There are times when sleep seems to be a waste of time, especially when we’re having fun (or when we are cramming for a deadline). I tend to think like that and then console myself with the line, “I can just make up for lost sleep. I will sleep whole afternoon tomorrow!” Later on, I learned that there is no such thing as making up for lost sleep. All those should-be resting time are gone forever. Now I regret not napping in the afternoon as a child.
Anyway, here are some of the things that happen during sleep. I have to remind myself these to convince myself that I really have to get enough of that beauty rest.
1. Our brains washes away toxins during sleep.
During the day, toxins accumulate in the brain. These toxins makes our brains tired and makes it harder for us to think, process data, or focus on anything. When we sleep though, the cells in our brain shrink which makes it easier for toxins to flow through. This process allows us to wash toxins out and clear our brain. We then wake up with fresh, clean slate.
2. Neurons grow and make new connections.
Sleep help us in learning and remembering the things we learn. We access different parts of our brain using the connection that grows stronger during sleep. This is why, it’s good to review the things you learned each day before you go to sleep to help your brain process and embed these ideas to your memory while you rest. It’s like you have an UPGRADE application in your brain which runs in the background while you sleep. Isn’t that amazing? We sleep, then wake up a new (hopefully better) person the next morning.
I want to put emphasis on the word “review” and I what I mean when I said it. Reviewing is trying to recall what you already learned, and not cramming new ideas and terms before you go to sleep. Reviewing and cramming are two very different things, which people (including me) tend to confuse sometimes. Too bad I learned that the hard way and after I graduated from college. Then again, it’s never too late to discover new things, anyway, I can still use this knowledge to boost my learning.
3. Enough sleep prevents dark circles.
Dark circles makes us look tired. That’s because we are! We use energy to get through our days and this energy can only be refilled when we get enough rest. Sleep is one of our body’s way to rest, relax and recharge for another day. Lack of it does make us feel even more tired. Worse, it shows through dark circles. It’s not glamorous to have these circles. Covering it up might be the simplest solution. But I’m not used to putting things on my face, so a better and lasting solution would be to get enough sleep.
4. We recharge ourselves like batteries.
We only have certain amounts of will power and energy to spend during the day. We use these to do what we want and need to do everyday. The more energy we have, the stronger our will is to accomplish whatever it is we have to accomplish for the day. If we don’t get enough rest though, we will not be able to fully recharge our energy, and that’s when we are more likely to give in to temptations and procrastination.