Ever notice how much better you feel and function when you have a good night’s sleep? Notice how cranky, irritable, and inattentive you are when running on little sleep? Why is this so? Why is sleep so important?
Sleep is not a choice; it is essential for optimal daily functioning. Evolution has conserved sleep across species and millenia. The architecture of sleep, with its dream and slow wave stages, has been similarly preserved. Yet increasingly, we view sleep as an option, last on our lengthening to-do list. Alarms jar us awake all too early after a late night spent working on a paper, partying with friends, or tending to emails. Indoor lighting, international travel, and the Internet have further lacerated our bodies' innate circadian rhythms, destroying our ability to listen to these biological signals.