Brandon Hedgecock, DDS, D-ASBA

Austin

Hedgecock Dental

5920 W William Cannon, Bldg #6, Ste 200
Austin, TX 78749

Cedar Park

Vista Ridge Family Dentistry

920 N. Vista Ridge Blvd. #700
Cedar Park, TX 78613

Why Do We Need Sleep?

Sleep is a vital part of our daily lives, every person does it, but if you really think about it, sleep is really weird. To remain in a paralytic state for 1/3rd of our day can feel like a huge waste of time, yet a lack of sleep will have negative side effects to our bodies, and no sleep at all will eventually lead to death. Humans aren't the only species that require sleep either, all living mammals require varying amounts of sleep.

Giraffe's sleep an average of around 2 hours per day, while bats sleep around 20 hours a day. So what is the point of sleeping, and why is it so important to a healthy lifestyle?

Simply put, nobody don't know for sure. It is generally accepted by researchers that sleep enables our bodies and especially our brains to recover. Some recent studies allow researchers to hypothesize some of the detailed processes involved.

Our brain is constantly building new connections throughout the day, and during sleep scientists speculate that the important ones are strengthened and the unimportant ones are pruned. Scientists also hypothesize that our brain utilizes our sleep by clearing out waste chemicals that can't be cleared out while awake, much like you have to wait until a party is over until you can really clean up.

What happens when we don't get enough sleep?

Some scientists theorize that a lack of sleep results in a higher risk for obesity and diabetes, others think sleep depravation is linked to heart disease and stroke, but ultimately these talks are speculative and not backed up by conclusive scientific evidence. What we do know, is that sleep depravation does make us feel worse for the wear, can cause our heads to feel cloudy and slow-witted, and turn our moods irritable. So regardless of how it affects us in the long run, the immediate effects are bad enough!

In conclusion, while we still don't know exactly why sleep is important to our well being, we know that we feel much better when we have enough of it, and it is vital to our well being. So make sure you are getting enough good, long, and undisturbed sleep at night, it's important!