“Rest is good after labour,” says the adage. And, in reality, nothing beats good sleep when the day is done.
Scientists say it may seem obvious that sleep is beneficial, and that even without fully grasping what sleep does for us, “we know that going without sleep for too long makes us feel terrible.”
They also note that getting a good night’s sleep can make us feel ready to take on the world.
Experts say in studies of humans and other animals, they have discovered that sleep plays a critical role in immune function, metabolism, memory, learning, and other vital functions.
Sleep specialist/assistant professor of psychiatry at the Harvard Medical School, Dr. Robert Stickgold, whose work focuses on the nature and function of sleep, notes that sleep plays an important role in memory, both before and after learning a new task.
He warns that lack of adequate sleep affects mood, motivation, judgment, and perception of events.
As important as sleep is, however, experts warn that the positions we assume when we sleep — whether as adults or as children — can affect our health in ways we don’t imagine.