Despite years of research, advances in medicine, and the possibility of a cure for cancer within the next decade, we still don’t know the exact function of what we spend one-third of our lives doing: sleeping. National Geographic quotes William Dement, cofounder of the Stanford Sleep Medicine Center, on the mystery of why we sleep: “As far as I know, the only reason we need to sleep that is really, really solid is because we get sleepy.” Why we sleep seems to remain a timeless question — yet we know that sleep is crucial to our well-being, and its quality determines our lives.
Sleep, it seems, is more than just a period of rest. For instance, hibernating animals must actually catch up on sleep after coming out of hibernation, a process known as rebound sleep. Even though they’re emerging from a deep state of lowered metabolism, they still need sleep to survive, which suggests that sleep serves a function other than just energy conservation. Another fun fact: Newborn babies spend up to nine hours a day in REM sleep, the stage of the sleep cycle where dreams mostly occur, whereas the average adult spends less than two hours in REM. Continue reading >> Huffpost Kripalu