Weird science: Sleep

The body decides the bedtime

Sleep directly affects your productivity, ability to concentrate, emotional balance and even your weight.

Adults need 7.5 to 9 hours of sleep per night in order to be able to function at their best. Millions of Americans don’t get enough sleep.

Humans have internal clocks

Everybody has an internal clock that influences body temperature, eating and sleeping cycles. The biological and psychological processes that occur during this one-day period are called circadian rhythms.

What regulates sleep

Melatonin and serotonin are two neurotransmitters, chemical substances released in the body, that help maintain the sleep cycle.

High serotonin levels are associated with being awake. Light increases the production of serotonin, whereas darkness spurs the production of melatonin, which is dependent on the pineal gland that is powered by serotonin. This gland is found near the center of the brain and produces several neurotransmitters.

It’s weird!

Research indicates that adolescents tend to become sleepy around 11 p.m. because the brain releases melatonin around this time. Melatonin levels drop around 8 a.m, which is around when adolescents wake up. This bed time is later than that for children or adults.

Research has found that colleges that moved 8 a.m. courses to later in the morning allowed students to have more time for sleep and breakfast, thus decreasing susceptibility to sickness and increasing GPA. It’s weird!

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