Sleep… Why DO We Need It?

I’m sure this is something that we have all talked about and come across once in awhile. Our bodies are not meant to stay awake 24/7. Some people say we need to recharge our batteries hence the necessity for sleep. Sleep is a form of reviving our energy, or thoughts, or physical being. However there is more behind this. 

Sleep also aids the digestion process, and weightloss. There are 4 stages to the digestion process as follows:

Ingestion –
Ingestion is the process by which food is taken into the alimentary canal.
It includes the processes that take place while the food is in the mouth (mouth = ‘buccal cavity‘), such as chewing and grinding using the teeth, the lubrication and chemical effects of saliva released from the salivary glands, and swallowing of the food – which sends it onwards down the digestive tract.

Next comes Digestion –

Digestion is the process by which ingested (food) material is broken down in the earlier stages of the alimentary canal into a form that can then be absorbed and assimilated into the tissues of the body.

Digestion includes two types of processes –

  • Mechanical (e.g. chewing, grinding, churning, mixing), and
  • Chemical (e.g. action of digestive enzymes, bile, acids, etc.).

The mechanical processes include the chewing and grinding of food by the teeth and also the churning and mixing of the contents of the stomach.

Chemical processes that contribute to digestion also begin in the mouth with action of saliva on food. However, most of the chemical digestive processes occur in the stomach and small intestine – where the partly-digested materials are subjected to gastric juices, pancreatic juice, succus entericus and so on.

The next we have Absorption and Assimilation

Absorption is the uptake of fluids or other substances by the tissues of the body depending on its stage of passage through the digestive system is absorbed into the bodily fluids blood and lymph from the alimentary canal. Most of the absorption part of the digestive process occurs in the jejunum and the ileum of the small intestine, though alcohol is readily absorbed through the stomach. The small intestine is lined with minute finger-like processes (called ‘villi’, a single example being a ‘villus’), that greatly increase its surface area, and hence the rate at which absorption can take place.

Assimilation is the process by which components / chemicals from food (incl. liquid refreshments such as milk drinks, fruit juices etc.) are taken into the cells of the body – after the food/beverage has been digested and absorbed.

Elimination is the final stage of this 4-stage summary of digestion.

In physiology more generally the word ‘elimination’ can also apply to the entire process of excretion of metabolic waste products, including from the blood via the kidneys and urinary tract. **

** Taken from the website https://www.ivyroses.com/HumanBody/Digestion/DigestiveSystem-BasicStages.php


Here is some information I dug up from the sleepfoundation.org

Why Do We Need Sleep?

We tend to think of sleep as a time when the mind and body shut down. But this is not the case; sleep is an active period in which a lot of important processing, restoration, and strengthening occurs. Exactly how this happens and why our bodies are programmed for such a long period of slumber is still somewhat of a mystery. But scientists do understand some of sleep’s critical functions, and the reasons we need it for optimal health and wellbeing.

One of the vital roles of sleep is to help us solidify and consolidate memories. As we go about our day, our brains take in an incredible amount of information. Rather than being directly logged and recorded, however, these facts and experiences first need to be processed and stored; and many of these steps happen while we sleep. Overnight, bits and pieces of information are transferred from more tentative, short-term memory to stronger, long-term memory—a process called “consolidation.”

Researchers have also shown that after people sleep, they tend to retain information and perform better on memory tasks. Our bodies all require long periods of sleep in order to restore and rejuvenate, to grow muscle, repair tissue, and synthesize hormones.

How Much Sleep Do We Really Need? Healthy sleep is critical for everyone, since we all need to retain information and learn skills to thrive in life. But this is likely part of the reason children—who acquire language, social, and motor skills at a breathtaking pace throughout their development—need more sleep than adults. While adults need 7-9 hours of sleep per night, one-year-olds need roughly 11 to 14 hours, school age children between 9 and 11, and teenagers between 8 and 10. During these critical periods of growth and learning, younger people need a heavy dose of slumber for optimal development and alertness.

Unfortunately, a person can’t just accumulate sleep deprivation and then log many hours of sleep to make up for it (although paying back “sleep debt” is always a good idea if you’re sleep deprived).

The best sleep habits are consistent, healthy routines that allow all of us, regardless of our age, to meet our sleep needs every night, and keep on top of life’s challenges every day.

If you are interested in finding out more about the importance of sleep you can read the report here. 


If you found this information useful, please leave me a comment below. How many hours of good quality sleep do you get?