10 Things you didn’t know about sleep

10 Things about sleep


  • Sleep is a dynamic and complex process and is an essential part of your daily routine.
  • Your brain will cycle repeatedly through two different sleep types, which include REM (rapid-eye movement) sleep and non-REM sleep.
  • Sleep plays a housekeeping function that eliminates toxins that build up while you are awake in your brain.
  • Treating sleep apnea is crucial to prevent compromising your quality of sleep.

1 – Sleep helps to make sense of new information

When you are sleeping, the brain can process complex information. The importance of sleep for memory consolidation has been revealed by recent work. Some of the underlying electrophysiological, neurochemical, and genetic mechanisms, as well as developmental aspects, have also been illustrated in these processes. Specifically, newer findings characterize sleep as a memory consolidation optimizing brain state, which is essential for learning new information [1].

2 – Restoration and recovery of body systems

Sleep is a period for the body and mind to recover, repair, and restore. It’s time for the body to absorb nutrients, rest, and process the events of the day. While some individuals may gradually go without adequate sleep over time, this can cause blurred vision, delusions, and memory lapses.

3 – Sleep helps the brain to regulate appetite

Sleep causes the growth hormone to be released, and lack of sleep causes your brain to release more ghrelin, the hormone that causes you to feel hungry. Simultaneously, too little sleep causes less leptin, the hormone that makes you feel full, to be pumped out by your brain [2].

4 – Sleep helps to keep your body looking good

Sleep is the moment when the brain sends signals to release the growth hormone used by your body to grow new cells and repair damaged tissue. After a tough workout, the body requires the growth hormone to heal wounds or build stronger muscle tissue. It also helps prevent premature aging by promoting new, healthy cells that keep the skin looking younger, smoother, and more radiant.

5 – Sleep and discharge of emotions

Evidence demonstrates that brain regions involved in the processing of emotional and reward-related data are activated during sleep. Reprocessing and consolidation of memories underlie this activation of emotional and reward systems during sleep. During sleep, activation across emotional-limbic circuits also encourages emotional maturation and the emergence of awareness in the developing brain [3].

6 – Sleep pattern in different ages

More than any other natural factor, age affects sleep. A one-year-old child sleeps sixteen to eighteen hours per day. By the time a child is three to five years of age, total sleep time is ten to twelve hours on average, and then by adulthood, it further decreases to seven or eight hours per night. The majority of healthy adults generally need seven to nine hours of sleep a night.

7 – Sleep helps in brain development

During sleep, brain development occurs. This is when the links between the brain’s left and right hemispheres are formed. During sleep, brain synapses are created: in the first three years, more than 1,000,000 million neural connections are formed per second.

8 – Sleep disturbance at high altitude

The reduced oxygen content of the blood at altitude induces respiratory instability, with periods of profound and rapid respiration alternating with sleep apnea. This breathing pattern is called high-altitude periodic breathing that occurs at even altitudes above 6,000 – 6,500 ft. It may lead to sleep disturbances with frequent awakenings and a feeling of lack of air [4].

9 – Sleep apnea hijacks sleep quality

Sleep apnea happens when the airway is blocked, causing breathing pauses and loud snoring to occur. Loud snoring is something that isn’t like by your bed partner and affects sleep quality. Your physical and emotional health can be severely affected by sleep apnea.

10 – Association of sleep with cholesterol level

A high serum triglyceride level or low HDL cholesterol level is associated with short and long sleep durations among women. The relative risk of high triglyceride levels was 1.5 among women sleeping < 5 h, and 1.45 among women sleeping < 8 h, compared with women sleeping 6 to 7 hours. The risk of high LDL cholesterol levels was found to be lower among men who slept for 8 hours [5].


  1. Björn Rasch and Jan Born: About Sleep’s Role in Memory. 2013 Apr; 93(2): 681–766. DOI: 10.1152/physrev.00032.2012
  2. Stephanie M. Greer,  Andrea N. Goldstein, and Matthew P. Walker: The impact of sleep deprivation on food desire in the human brain 2014 Feb 6. DOI: 10.1038/ncomms3259
  3. Lampros Perogamvros, Sophie Schwartz: Sleep and Emotional Functions Published January 2014 DOI: 10.1007/7854_2013_271
  4. Turhan San,  Senol Polat: Effects of High Altitude on Sleep and Respiratory System and Their Adaptations.2013 Apr 17. DOI: 10.1155/2013/241569
  5. Yoshitaka KaneitaMakoto Uchiyama: Associations of Usual Sleep Duration with Serum Lipid and Lipoprotein Levels. 2008 May 1; 31(5): 645–652. DOI: 10.1093/sleep/31.5.645