Sleep is just sleep, surely it is all the same?  Or is sleep for wimps, 5 hours a night is enough for anyone!

It would seem, that more sleep and less work may be very good for us, boosting what we did the day before, and moving us forward to even greater achievements.

Although we may feel tired after reduced sleep, the body (I'm not talking about the brain here) keeps functioning, doing what we want it to do (mostly), and the reason for that, is that the first two phases of sleep we encounter repair and refresh the body.  So physically,  nursing mothers can do what is necessary to feed and care for their baby, the sleep they can grab between all the demands, is sufficient to keep the body going.

When we feel as if our eyes are going to burn or leap out of our heads, we cannot compute, nothing seems to make sense and we feel in a trance, that is generally down to missing out on the later stages of sleep recovery - the REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep.  That is when the brain services itself, strengthening what was learned the day before, and takes care of itself.

Students who are cramming all hours for the next exam, trying frantically to learn, yet nothing sinks in may be better served to put the books down, sleep more, and allow the brain to work it's wonder.  Similarly, when we all have much to do, it is tempting to burn the candle late into the evening, then wake extra early the next morning. 

So next time you feel overwhelmed and under pressure, take the early option, stop work, go to bed, get some sleep, and allow the body and brain to work their magic, by reinforcing everything you have learned the day before while you sleep.

Sleep is important, key to our performance, and quality of sleep is not to be underestimated.