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Why scientists cannot agree on why we sleep

17-02-2012

There seems to be nothing that science cannot answer. We already know how the universe was created and we know how we inherit genetic information from our parents. However, while science might seem infallible, there are a number of big questions that it still struggles to answer.

One of these big questions is why humans sleep. At first glance, this might seem to be a question that even a layman could answer, but the more research that is done on sleep the more scientists realise that the obvious answers are not actually the right ones. For example, while sleep has a recuperative function, there is much more going on and the recuperative element does not even form the majority of what we call sleep. Rather, it can be seen as a secondary beneficial side effect.

Sleep remains the enigma it has always been. Part of the reason that scientists are still divided on the purpose of sleep is that it appears to have a number of different functions. While it is recuperative, as mentioned, it also seems to play a vital role in memory creation and organisation.

Another reason they struggle for consensus is while most people need around 8 hours a night, there has been a genetic mutation discovered recently that allows people to sleep for four hours or less a night with no ill effect.


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