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Essay on importance of sleep

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Sleep is a physical and mental resting state in which a person becomes relatively inactive and unaware of the environment. In essence, sleep is a partial detachment from the world, where most external stimuli are blocked from the senses. Normal sleep is characterized by a general decrease in body temperature, blood pressure, breathing rate, and most other bodily functions. In contrast, the human brain never decreases inactivity. Studies have shown that the brain is as active during sleep as it is when awake. Throughout an eight-hour sleep cycle, a normal adult alternates between two very different states, non-REM and REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep. Sleep is characterized by two distinct states, non-REM sleep and REM sleep. Non-REM and…show more content…
Sleep requirements vary from person to person-some people are naturally short or long sleepers. Thomas Edison, Martha Stewart, and Jay Leno have remarked that they sleep less than five hours a night. In contrast, Albert Einstein and Calvin Coolidge claimed they needed ten or more hours per night. Other well-known people such as Ronald Reagan and Winston Churchill took naps throughout the day. Some experts suggest that the best way to determine personal sleep requirements is by waking up without an alarm clock. The amount of time spent sleeping would be the personal requirement. Other experts suggest that an ideal amount of sleep is the amount needed to feel refreshed and well rested in the morning and alert all day. Contrary to popular belief, the amount of sleep a person needs does not decrease with age. The reality is that sleep patterns and circadian rhythms change as one ages. Infants spend 50% of their sleep time in non-REM sleep and 50% in REM sleep; it has been shown that deep sleep coincides with the release of growth hormones, necessary for growing children. Adults spend approximately 20% in REM sleep, while elderly people may spend only 15% in REM sleep. Older adults tend to spend most of their sleep time in Stage 1 of non-REM sleep. Consequently, they have less REM sleep and report frequent awakenings. A major reason why humans sleep is due to circadian rhythms, also known as the biological clock. A cycle that lasts 24 hours is called
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