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SLEEP: Uncovering Your Body and Brain's Amazing Adventures at Night

"Don't Stay Up late!"

There is one thing that everyone can't avoid in our daily lives, and that is sleeping. Sleep is an integral part of human life, it serves not only as a time to rest and regain strength but also as the promotion of the health of the body and brain. But have you ever wondered how sleep actually happens, why we need it, and what amazing things it does for our bodies and brains?

Sleep is a biological necessity, and sleep is meant to make us feel good or energized. In fact, sleep has a profound effect on our bodies and brains. Scientific studies have shown that sleep is vital for memory, learning, mood regulation, immune system function and metabolism.

When we go to sleep, our brain undergoes a wonderful array of changes. There are several stages of sleep, including rapid eye movement (REM) sleep and non-REM sleep. During REM sleep, brain activity levels are similar, if not more active, than when awake. This stage usually occurs later in the sleep cycle and is associated with dreams. Non-REM sleep consists of four stages that progressively deepen from light to deep, where recovery and repair work takes place in the body and brain.

Not only the brain, but our bodies undergo surprising changes during sleep. For example, during sleep our body temperature drops slightly and our heart and respiratory rates decrease, which helps conserve energy and promotes recovery. Additionally, sleep is vital for regulating hormones, repairing tissues and boosting the immune system.

What happens if we lack enough sleep for an extended period of time? For starters, memory and cognitive function can be affected and we may have more difficulty concentrating and problem solving. Mood is also susceptible and problems such as mood swings and irritability may occur. Chronic sleep deprivation has also been linked to a range of health problems, such as cardiovascular disease, obesity and diabetes.

The continuous functioning of the body's organs requires a supply of energy, and the circulatory system throughout the body is responsible for solving the problem of delivering nutrients, using blood vessels to transport nutrients and oxygen to every part of the body to provide energy to the organs. After the consumption of nutrients, all cells also produce waste, how to clean up this waste? The evolved lymphatic system is responsible for solving this problem. This circulatory system is spread throughout the body and carries away proteins and other wastes between cells, which is equivalent to a 'garbage' cleaning system. So these two systems guarantee the continued functioning of the organs.

However, the brain is a special organ in the human body. The brain is very energy intensive, consuming 20-25% of the body's energy, even though it accounts for only 2% of the body's mass. The brain is also supplied with energy through the blood circulatory system that transports nutrients. However, there are no lymphatic vessels in the brain, so the question arises, how is the waste produced by the brain drained away?

The continuous functioning of the body's organs requires an energy supply. The blood circulatory system ensures the normal functioning of the organs by delivering nutrients and oxygen to all parts of the body, as well as the lymphatic system's function of removing waste. However, the brain, as an energy-intensive organ, does not have a lymphatic system to remove waste. Instead, it relies on cerebrospinal fluid as the primary means of waste removal. Cerebrospinal fluid fills the brain and carries the waste produced out of the brain and eventually out of the body through the circulatory system. Sleep is likely the switch that controls this cleanup process, ensuring that the brain is more efficient at removing waste during the sleep state, thus maintaining healthy functioning.

During sleep, cerebrospinal fluid flows more easily within the brain, allowing for efficient removal of metabolic waste from the brain and promoting recovery and vitality. The cellular gaps within the brain increase during sleep, making it easier for cerebrospinal fluid to enter the brain and exchange with intertissue fluids, further facilitating the removal of waste. This process typically takes place over a period of about 8 hours, consistent with the notion that the optimal sleep time for humans is 8 hours. Sleep is therefore necessary to keep the brain functioning, which in turn is necessary to keep life functioning. Lack of sleep can result in the incomplete removal of waste products from the brain, which in turn increases the burden on the brain and reduces the energy with which it operates, manifesting itself as an inability to concentrate and think. So supplemental sleep can be seen as a regular cleaning of the brain, which helps to maintain the health of the brain and the entire body.

In our busy lives, sleep can be neglected or sacrificed. However, it is vital to understand the importance of sleep and how it affects our body and brain. By getting enough sleep, we can improve our memory, emotional stability, physical health, and make ourselves better equipped to deal with the challenges of daily life. So let's enjoy this amazing journey through the night!


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