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We all have to sleep, and most of us will spend about a third of our life (approx. 250,000 hours) in a state of near unconsciousness, nonetheless aware of your environment. During this time, the body rests and undertakes maintenance and repairs.

Sleep is essential for promoting physical and mental health; when you sleep, blood pressure drops, breathing slows down and the body releases growth and sex hormones (although this is dependent on age). If you can manage on six hours’ sleep or less then you’re unusual; most men need around seven or eight hours, although we can usually cope with much less for a few nights.

Your sleep pattern is managed by your biological clock which co-ordinates other functions such as waking, sleeping, eating, pissing and shitting. It is thought this internal clock orchestrates the brain to stimulate and suppress various body systems. For example, it slows down piss and shit production until you wake up and are ready to go.

Without sleep the body cannot rest or repair itself and after about ten days of total deprivation, death occurs. The brain can adapt to periods of up to three days without sleep but eventually lack of sleep causes irritability, irrational behaviour, confusion and hallucinations.

How much sleep do you actually need? | AsapSCIENCE | 27 Jul 2014 | 3m 23s
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