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What is Sleep?
Sleep is a state of unconsciousness from which you can be aroused. In this state, your brain is relatively more responsive to internal stimuli than external stimuli. Sleeping is essential for the normal functioning of all the systems of your body, including the immune system.
Why is Sleep important?
Animal studies have shown that sleep is necessary for survival. The normal lifespan of rats is 2-3 years. However, rats deprived of sleep live for only about 3 weeks.
The release of growth hormone in children and young adults takes place during deep sleep. Most cells of your body show increased production and reduced breakdown of proteins during deep sleep. Sleep also helps you maintain optimal emotional and social functioning while you are awake by giving rest during sleep to the parts of the brain that control emotions and social interactions.
Source: Henry G. Raroque, MD. (2014). Lecture notes on Introduction to Sleep. The Dallas School of Neuroscience and Sleep Medicine, Texas.