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Friday, May 6, 2016

Microstory 315: Sleep

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I have, in earlier stories, discussed the truth behind sleep. Most recently, I got into it for my microfaction story Carbohydrates. You’ve probably always considered sleep to be a nothing more than deeper form of rest. It’s true that some bodily functions are carried out during sleep that can’t be done throughout the day. When you’re asleep, you’re working less, so breathing slows, blood pumps more steadily, and certain beneficial hormones are released. The primary purpose of sleep, however, is to regulate the brain. If you don’t get enough sleep, you’re not grumpy just because you’re upset about this fact. You’re grumpy because your brain hasn’t been given the opportunity to consolidate memories of the day, and restore the brain to a sort of default setting, purging and renewing chemicals so that you can start back up again tomorrow. Sleep works on shift scheduling, meaning that we don’t just fall asleep then wake up. Sleep is composed of several stages, each designed to help the brain and body with different things, and each one vital to a healthy waking lifestyle. The best time to wake up is after the end of a full cycle. Unfortunately, the world doesn’t operate according to this philosophy. You’re allotted only as much time to sleep as you don’t need to be doing something else. The healthiest way to sleep would be entirely without an alarm. Eventually, your body will adapt and wake up at the best time for your age, right around eight hours average, and never in the middle of a cycle. It’s possible to feel more rested after an hour and a half of sleep than seven hours with an alarm that interrupts your cycle. You will, however, later notice signs sleep deprivation, so I don’t recommend such actions. There are many theories on how to sleep, but only the one I’ve cited is the right one.

Disease Prevention

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