Police Psychology: Sleep – What’s the Point?
by Douglas Gentz, Ph.D.
Sleeping doesn’t make much sense from a, “survival of the fittest” perspective. How does it benefit an animal or a person to become completely inattentive to their environment – helpless to fight or flee – for six or seven hours out of every 24? Reason suggests that over millions of years those members of any population that slept the least (or not at all) would have been more likely to survive to an age old enough to reproduce and pass their genes to the next generation . . . So there must be a very good reason for the fact that all animals, including humans, have to sleep on a regular basis. The reason has been a mystery until the last few years.
All the cells in any animal’s body take in nutrients (glucose) and O2 to provide the energy the cell needs to work. As a result, every cell produces waste products that have to be moved out of the cell and eventually released from the body. The normal pathway for “emptying the cellular trash” starts with the waste products being carried away from the cell by lymphatic fluid, collecting in the lymph nodes, transferred to the blood stream, and then transported to the kidneys for filtration. Eventually, those toxins are “liquidated” from the body in urine. (more…)