Sleep: Why You Need It and How To Get It

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'To sleep, perchance to dream. Many of us have a love hate relationship with sleep – making the time for it, honoring it, needing it, losing it, wanting it, partaking too much. A highly ritualized behavior, sleep also exemplifies the complexity of physiologic processes that feel beyond our control. 

Sleep onset involves a transition from sympathetic to parasympathetic nervous system dominance, a shift that is impossible to will with our cognitive minds, as 25% of Americans struggling with insomnia could tell you.

The emergency calls I get from patients, these days, tend to be from those suffering from psychotropic-withdrawal-induced insomnia. Otherwise balanced, rational women are rendered near-psychotic by the trauma of insomnia and disrupted sleep architecture. Their bodies and minds have "forgotten" how to do it. It turns out that one of the many poorly elucidated lasting effects of antidepressants is their interference with normal sleep architecture.'

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