General Question

kingpinlovesyou's avatar

Why do we sleep?

Asked by kingpinlovesyou (312points) July 7th, 2011

Is it because the rate at which our body creates energy is higher than how much we use so we need to sleep so the energy process overtakes how much energy we use?

It’s sounds like such an easy question but I’ve never really got it.

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14 Answers

marinelife's avatar

Because our body needs time to handle repairs and rejuvenate itself. Our cells are constantly being replaced.

gasman's avatar

Nobody really knows. Speculation ranges from relplenishment of neurotransmitters in the brain to the consolidation of memory & learning. Whatever the function, it must be important because the sleeping organism is otherwise more vulnerable to injury or predation during periods of unconsciousness, yet natural selection has long retained the physiology of sleep.

Cellular repair and rejuvenation, by itself, can and does occur constantly with or without sleep.

Hibernate's avatar

The brain needs time to take a break .. while we sleep our normal functions are reduced so the brain can relax a bit .

Lightlyseared's avatar

Because if we don’t we die.

TypoKnig's avatar

The question is being asked in reverse. Almost no living creatures are conscious. The question is why are we conscious. Consciousness is the aberration from the norm here.

Lightlyseared's avatar

@TypoKnig What evidence do you have that other creatures are not conscious?

gasman's avatar

@TypoKnig By “conscious” I didn’t mean self-aware and sentient as (only) humans are. I meant something far more basic—alert to one’s surroundings, as with most creatures.

squirbel's avatar

You don’t know that animals aren’t self-aware/sentient. Humans’ science is not advanced enough to answer that question.

Meego's avatar

Why do we need sleep? Have you ever tried to stay awake for weeks? I can’t do it, you? Not sleeping enough is like not doing maintenance on your car.
We need sleep for some reason

RubyB's avatar

“Perchance to dream”?

mattbrowne's avatar

Mammals and birds learn. This is only rudimentary in reptiles and insects.

Lightlyseared's avatar

@mattbrowne there’s a lot of evidence to suggest its only rudimentary in some humans as well.

TypoKnig's avatar

First, there is plenty of evidence that many other creatures are not sentient in the way humans are. All this “science can’t prove this yet” nonsense is just mysticism parading as skepticism. Plants do not have nervous systems. They can engage in stimulus response, but the structures in them are not capable of anything like thought.

Even if all that nonsense is granted, however, the question is still being asked in reverse. Regardless of which creatures are or are not conscious now, conscious beings evolved from non-conscious beings. So consciousness is still the aberration—the new kid on the block, as it were.

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