The Importance of Sleep

As you might well know, sleep is a physiological need in order for the body to function well. Enough sleep is needed in order to focus and concentrate more. That is why having sufficient sleep is essential to working effectively during the day. A person usually needs about eight to nine hours a day. Extensive research on sleep has provided us with a better understanding of sleep and its importance.

Why sleeping is important?

It has been known that our bodies go through a natural circadian rhythm that has a great in its function during a 24-hour period. It is programmed in our body clock that we sleep at night an go awake during the day. Trying to disrupt the circadian rhythm will usually result in getting poor quality and insufficient sleep. The circadian rhythm that our bodies follow cannot be reversed even if one works during the night shift. The body is still programmed to sleep at night.

Just as the body requires a sufficient amount of sleep within each 24-hour period in order to function effectively, lack of it over long periods of time can have serious consequences later on. Reducing the amount of sleep everyday can result in accumulating sleep debt. This is simply the difference between the number of sleep a person needs each day with the actual sleep that he gets during the same period.

In order to continue to function effectively, the body needs to have its sleep debt recovered. Over time a person can have an accumulation of sleep debt without even noticing it. And as the sleep debt grows, he tendency to feel sleepy during the day increases. The higher the sleep debt, the stronger is the tendency for the person to fall asleep in the morning. This can affect work performance through diminished concentration and focus.

Micro-sleep

Studies on sleep have also shown that people usually go through bouts of so-called "micro sleep" everyday. Microsleeps are very short episodes of temporary loss of attention that can last from a few seconds to several minutes. Such episodes are usually characterized by blank stares, prolonged eye closures and sudden head snapping among other things. This can especially occur if one is doing monotonous task such as driving a car for long periods. Sometimes a person may not be aware that he is undergoing a bout of micro sleep.

Sometimes, it can occur even if one’s eyes are open. When one is in micro sleep mode, a person seems not to respond to outside stimulus for a short time. But that small period can be dangerous especially if one is driving. Micro sleeps can also occur in the daytime and can occur more often with cumulative sleep debt.