Sleep is very important. It is when our body rests and rejuvenates from all of the events from the day. But do you ever feel like you feel better with less sleep than more sleep? Or even vice versa?
What exactly happens during sleep?
There are four stages of sleep, of which three are non rapid eye movement (REM) and one is REM sleep. During sleep brain activity and heart rate significantly slow down. Many hormones are regulated during this time of rest, including growth hormones, cortisol that regulates stress response, and leptin that regulates appetite. This means that hormones when awake are affected by hormones produced at night.
What happens if you get too little sleep?
In many dystopian tales, humans who don’t get enough sleep are portrayed as zombies. This actually may happen if you don’t sleep for days. However, if you go to sleep late and barely sleep, what happens?
People who sleep too little spend too much time in REM sleep. This stage of sleep is when the brain is the most active, which means that people who don’t sleep enough are irritable. Their brains haven’t had the time to properly rest. It is also associated with heart disease, kidney disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, stroke, obesity, and depression. No one’s body can adapt to sleeping too little. Everyone needs enough sleep.
What happens if you sleep too much?
Sleep is good until a certain point, but even it can be too much at times. Too much sleep can cause a condition known as hypersomnia, which can cause fatigue and drowsiness throughout the day. It is also associated with type 2 diabetes, heart disease, obesity, depression, and headaches. If you find yourself sleeping a lot, try setting alarms to set a schedule for sleep.
How much sleep do you need?
Different age groups need different amounts of sleep. Adults are recommended to sleep between 7 to 9 hours a night. A little more or less sleep is fine, as these are recommendations. However, significantly more or less sleep consistently can be detrimental to health. If you find yourself constantly unable to sleep and tired throughout the day, try seeking out help from a medical professional. Sleep is very important, albeit very neglected by many.
What Are Sleep Deprivation and Deficiency? National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. 2022 March 24.
Oversleeping: Bad for Your Health? Johns Hopkins Medicine.
Suni, E. What Happens When You Sleep? Sleep Foundation. 2022 August 29.