Intro to “Sleep: A Health Imperative”

If you didn’t think sleep was all that important, this editorial will change your mind. Written by well-recognized experts in sleep physiology and sleep disorders, it presents scientific evidence supporting the importance of adequate sleep time, and the breakdown of immune defenses that occur without it. The increase in blood levels of inflammatory markers helps explain the symptoms of lethargy and overall physical discomfort that accompanies sleep deprivation, as well as reflecting the underlying damage to our vascular system that is manifested in the increased risk of strokes, heart attacks, and overall mortality seen in many sleep disorders. Although this editorial does contain a lot of detailed information, the main point is well-made: we are cheating ourselves when we short-change our sleep.