Published on 11 November 2021

What Makes Us Sleepy?

Sleep what-makes-us-sleepy
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Sleep is undoubtedly an integral part of human life. Whether he is working or not, residing in our country or other, every person on this planet needs sleep. The primary reason why people sleep is to relax their minds and body. People spend their time working or indulging in some activity which results in the drain of physical energy, and as they get tired, they feel sleepy and need to experience a sound sleep. But many times, people are unable to sleep even after a long day and have to toss and turn on their beds, look for some other activities which may help them get a night of better sleep. (McLaughlin, J.T., 1975)

Sleep Processes:

Sleep/Wake Homeostasis.

People find sleep a part of their daily routine and thus sleep every night to feel better and energetic the following day. The more they spend their day working and being awake, the more they feel sleepy. This is the normal sleep process known as Sleep/Wake Homeostasis. This process seems like the typical human psychology of getting sleep after working all day. It depends upon the hours spent working every day by a person and denotes that wakefulness and sleep go hand in hand.

But there are several other reasons too which can cause people to feel sleepy. It may sound unique, but there's science behind sleep too. (Borb, A.A. and Achermann, P., 1999)

Circadian Biological Clock.

The circadian biological clock is a type of sleep process which handles the balance of sleepiness and wakefulness in our everyday life. The Suprachiasmatic Nucleus (SCN), located in the brain's hypothalamus, controls the circadian biological clock. As the SCN is sensitive to light and dark signals, SCN detects the darkness at the night and signals the pineal gland to release the chemical called Melatonin which makes people feel sleepy. On the other hand, it senses the morning sunshine and promotes the release of Cortisol which helps a person to wake up.

Neurotransmitters are nerve-signaling chemicals that act on different neuron groups and control sleep and wakefulness. Neurons produce neurotransmitters Like Norepinephrine and Serotonin in the brainstem, which keep the parts of the brain active whenever a person is awake. Some neurons present at the base of the brain stop the signals keeping the person awake and sending signals to fall asleep. Adenosine is the chemical that builds up in the blood during awakening, which causes a person to feel drowsy and sleep and gets break down after we sleep.

Common Reasons For Feeling Sleepy.

Along with some scientific reasons, there are some other reasons we observe in our everyday lives, which make us feel sleepy.

  1. People tend to feel sleepy during a presentation or lecture because they may find it boring and thus find it challenging to concentrate, which results in feeling sleepy.
  2. We see many people taking a nap while traveling via bus or train. It is because of the motion that people feel sleepy during travel.
  3. After having a heavy and delicious lunch, majority of the people find themselves feel sleepy.

All of these conditions vary from person to person. There might be a person who won't feel sleepy in any of the circumstances mentioned above, while some might find all the situations relatable. It is because every person has their body designed differently. The number of hours spent by one person working may be more or less than that of others; thus, enough sleep is required by the body of the person working for more hours might be higher than others.

Why Is Feeling Sleepy Important?

Feeling sleepy all day is not the best option, but it is an essential thing at night. One needs to feel sleepy to get a sound sleep. We have come across the saying "SOUND SLEEP, SOUND MIND" in our school chapters, and it stands exactly to its words. People who genuinely tend to feel sleepy at night have a better chance to experience deep sleep. This helps people to wake up energetic the next day and can work with a clear mind. It also helps to maintain proper mental health.

There are many reasons associated with people feeling sleepy. From internal factors such as chemicals, neurotransmitters, etc., working in the body to external factors like uninteresting activities or monotonic work, each makes us feel asleep. We may find it unique to feel sleepy during the daylight more often than that at night but it is undoubtedly crucial for a person to have a proper and sound sleep every day irrespective of age and gender to have better physical and mental health. Thus sleep is very important for the proper functioning of the body in physical activities.(Chaput, J.P., Dutil, C. and Sampasa-Kanyinga, H., 2018)