Sleep And Its Impact On Performance And Daily Function Essay

1372 Words Nov 13th, 2016 6 Pages
More often than not, the general population does not view sleep as a priority, but rather as something to sacrifice in the name of productivity or entertainment should the need arise. However, similarly to those of nutrition and daily physical activity, sleep plays an essential role in day to day health and largely dictates the development of the brain from birth and onward. In order to properly nourish the growing brain and individual, one must realize the importance of sleep and its impact on performance and daily function; to understand how sleep encourages optimal brain function is to understand another factor in the marathon that is a healthy lifestyle.
Based on studies involving infant animals, sleep has been shown to dramatically enhance connections in the brain during early development; infants and babies become exposed to information at a faster rate than at any other point in their lives (Mastin, 2013). REM sleep therefore becomes the most important aspect of brain development in young infants, as newborns sleep up to 18 hours per day and therefore spend up to 80% of their time in REM sleep (Mastin, 2013). Notably, the circadian rhythm, which regulates the sleep-wake cycle, in a newborn does not develop until six weeks of age-- as a result, the sleep schedules of newborns remain irregular until about three to six months into their lives as a result of the not yet developing of a group of cells, the suprachiasmatic nuclei, in the hypothalamus (National Sleep…

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