Blog Post #4 – Research Round #2 – Is Sleep Really that Important?

“Is Sleep Really that Important?”

By: Karen Zoulau

Have you ever wondered what happens to our bodies when we sleep? Let me explain. Our brain stores new information while we sleep [1], creating new space for new memories and deleting useless, old ones. Our nerve cells communicate with each other, and reorganize [1] in a suitable matter. Our body repairs cells, restores energy and releases molecules like hormones and proteins [1]. These processes are very critical for our overall health [1]. Without these processes, brains cannot function properly [1]. Throughout sleep our bodies can have cellular restoration [1], muscle restoration [1], protein synthesis [1], tissue growth [1] and hormone release [1]. Sleep is not just made up of one phase, our body cycles through 4 stages of sleep on average [1]. These cycles vary from 70 to 120 minutes each [1]. They repeat around four times if you get enough sleep [1].

Stages of Sleep

First stage: Light Sleep

  • Lasts around seven minutes [1]

Second Stage: Right Before Deep Sleep

  • Body temperature decreases  [1]
  • Eye movements stop [1]
  • Heart rate and muscles start to relax [1]
  • People usually spend their most time sleeping in this stage [1]

Third Stage: Deep Sleep Begins

  • Restorative state [1], replenishes energy [1]
  • Repairs cells, tissues, and muscles [1]

Fourth Stage: REM Sleep

  • Eye movements and brain waves increase [1]
  • People do most of their dreaming in this stage [4]

There are a lot of benefits of sleeping, but I will start with a few main points. Sleeping boosts your immune system [2]. This is a very good thing as your immune system is very important. Your immune system fights off germs and bacteria that try to invade and take control over your body, by making you sick. If your immune system gets this boost, it will be easier to fight off colds [2], and you will have a smaller chance of getting sick in the first place. Sleeping can also prevent weight gain [2]. If you do not get enough sleep, your body produces a hormone called ghrelin [2]. Ghrelin is a hormone that boosts appetite [2]. Since your brain recognizes that you didn’t get enough energy from your sleep your brain most likely thinks that you need to get energy a different way in order to use your body throughout the rest of the day. By gaining energy through food, your body can stay awake. Sleep can also strengthen the heart [2]. A lack of sleep can cause high blood pressure [2], and in severe cases, heart attacks [2]. Sleeping more will lower that risk. Sleep can also advance your athletic performances [3]. You gain energy through more sleep, which means that you are able to use more energy too, in exercise.

Works Cited:

  1. https://www.healthline.com/health/why-do-we-sleep#heart-health
  2. https://www.sclhealth.org/blog/2018/09/the-benefits-of-getting-a-full-night-sleep/
  3. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/325353#greater-athletic-performance
  4. https://www.uofmhealth.org/health-library/hw48331#:~:text=You%20do%20most%20of%20your,2%20hours%20after%20falling%20asleep.

5 Replies to “Blog Post #4 – Research Round #2 – Is Sleep Really that Important?”

  1. Karen,
    great job on your second round of research! I really liked the way you started off the post and it was really interesting to read the stages of sleep! I looking forward to your next round of research!
    Question! What was the most surprising fact you have learned so far on your rounds of research?
    Here are some sites that you may find helpful:

    Insomnia:

    https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health-topics/insomnia

    https://www.sleepfoundation.org/insomnia/what-causes-insomnia

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6732697/

    Sleep deprivation:

    https://www.sleepfoundation.org/sleep-deprivation

    https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health-topics/sleep-deprivation-and-deficiency

    https://www.health.harvard.edu/fhg/updates/Repaying-your-sleep-debt.shtml

    Best of luck!

  2. Hey Karen, I really enjoyed reading your post! As someone who has been told time and time again to go to sleep earlier, to sleep more, and to sleep better, this post has made me slightly embarrassed if I’m honest. Even though I already know that I should maintain better sleeping habits, I consistently fail to do so, and I know this affects me negatively in many ways. One thing I did not know though was that my body will actually boost my appetite if I do not get enough sleep. This is incredibly interesting because it may be a reason for certain individuals problem with weight gain. Great job!

    Some resources you may find useful are:

    https://www.healthline.com/health/sleep-deprivation/effects-on-body

    https://www.cnet.com/health/sleep/not-getting-enough-sleep-how-sleep-deprivation-wrecks-your-body/

    https://med.stanford.edu/news/all-news/2015/10/among-teens-sleep-deprivation-an-epidemic.html

  3. I really like your research, in that I would like to ask for a favour could you please research why we dream while we sleep. Thank you

  4. Dear Karen,

    I am so glad to see your new post up! It was super engaging; from the very beginning with ‘Have you ever wondered what happens to our bodies when we sleep?…Our brain stores new information while we sleep [1], creating new space for new memories and deleting useless, old ones’

    Some 1-2 suggestions I thought of for your last round in your inquiry project were discussing sleeping right after exercising and eating! I always try to take time to sit up straight for a good half-hour after exercising before resting, but I wonder if it really is too important.

    Here are some resources specific to resting after working out:
    https://www.healthline.com/health/healthy-sleep/sleep-after-workout#:~:text=Taking%20a%20nap%20after%20exercise%20can%20support%20muscle%20recovery.,the%20benefits%20of%20physical%20activity.

    And this resource focuses on the pros/cons specifically:
    https://www.sleepadvisor.org/sleep-after-workout/

    I never would have known about the four-stage cycles prior to our good (REM) sleep. Very fascinating!

    I also have two questions for you:

    1. Will you be covering the sleep disorder sleep paralysis in your next round? I saw you are discussing sleeping disorders next; and I am fascinated!
    2. Are hallucinations a direct cause of sleep loss at times? I found this article about hallucinations from a search query! https://www.verywellhealth.com/can-sleep-deprivation-cause-hallucinations-3014669

    Hope the resources and potential inputs help you in your final round; looking forward to it! 🙂

    Warm Regards,

    Galicia.

  5. Hi Karen,

    I think asking the question of is sleep really important is crucial to understand why skipping out on some hours of sleep could impact a person. I think going into this you have some idea that sleep is important. Maybe you feel that not getting too much sleep does not impact you but rest assured you will find researching stating otherwise. I like that you went through how we sleep. I actually learned a lot even though I had heard some of the terms before! What is your next post going to be? If you don’t have any ideas, maybe try researching people’s experiences with not sleeping and how it impacted their performance during the day.

    Here are some helpful resources

    https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/07448481.2010.483708
    https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0765159719300723
    https://www.education.ninds.nih.gov/brochures/17-NS-3440-C_508C.pdf

    Hope this helped!

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