Shimelle has asked us to consider blogging about something that we all might feel is normally mundane or boring ...
Most of us spend 2,920 hours a year doing it.
New parents typically waste 750 hours of it in their babies first year.
Lack of it is the direct cause of 1 in 6 fatal car accidents.
Teenagers need as much of it as small children (about 10 hrs each 24 hour period) while those over 65 need the least of all (about six hours). For the average adult aged 25-55, eight hours is considered optimal.
Experts say one of the most alluring distractions to it is the 24-hour accessibility of the internet.
So what is it?
Sleep is a state when our senses and motor activity are suspended; there is total or partial unconsciousness, and our muscles become inactive. Sleep is the body's rest cycle. It is a period when our bodies are producing new bone, muscular and nervous tissue; a period when growth and repairs occur.
Most animals sleep, including mammals (humans are mammals), birds, a significant number of reptiles, amphibians, and fish.
A complex group of hormones trigger sleep in response to cues within our body, as well as in the environment. As you slowly fall asleep, you begin to enter the five different stages of sleep:
Stage 1 - In this stage, your brain gives the signal to your muscles to relax. It also tells your heart to beat a little slower, and your body temperature drops a bit.
Stage 2 - After a little while, you enter stage 2, which is a light sleep. You can still be woken up easily during this stage. (A touch pr loud noise).
Stage 3 - When you're in this stage, you're in a deeper sleep, also called slow-wave sleep. Your brain sends a message to your blood pressure to get lower. Your body isn't sensitive to the temperature of the air around you, which means that you won't notice if it's a little hot or cold in your room. It's much harder to be awakened when you're in this stage, but some people may sleepwalk or talk in their sleep at this point.
Stage 4 - This is the deepest sleep yet and is also considered slow-wave sleep. It's very hard to wake up from this stage of sleep, and if you do wake up, you will be confused for at least a few minutes. Like they do in stage 3, some people may sleepwalk or talk in their sleep when going from stage 4 to a lighter stage.
R.E.M. - R.E.M. stands for rapid eye movement. Even though the muscles in the rest of your body are totally relaxed, your eyes move back and forth very quickly beneath your eyelids. The R.E.M. stage is when your heart beats faster and your breathing is less regular. This is also the stage when people dream!
While you're asleep, you repeat stages 2, 3, 4, and R.E.M. about every 90 minutes until you wake up in the morning. For most people, that's about four or five times a night.
The amount of sleep a person needs depends a lot on his or her age. Some might need more and some need less. It depends on the individual.
Who said sleep was boring !!!