Slumber is essential to our well being, growth and immune system as well as allowing the body and mind downtime to repair themselves ahead of the next day. Sleep is hardwired into us we have evolved with the need for it but how much is the right amount. After a sleepless night concentration levels falls, physical tasks become harder and by three nights without sleep there are serious physical side effects. Cutting back on sleep a little has less predicable results but for an adult seven to eight hours a night is considered normal but poll surveys suggest that over half the adult population reports that drowsiness in the daytime as a problem and another survey found that a third of people who thought they had no slumber related problems were in fact dangerously sleepy.* Without wishing to overstate the case we could be sleep walking our way to disaster.
For many people the accumulation of a huge sleep debt occurs gradually so that the true cause of their various ailments, agues, depressions and even more rapid aging is missed by both the individual and their doctors. More directly there are correlations between lack of sleep and likelihood of accidental death* or other abrupt terminations and that's before even starting on narcolepsy*. Many people have commented that sleep is a sneak preview of death* but the reality is that without sleep we are bringing ourselves closer to real death.
* Stanford University Sleep Site: http://www.stanford.edu/~dement/index.html
* More info can be found on http://www.sleepnet.com/intro.htm go to the links.
*Sleep - those little slices of death, how I loathe them.
The repose of sleep refreshes only the body. It rarely sets the soul at rest. The repose of the night does not belong to us. It is not the possession of our being. Sleep opens within us an inn for phantoms. In the morning we must sweep out the shadows.
Early to rise and early to bed Makes a man healthy and wealthy and dead.
Luca Brasi sleeps with the fishes.