Why Do We Sleep?

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Originally posted on May 12, 2014.

Sleep consumes time we could spend foraging and it exposes us to predators.  It’s a waste and a risk.  So why do humans sleep?  Why didn’t nature design us for continual activity and vigilance?

In the October 18, 2013 Science, researchers offer an answer:  sleep enables house cleaning.  Studies of mice show that sleep sweeps the brain of toxic metabolic waste products.

Ergo, at the day’s end we can say to our loved ones:  Good night.  Sleep tidy.

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About the Author
David Myers has spent his entire teaching career at Hope College, Michigan, where he has been voted “outstanding professor” and has been selected by students to deliver the commencement address. His award-winning research and writings have appeared in over three dozen scientific periodicals and numerous publications for the general public. He also has authored five general audience books, including The Pursuit of Happiness and Intuition: Its Powers and Perils. David Myers has chaired his city's Human Relations Commission, helped found a thriving assistance center for families in poverty, and spoken to hundreds of college and community groups. Drawing on his experience, he also has written articles and a book (A Quiet World) about hearing loss, and he is advocating a transformation in American assistive listening technology (see www.hearingloop.org).