What is sleep used for?

What is sleep used for?

Sleep is the best thing Nature has provided for our regeneration. This is how we have been sleeping every night for generations. By the way, why do we sleep exactly? 7 hours of sleep per day, 210 hours per month, almost 2600 hours per year... it looks like a lot.


By Julianne Thimoléon

Yet 7 hours per night is the ideal average for optimal sleep hygiene according to the Sleep Foundation (USA). Maybe it's time to know exactly why we sleep; don't you think so?



1°/ Because it is good for the brain.


Sleep is a prodigious natural remedy against the premature ageing of our brain. It helps us with our memorization and concentration skills and keeps us away from neurodegenerative diseases.


A study from the University of Wisconsin published in the Journal of Neuroscience tells us that this unsuspected superhero protects the brain circuit by promoting the production of myelin, the small membrane insulating neurons like a sheath around an electrical wire. When we sleep, this myelin production increases, particularly during REM sleep. Conversely, prolonged wakefulness encourages the genes activity responsible for cell degeneration (1).


Sleep also greatly enhances memory skills. In his bestseller Why we sleep, Matthew Walker mentions two key moments in memory during which sleep is essential: the night before learning, when our brain cleans up and increases the storage space for memories; and the night after, when the brain consolidates newly acquired memories. According to one experiment (2), one night's sleep allows us to record 20% to 40% more elements than an 8-hour period awake. Incredible, isn't it? 



2°/ Because it helps us with our moods.



"Enough is enough! This time I am almost going to blow up! We all know that little anger rising when we feel overwhelmed by the elements and lack a little rest. It is called emotional irritability.


It has been found that a good night's sleep ensures a balance between the amygdala, where strong emotions such as anger are triggered, and the prefrontal cortex associated with logical and rational thinking and decision-making. The less sleep we get, the less these two synchronise, causing us to become moody and irritable.





3°/ Because it protects us from diseases.



We all have experienced it before.  After a flu or a winter cold, a good night's sleep, and you are back on your feet! Sleep is indeed the first remedy against external infections, so it is better to take care of it and anticipate. It boosts the production of cytokines, the cells activating the immune response in the event of an attack.(3) So, the more we sleep, the more our immune system is ready to face the outside community!



Sleep is also a powerful ally against weight gain and diabetes. It helps regulate energy metabolism. Lack of sleep causes a disruption in the management of the calories we take in and the sugar circulating in the blood. As if that was not enough, it has been proven that a sleep-deprived body will tend to turn to fatty, high-sugar foods.  Here is a link: the next time you diet, start taking stock of your sleep!



Finally, sleeping helps reducing blood pressure and preserving the condition of the vascular walls carrying blood to the heart. There is less risk of the heart becoming overloaded due to poor blood circulation, and therefore less risk of cardiovascular disease, heart attack, high blood pressure and stroke. We have so much to gain from good sleep!





4°/ Everyone should be able to diagnose their sleep!



As you will have understood, sleep is a friend that wish us well, protecting us and keeping us healthy. A dear friend that we must take care of! To do this, it is advisable to have a sleep test at least once in your life.


Today, there are different ways to examine your sleep to detect possible sleep disorders (sleep apnea, snoring, bruxism...).


  • Polysomnography is the reference sleep test. Carried out in hospital or in a sleep laboratory, it consists of fitting the patient with electrodes on the skull, face, chest, and legs during a night of testing. These sensors will record various measurements throughout the night and give a complete picture of the patient's sleep on waking. Even if it can be done directly at the patient's home, this examination requires medical assistance for the placement of the electrodes. The patient must therefore plan a visit to the hospital before and after the night of the test.


  • You have certainly already heard of applications on Smartphones, watches or even connected pillows able to transmit information about your sleep via BlueTooth. These one are known as sleep trackers, connected objects offering qualitative monitoring of your sleep according to various measurements: time spent asleep, sleep cycles, night-time awakenings, etc. Although they are highly sophisticated, these sleep trackers are not medical devices and do not allow a doctor to support his or her diagnosis to prescribe a treatment.


  • The Sunrise test is a certified medical device for the sleep apnea diagnosis. This small, 3-gram sensor that is placed on the chin overnight provides results that are as accurate as a sleep lab test, but right from home! More comfortable and affordable, the Sunrise test provides a certified diagnosis in a much shorter time than a polysomnography. After the night of testing, you can choose to share your report with your doctor or one of our sleep specialists in one click!


You're looking for more informations about Sunrise? Let us a note right here!

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