suffered from insomnia since my teens. Sleep is so, so precious to me. I love sleep. I love dreams (mine are wildly vivid and realistic). Especially as a writer, I really can’t stress it enough, dreams fill me with wonder and awe. I’d argue I even learn things from them, about myself, about situations, about all sorts of things. They inspire me on so many fronts. Without them I think I’d be missing a part of myself I wouldn’t dare part with.
I don’t think, given the choice, I’d ever want less sleep. I could use more in general.
@John_Higginbotham I am with you, when it comes to sleep. I love sleep! Whether it’s taking a mid-afternoon nap, or getting a deeply regenerating good-night’s rest, sleep is the cat’s pajamas (pun intended) I believe sleep is an essential function which allows our body and mind to not only recharge, but getting a good night’s sleep also helps the body to remain healthy and ward off diseases (which is SUPER IMPORTANT, especially now) If we are sleep deprived, the brain just can’t function properly. This causes all sorts of problems when it comes to focus, concentration and the ability to process information. I don’t think I could ever give up sleep, even if there was a way to live without it.
@John_Higginbotham @urszula same here .
I have had moments in my life when I slept for a very short time per day. Not even more than 4 hours. I did it for a while. At the beginning, I even felt a lot better than after the required 8 hours of sleep. But it didn’t take too long. After a month or so, I started seeing my complexion deteriorate. I started misusing coffee . Then my immunity started to drop and I started to get sick.
It used to be like that.
Now I am careful and use whatever methods are available to take care of the time before bedtime. Switch off all devices at a right time. Giving myself 2 hours of calming down before going to bed. This is good for my sleep quality.
I also have much calmer dreams now.
All of this is especially important nowadays when the health and resistance of the body to viruses is very important.
Calling out the “misusing coffee” is a good note here. My favorite thing from college health courses was watching the dawning on peoples faces whenever they’d be informed of the true most-abused drug in the US: Caffeine. We so often just dont think of it in those terms.
Leading into High School I was already hooked on sugary coffees, that turned into a love of black coffee (that I have to this day), but around college I started drinking energy drinks to the point that it became a moderate health concern for me. Breaking my addiction took a long time (and you could argue I never fully did).
@anon32466100 @John_Higginbotham Sugar & caffeine are two of the most commonly used substances in Western societies. I was able to curb my sugar intake, but unfortunately my caffeine intake continues unabated. I think like with everything in life- moderation is key. In the words of Manly Hall. “Moderation is the secret of survival.” Sleep however, IS vital. A day without a nap is like a cupcake without frosting.
Thanks! That is very useful information!
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