Richard sent me a great article about some new understandings into what causes our sleepy minds to wonder off into the wonderful world of dreaming. It’s really the only explanation that has given me a real logical reason for sleeping, besides the common explanation of “we just don’t know.”
The paper “Sleep as a fundamental property of neuronal assemblies” written by James Krueger, David Rector, Hans Van Dongen, Gregory Belenky, Jaak Panksepp and electrical engineer Sandip Roy goes into a new approach to the reasons why we sleep. They say that sleep is based on a accumulation of proteins called Sleep Regulatory Substances which is produced by the glia cells in the brain. The glia cells react with ATP which is released due to chemical communication in the brain and end up producing the proteins.
Though there are many other parts to the article, the explanation for the cause of sleep is most interesting to me. It makes sense that thinking, or some type of action is what causes sleep, not just an un-explanatory process that just happened for no reason. The article also talks about the process of sleep as possibly not always being a full fledged episode of sleeping. Meaning that different area of the brain may sleep at different times.
You can check out the article at: http://www.newswise.com/articles/view/546211/