The Purpose of Sleep

Credit: Purpose of Sleep

On average, most college students get 6–6.9 hours of sleep per night. It is known that sleep is important for everyone yet not everyone is getting decent amount of sleep. My interest in sleep began more or less the middle of my senior year of high school, I never was one to go to sleep early. I always slept late and woke up early, my body would just wake me up early and I would go about my day tired constantly. I grew curious about sleep and how much of it I really need but never learned much about it. It was not until recently when I came across the article, The Purpose of Sleep? To Forget, Scientists say, that my interest in sleep came flooding back. In reading the article I was fascinated by the information contained within it. In the article it spoke about sleep being an opportunity to rid the brain of cellular waste, in other words, during the duration of a day the brain can create so many synapses (connections) that it can hit a point of being too much so the brain during sleep shrinks the synapses basically forgetting the unnecessary connection.

Sleep and how, during sleep, things learned throughout the day can be forgotten is worth learning more about because if it can be known how to control what can be forgotten and kept it can potentially help a lot of people. College students more specifically can be helped if a way to control what is kept or forgotten during sleep. Being a college student myself who has gone a few days, if not weeks, with little sleep it would be interesting to learn and find out what can be done to help my memory without really having to sleep so much since the main reason for the lack of sleep is the assignments that have to be done.

Sleep can be thought as a complex concept which is understood due to the multiple stages it is said to have and all that happens during sleep. With this new topic of the brain forgetting during sleep it definitely turns sleep to a complex concept but I am open to find out more about sleep and what it does for us as well as what it can do for us in general. In a study referenced in the article above, Ultrastructural evidence for synaptic scaling across the wake/sleep cycle, it talks about experiments done that show the difference in connections the brain makes and keeps between day and night. The study talks about the strengthening and weakening of such connections and how the main focus of sleep is the balancing of the strength in connections increased when you are awake.

College students would do anything to have shortcuts when it comes to helping them learn more efficiently. The topic of sleep will potentially lead college students into finding ways to help their learning process. I for one look forward to discovering something along the way about sleep that will help me out in the long run.