Sleep is a big deal – we spend about a third of our lives doing it. But did you know that getting enough sleep is as essential to survival as food and water? That’s because quality Z’s support proper brain function and emotional well-being. Have you ever noticed brain fog on the days following a lousy night’s sleep? Science says it’s because your body missed out on some essential biological functions that occur when we sleep (call it restoration).
What happens when we sleep?
Sleep is an active state of unconsciousness produced by the body where the brain is reactive primarily to internal stimulus while in a relative state of rest. Translation? Although we’re not consciously aware, our systems are working away while we snooze.
So although there is still a lot we don’t know about the body’s overall sleep agenda, science has 4 central theories around what is happening based on years of study: the Inactivity theory, Energy conservation theory, Restoration theory, and Brain plasticity theory.
These functions are critical to overall health and wellbeing.
- The brain stores new information and gets rid of toxic waste.
- Nerve cells communicate and reorganize, supporting healthy brain function.
- The body repairs cells, restores energy, and releases molecules (like hormones and proteins).
Science Has Sleep Theories
Sleep is such a complicated process that it’s been difficult for researchers to pinpoint exactly why we need it. However, years of study have led to several theories that help us understand why sleep is essential to human function.
First, there is the Inactivity Theory, which is an evolutionary explanation. It says that humans have evolved to sleep at night when we are minimally productive to conserve our energy. Also, by being asleep, humans were less likely to suffer injury from activity or predators.
Next is the Energy conservation theory, which suggests that sleep reduces our caloric needs because the body’s metabolism decreases up to 10% during sleep. This theory also has roots in evolution, as it suggests we sleep when it is less efficient to hunt, which was at night way back in the day. (because these days, a midnight burger run is perfectly easy and acceptable).
The Restorative theory hits closer to home and is the most widely accepted theory. It suggests that sleep allows us to restore our brains and bodies for the next day. This theory actually has some scientific proof – studies have shown that body functions, such as muscle repair, tissue growth, protein synthesis, and growth hormone release, occur primarily during sleep.
The final theory, Brain plasticity, is based on research suggesting that sleep relates to changes in the brain’s organization and structure. For example, studies show that sleep plays a role in infant’s and children’s brain development, explaining why infants must sleep upwards of 14 hours per day.
These theories work together to explain why sleep is vital to survival, especially the last two most recent theories regarding restoration and brain function. So what happens when we don’t get enough? We already know the most apparent effects – tired, sluggish brain and body fatigue. But is there anything else to be worried about?
The Chaos of Missed Sleep
Besides making you cranky, studies have shown links between sleep deficiency and chronic health problems affecting the heart, kidneys, blood, brain, and mental health, such as:
- mood changes
- poor memory
- poor focus and concentration
- poor motor function
- weakened immune system
- weight gain
- high blood pressure
- insulin resistance
- chronic diseases, like diabetes and heart disease
- increased risk of early death
That’s a healthy list of problems you can avoid by taking an active interest in letting your body get enough rest, which for adults is 7-9 hours per night. However, the reality is that more and more people aren’t getting proper rest thanks to – well, life. According to the National Sleep Foundation, more than 60 percent of Americans sleep less than seven hours per night on average, and the same percentage have problems sleeping at least a few nights each week.
Can CBD Improve your Zs?
We’re not scientists, but we’ve read plenty of research around this question. Basically, the studies so far conclude that although CBD might help people sleep in the short term, the effects may not be sustained over time.
However, studies have shown CBD to help with symptoms of anxiety, which may help you relaxing.
Relaxation at the end of the day may be just what you need to ease into a more restful night. Our top-quality smokable CBD products are made with 100% pure hemp flower and designed to deliver a lasting sense of happiness, calm, and relaxing. Every “body” is different, so we can’t guarantee results of any kind – but we can encourage you to find your chill and hope our products can help.