There's been a major resurgence of interest lately in sleep -- a subject that has long proved elusive to scientists -- in both the medical world and the popular consciousness.
Too often, we dismiss sleep’s importance -- equating it with idle time, laziness or lack of motivation. But the latest new research is helping people learn that sleep is actually essential.
Now, a story on the science of sleep has made the cover of Scientific American's October issue, highlighting the critical role sleep plays in a wide array of physical and psychological processes.
"It is physiologically vital that we spend about a third of our lives unconscious," editor-in-chief Mariette DiChristina writes in her editor's letter.
Scroll down to view full cover.
The cover story, written by Harvard sleep researcher Robert Stickgold, dives into the latest research on sleep, a part of our daily routine that is both a biological necessity and a key component of health and well-being. Sleep is critical to hormone regulation, immune system function, learning and memory, and nervous system function, among other processes.
As Stickgold notes, while scientists know more and more about the importance of sleep, Americans are actually getting less shuteye each night -- and this is becoming a serious public health concern.
"Given all the latest research ... skimping on sleep is looking like a worse and worse strategy for dealing with the demands of daily life," Stickgold warns.
The full issue can be found here.