Homeostasis of Sleep

In the modern, high-pressure work environment of places like the Silicon Valley, many of us work hard and sleep little. People often speak of "making up" lost sleep, but Charles A. Czeisler, sleep and fatigue researcher at Harvard Medical School, reminds us that potential to sleep only grows with every waking hour (HBR, Oct. 2006):

Most of us think we're in control of sleep -- that we choose when to go to sleep and when to wake up. The fact is that when we are drowsy, the brain can seize control involuntarily. When homeostatic pressure to sleep becomes high enough, a couple of thousand neurons in the brain's "sleep switch" ignite, as discovered by Dr. Clif Saper at Harvard Medical School. Once that happens, sleep seizes the brain like a pilot grabbing the controls. If you're behind the wheel of a car at that time, it takes just three or four seconds to be off the road.

So, getting enough sleep should become a high-priority commitment.

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