Sleep is the balm that soothes and restores after a long day. Sleep is largely driven by the body’s internal clock, which takes cues from external elements such as sunlight and temperature. The body’s natural sleep-and-wake cycle is reasonably attuned to a 24-hour period.
Disruptions of sleep are disruptive to the functioning of many body systems. Learning, memory, stamina, general health, and mood are all affected by sleep amount and quality. For many people, sleep is elusive or otherwise troubled. In fact, most people, at some point in their lives, experience difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep. Potential consequences of consistently poor sleep include obesity, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes. Sleep deprivation can also affect judgement and mental acuity.
Sleep needs differ from person to person and across different age groups. One person may need a full eight hours, while another can function with less sleep. The good news is that treatment of sleep disorders is rapidly progressing.