Sleep plays a vital role in good health and well-being throughout your life. Getting enough quality sleep at the right times can help protect your mental health, physical health, quality of life, and safety. Interestingly, the way you feel while you’re awake depends in part on what happens while you’re sleeping. While sleeping, your body is working to support healthy brain function and maintain your physical health. In children and teens, sleep also helps support growth and development. In this subject, Fred Davis, a biology professor with expertise in circadian rhythms, at Northeastern University has offered his studious insight on why sleep is important to ace your exams and retain as much information as possible.
The formation of long-term memories, to remember something for more than a few minutes or hours, requires energy for the synthesis of new molecules and stronger connections among nerve cells. The activation of the brain by sensations during wakefulness also requires energy and it is a challenge for the brain to sort out which experiences should be transferred to long-term memory. Sleep provides a state with reduced sensations when the brain has the energy to select and make long-term memories. It is equally important to understand yourself to such a level where you recognise the signals of your body craving sleep.
“If you have been sleeping less than seven hours a night, you are likely already in a state of sleep deprivation even before you start an all-nighter. If you sleep much longer than seven hours on some days, this is a sign that you are not getting enough sleep over the long term. Similarly, if you fall asleep at any time during the day, such as in class, you are sleep deprived. Sleep deprivation can affect learning, reacting, solving problems, decision making, memory, and emotional control. If you read the same passage over and over again without knowing what you read, you might as well stop.”
This is where microsleep occurs. You have moments where you suddenly jerk awake and realise that your eyes were closed. This is called Microsleep. This is a very important sign that your brain is fatigued. These episodes can also occur in localised parts of the brain, disabling these areas even though you feel like you are awake. The best solution here, of course, is to avoid the need for an all-nighter in the first place.
A recent review of more than 5,000 studies concluded that seven or more hours of sleep per night on a regular basis is required for optimal health. Sleep deprivation affects inflammation, immune function, and metabolism, contributing to cardiovascular disease, obesity, and diabetes. If you eat when your body “knows” it should be asleep, according to your 24-hour biological clock, the food is metabolised differently. Awake at night also means exposure to light when our body does not expect it, with resulting effects on our physiology.
Though you might have to reschedule everything to get enough sleep, you should definitely perform on it because it not only affects your health, but you entirely as well. Take a break from adulating, get the optimum amount of sleep or all your hard work would be for nothing when you are always tired and exhausted to enjoy the results.