Why Do We Sleep? Science May Have Finally Unlocked the Answer

This article may contain affiliate links, learn more.

Did you know that our brains never stop working? Not even when we’re sleeping. Instead, its job just changes in the hours when it’s not operating on a conscious level. Even when we’re dreaming, there’s a lot happening in the background. When we don’t get enough sleep the whole system of our being gets affected and we stop functioning normally.

But what is the real reason that we need lots of sleep? It all has to do with the brain’s waste management system. Here’s what that means.

Are you interested in learning more about the secrets of your dreams? Tap into the 4,000-year-old science of Numerological Analysis with a FREE Numerology video report!

This article may contain affiliate links and/or offers from our affiliate partners. Clicking on a link and/or completing an offer may result in a portion of proceeds from each transaction being paid to https://www.higherperspectives.com/

Scientists Always Wondered

woman sleeping under blankets

Ivan Oboleninov / Pexels

Ivan Oboleninov / Pexels

​Scientists and people, in general, have wondered why we sleep for a long as we can remember. Some felt as though it was a waste of time that was interrupting our hours of productivity. Then, we started to noticed how all species, from birds to bugs, also needed to sleep, so we figured there must be an explanation behind it.

Two centuries ago, the Scottish physician Robert Macnish theorized that the purpose of sleep was to “renovate the mind” by offering it a period of deep rest. This got scientists curious about the biological processes that happened in our brains while we dozed off. Over time, they finally unlocked the answer.

The Body’s Waste Management System

trash bins in four different colours

Pawel Czerwinski / Pexels

Pawel Czerwinski / Pexels

​It turns out that sleep is the missing factor that’s keeping you alive right now. Our bodies produce their own waste and need some sort of way to get rid of it. Our system when we’re awake can’t process it all, so it’s not efficient by itself to keep us alive.

Luckily we all have a built-in waste management system. Think of it like a big trash bin inside the brain. It has all sorts of collected junk from bacteria to unwanted protein that’s building up inside you. The waste management system’s job is to use its fluids and organs to get rid of all that trash.

It Clears The System

neuro system depiction

Hal Gatewood / Unsplash

Hal Gatewood / Unsplash

The system that we’re talking about is more formally known as the “lymphatic system” Experts first started talking about it in the 1700s but couldn’t find in the human brain. Then, about a decade ago a group of researchers in New York, discovered a “clearing system” in the brain. They studied it and realized that this stem automatically helped collect cellular waste and flushed it out of the nervous system. All while we’re sleeping!

This started to show the importance of breaking up periods of being awake with rest and sleep. Jeanne Duffy, a neuroscientist, and sleep researcher explains that “the longer we’re awake, the more cellular byproducts build up in the brain,” She explains that if we don’t get rid of this waste, it can cause damage to our brain cells.

We Didn’t Have The Right Technology In The Past

the brain floating in purple background

Milad Fakurian / Unsplash

Milad Fakurian / Unsplash

The reason it took so long for us to find this vital information is because we only recently started developing the technology that allows us to access these parts of the brain. A brain studying a brain is quite a complicated system because it almost has to cheat itself to understand itself on a scientific level.

The parts of the brain that are responsible for this waste management system are only visible inside living brain tissue. We needed high-resolution images, taken inside the brains of living mice, to reveal that they existed. It’s fascinating to think of how far we’ve come and how much of ourselves we can now study and understand.

It Happens To All Species

parrot with eyes closed and looking down

Benny Kirubakaran / Unsplash

Benny Kirubakaran / Unsplash

We always knew that without sleep, our health and mind deteriorated but we didn’t know the specifics of how and why our body regulated during sleep, until now. It turns out that the longer we’re awake, the more jun we’re accumulating. This makes sense not only on a physical level but a mental level as well. Think of all the people, messages, technology, expectations, pressures, and responsibilities we have to think about while we’re awake. It’s draining to do without a break in between. The purpose of sleep is to release the excess junk and keep only what we actually need to survive.

We need to make room to be able to receive more when we wake up again, without overflowing. The purpose of sleep, for us and for other species, is to give your brain’s system an opportunity to get rid of that junk.

Its Why You Might Be Getting Headaches

man frowning with a hand on his forehead

Sammy Williams / Unsplash

Sammy Williams / Unsplash

Some researchers are now drawing a connection between poor sleep and chronic migraine headaches. Those who have chronic headaches may not be getting enoug of an opportunity to release the toxins that are hurting their bodies because they’re not sleeping for long enough, or getting to a deep enough sleep.

Some studies have shown that those who slept only six hours a night on average had more frequent and more severe headaches than those who slept longer. So aiming for more than 6 hours on average might give the body more time to operate its waste management system

And Everything Else That Goes Wrong

man covers his face with his hands while standing in sunset in stress

Francisco Moreno / Unsplash

Francisco Moreno / Unsplash

This system is now being praised as the “missing link” between impaired sleep and neurological disorders. Anytime anything is going wrong in your body or mind, it could just be that you’re not getting enough sleep. Maybe you’re not allowing your body enough time to process, filter and release what no longer serves it. On an emotional level, we know that there is a strong mind and body connection. So it’s possible that the worse the body feels, the harder it is to cope on an emotional level as well.

A good rule of thumb is that pretty much everything that can go wrong with you is either more likely to happen or made worse by insufficient sleep. We are no medical experts but it’s safe to assume that sleep is not only important but vital.

Go Get Some Sleep

man lays on couch asleep with book on the floor

Mert Kahveci / Unsplash

Mert Kahveci / Unsplash

If you ever needed a good reason to go take a nap midday, maybe we’ve just given you one. Researchers seem to recommend about eight hours of sleep per night. Even though some people can function at fewer hourss their bodies may be paying the price over time.

“There seems to be a huge difference in how much sleep loss people can tolerate, rather than being a huge difference in how much sleep people need,” says Duffy. “If you tend to sleep more on weekends or holidays, that’s a sign you’re probably not getting enough sleep.”

Pay Attention To Your Dreams

woman lays in bed of daisies with her eyes closed

Ann Danilina / Unsplash

Ann Danilina / Unsplash

The time you spend in bed may seem like time wasted. But it’s clearer than ever that important and health-sustaining work is going on in your brain and body while you get your shut-eye. Are you interested in learning more about the secrets of your dreams? Tap into the 4,000-year-old science of Numerological Analysis with a FREE Numerology video report!

That’s right, the numerology of your birth date, regardless of your Zodiac sign, can help you discover detailed information about who you truly are and what is hiding in your subconscious. You won’t believe how accurate it is!

Higher Perspectives Author

Higher Perspectives Author is one of the authors writing for Higher Perspectives