Why We Sleep: Adenosine and Homeostasis 2

sleepyinessDuring the day when you are working or need to get things done, feeling tired can be a burden. Sometimes you simply cannot finish the task you are doing with any effectiveness if you don’t get some sort of rest, even if it’s just a 10 or 20 minute power nap. Why is it that we feel tired? In today’s sleep blog, your Livonia, MI dentist, Dr. James Stewart, discusses homeostasis and how sleep works.

What Is Homeostasis?

Homeostasis is the tendency of an organism to regulate its internal conditions to maintain health and functioning. Some examples include body temperature, acidity, and sleep. Sleep-wake homeostasis works as an internal timer telling the body when it is ready for sleep in relation to how long the body has been awake. The need for sleep becomes stronger and stronger the longer your body has been alert.  The more extended the hours of wakefulness the more chance your body will yield to sleep. The longer you sleep, tiredness or the pressure to sleep, will decrease, which in turn increases your chance of waking.

Why This Happens

While you are awake, naturally produced sleep regulating chemicals build up in your cerebrospinal (relating to the brain and spinal cord) fluid. The more these fluids accumulate, the more you feel the pressure to sleep, and the only way to relieve this feeling is by sleeping.  While you are asleep, the sleep-regulating substances decrease. In spite of years of research, the only known substance is adenosine, although sleep researchers theorize there are others. As your body uses up its daily store of energy, adenosine builds up in your spinal cord and brain, making you feel sleepy. During sleep, adenosine quickly dissipates and is replaced with new stores of energy in the form of glycogen.

About Dr. Stewart

James R. Stewart, Jr, DDS, PC and our compassionate staff proudly serve patients of all ages from Livonia, Farmington Hills, Plymouth, Northville, Dearborn Heights, Garden City, and all surrounding communities. If you think you or a loved one is dealing with a sleep disorder, call our office today at (734) 425-4400, to schedule an appointment. At Dental sleep Medicine of Michigan, we are committed to forming trusting relationships with our patients so we can work together to achieve sound treatment and a future full of restful nights.