What is one of the biggest things everyone needs to survive? The one thing that everyone needs is sleep. Sleep is a recurring state of mind and body for several hours every night. Sleep can also take the form of a nap. Many people have different sleep schedules depending on where they work or what time they can fall asleep. Many people also have trouble falling asleep. Although sleep has benefits for everyone, many people may experience disadvantages such as sleep paralysis and exploding head syndrome.
Sleep is very important because it helps regenerate energy. Everyone needs sleep to stay sane and healthy. Sleep helps us process new information and improves brain memory. It also helps with metabolism and balancing hormones. Not enough sleep leads to moodiness and poor immune function (Importance of Sleep). Naps, similar to sleep, increase alertness and energize the mind. Although taking short naps helps freshen the mind, long naps will interrupt the cycle of a normal sleep. If an individual is not getting enough sleep, naps are not a good substitute. It is better to fix the sleep schedule in order to get back on track. If a nap lasts longer than 20 minutes, it can cause REM sleep and an individual will wake up feeling sleepy for the remainder of the day (Jeff 23). Maintaining a good sleep schedule is great for health. An irregular sleep schedule can make someone feel tired, drowsy, and not in the best mood. Going to sleep and waking up at the same time will help your body’s internal clock stay on track. To help this schedule get into place, an individual must gradually sleep around the same time for a couple of nights. It is not good if the individual sleeps at a certain time without gradually getting to it first (Cduford). Following a sleep schedule is important so that the sleep stages are not interrupted.
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There are five stages of sleep in the sleep cycle. The first four stages are “non-rapid eye movement” (NREM) sleep and the last stage is “rapid eye movement” (REM) sleep. The first stage is the lightest stage of sleep in the sleep cycle, and the second stage is a deeper sleep than the first stage. It is harder to be awakened in this stage than the first stage. The third and fourth stage are called “slow wave sleep” (SWS). In these stages, it is very difficult to wake the sleeper up. The fifth and last stage of sleep is REM sleep and this is where dreaming typically takes place. The breathing in this stage is inconsistent and the heart rate is up. Dreams in the REM stage are more remembered than the dreams in the NREM stage (Stages of Sleep). It is rare to remember dreams, even though the average time of dreaming is two hours (Brain Basics). If an individual wakes up during REM sleep and it is during their dreaming, they will remember it for a short time, but will soon forget what the dream was about. Many dreams are good and happy, however there are scary dreams which are called nightmares (Stages of Sleep). Nightmares usually occur during the last third of the sleeping cycle. They can make an individual wake up during the night and lose some sleep, which leads to even more nightmares because of sleep loss (Nightmares). Nightmares are similar to sleep paralysis and exploding head syndrome because of the fear it causes.
Exploding head syndrome is a type of sleep paralysis (EHS). This is when an individual with this syndrome hears an explosion sound in one’s own head when they are about to fall asleep or wake up. Although the sound is painless, it causes fear and surprise. This can disturb the sleep of an individual. EHS can either happen multiple times in one night or every once in a while. This syndrome happens more frequently in women than in men (Exploding Head Syndrome). Sleep paralysis is a type of parasomnia which is a disorder of the nervous system during sleep. This disorder is temporary. It happens when a person is lying in bed and is unable to speak or move. Sometimes the person may hallucinate and imagine sounds or see things and objects. The individual is aware of what is happening and breathing is still normal. Sleep paralysis is usually caused by a lack of sleep. To prevent sleep paralysis from happening, six to eight hours of sleep will slim the chances of experiencing sleep paralysis (Sleep Paralysis).
In conclusion, sleep is very important for the mind and body. There are pros and cons to the amount of sleep an individual intakes. The amount of time he or she sleeps for a nap can affect the energy the individual has for the rest of the night. Sleep paralysis and exploding head syndrome are both parasomnias that have affected many people during one’s lifetime. Following a consistent sleep schedule can really affect how a person lives and behaves.
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