Sleep isn't a luxury, it's a necessity for good physical and mental health.
After starting your automobile, your battery gets recharged as you drive so it's ready to start your car again. Proper sleep each night is the way you "recharge" your body and stay healthy.
During periods of rest, your body is busy repairing itself, counteracting the effects of stress and strain from your busy life. Studies show that most of us get enough sleep. But it's the quality of that sleep that most profoundly affects its healthful benefits, including reducing stress.
We sleep in cycles of approximately 90 minutes. This includes a period of light sleep that gradually leads to a very deep sleep and then back to a lighter sleep. We've all experienced the groggy feeling that results from being awakened during the deepest part of our sleep cycle. Worse, if circumstances regularly prevent us from entering the deepest part of our sleep cycle, we don't feel fully rested and our feelings of stress intensify. Parents of newborn children can vouch for this!
Dreaming is an important part of restful sleep. Even if you don't remember your dreams, sleep scientists confirm that we all dream. Dreams are accompanied by REMs--rapid eye movements. As if watching our own personal "movie" behind our closed eyelids, our brains project images and situations that we call dreams. Apparently dreaming is vital to our health. Experiments in which subjects are deprived of the dreaming state suffer from irritability, poor judgment and even hallucinations.