Everyone needs sleep, but the ideal amount varies from person to person. Some claim they can survive on only a few hours while others are zombies unless they get their full 8 hours each night. We know it feels good to wake up well-rested and that the effects of sleep deprivation can disrupt brain and cognitive function while leading to hallucinations and confusion. But why do we need sleep?

One theory argues that sleep can help process and solidify new memories. This gives you an excuse to take a daytime nap or siesta after a few hours of work! Companies like Google and Huffington Post have even included napping rooms for their employees. They believe taking a 20-30 minute nap increases productivity, creativity and general well-being.

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Another fascinating aspect of sleep is the dream. We’ve probably all, at least once, woken up from a dream disoriented and confused, not sure if what we just experienced was reality or a product of dreamland. This fascinating universe of our subconscious is, like many things in science, hard to explain.

Although the evidence for why is not entirely consistent, we do know that sleep is beneficial. The average amount of sleep per night is 7 hours and studies have shown that people who fail to reach this minimum are at greater risk for certain illnesses. But hey, if there was a magic pill that I could take to cut down on my sleep (I average about 8-9 hours per night), I would definitely be tempted to jump on that bandwagon. Think about the possibilities! The accomplishments! Oh, the things we could do with full use of 24 hours in a day.

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