Achieving a Restful Night of Sleep

Have you ever wondered why we need to sleep? One outdated theory suggested that we sleep in order to rest our brain—but our brain cells are quite active even when we sleep. It appears that we sleep to rejuvenate our tired bodies and to recover from stress. During sleep, or any period of deep relaxation, our body's natural healing mechanisms are accessed and we are able to repair bodily damage and combat illness. That is why we generally need to sleep more when we are ill. Likewise, our need for sleep may increase during periods of change, stress, or depression as our body counteracts the wear and tear from our stressful day. Chronic lack of sleep or irregular sleep can have ill effects. Research suggests that ...

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