By Sergio Lopez Salamanca

It is known that a good sleep is strongly related to health; surely there will be very few people who deny the importance of sleep in the proper functioning of our bodies, yet we know very little about this phenomenon to which has been defined as a the state of unconsciousness from we can be distracted by stimulation of the sense organs.

It is not known precisely the mechanism through which the sleeping action occurs, but it is assumed that that mechanism is inside the brain, in a place called the brainstem, a nerve center that is responsible for generating it. In addition, there is no a definitive explanation about the cyclic phenomenon sleep-waking-sleep. What we do know is that sleeping has important functions on the nervous system and other functional systems of our body.

It has been seen that a moderate restriction of sleep for a few days causes deterioration in the intellectual and physical performance of a person as well as in his mood, which has an impact in their job and personal performance. A lack of sleep for a prolonged course of time can result in the appearance of psychotic stages with alteration of the perception of reality, hallucinations and even to cause organic failures resulting in death. Based on these phenomena, it is possible to assume that sleeping is the mechanism by which the body manages to restore a the state of equilibrium in the central nervous system after having been used actively; We could say that this is the equivalent to restart a computer to return to the baseline calibration status.

Through sleeping we optimized different functions such as the maturity of the nervous system, memory, learning ability, and the obtaining of knowledge, as well as relate to the proper functioning of different organs of our body, although the latter has not yet explained accurately so we only can say that the main function of sleeping is to reset the balance between the different structures of the central nervous system.

Sleeping has different stages that take you from the lightest to the most profound and it is divided into two types: slow wave sleep and rapid eye movement sleep known as REM, its acronym in English. Although this occurs alternately during the same cycle of sleep, the two varieties have completely different characteristics, which we will discuss in a next installment.


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