Sleep Science

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There's no question about it: everyone needs sleep. No matter how much you might wish to avoid it - whether it's to cram for a big test or to get in a few extra hours of work - your body and health demand a good night's sleep. More is known about the science of sleep today than at any other time in history.

In the past, the science of sleep was largely unknown; scientists assumed that sleep was just the body's way of pausing for a couple of hours each day. Today, though, we know through the science of sleep that a lot actually goes on while we are lying there. Many researchers now believe that the brain is performing critical memory consolidation and other important functions during the night. The science of sleep is fascinating, and more is being discovered every day.

Why do we sleep?

According to the science of sleep, humans most likely sleep for a number of different reasons. While we sleep, our bodies are able to rest and rejuvenate. Since our breathing slows down, we give ourselves some much needed rest. But there's definitely more to the science of sleep than that. After all, your body rests when you are sitting down or laying on a sofa during the day. Sleep actually helps replenish the brain over night.

People who do not get enough sleep report that it can make them feel "crazy," or that they can't keep a good grip on reality. According to the science of sleep, that is probably because the brain uses sleep to perform a lot of much needed maintenance. When you don't get enough sleep, your brain gets "backed up" and begins encountering problems.

Sleep stages

One of the best ways to understand the basics of the science of sleep is by learning about the basic sleep stages. There are five stages of sleep; the first stage is drowsiness. This is the brief period of time leading up to actual sleep where you feel "sleepy."

The second stage in the science of sleep is light sleep. This dozing sleep is less beneficial than the deeper stages to come.

The third and fourth sleep stages are collectively deep sleep, with the fourth stage being much deeper and intense than the third. This is when waking a person up is the most difficult.

The fifth stage in the science of sleep is the REM - rapid eye movement - stage, when the brain is the most active and when most dreaming and other activity occurs.

Circadian rhythm and sleeping

One of the most important aspects of the science of sleep is the circadian rhythm. the circadian rhythm is the body's natural clock that tells it when to wake up and when to go to sleep. Without it, people would not be able to maintain a normal schedule and life would be messy and unorganized. The science of sleep is closely linked to the circadian rhythm, and one could not exist without the other in many ways.

The circadian rhythm tells you when to feel tired (at night) and when to wake up (in the morning). People who study the science of sleep know how important the circadian rhythm is to this phenomenon, and learn that people whose circadian rhythms become out of whack develop serious physical and mental problems over time.

Why REM sleep is important

Despite being the fifth, or last, stage of sleep, REM sleep is incredibly important. The science of sleep increasingly shows that REM sleep helps contribute to a person's ability to learn new things. It is the period during which people dream, and dreaming is thought to be the brain's way of clearing out unimportant, unnecessary data.

Researchers who study the science of sleep have reported that people who do not usually reach REM sleep don't feel well rested, and many claim to feel as if they didn't really sleep at all. Therefore, REM sleep is vital in the science of sleep and without it, many of the benefits of sleep would be missed out on entirely. If you have trouble reaching REM sleep, you could refer to our product chart to find the best sleep aids.