Why Do We Need Sleep? The Research Behind It

why do we need sleep

Why Do We Need Sleep?

Perhaps one of the most evolutionary things that humans do regularly is rest, but why do we need sleep? As part of a daily routine and necessity, sleep is essential for our lives and it feels great to get a restful slumber.

The Reason & Research Behind Why We Need Sleep

However, why do we need sleep every day, and what purpose does getting adequate sleep to serve? Let’s take a closer look into the benefits of sleep and why we should get it on a regular basis.

8 Common Benefits Of Regular Sleep

1. It Helps Your Body Heal. From a health standpoint, sleep is perhaps one of the most important aspects of maintaining proper wellness. When we sleep each night, the body secretes chemicals and hormones that help the body heal, which is important for supporting immune function and staying free from illness.

Similarly, a lack of sleep can place your body at harm for illness, colds, and general sickness that could cause you to be below your best.

2. Repairs Tissue And Rebuilds Muscle. Our bodies are exposed to stress every single day and a large portion of that is due to physical demand. In addition, it is recommended that adults exercise every day as often as possible in order to maintain proper health and wellness.

However, with increased exercise, the body needs more opportunities to repair itself and grow muscle. When we sleep, in particular REM and deep sleep, the body secretes growth hormone and testosterone to repair tissue that has been damaged throughout the day.Why Do We Need Sleep 2

3. Help To Maintain Coping Skills. Getting a restful night of sleep can help with your mind’s ability to cope throughout the day and overcome obstacles. Recent studies have shown that high-problem coping skills are associated with better subjective sleep quality.

This means that if you feel like you had a good night of sleep you are more likely to have better-coping skills throughout the day.

4. Help Boost Energy Levels. It should come as no surprise that when you have a night of poor sleep, you generally feel sluggish or tired the next day. With that said, getting proper sleep is essential for maintaining energy levels throughout the day so that you don’t have to keep going for extra cups of coffee.

In addition to feeling energized, a proper night of sleep can help to replenish the mind and feel strong and motivated throughout the day.

5. Help to Regulate Mood. Another noticeable effect of proper sleep is your general mood the following day. If you ever had a night of tossing and turning and the next day felt grumpy, your lack of good sleep is likely to blame.

Sleep deprivation has been shown to have a negative effect on overall mood, which means you might feel a little grumpy if you have poor sleep the prior night. Studies show that mood disorders are common among people with long-lasting sleep problems, with at least a third of patients experiencing this common link.

6. Quality Sleep Is Good For Cognitive Function. Having a good night of sleep can help your brain to retain information and perhaps process ideas and thoughts a little more easily. In comparison, sleep deprivation can be a harmful process to your everyday thinking and memory.

Overall sleep deprivation has been shown to impair working memory, decision making, and long-term memory. If you find yourself not as mentally sharp the day after poor sleep, this could be a reason for your answer to a solution.

7. Sleep Can Benefit Weight Loss. Sleep deprivation is actually one of the biggest pitfalls for people trying to lose weight or maintain weight loss. This is why some weight loss experts might recommend getting adequate sleep at night. Sleep is closely related to hunger hormones, in that the lack of sleep can increase hunger hormones, which could cause you to overeat throughout the day and gain weight.

In addition, the same hunger hormones ghrelin and leptin help to balance out your mind’s desire to eat and control how much you eat, which might be a reason for comfort foods on tough days where you aren’t as rested as usual.

8. Regulate Blood Pressure. One of the most common health conditions is hypertension or high blood pressure. While there are various lifestyle factors that affect blood pressure readings, sleep may actually be one that is causing your measurements to be high.

According to Mayo Clinic, if you sleep less than six hours nightly, your blood pressure readings may be higher when you take your next measurement.

Why Do We Need to Sleep Regularly And For How Long?

A regular sleep schedule is important for training your body to be at its best each night. For this reason, it is important to fall asleep and wake up on a similar schedule each day, including on days off and weekends. In addition to having a regular sleep schedule, the amount of time you rest each night is important.

Most adults can function with about six hours of sleep, however, why do we need sleep that takes so long? It is often recommended to aim for about seven to nine hours of sleep each night as a general guideline.

This amount of time allows for the body to release hormones and repair the mind and body from the prior day, and it can help you to maintain proper health as well.

Sleep Quality Versus Sleep Quantity

Now you know the importance of the proper amount of sleep each night, however, high-quality rest perhaps may be more important. The longer the body spends in deep and REM sleep stages each night, the better your sleep quality.

In order to improve your sleep quality each night consider making your room as dark as possible, free from any ambient light in the room, and as comfortable as possible. In addition, is important to slow down the mind prior to sleeping, which means trying to avoid blue light and electronic screened prior to bed.


While life is busy and work schedules are demanding, your sleep should be atop your daily routine in order to help you be at your best physically and mentally. Consider the information above as a guide to help you in your wellness journey and to aid in improving your overall lifestyle.

Photo by Anna Nekrashevich
Photo by Karolina Grabowska

Why Do We Need Sleep? The Research Behind It