Why do we sleep?
Why do we sleep? Without sleep, we can hallucinate or even become psychotic (Smithsonian.com)
Why do we sleep?
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That's a good question. But we don't have a good answer.

We know that sleep is important. Without it, we get tired and irritable. We get headaches and suffer from lack of concentration. Our immune system suffers. After a number of days without sleep, we can hallucinate or even become psychotic.

But we're not the only ones who need sleep. As far as we know, all animals sleep or have sleep-like behaviors. Theres a wide range. Elephants sleep about three hours; platypuses, about fourteen hours. Marine mammals have even evolved the ability to sleep with only one side of their brain at a time. This way they can still go to the surface to breathe.

So sleep is really important. But why is it essential? There are several theories.

Number one, the efficiency theory. Sleeping keeps us from wasting energy, so we're only active when we need to eat, that sort of thing.

Number two, the tune up theory. When we're asleep, our bodies repair damage, eliminate toxins, produce hormones and all kinds of other maintenance activities.

Number three: the brain theory. While asleep, our bodies may be at rest, but our brains are busy processing new information and organizing memories.

So which one is right? Maybe all of them. Or none of them. Scientists are making a lot of progress in sleep studies. But for the moment, they'll have to sleep on it.

Critical thinking challenge: Why is it that sleeping on it helps us solve problems and make decisions?
 

Source URL: https://www.tweentribune.com/article/teen/why-do-we-sleep/

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COMMENTS (77)
  • NicoleK-5
    5/14/2014 - 04:56 p.m.

    We know that sleep is important, however we don't know why we sleep. I think sleep is very important, without sleep if be very unhappy and irritable. I wouldn't be able to perform well academically or physically. Sleep is said to keep us from wasting energy--this I agree with. This is called the "efficiency theory." The "tune up" theory is the theory that when we're sleeping, our body repairs itself and the damage.

  • CASEYF-ZDE
    5/14/2014 - 10:22 p.m.

    Sleeping is a very odd thing and has been studied in many ways but there is no one reason humans sleep. All three theories said could be right. People sleep so they don't waste energy, repair their bodies, and process information. The reason why people must sleep is baffling to scientist. The only thing that is known for sure is that we need to sleep.

  • nnj28girlgamer
    5/15/2014 - 08:40 a.m.

    sleeping for humans is very much needed the reason i dont know. i know many theorys but i cant figure out which one is right or even if they are all wrong. the saying sleep on it is like saying rest and think maybe an idea or the answer will come to you.

  • im23nolife
    5/15/2014 - 08:41 a.m.

    As far as I am concerned all of these are correct. I've "pulled an all-nighter" before and I did experience lack of concentration, I felt sick and I felt drained of energy.

  • RMansaray123
    5/15/2014 - 08:42 a.m.

    I can't choose which theory is correct. I mean, they all are very good statements to why we do sleep but is only one of these statements true? I agree that everyone needs sleep and even though these theories are present, i don't think we'll ever know for sure. Its just like all the other questions about us that doesn't makes sense. Why do we grow? Why do we talk? Why do we live? None of these questions can be answered with a straight answer. It seems like in this world revolved around the word "WHY?"

  • AJW239
    5/15/2014 - 10:58 a.m.

    Sleep helps problem solving because you have hours to figure something out with out thinking. I dont think that thory #1 is right because we wouldnt really waste energy if we didnt sleep we would just have to take in more. Thearies 2 and 3 seem right though. In a way we dont nead that much sleep if we get enough rest. Only if we could sleep with half of our brains awake.

  • hectorro-Koc
    5/15/2014 - 11:08 a.m.

    I think we need our sleep just like our phones need to charge after a while we get tired so we need to get more energy so we sleep. But our brain keeps on working . So that's why I think we need to sleep

  • MollyBlk8
    5/15/2014 - 02:56 p.m.

    I would love to sleep for 14 hours like a platypus. Why is it when you take a nap or sleep more, you get more tired? That doesn't make any sense. What if we didn't sleep, would we just work every hour of the day and night?

  • KadeB-2
    5/16/2014 - 12:01 a.m.

    We know that sleep is important, however we don't know why we sleep. I think sleep is very important, without sleep if be very unhappy and irritable. I wouldn't be able to perform well academically or physically. Sleep is said to keep us from wasting energy--this I agree with. This is called the "efficiency theory." The "tune up" theory is the theory that when we're sleeping, our body repairs itself and the damage.

  • Deishia
    5/16/2014 - 07:49 a.m.

    The reason sleeping on it helps is because we have time to rest our brains .And so we have time to think about it .

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