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Sleep is a physiological and psychological condition, which animals undergo especially at night. During sleep, animals are unconscious and most part of the nervous system/voluntary muscles is at rest or the sensory nerves are in an inactive state.
Sleep is essential in all living things especial mammals (human beings), who should sleep at least eight hours a day. As an essential body requirement, sleep functions in rejuvenating, repairing, and renewing body tissues or organs especially after a long day’s work. When an animal is under sleep, it subsequently starts dreaming, which is part of the sleep cycle.
Psychologically, sleep and dreams occur concurrently and in different stages. Dreams are mental representation of figures or emotional sensations that occur during sleep. Therefore, sleep and dream are human daily activity or cycle that ensures an animal body is healthy and vibrant.
Sleep and its physiological benefits
According to researchers and health experts, sleep is a physiological necessity that all mammals, especially human beings, need in order to keep fit and function normally. Most of the physiological activities are inactive during sleep and thus a sleeping person is unaware of any activity that happens in his/her immediate environment. During sleep, the brain is at rest while the rest of the body system is in active state.
The sensory nerves become inactive; thus; a person in sleeping state cannot use his or her limbs as it happens during wakefulness .The body cells and tissues are in full activity to repair any form of injuries to the skin, blood tissues and other cells. During sleep, the body’s immune system grows stronger leading to an increase in the number of leucocytes.
Moreover, enough sleep reduces fatigue and prevents the occurrence of diseases like diabetes and high blood pressure (Kalat, 1995, p.25). Therefore, for anybody to be healthy and live a longer life he/she should have enough sleep as a basic requirement for the body. Infants, children, adolescents and adults, each need enough sleep as directed by most health experts.
Psychological role of sleep
As aforementioned, sleep is a psychological necessity that the brain system is unable to function properly incase of deprivation (Plotnik & Kouyoumdjiam, 1993, p.50).
Psychologically, sleep reduces stress, depression, and other forms of mental disorders People, especially adults, who lack sleep of about eight hours a day, are prone to psychological disorders. Subsequently, a person who lacks sleep experiences mood swings especially anger and fatigue, which may lead to drug abuse or alcoholism (Dinges & Kribbs, 1991, p.125).
Psychiatrists recommend sleep to people suffering from psychological disorders as part of medication. Though sleep may lead to psychiatric disorders, anybody who suffers from lack of sleep recovers immediately after sleeping for a sometime.
Impact of sleep deprivation: sleeping disorders
There are various sleeping disorders, which occur due to sleep deprivation. Apart from having a poor immune system, other diseases like cardiac failure, diabetes especially type II, hypertension, and cancer may occur because of sleeping disorders. Loss of sleep not only leads to fatigue due to energy loss, but also may cause strained family/job relationships or automobile/house accidents (Kamerow & Ford, 1989, p.1479).
Insomnia is a common sleeping disorder that affects the sleeping pattern of an individual. The common symptoms are inability to sleep soundly, sleepiness especially during the day, use of sleeping pills and low energy levels during the day (Dinges & Kribbs, 1991, p.100). Fortunately, insomnia occurs due to an individual’s daily habits like eating, sleeping, and working hours. Therefore, a change in daily routine instantly cures insomnia.
Other sleeping disorders include sleep apnea, restless leg syndrome, and narcolepsy among others. Sleep apnea is the inability to breathe well during sleep but the disorder is curable with the help of medication (Plotnik, 2011, 15). Restless leg syndrome is the urge to move the leg during sleep while narcolepsy is a brain dysfunction that increases an individual’s urge to sleep even during the day. Fortunately, all the disorders have medications.
Dream and its importance
Dream is an emotional sensation that occurs during sleep cycle. Even though many people dream in their sleep, majority do not remember anything concerning the dream in their wakefulness. Additionally, some people may unknowingly react to what the dream compels them to do like walking, running or shouting.
Sometimes dreams are a reflection of the daily activities and adventures or an individual state of mind before he/she goes to bed. Dream is a brain necessity that ensures the memory is alert and refreshed to start the daily activities. Although the brain shuts during sleep, the ability to dream ensures that an organism has sufficient stimulation when it awakens.
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In summary, there is correlation between sleep and dream. Sleeping is a basic need in mammals, which ensures the body systems function properly. During sleep, all body tissues/organs undergo repairing thus prolonging an individual’s life. Lack of sleep may lead to different sleeping disorders, psychological disorders, and physiological disorders.
Thus, to prevent most of the body disorders in human both psychiatrists and health experts recommend sleep. Finally, dream is also a necessity in human body, which ensures the brain does not completely shut down during sleep.
Dinges, F., & Kribbs, B. (1991). Performing while sleepy: Effects of experimentally-Induced sleepiness. T.H. Monk, (Ed.). Sleep, Sleepiness and Performance England: Wiley.
Kalat, J. (1995). Biological Psychology. Pacific Grove, CA: Brooks/Cole.
Kamerow, B., & Ford, D. (1989). Epidemiological study of sleep disturbances and Psychiatric disorders: An opportunity for prevention? JAMA, 262(6), 1479-1484.
Plotnik, R., & Kouyoumdjiam, H. (1993). Introduction to Psychology. Wadsworth:cCengage Learning.
Plotnik, R. (2011). Introduction to Psychology. California: Brooks/Cole.