By CHRISTEL ALLISON
Although sleep is not a luxury, there are reasons why we sleep. Russell Foster, a U.S. circadian neuroscientist, highlighted restoration as one of the reasons why we sleep during his TED talk. It’s the idea of restoring all that humans have burned off during the day. It’s been shown that a few genes that are associated with restoration and metabolic pathways are only turned on during sleep. Foster also discussed energy conservation as one of the reasons why we sleep. It’s the idea that we sleep to save calories, although only 100 calories are saved by an individual who sleeps at night in comparison to an individual who doesn’t sleep or move very much.
A person’s ability to fall asleep and how quickly they fall asleep can be affected by a variety of factors.
“Age is one of those factors. For example, older people have more difficulty falling asleep and they usually sleep lighter than teenagers,” said Conestoga College psychology professor Maggie Przednowek.
She added that people sleep best when their body temperature is lowest. So, the temperature of a room can affect a good night’s sleep. Also, shift workers who work a lot at night have trouble sleeping because their natural biological clock is disrupted.
Some consequences of sleep deprivation include poor memory, poor judgment and increased impulsiveness.
People having trouble sleeping should monitor the temperature of their room before going to bed, set a realistic bedtime and avoid working late into the night.
You can take a quiz to find out how sleep deprived you are by visiting www.sleepandhealth.com/are-you-sleep-deprived-short-quiz.