Some of us have what is known as sleep aphasia, the condition where we become unable to pull air in to our lungs. It may happen for a few seconds a couple times an hour.
We snore when this happens because the air passage is squeezed close and the air passes under pressure through the air way.
If we are lucky we just jerk awake. If not…
This changes continually throughout adulthood. It seems our circadian pacemaker advances and our time spent in dream land decreases. This makes it difficult to recover from the occasional periods or sleep deprivation we all experience.
As we age our melatonin produced by our pineal gland found in the brain could lessen. It is the melatonin level in our brain that helps us sleep. But this might have a psychological not physical reason. If this is a problem for you, than a replacement is called for. But there is no proof that melatonin levels have anything to do with the reason for sleep problems.
Adolescents from time to time may experience a delay in their sleep cycle but this is not a problem to be concerned about. Sleep will be modified to meet the need.
Why do we need to sleep?
Is it to save energy? To a small extent this may be one reason. It is not hibernation such as bears undergo.
It may be for the purpose of memory retention on the short term level. Sleep has been seen to be able to help neural processing.
Sleep loss will cause impairment to our cognition and memory and attention.
When we get enough we have a better level of critical thinking and problem solving.
Sleep can also help in our long-term memory. During our down time the neuronal circuitry and the plasticity of our brain makeup improves.
Our health is linked with our quota of rest. When we consistently are deprived of sleep we open ourselves to diseases such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes and some forms of cancer—to mention a few.
Mental health is also affected. You just can’t say you can sleep when you are dead because you may never live long enough to know.
If you become so sleep deprived that you feel drowsy the chances will be great you will be involved in an accident or injury that could have been avoided. This will be because you have lost some of your ability to perform tasks usually taken for granted such as safety precautions.
A lack of sleep can also bring about heart disease. I am talking about less than 6 hours a night. 7 to 8 hours would be better to aim for.
To sleep perchance to dream. That would be nice to aim for. And you may be able to do so.