Why sleeping 8 hours is good and 6 hours is bad: a scientific explanation of the phenomenon of sleep

Why sleeping 8 hours is good and 6 hours is bad: a scientific explanation of the phenomenon of sleep

Categories: Health and Medicine | Science | World

From time immemorial, fans of Nikola Tesla, Leonardo da Vinci Vinci, Thomas Edison and Salvador Dali — geniuses who are known for sleeping for several hours a day — refute the need for an 8-hour rest. In their opinion, sleep is a useless habit that humanity forgot to get rid of in the process of evolution.

However, scientists have long proved that you need to sleep not only for colorful dreams, but also to maintain the health of the body. Below we have given some arguments in favor of 8-hour sleep and common patterns in people's behavior that should be avoided.

Why sleeping 8 hours is good and 6 hours is bad: a scientific explanation of the phenomenon of sleep

In 1792, the French geophysicist and astronomer Jean-Jacques de Meran discovered such a concept as "circadian rhythms". The scientist placed the shy mimosa in a dark box and found out that it blooms its petals, regardless of what time of day it is outside, that is, according to its own schedule. These cyclic fluctuations of various internal processes are called "circadian rhythms". And they are present in absolutely all creatures, from plants to humans.

Why sleeping 8 hours is good and 6 hours is bad: a scientific explanation of the phenomenon of sleep

After that, scientists have been trying for a long time to understand why nature needed to "embed" its own clock in each creature. Was the generally accepted concept of time not enough? One of the conclusions they came to: in ancient times, there was so much oxygen on the planet that most of the then life forms could not exist normally. Therefore, they were active at night when the cyanobacterium completed photosynthesis. So each plant has developed a different circadian rhythm.

There are many other theories of the origin of this phenomenon and they are all completely different. However, there is something that unites them — the reason. Circadian rhythms help the body to optimize life processes, starting from the effects of the environment. For example, the human central nervous system is directly dependent on sunlight, blind cave fish Phreatichthys andruzzii are guided by the diet, some other marine life — by the cycles of tides.

Why sleeping 8 hours is good and 6 hours is bad: a scientific explanation of the phenomenon of sleep

To recognize the state of the external environment in the human body, there are special cells called "photosensitive retinal ganglion cells" (pRGC). They react to color and light and are "sharpened" for sunsets and sunrises, so even blind people can easily recognize these times of day.

During the day, our brain actively produces cortisol, and at night — melatonin. They are called stress hormone and vampire hormone, respectively. Another regulator for humans is adenosine, which accumulates in the body by the end of the day and leads to a feeling of fatigue.

Why sleeping 8 hours is good and 6 hours is bad: a scientific explanation of the phenomenon of sleep

There are several stages of sleep — slow and fast. And both of them are very important for a person.

According to research by scientists, students who got more sleep than others showed better results in exams. Experts are sure that the reason lies in the fact that during sleep their brain "transmitted" memories and thoughts about the past day from the hippocampus to the neocortex ("boxes" with short- and long-term memory). And if those students who neglected the 8-hour sleep "took out" the answers from the first boxes, where everything was quickly forgotten, then others unloaded them from the neocortex.

However, we will not continue to load you with theory, but rather tell you which behavioral habits affect the body well and which ones are bad.

Why sleeping 8 hours is good and 6 hours is bad: a scientific explanation of the phenomenon of sleep

Working at night is not the best idea. After all, even if you do not feel a significant load on the body, your circadian rhythms suffer greatly at these moments. By 11 pm, the brain will give you a signal: "Hey! It's time to rest," and in the afternoon, when you are most likely just going to leave the night shift, he will want to stay awake.

However, circadian rhythms have the ability to adapt to external circumstances. But it still won't work to rebuild them completely for yourself. Therefore, if you do not want to face problems such as gastrointestinal disorders, increased risk of cancer, cardiovascular diseases and others, avoid working the night shift and work in accordance with the "preset" nature of the CR.

Why sleeping 8 hours is good and 6 hours is bad: a scientific explanation of the phenomenon of sleep

For the same reason, it is highly discouraged to shift the schedule of wakefulness and sleep. Studies have shown that even daylight saving time has a negative effect on the condition of most people. So, for example, during this period, cases of heart attacks are noticeably increasing. This is especially the case in the first week after the transition, when the body still does not have time to adapt to the new schedule.

Many people think that 6 hours of sleep is enough to get enough sleep, so they go to bed at midnight and wake up at 6 in the morning. However, they are greatly mistaken. In the first half of the night, the slow sleep phase always prevails, which, as we have already understood, is less useful for the brain (but also necessary). Hence it turns out that, falling asleep on such a schedule, a person not only violates circadian rhythms, but also skips 60-90% of rem sleep.

Why sleeping 8 hours is good and 6 hours is bad: a scientific explanation of the phenomenon of sleep

The author of the term "sleep machismo" ("sleep machismo") is chronobiologist Charles Zeisler. So he outlined the description of a total underestimation of sleep. Usually people suffering from "sleep machismo" believe that there are things much more important than rest ("sleep for weaklings", "I'll work better", etc.). However, this is a big mistake, because as a result of the lack of normal sleep, a person's productivity is greatly reduced.

As an example, we can cite the results of the study David Dinges. The guru of chronobiology divided the volunteers into 4 groups. All participants received their task: some had to sleep for 8 hours a day, others had to endure three days without sleep, others had to sleep for 4 hours and the fourth had to sleep for 6 hours. During a 14-day experiment, Dingens studied the productivity and concentration of all subjects, and it turned out that those people who slept the recommended 8 hours, it was much higher.

Those who were awake for three days lagged behind them in terms of indicators by 4 times. And this "side effect" from lack of sleep continued to haunt them for several more days even after they had a good night's sleep.

Why sleeping 8 hours is good and 6 hours is bad: a scientific explanation of the phenomenon of sleep

It is Tesla who is a kind of popularizer of polyphase sleep, because people are sure that if he, observing such a regime, made so many discoveries, then they will be able to! However, polyphasic sleep has many contraindications and unpleasant consequences, and numerous studies conducted by modern scientists have proved that it is also not as effective as it is commonly believed.

Let's take an example. Scientists conducted an experiment during which a group of volunteers slept for 4 hours for six days in a row. At the same time, experts studied the work of their brains, and it turned out that most of the participants during this time fell into the so—called microson - "shutdown" during periods of wakefulness.

And the number of cases of such "disconnections" after practicing polyphase sleep in comparison with the usual regime increased by 400%! A 10-day experiment showed similar results. Therefore, it can be stated with absolute certainty that polyphasic sleep is not only useless, but also dangerous for humans.

Why sleeping 8 hours is good and 6 hours is bad: a scientific explanation of the phenomenon of sleep

And now let's talk about good habits. Naturally, you have already realized that sleeping 8 hours a day is very good! Also, if you want to maintain productivity, give the brain proper rest and all this without harm to health, it is recommended to do siestas during the day.

It has long been proven that two-phase sleep (8-9 at night and 26 minutes during the day) — the most successful form of sleep for Homo Sapiens. And the secret lies in the circadian rhythm that we already know. The thing is that around noon there is a decline in activity, and the best solution during this period will be to fill it with a nap.

Perhaps that is why representatives of the people who constantly practice daytime sleep (for example, the Chinese or Japanese) are famous for their good health and longevity.

Why sleeping 8 hours is good and 6 hours is bad: a scientific explanation of the phenomenon of sleep

Another good habit is to postpone various reflections, unresolved dilemmas and creative tasks for tomorrow. It is not for nothing that it is said that "the morning of the evening is more complicated."

Once scientists conducted a curious experiment that clearly confirmed this folk wisdom. The subjects were given a difficult task and given different time to solve it. The first group was not limited in time at all, but it was necessary to solve it immediately, long and tedious, without interruptions. The participants of the second group were asked to sleep and give an answer in the morning.

Of course, you have already guessed which of the subjects coped with the task better?

Therefore, taking into account all of the above, do not neglect sleep, be sure to give your body a rest and postpone all complex tasks and processes "for tomorrow". Then the brain will say "thank you" and thank you with its productivity.

Admit it, do you sleep the recommended 8 hours?

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