KidBrains - THREE in ONE: Why do we Sleep? What if we Never Slept? What if we Never Woke Up?
Posted April 5th, 2018 by arnavpatnaik27
April 5th, 2018
Firstly, sorry for not doing anything for a while. This took me a while and I got distracted (really distracted). Okay, it's here now, goodbye!
Why do we Sleep?
Sleep is important and liked by all of us. If it wasn’t, we humans wouldn’t do it everyday and we wouldn’t destroy our alarm clocks when they woke us up. We spend one third of our lives sleeping and apart from a few dreams here and there, we do not remember what happens during this time. Until fairly recently, the topic was never thoroughly looked into or analysed, and people assumed that the brain just switches on and off an regular intervals. But WHY do we sleep, and how does the brain do it? Let’s find out!
We may not realise it but our brains work incredibly hard during the day, and just like any other part of the body, needs a break. Whilst we do any activity, whether it’s playing outside or studying, our brain produces adenosine. The accumulation of this makes us sleep. During this time, our brain does various tasks such as organising information and re-absorbing the adenosine. This then makes the brain ready for the next day, which is why some of us wake up without an alarm (I hate alarms). The repetition of this process can lead to the brain automatically knowing it is time to sleep when it gets dark. This is because as soon as the brain notices it is dark, it releases melatonin, which makes us sleep. Since humans are not nocturnal creatures (creatures who are mainly active at night) we sleep instead.
So make sure you sleep, it’s good for you. Even if you’re not tired, just go to bed so your brain and body can take a break (AND HAVE A KIT-KAT).
What if we Never Slept?
Humans like to sleep. Ignoring those adamant young babies who either don’t sleep for hours on end or eventually do at daytime, the more common method is to sleep once at night (you’ll learn babies). It seems so normal that we may not think twice before jumping into bed and waking up in the morning. In 1964, the Guinness world record for the longest time without sleeping was set by Randy Gardner. He stayed awake for 11 days and 25 minutes. We can already see how difficult it is to not sleep for even a single fortnight, but can it be humanly possible, if needed, with some assistance, to NEVER sleep? Well this KidBrains will find out!
There are a few (hundred) health problems related to a lack of sleep: cardiovascular disease, obesity, depression and brain damage. After a few sleepless nights the brain loses the ability to plan and evaluate actions that will depict your day. This leads to slower reaction times and a reduced perceptual functions. The metabolism of glucose, which means how it is broken down to produce energy, is required for body parts such as the brain and red blood cells - after a few days without sleep, the body cannot do this. The immune system begins to weaken and chances of many diseases increase (that is NOT a good thing by the way). So, without stimulants of any kind, it is impossible to never sleep.
Around 1% of the population, called the SLEEPLESS ELITE (that is an awesome name) can survive with only one or two hours of sleep each night with no long-term health effects. But for the majority of people, never sleeping can slowly kill you, and if not, cause major health problems.
So, sleep, but not for too long because…
What if we Never Woke Up?
I was wondering why the baseball was getting bigger. And then it hit me. (Amazing pun from my 25 jokes and puns post.)
Let’s say you’ve had a head injury and you think it is minor and ignore it. Then, you go to sleep… but never wake up. This is called a coma. LIFE-SAVING TIP - Please take this seriously before I continue. If you have had any kind of injury to your head, major or minor, inform an adult or anyone with you. Do not ignore any small head injury, even if you just hit your head with someone else. Usually it is not too serious, but be on the safe side. Anyway, let’s discover what it’s like for someone to never wake up!
Whilst someone is in a coma, they cannot feel or hear anything. The brain does not work as much as it used to and the one affected usually can’t breathe on their own. A coma can last from a few weeks to, well, the person’s death. For this prolonged state of unconsciousness to occur, a few things must have happened to the brain. Both the cerebral hemispheres of your brain need to be damaged for a coma (both sides, in simple words).
However, a coma is not just caused by a head injury. It can also be the result of a brain tumour, diabetes or really bad infections. Another horrible thing can happen during a coma. It is called the locked-in syndrome. This is when the person is aware that they are in a coma, but cannot wake up. So, yes, it is not a good thing.
Keep calm and just sleep okay
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