The average person spends about a third of their life sleeping. That’s a lot of time, but it’s time well spent. Sleep is vital for a healthy life. While we are asleep, our bodies have a chance to restore themselves, giving our immune, nervous, skeletal, and muscular systems a well-earned break and time to renew. At the same time, our senses diminish and our minds enter a state of altered consciousness: We dream. Our sleeping minds process our waking experiences, improving mood, memory, and cognitive function.
Considering the importance of rest and the endlessly fascinating nature of dreams, sleep has long been a subject of extensive research, from ancient philosophers to modern psychologists. Today, the general consensus is that adults need between seven and nine hours of sleep per day — but that’s certainly not a hard and fast rule. Many successful people have claimed to get by just fine on four to five hours a night; Thomas Edison was famously opposed to sleeping, considering it “a heritage from our cave days” and preferring to sleep for just three or four hours a day.
Edison, however, is certainly in a minority when it comes to his opinion of sleep. For most of us, sleep is a wonderful break, and we’d be happy to sleep for longer — especially when the dreaded alarm sounds in the morning. And we’re not alone. Many famous figures, from Homer to Homer Simpson, have extolled the virtues of sleep, as the following quotes reveal.
There is a time for many words and there is a time for sleep.
Even a soul submerged in sleep is hard at work and helps make something of the world.
We are such stuff as dreams are made on, and our little life is rounded with a sleep.
— William Shakespeare
Oh sleep! it is a gentle thing, beloved from pole to pole.
— Samuel Taylor Coleridge
Sleep! Life's nurse, sent from heaven to create us anew day by day.
— Charles Reade, novelist
That we are not much sicker and much madder than we are is due exclusively to that most blessed and blessing of all natural graces, sleep.
— Aldous Huxley
It is a common experience that a problem difficult at night is resolved in the morning after the committee of sleep has worked on it.
— John Steinbeck
The amount of sleep required by the average person is five minutes more.
— Wilson Mizner, playwright
When action grows unprofitable, gather information; when information grows unprofitable, sleep.
— Ursula K. Le Guin
Sleep is the Swiss Army knife of health. When sleep is deficient, there is sickness and disease. And when sleep is abundant, there is vitality and health.
— Matthew Walker, neuroscientist
In the end, winning is sleeping better.
— Jodie Foster
In ancient cultures, sleep was actually seen as a gateway to another world. There's something sacred in all of us that we need to protect, and sleep is a way to connect with it, nourish it, and make it more present in our lives.
— Arianna Huffington
Sleep is like a cat: It only comes to you if you ignore it.
— Gillian Flynn, author
Having peace, happiness, and healthiness is my definition of beauty. And you can't have any of that without sleep.
Sleep is a regenerative process where we heal and where our neurons build strong connections. It’s like a fountain of youth that we dive in to every night.
— Mikhail Varshavski, aka Dr. Mike
I don't wanna sleep like a guinea pig, I wanna sleep like a bear!
— Homer Simpson
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