Energy Conservation, Restoration, And Brain Plasticity Essay

1047 Words Aug 18th, 2015 5 Pages
As mammals, one of our many natural instincts is sleep. The importance of slumber is comparable to the life-sustaining function of eating. In fact, a human being can die from sleep deprivation in a shorter time than starvation. The longest recorded period of sleep deprivation is 264 hours (eleven days) set by 17 year-old Randy Gardener in 1965 and in 2012, when a Chinese man named Jiang Xiaoshan died after eleven days of unrest (Gillian, Chan). Additionally, Scientific American reports that in 1981, several Irish protesters survived without nourishment as long as 46 to 73 days. The great difference between eleven days and forty-six only serves to emphasize the importance of sleep in our lives. Indeed, a good night’s rest is vital to our survival, but even modern science is still unsure of the one reason why our bodies need to sleep. Research has provided many likely theories, however, including: energy conservation, restoration, and brain plasticity (Why). While energy conservation is pretty self-explanatory, the theories of restoration and brain plasticity are a bit more complicated. The restorative theory, according to the Division of Sleep Medicine at Harvard, is the body’s way of refreshing itself after a long day. During sleep, “restorative functions in the body like muscle growth, tissue repair, protein synthesis, and growth hormone release occor m,ostly…during sleep,” (Why). Sleep can rejuvenate the the body, but the brain plasticity theory suggests the same for…

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