SLEEP STUDIES HAVE BEEN A POPULAR topic lately as people report a variety of difficulties in getting their rest—work schedules that eat into time for rest, chronic insomnia, worries that rise up in the darkness. A report in the December 20, 2004, issue of TIME magazine charted new findings on the need for a good night's sleep, which hint at the mental nature of sleep. Scientists say that rest is largely about restoring the brain as opposed to the body.

One noteworthy aspect of the report is the trend in America toward viewing sleep as somewhat of a nuisance, as an impediment to progress. "Sleep is for sissies," the title of one article suggests, highlighting people who literally push themselves to work night and day. Apparently in this age of 24/7 working, shopping, and Internetting, a growing number of people are approaching life in terms of how little rest they can possibly get by on, feeling the overriding need to be accomplishing, producing, doing.

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February 21, 2005

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