The Rest of Your Story

Why do we sleep?  The truth is, despite a myriad of studies and a plethora of suggestions, conceptions, and hypotheses, we as a species are still not entirely certain why our bodies shut down for a rest period every day.  While it is perhaps not quite clear as the the reason that sleep is necessary, the benefits of getting a “full night’s rest” on the regular are many and varied (and the detriment to one’s health when foregoing sleep for long stretches are obvious and can be incredibly dangerous, particularly when taken to the extreme). 

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Though it seems on the surface that entering a state of large-scale physical and mental shutdown for something akin to a third of the day would be a net negative attribute, from a survival and evolutionary standpoint (an unconscious creature is much more easily made into a meal for a hungry predator, after all), sleep is actually an incredibly useful tool the body has to promote longevity and healing.  In fact, the drawbacks to ignoring a body’s need for sleep are far more dire than the threat of an apex predator .  Sleep is largely one of the most important parts of the body’s own natural healing process.  Whilst we slumber, our nerves and systems are chugging away fixing most the little dings and bangs that we have taken on over the course of the day. 


Sleep also seems to be vital in the formation of memories.  The human brain, amazing super computer that it is, takes in a massive load of new and recurring information that has to be processed, sorted, and stored at ridiculous speeds.  Scientists have posited that in addition to being a healing state, sleep may in fact operate as a sort of processing and data filtering system for all of the information that we have taken in throughout the day.  This may help explain why we have dreams and nightmares, as our unconscious systems work through all of the facts, figures, and opinions we have been collecting.   This is perhaps why children, who are still learning how to figure out basic functions and social skills in addition to basic biological needs, require so much more sleep (despite being so much smaller). 


People who forego sleep are just asking for trouble, and the results of long term sleep deprivation can be catastrophic.  We are not just talking about misprocessed data or taking longer to heal from a hurt.  Mood swings, appetite problems, increased sickness, depression (which can be the chicken or the egg in such a scenario, frankly)--these represent just a few of the problems that arise from a lack of restful sleep.  In some extreme cases people have died.  The bottom line is this: take care of yourself!  Sleep when you are tired, try to make sure you get at least 6-8 hours every day.  This is time you should be setting aside for yourself, to rest, relax, and give your body something that is not just vital to your well-being, but actively necessary for life!


The Woman’s Clinic, P.A. has been providing quality healthcare to the people of Tennessee for over six decades.  Our mission is to be the clinic of choice for women by providing exceptional and compassionate care for each woman, with personalized attention tailored to her specific needs through each and every stage of her life.  Our office is located at 244 Coatsland Drive in Jackson, TN.  If you are seeking medical care, do not hesitate to contact us by calling 731-422-4642 or via our website,