Sleep. It is a necessary, recurring process, which for most people accounts for one-third of their daily lives. However, we as humans tend to underappreciate the value of sleep, especially compared to other vital functions, such as eating, drinking and breathing. The average person spends a little over one hour eating and drinking throughout the day, as well as, on occasion, expending twice as much time planning to eat.
Sleep Essentials attempts to explain what sleep really is. It sheds light on the beautiful dance of the competing, natural, cyclical rhythms of the sleep-wake cycle. It addresses how our innate circadian rhythm, our internal light-dark sensitive clock, is balanced by the hormone drive to both keep us awake and force us to sleep. The stages of sleep and the effects on the human body are illustrated. Common sleep interruptions, such as nightmares and sleepwalking, are explained. The two essential components of sleep— quality and quantity—are discussed in detail, highlighting the importance of each.
Despite the fact that, ideally, each adult should spend approximately seven to nine hours sleeping, most of us invest almost no time in planning our sleep. Good health and avoiding financial debt are simple pleasures that people understand and desire, yet terms like sleep health and sleep debt are unfamiliar and confusing. Sleep debt is when we owe ourselves sleep because we didn’t get enough. The average person fails to understand that catching up for a significant lack of sleep is just as impossible as catching up on one’s breathing.
Sadly, most people have forgotten what “being really, truly rested” feels like. As such, approximately one-third to one-half of the world’s population has difficulty with proper sleep. Yet, like good diet and exercise, it is a critical component to overall health. In order to be healthy, happy, and productive in life, getting good sleep should be a top priority.
The book also discusses why sleep is so critical and explains how all the problems associated with poor sleep negatively affect many of our functions. Age-related needs and sleep problems are identified. The many common medical problems associated with poor sleep, as well as true sleep disorders, are described. In addition, the book looks at the common interruptions of a good night’s sleep and how our complicated daily routines, nutrition, and supplementation can affect sleep quality.