What a night. The woman of your dreams appeared.
Your pulse raced. Heavy breathing ensued. You popped five long-lasting erections.
You do remember it, right?
Oh, wait, you were asleep. And that's not all you missed. Under cover of night, sleep floods your veins with age-defying human growth hormone. Sleep raises an army of T cells and sends them into battle against colds and infection. Sleep resets the appetite controls that tell you to not hit the turn signal when you pass a McDonald's.
And, of course, sleep helps you above the neck as well as below the belt. "It stabilizes your waking brain, makes you more alert, and allows you to process information faster," says David Dinges, Ph. D., who studies shut-eye at the University of Pennsylvania. "It helps you remember things and consolidate those memories." You won't get that from a Red Bull.
So then why are we engaged in a society-wide experiment in sleep deprivation? Average nightly sleep time during the workweek in the United States is down nearly 20 minutes in the last decade, to 6 hours and 40 minutes. And men ages 30 to 44 are the worst offenders: Thirty percent of them say they log less than 6 hours of sleep at night, according to a survey from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The price you pay for this sleep deficit is more than just lost productivity—your health can suffer too. So wake up! It's time to shed some light on this dark territory.