Some facts about sleep!

Lately, I was reading about sleep, so I thought why not to Post something about it as well. So, here I’m with another doctoricious post!

 About sleep, Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala mentioned in the Holy Quran that “Among His signs is sleep” (30:23) and “and made your sleep for rest” (78:9).

Essentially, sleep is important to the body functioning, promoting bodily rest and rejuvenation in the neurons and other cells that are replaced or repaired during times of sleep. Sleep has also been proposed to conserve energy, detoxify the brain, control thermoregulation within the brain, and consolidate  the memory.

While sleeping, a person goes through stages of two types of sleep that alternate with each other. They are called

(1) slow-wave sleep, in which the brain waves are strong and of low frequency,  and

(2) rapid eye movement sleep (REM sleep), in which the eyes undergo rapid movements despite the fact that the person is still asleep.

Most part of the sleep is of slow-wave variety; which is deep, restful sleep and is experienced by a person during the first hour of sleep REM sleep, on the other hand, occurs in episodes that occupy about 25% of the sleep time in young adults; each episode normally recurs about every 90 minutes. This type of sleep is not so restful, and it is usually associated with vivid dreaming.

Non-REM sleep

Further divided into four stages.

Stage one: Light Sleep

During the first stage of sleep, we’re half awake and half asleep. Our muscle activity slows down and slight twitching may occur. This is a period of light sleep, meaning we can be awakened easily at this stage.

Stage two: True Sleep

Within ten minutes of light sleep, we enter stage two, which lasts around 20 minutes. The breathing pattern and heart rate start to slow down. This period accounts for the largest part of human sleep.

Stages three and four: Deep Sleep

During stage three, the brain begins to produce delta waves, a type of wave that is large (high amplitude) and slow (low frequency). Breathing and heart rate are at their lowest levels.

Stage four is characterised by rhythmic breathing and limited muscle activity.

REM Sleep:

Bouts of REM sleep lasting 5 to 30 minutes usually appear on the average every 90 minutes. When the person is extremely sleepy, each bout of REM sleep is short and may even be absent. Conversely, as the person becomes more rested through the night, the durations of the REM bouts increase. 

Although we are not conscious, the brain is very active – often more so than when we are awake. This is the period when most dreams occur. Our eyes dart around (hence the name), our breathing rate and blood pressure rise. However, our bodies are effectively paralysed, said to be nature’s way of preventing us from acting out our dreams.

After REM sleep, the whole cycle begins again.

So why do we sleep??!!
Well, its not exactly known but there are many theories that are proposed regarding this, which I am enlisting below.
  1. Inactive theory: suggest that inactivity at night is protective to harm to the animals from the predators, also called adaptive/evolutionay theory
  2. Energy Conservative theory: suggests that the primary function of sleep is to reduce an individual’s energy demand and expenditure during part of the day or night, especially at times when it is least efficient to search for food.
  3. Restorative theory: suggests that sleep in some way serves to “restore” what is lost in the body while we are awake. Sleep provides an opportunity for the body to repair and rejuvenate itself.
  4. Brain plasticity theory: suggests that sleep is correlated to changes in the structure and organization of the brain – phenomenon known as plasticity.
  5. Consolidation of memory: episodic memory is converted into long term memory.
  • Previously, its thought that sleep is a time when your body and brain shut down for rest and relaxation but we know that in REM sleep brain is highly active, secretion of some hormones and memory is also consolidated, besides, brain is the regulatory organ which is never completely shut down!
  • Also its thought that Nap is a waste of time but researches reveals they can be restorative and help counter some of the impaired performances during the day.
Sleep and Memory: 
So, this part is most fascinating about sleep.
Scientist hypothesized that the memory is converted in long term memory during sleep 🙂
Scientists hypothesized that REM sleep played an essential role in the acquisition of learned material, both declarative  and procedural memory. 
Researchers now hypothesize that slow-wave sleep (SWS), which is deep, restorative sleep, also plays a significant role in declarative memory by processing and consolidating newly acquired information.
Sleep is very important before taking exams, the saying goes, “Rest is best for the test” 
as sleep plays its role in consolidating whatever we have learned and refreshes us as well.
the potential ramification of sleep deprivation, you can see in the below illustration
Now on a lighter note, Do you know the amount of sleep required by the average person ??!!
A question to check whether you’re still awake while reading it or not!! Do answer to let me know! 😀

39 thoughts on “Some facts about sleep!

  1. mary

    thanks for posting such valueable and interesting wonder when i dont sleep the whole night before exams, i dont perform well 😛

    1. Ayesha Post author

      🙂 Your welcome! Thanks for dropping by!
      Yeah its true, we get so exhausted in exam days…
      You dint answer the question written at the end of the post 😀

  2. Sarmad

    Nice and informative article! What I recall is that average time for sleep for a normal person is 7-9 hours. I don’t know if I’m right.
    Ok, after reading your article I’m going to SLEEP:)

    1. Ayesha Post author

      Thanks for reading 🙂
      Yeah you’re right! But I would say, that “the average sleep need of a normal individual is Just 5 mins more” 😉 what do you say?

        1. Ayesha Post author

          I mean 5 minutes “more” to sleep 😀 doesn’t matter how much you sleep! 😛 we still long for more 5 minutes… isn’t it?

  3. MuQeet

    Average Sleep Needs of human beings 🙂
    Age Hours
    Newborns (0-2 months)
    12 – 18
    Infants (3 months to 1 year)
    14 – 15
    Toddlers (1 to 3 years)
    12 – 14
    Preschoolers (3 to 5 years)
    11 – 13
    School-aged children (5 to 12 years)
    10 – 11
    Teens and preteens (12 to 18 years)
    8.5 – 10
    Adults (18+)
    7.5 – 9

    1. Ayesha Post author

      A comprehensive answer!:) Absolutely correct! 😀
      But my take on this is that, “The average sleep that a normal individual needs is *just* 5 minutes more!” 😀 What’s your opinion about it? 🙂

  4. Khanum

    Yes, 6-8 hours of sleep are required. And I came to know that science hasn’t found out as to what makes us sleep, i mean we know that we get tired and all but what is the mechanism that riggers n puts us to sleep.
    So it is something like a ‘sleep’ or standby button by Allah that alone He knows?

    1. Ayesha Post author

      That’s true! Scientist havn’t found it precisely that what make us sleep and exactly why do we sleep!
      William Dement, founder of Stanford University’s Sleep Research Center, answered when asked about the reason that why we sleep, “As far as I know, the only reason we need to sleep that is really, really solid is because we get sleepy.”
      Beside, when the research was conducted upon lower animals, and they were deprived of sleep; they died!
      scientists have isolated certain NT etc from sleepy animals and then injected them into other, this made them sleepy too! But still, its very vague what makes us sleep.. Many things like “pineal gland” also effect it by altering the rhythms 🙂
      Yeah I also believe the same… Sleep has got some very unique and interesting functions which are yet to be discovered!

  5. Abdul Rauf

    Wow. It’s superb informative article I was searching for. I really found it very useful i have already studied about sleep, but this post is an additional one. I also write about Life, therefore popped into this post.Thanks.

  6. MuQeet

    “The average sleep that a normal individual needs is *just* 5 minutes” !
    Hey! You said this and then nicely added ‘more’ in the comment later! 🙂

      1. MuQeet

        Let me add some input here:
        1. When we sleep our souls are with Allah, all praise and glory be to Him, if He wills He can take them and if He wills He can send them back to our bodies.
        “It is Allah Who takes away the souls at the time of their death, and those that die not during their sleep. He keeps those (souls) for which He has ordained death and sends the rest for a term appointed. Verily, in this are signs for a people who think deeply.” (Az-Zumar, 39: 42)

        2. As you said, Sleep is one of the signs of Allah in this universe, as He says
        “And among His Signs is your sleep by night and by day, and your seeking of His Bounty. Verily, in that are indeed signs for a people who listen”. (30: 23)

        3. Allah has created the day for work and going out seeking provision, and He has created the night for rest; so sleep takes place at night and work during the day.
        “And it is He Who makes the night a covering for you, and the sleep (as) a repose, and makes the day Nushoor (i.e. getting up and going about here and there for daily work, after one’s sleep at night or like resurrection after one’s death)” (25:47)

        “See they not that We have made the night for them to rest therein, and the day sight‑giving? Verily, in this are Ayaat (proofs, evidences, verses, lessons, signs, revelations, etc.) for the people who believe” (27:86)

        “And We have made your sleep as a thing for rest.
        And We have made the night as a covering (through its darkness),
        And We have made the day for livelihood” (78:9-11).

        It is clear from the above verse of the glorious Qur’an that sleep puts an end to tired and that sleep is one of the Signs of Allah and one of the great blessings of Allah.


        1. Ayesha Post author

          Absolutely true!
          I firmly believe that science has yet to find many things and still much is hidden…
          Only Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala is “Aalimul Ghaib” and as Allah said in surah Al-‘Isra that, “of knowledge it is only a little that is communicated to you, (O men!)” (17:85)
          And yes, Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala has created innumerable signs for those who have wisdom to reflect upon them and praise The Creator!
          Thank you so much for the Feedback brother!

  7. MuQeet

    Typo in previous comment + plus one line added here:
    It is clear from the above verse of the glorious Qur’an that sleep puts an end to TIREDNESS and that sleep is one of the Signs of Allah and one of the great blessings of Allah. Sleep gives us energy and stamina to work in the day and earn the pleasure of Allah.

    1. Ayesha Post author

      Thanks for dropping by eva! 🙂 Yes, actually it is! and usually when we wake up in the morning while dreaming, thats the same stage of sleep! In this REM stage mind is unusually active…

  8. Nasmira

    aha!! comprehensive I must say..going through the stages of sleep reminded me of my Islamic Psychology class..where we had to learn the different stages..and when dreams occur..and then it went over to the good and bad dreams..with Islamic twist..reading this got back allll of those memories.. Thanks for sharing! 🙂

  9. sahardid

    I was wondering when one breaks one wudu’? Is that at stage 3, the deep sleep, or stage 1 and 2? Because one of the triads of stage 1 and 2 is these are relatively light stages of sleep and “one will often report not being asleep at all”.

    1. Ayesha Post author

      Thank you for reading the post and commenting!
      Well, regarding Wudhu that would not depend upon in which stage you’re, there are separate ruling for that. Btw this is a “Fiqhi” question and I’d refrain from commenting on this 🙂 Its better you ask someone expert in that field. I mean a mufti!

  10. Pingback: Attitude at sleep determines the altitude of life! « YasSarNal QuR'aN

  11. Pingback: Some Facts About Sleep « YasSarNal QuR'aN

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