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Why can’t people stay awake forever? From New Scientist

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“Why can’t we stay awake indefinitely?” was published on the website of new scientist on April 27 Sleep is very important to our health. The excerpt is as follows: we sleep one third of the time. If we miss this behavior, we will get sick. Sleep is obviously extremely important. Why is that? What happens to the brain when we lack sleep? Why can’t we stay awake all the time? How do we make sure we get enough sleep?

Even fleas have to sleep

Sleep is not just because we humans need to close our eyes. Bees need about the same amount of sleep as we do. If you make bees stay up late, they will be seriously affected. A normal bee wags its tail to tell other bees where to look for food. However, when the bee is unconscious, its dance steps are not so accurate, and the angle of dance steps will change more, which leads to the wrong direction of foraging. If you try to dance all night, you’ll look the same.

Even animals that fly for weeks or months can’t do without sleep. Researchers put wearable brain wave recorders on big warship birds to confirm the general idea that birds can sleep while flying. During the long-distance flight, they will take many small naps, each time takes about 12 seconds, a total of 41 minutes a day, each time half of the brain will go to sleep. When they return to land, they sleep more than 12 hours a day.

From this point of view, birds need to sleep, bees need to sleep, even lazy fleas need to sleep. It is believed that sleep is a common behavior of all animals with central nervous system, but sleep is actually more universal. It has been found that jellyfish with diffuse simple nervous system but no central brain structure will enter a sleep like state at night. If their rest is disturbed, they will become dull the next day.

The function of sleep is mysterious

However, although sleep seems to be a common feature of all animals, we still do not really understand the purpose of sleep.

Many attempts to explain sleep behavior have shown that sleep is essential for brain repair or maintenance. It was once thought that a certain toxin would accumulate in the brain when we were awake, and when it reached a certain level, it would make sleep irresistible. But no such substance has ever been found.

The modern version explains that during the day we deplete the brain’s reserves of large molecules – such as protein, RNA and cholesterol – that are replenished during sleep.

Another view is that sleep is not only a maintenance behavior, but also plays a unique positive function. Perhaps the best-known idea is that sleep helps us consolidate our memories and put important details into long-term storage. Many experiments have shown that if we put a sleep link between learning and recalling, our memory will be enhanced.

We cycle through different stages of sleep as we sleep, and each stage is likely to have a different function. The first few cycles of the night are important for deep sleep, which seems to be the most important for brain maintenance. Subsequent cycles include more REM sleep, which is the stage when we enter vivid dreams, and animal studies have shown that this is very important for learning. On the other hand, some antidepressants inhibit REM sleep, but do not seem to affect people’s memory.

No matter what the reason for sleep behavior is, it is undoubtedly very important for our health. Not getting enough sleep can affect people’s mood, decision-making, immune system and metabolism. Sleep deprivation is also a risk factor for obesity, type 2 diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, schizophrenia, depression and bipolar disorder.

How to improve sleep

There’s a popular belief that we need eight hours of sleep a night, but that’s not the same. In a tribal culture where electricity is not available, the average sleep time is six or seven hours per night. Even in developed societies, seven hours of sleep seems to be enough for most people.

Some say they sleep much less than others. These people may be sleepless, but they’re used to it, and some genetic variations seem to help restore strength. Napping can help improve your alertness, but sleeping all night is much better because it allows you to go through multiple sleep cycles.

If you’re worried about not getting enough sleep, here are some suggestions that might help.

·Go to bed and wake up at the same time every day.

·Dim the light before going to bed. Light inhibits the production of melatonin, a hormone that makes us sleepy. The amount of blue light on the screen is particularly bad, so avoid cell phones and laptops before you go to bed. The harm of television is not so great – if you keep a reasonable distance.

·Alcohol is a sedative, and sedation is not sleep. Even drinking early in the morning can affect your sleep in the second half of the night. Similarly, avoid caffeine after 1 p.m. In addition, smoking at any time during the day can be a factor in sleep deprivation.

We all know what it’s like to be deprived of sleep and unable to function properly like that dancing bee. What’s more, we’re now finding that in the long run, poor sleep quality can predispose us to serious health problems, including Alzheimer’s disease.

It’s terrible to think about, but it also gives us another motivation to pay attention to sleep. Sleep may help your brain stay healthy for a long time. Have a good sleep.

More reading from reference news: Adolescent Health Journal: blue light spectrum or orange light hinders sleep is good for sleep Guardian: tracking sleep cell phone programs or making you insomnia survey shows that more than 300 million people in China have sleep disorders research shows that there is a significant correlation between late night playing with mobile phones and poor sleep University of Colorado: research finds that too much or too little sleep can increase sleep Add the risk of heart attack Michigan State University: research finds that lack of sleep can affect all aspects of life Durham University & Peking University: research shows that healthy sleep can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease University of York: research shows that lack of sleep can lead to negative, negative and negative reactions Invasive thinking: the covid-19 sleep time is 2 to 3 hours delayed. Harvard University: research shows that sleep deprivation increases the risk of heart disease. Sleep medicine: research finds that 75% severe sleep deprivation can not be spent at weekends. The study found that sleep deprivation can accelerate brain damage and cause dementia. People who get up early are happier

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