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What Is Light Sleep vs. Heavy Sleep, and How Can You Get What You Need?

Lack of Shut-eye and a Sleep Deficit Crisis

Many health experts are calling attention to what they see as a public health crisis today: major sleep deficit. Between busy schedules at work and home, and devices that constantly connect us to email and social media — and let us binge-watch our favorite shows — we are more sleep deprived than ever.

This can wreak havoc on our physical, mental, and emotional health, says Rajkumar Dasgupta, MD, assistant professor of clinical medicine at the University of Southern California’s Keck School of Medicine in Los Angeles and a spokesperson for the American Academy of Sleep Medicine.

Poor quality sleep has been associated with increased risk of developing an array of health problems, including diabetes, cardiovascular disease, depression, and even Alzheimer’s disease. And research into the causes and effects of not dreaming enough, which happens when you don't enter the deep stage of REM sleep, has found that our dream deprivation is contributing to illness and depression.

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