“I want some of what she’s having, please!” David pleaded with me for help with his sleep troubles after watching his newly hormone-taking wife, wake refreshed after yet another night of good sleep. Obviously, the hormone replacement which can enable a woman to sleep blissfully all night would not be the solution needed by her husband!
David is not alone: whether you count those dissatisfied with sleep OR the even larger number of people whose sleep diaries worry their physicians, it seems to be true that we are indeed sleeping less than we have in the past, and less than we should for optimal health.
All creatures sleep, even though it means a significant part of life is spent not eating, not hunting, not reproducing and generally being vulnerable to what might befall such a creature while snoozing unaware of the world.
We know many ways in which sleep provides an invaluable reset:
- Deep sleep enables us to learn from the experiences of the day, and helps normalize our metabolism and correct blood sugar problems.
- REM sleep (during which we are paralyzed! Except for breathing and swallowing) allows us to integrate new memories with old and be open to creative approaches to our lives.
- Avoid all the risks of short sleep detailed below!