Sleep is a natural biological process that almost every living organism performs. The only organisms that do not sleep are simple multi-celled or one-celled organisms. The exact mechanisms and functions of sleep are still not fully known but the general idea is that certain neurotransmitters become depleted during waking hours and are replenished through sleep. Dreaming was thought to be a side-effect of sleeping, however, recent studies show that dreaming may in fact help in replacing these transmitters. Dreams
Dreaming is the psychological phenomenon that occurs during sleep in humans. The function of this phenomenon is not known precisely though there have been many theories posited to explain. Most famous was psychologist, Sigmund Freud who theorized that dreams were the unconscious thoughts of the Id attempting to surface during this state of subconscious. However, Freud's theories have largely been discredited today.
Sleep and dreaming are absolutely essential to a healthy lifestyle, or any lifestyle in fact. Most health professionals make the following suggestions regarding sleep:
Revised May 1st, 2016
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- Length of Sleep: The recommended amount of sleep per night is between 6-8 hours. This is not hard and fast rule however. Many people sleep for less time (5-6 hours) and function just as well as others who sleep for longer periods of time. Some people actually sleep for longer than the suggested time by 3 or more hours.
- Environment: Most professionals agree that for sleep to be restful, it must be done in a quiet environment. A person's sleeping environment should be without noise and as dark as possible. Many people sleep with a TV on but this is advised against because it can possibly interfere with melatonin levels in the human body.