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Importance of Sleep

It is  common for a person to report to his or her place of work or school looking fatigued and confused not because they worked or read the whole night but because they did not have enough sleep. The result of this is that the person will be less productive or attentive in his/her duties because the body did not get enough rest. Since time in memorial, sleep has played a pivotal in the growth and development of the human body as well as the nation’s economy. The rapid growth and development of the internet communication and technology sectors has however meant that most people sleep for less hours, because they have to work for longer hours as expected to enable them cater for their basic needs as well as keep up with the rapid changes in the social, political and economic worlds

Purpose of the Paper

The purpose of this essay paper will be to look into the importance of sleep to the human body. The paper will look into the importance of sleep to children, adolescents, the working class and the elderly members of the society. In addition to that, the paper will look at the different factors that affect the sleeping patterns of the different groups of people in the society.  This factors will be categorized based on the different decades from the time study on sleep was first carried out until the modern day.  The negative effects that can be caused to the human body for by too much or too little sleep will also be discussed in the paper. The paper will however begin by looking at the definition of sleep and the different types of sleep that a person can go through. In conclusion, the paper will give a brief summary of the important points that would have been discussed in the paper.

What is Sleep?

According to Martin, sleep can be said to be any other normal human activity that a human body must go through for it to function well and effectively. The difference however is that when most human activities take place when a person is awake, it is only the brain that is most active when it comes to sleep although all the other body parts contribute in one way or the other. It is therefore safe to state that sleeping is psychological activity of the human body that is controlled by the brain. One unique characteristic of sleep is that once a person wakes up, all the activities (dreams) that were taking place in his/her brains during sleep are erased from the memory. It is said that during sleep, an “imaginary” wall is erected around the human brain insulating the world from the outside world giving the body time to relax and dream. The question that most people ask is, why do most human beings sleep at night and wake up in the morning? There is a cycle that the human body has adapted to that enables it to function in such a manner; the waxing and waning cycle.

Waxing and Waning Cycle: The waxing and waning cycle is a sleeping cycle that most mammals have adapted to that has “programmed” their bodies to go to sleep at night and be active during the day. There are however some mammals that do the reverse, i.e. sleep during the day and be active at night, these are mostly predators and bats. There are different factors that determine the sleeping pattern of a person and they include;

Behavioral Factors: According to Carkskadon a normal human being is supposed to have an average sleep of between six and eight hours per night, but due to various behavioral factors this may not be the case. The most common behavioral factors that affect the sleeping pattern of people include the parenting style. In most situations children who sleep with their parents adapt to the sleeping pattern of the parents. The child will go to bed at the time the parent retires to bed and wake up at the time the parent wakes up. The change in life style has however changed this, since most parents work for longer hours and by the time they get home, the children are already asleep. The social and academic responsibilities and commitments of many people have also been pin pointed as another behavioral factor that affects the sleeping habits of people, those who have more commitments sleep for less hours as compared to have less errands to run. The disadvantage of this is that it can lead to a condition known as sleep debt.

As the human body grows and develops so does the changes in sleeping patterns occurs, children tend to sleep more as compared to adolescents whose bodies are metabolically active and developing. As a person ages and the metabolic rate slows down, they tend to sleep more the same way children do. This can be categorized as both a behavioral and biological factor.

Biological Factor: there are different biological factors that affect the sleeping patterns of a person. There are internal factors that are related to the human body and external factors that focus on the change of weather conditions. When it comes to the external factors, sleeping patterns of people changes depending on the weather conditions of the moment from winter, summer and the subsequent weather conditions. The reason for this is that the human body reacts differently under different weather conditions and this directly affects the sleeping pattern. The internal factors vary from men to women depending on their age and social activity. For instance, women who are going menopause, ovulation or menstrual period have different patterns as compared to those who are not. As for men, the physical activity that the person does can determine their pattern, if a person is engaged in tedious activities then they will sleep more and heavily as compared to those who don’t engage in any activity.

Sleep Debt: In the paper, it has been mentioned that lack of sleep can lead to a condition known as sleep debt.  Vaughan and Dement have observed that there are certain activities that can lead to sleep debt and they include, too much alcoholism where somewhere will spend all his/her time drinking and as a result be unable to concentrate the following morning, overworking oneself can also cause this condition. Other factors are having stress and depression. The negative effects of sleep debt cannot be under estimated, for instance if a person is a driver then he/she cannot be able to drive well if they have sleep debt because they might doze and cause a tragic road accident. It is therefore important for people to get enough sleep.

Summation of the Paper

Sleep is a very important stage of human growth and development and one that each and every person should enjoy. It only after having enough sleep that the human body will be fully energized and contributes positively to the economic growth and prosperity. This research paper has looked at the different factors in relation to sleep. The paper has started off by looking and the definition of sleep and the main components are active during sleeping, it has then looked at the sleeping cycle and how it affects human beings. The two main factors that affect the sleeping patterns; behavioral and biological factors have been discussed in the paper. The paper has closed by looking at sleep debt, the ways in which the human body can accumulate sleep debt and the negative effects of sleep debt to the human body. The paper has also given relevant references of authors that have talked about sleep and how it affects the human population. It is therefore important for each and every person to ensure that they get enough sleep.

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