We spend a third of our lives sleeping, but somehow after all these years of research and study, scientists are still unable to come to a certain conclusion on why exactly we sleep. There are many hypotheses that have been supported by studies over the years that have helped to give us some idea on why sleep is essential to our survival – mostly to do with maintaining and supporting our bodily systems. While we are asleep, we know that the mind and body work away to improve and maintain things like our heart health, insulin function, cellular restoration, and of course – energy conservation. Some studies have shown that a full 8 hour sleep can result in up to 35% of daily energy savings over complete wakefulness.
We know that sleep is essential to our survival, and that without it, our cognitive function is heavily impaired – things like our concentration, memory, and clarity of thought are often the first to crumble when we’re lacking sleep. There’s also plasticity, referring to the brain’s ability to reorganise and learn new information, which sleep plays a key role in. But really, it’s widely accepted across the science field that there are still many unknowns when it comes to sleep and its purpose. One thing we know for sure is that from an evolutionary standpoint, sleeping makes us vulnerable – so it must be especially important for our function if our bodies require us to be unconscious for 7 – 9 hours per night!