Sleep plays several crucial roles:
Learning and Memory: Sleep impacts our ability to learn and remember specific types of information, such as procedural information and emotional memories. It can even act as a form of trauma therapy, discarding the emotional tones of memories.
Hormone Release: Sleep influences the release of growth hormone, which plays critical roles in metabolism, tissue repair, including brain tissue repair, and therefore has critical roles in vitality and longevity. It's not just the duration and depth of your sleep that matter, but actually getting to sleep at relatively the same time each night ensures that you get adequate growth hormone release.
Metabolism Regulation: Different stages of sleep are associated with different patterns of metabolism, including sugar and fat metabolism. Disrupted sleep can increase appetite for sugary food.
Brain Chemistry: Sleep disruption can lead to dysregulation of dopaminergic, noradrenergic, and serotonergic states throughout the day, impacting our concentration and perception of time.
In essence, sleep is a vital component of our mental health, physical health, and performance.