Why Do We Need Sleep?

peaceful sleepMost animals need sleep, some more than others. Despite sleep being so important, scientists don’t actually fully understand why. We do know that healthy sleep habits have a direct impact on overall health, which is why Dr. Richard Van Gurp specializes in helping patients get better sleep.

What Happens During Sleep?

There is no one prevailing theory as to why so many organisms, let alone humans, need to sleep, but there are two main possibilities, and no one theory is completely correct.

One idea is that we need sleep to conserve energy. Reducing an animal’s wakeful time reduces its energy consumption. An animal that saves energy and uses fewer resources is more likely to survive in an environment where resources are more scarce. While most humans do not live in severe environments like this in modern times, this conservation theory offers some insight to where the need for sleep may have originated.

The second possible theory is to restore the body after a full day’s work. Sleep may give our brains the opportunity to recover from what was lost throughout the day. Most muscle growth and repair, immune system restoration, and protein synthesis occurs during sleep, and some of these functions only occur during sleep.

What if I Don’t Sleep Enough?

People who don’t get enough sleep have higher levels of stress and inflammation, gain weight easily, have a higher risk of heart disease and diabetes, and perform worse on learning and memory tasks. While you can “catch up” on sleep if you’re sleep deprived, focus on building healthy sleep habits instead.

Improve Sleep Quality in Charlotte, NC

Carolina Sleep Solutions, led by Dr. Richard Van Gurp, offers oral sleep appliance therapy, allowing you to get a better night’s rest. Oral sleep appliances are custom-designed to reposition the jaw during sleep and keep the airway open, allowing for normal oxygen flow to your body. Dr. Van Gurp is a highly trained dentist with specialized training in sleep apnea therapy. To schedule your free consultation with Dr. Van Gurp, contact our Charlotte, NC office or schedule online.


704.746.3160 Carolina Sleep Solutions
3111 Springbank Lane, Suite F2
Charlotte, NC 28226