What are some good reasons why sleep is very important?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Sleep is important for a variety of reasons.  The first is that sleep gives the brain an opportunity to effectively process all that has transpired throughout the day.  On the whole, human beings are "hard wired" for about sixteen hours of activity a day.  This means, that the remaining eight hours are essential for the brain to process information, create new neurological pathways in understanding that information, and establish the bedrock to appropriate further information.  It is for this reason that people awake after a good night's sleep with a better understanding of contextual realities:  "Sleep helps the brain commit new information to memory through a process called memory consolidation. In studies, people who’d slept after learning a task did better on tests later."  This is the reason why sleep is so important for students. It might also explain why individuals deprived of sleep tend to perform less successfully than those who have obtained needed rest. From an emotional point of view, sleep allows the brain to properly regulate behavior.  This helps explain why "crankiness" and irritability often accompanies individuals who have not had the proper amount of rest.  These would be two independent and good reasons why sleep is important.

Another reason why sleep is important is for physical health.  The body requires sleep as a part of its operational success.  This can be seen in the role sleep plays in digesting food.  Sleep is a critical part of an effective diet: "For example, one study of teenagers showed that with each hour of sleep lost, the odds of becoming obese went up. Sleep deficiency increases the risk of obesity in other age groups as well."  At the same time, sleep is critical in helping the immune system.  When individuals are deprived of sleep, threats to the body become more formidable because the immune system is not as strong.  The threats posed by mere common infections become enhanced when there is a lack of sleep.  These become other reasons why sleep is so important.

Finally, a symbolic understanding of sleep enhances its importance.  Sleep is the one time the body and the mind can be free of the clamor of the world. The modern condition is besieged with activities, challenges, interpersonal demands, and constant intensity.  Sleep is the one realm in which individuals are able to find some respite from such a brutal reality.  When the Dalai Lama says that "Sleep is the best meditation," he speaks from a position that emphasizes the importance of sleep.  It is a time in which we are able to find sanctuary from the demands of our world.  It is a period in which the individual is able to be a part of the world, but also remain separate or detached from it. The ability for sleep to represent a nuanced view of consciousness is a good reason why it is so important.

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Jyotsana | Student, Grade 10 | (Level 1) Valedictorian

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Some reasons why sleep is very important is because it helps us give energy for next day and also helps us to function during the day. Without sleeping you wont be able to be awake all the time and this doesn't help you brain to think. If you sleep you get energy. 

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rachellopez | Student, Grade 12 | (Level 1) Valedictorian

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Sleep has many good effects on the mind and body. Sleep can help our bodies stay in good health by lowering the risk for diseases. In certain studies they have linked diseases, such as heart disease, to not getting the right amount of sleep. When you don't get enough sleep it changes how our immune systems work which can make you sick.

Another benefit of sleep is it helps our learning and memory. Teachers always tell us to get a good nights sleep before a big test. That's because during sleep, our brain will process all of our memories through something called memory consolidation. If we have a lack of sleep those memories might not be stored correctly.

Sleep also helps our bodies control our weight. When we lose sleep, leptin levels will lower. Leptin is a hormone in our body that makes us feel full. If we don't have enough of it, we will assume we are hungry and continue to eat. The other part of it is the energy we gain from sleep. Without the energy we are less likely to exercise in order to maintain our weight.

Finally, sleep just helps your mood. If you are tired and stressed you tend to be in a bad mood and you just aren't happy. Sleeping will energize you and make you feel refreshed and ready to go. I know if I don't get enough sleep I will be very mean and negative and that's not a way to go throughout the day.

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user396107 | (Level 2) Honors

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Sleep is crucial and actually takes about a third of your life. Lack of sleep leads to concentration being worsened, reaction time hindered, not being able to function properly and to your best ability and being more susceptible to getting an illness such as the common cold. Make sure adequate sleep is achieved or else a sleep debt will occur. 

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nishu2766 | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Honors

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1.Learning and memory: Sleep helps the brain commit new information to memory through a process called memory consolidation. In studies, people who’d slept after learning a task did better on tests later.2.Metabolism and weight: Chronic sleep deprivation may cause weight gain by affecting the way our bodies process and store carbohydrates, and by altering levels of hormones that affect our appetite.3.Safety: Sleep debt contributes to a greater tendency to fall asleep during thedaytime. These lapses may cause falls and mistakes such as medical errors, air traffic mishaps, and road accidents.4.Mood: Sleep loss may result in irritability,impatience, inability to concentrate, and moodiness. Too little sleep can also leave you too tired to do the things you like to do.5.Cardiovascular health: Serious sleep disorders have been linked to hypertension, increased stress hormone levels, and irregular heartbeat.6.Disease: Sleep deprivation alters immune function, including the activity of the body’s killer cells. Keeping up withsleep may also help fight cancer.

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udonbutterfly | Student, College Freshman | (Level 1) Valedictorian

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Sleep helps to rejuvenate the brain from the days work it put in. While you sleep the brain is also working to reconnect and connect synapse that will enable you to better learn and maintain information that was provided that day. Also with sleep comes dreams. Dreams are known to help us make difficult decisions about our life and or become more aware about our body. 

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hermy27 | Student, College Senior | (Level 1) Salutatorian

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According to the National Institute of Mental Health, a good night's sleep is the key to not only allowing emotional memories to become stored as long term, but also to conquering memories associated with fear.  "NIMH’s Dr.Aleksandra Vicentic comments on a NIMH-funded study that has pinpointed brainwave activity, deep in the brainstem of sleeping rodents, that signals successful consolidation of safety memories that override fear memories." 

During one's sleep cycle, specific components of a scene seem to become unbound, allowing people the ability to selectively preserve only the bits and pieces which are most important and worth remembering. 

According to NIHM, "Researchers have found that following a night's sleep, emotional components of scenes are remembered at the expense of neutral components. In contrast, memories of both emotional and neutral components decayed equally following 12 hours of wakefulness."

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kevin0001 | Student, Grade 9 | (Level 1) Salutatorian

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Some good reasons about sleep is that it helps you keep healthy throughout your life. Sleep can help you with remembering more information so if you learn one day and sleep, the next day you will improve your learning and become better. Another good reason is that sleep helps re-energize your body after a long day's work, and it helps you be active in the daytime or when you are awake.

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taangerine | Student, Grade 12 | (Level 1) Valedictorian

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Sleep is important for memory and overall health. Those who have enough sleep tend to be in a better mood than others. Compared to those with enough sleep, individuals who lack in sleep have a tendency to be less motivated and less energized throughout the day. Sleep is also important as it gives the individual time to recover and rest before attacking the next day 'head on.' 

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crystaltu001 | Student, Grade 10 | (Level 1) Valedictorian

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Sleep is important for you health because if you don't get enough sleep then that is considered unhealthy. If you don't enough sleep you will tend to get sleepy during the day. Sleeping helps when you're feeling sick or tired. Sleeping gives you energy for the next day. For students, getting enough sleep is a must because they need to have enough energy to stay awake during class and learn.

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zumba96 | Student, Grade 11 | (Level 3) Valedictorian

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Sleep is very important if people don't get enough sleep it can result in them become sleepier in the day or not being able to function properly. They cannot make good judgements and reactions and it ruins health. Sleep can also affect your muscles. If you have very little sleep and workout, instead of building up muscle it can tear it down. Some people think with coffee they'll be wide awake but in fact that harms them even more. With little sleep it causes someone to be tired and have wrong timings to eat and sleep. Even if you are a very fit person, this could deteriorate your health and turn into bad habits. Your immune system can easily go down and you can suffer from illnesses much more easily. Having a good night sleep is very vital to health and life

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eli468 | Student, Undergraduate | (Level 1) Valedictorian

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Sleep is very important for our overall health and well being. When you get a good night's sleep your brain goes through everything that occurred during the day to organize it and make the information easier to remember. A proper amount of sleep is especially important for students and children because they can study and learn more efficiently. 

Sleep also is important for your health because it gives the body time to relax and can therefore focus on other things internally such as breaking down food more efficiently (ever woken up and somehow are five pounds lighter?), it allows the body to more quickly repair any damage within the body as well. This is why people who sleep more are less likely to have heart attacks. When you are asleep the body repairs the heart as well as other muscles and tissues. Bruises, cuts, or injuries of any kind tend to heal faster and more efficiently if someone is getting enough sleep because the body can focus more closely on repairing while your body is in it's sleep state.

Sleep helps to "clear your mind" which is why people who get better sleep tend to be able to make better decisions and recall information easier than those who are suffering a lack of sleep.

Sleeping also helps to fight off infections. This is why whenever you have a cold, the flu, etc. you feel exhausted and want to lay down and even sleep. This is because the body is working so hard on fighting off the infection that it is using the energy that you use throughout the day normally.

With a lack of sleep comes a stronger urge for hunger. This is why obesity can be a factor or possibility due to lack of sleep. Your body lets off an increase of the hormone ghrelin which makes you feel hungry for higher calorie foods. The body does this because it uses the calories to provide the body with the energy that it is not getting from sleep.

Sleep also helps to repair muscles. People who exercise regularly normally get a better night's sleep. This is due to the fact that they used up enough energy during the day to get to sleep easier, and because the body needs to rest so it can help repair all the torn muscles. When you workout and "gain muscle" it is actually you tearing your muscle fibers. As they repair they get larger and can therefore handle more later. This is why weightlifters can lift more as their muscles grow. Their muscles had the time to repair themselves due to enough sleep and a healthy diet.

Sleep is important for your overall health and well being, can have a more positive effect on your mood, decision making, and you are able to remember and retain information easier. It helps your body to rest and repair itself.

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melissa1106 | Student, Grade 11 | (Level 1) Salutatorian

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Sleep is very important because it helps "recharge you batteries". It lets you relax and be energized for the next day ahead of you. Your brain needs to rest and sleep lets your body work at a lower pace. Sleep helps you stay active while you are awake and working

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