It's become everyday in our age of anxiety. Many of us just don't sleep well, don't sleep enough, or both.

20 percent of Americans suffer from some sort of sleep disorder. Science writer Henry Nicholls comes to this topic from a different personal experience: he sleeps too much. He first noticed symptoms of narcolepsy when he was 21, and his disorder has progressed.

In his latest book, Sleepyhead: The Neuroscience of a Good Night's Rest, Nicholls digs into the latest neurological research on the spectrum of sleep disorders, from insomnia to narcolepsy to sleep apnea to restless leg syndrome, and finds that they have a lot in common. 

Shahbaz Nahian, CC BY-SA 4.0,

Catching some Zs.  Getting 40 Winks.  Slipping into the Arms of Morphius. 

We have many expressions for getting some sleep, but our knowledge about what we get from sleep was fairly limited, until recently. 

Now we have a better idea what benefits sleep gives to us; physically, mentally, and even creatively.  The knowledge comes from places like the sleep lab at the University of California-Berkeley, run by Matthew Walker. 

He is the author of a new book, Why We Sleep: Unlocking the Power of Sleep and Dreams

Shahbaz Nahian, CC BY-SA 4.0,

How'd you sleep last night?  Did you get eight hours, or at least try?  Try and fail to get enough sleep is a constant refrain in the world today. 

And maybe because we've tried to turn sleeping into something like shift work: pick a part of the day and SLEEP, boom.  The body often does not cooperate. 

In the book Wild Nights: How Taming Sleep Created Our Restless World, author Benjamin Reiss gives a lesson in what sleep was like before coffee and alarm clocks. 

The Value Of Rest As Restorative

Dec 20, 2016
Øyvind Holmstad/

The deadline is bearing down, and you need to produce something to keep the boss, the spouse, or yourself happy. 

So step BACK.  Huh? 

It is counter-intuitive, but Alex Soojung-Kim Pang is not the first person to suggest that you're more productive when you're better-rested. 

He makes the case in his new book Rest: Why You Get More Done When You Work Less

Jude Bijou Puts You To Sleep

Mar 12, 2015

Jude Bijou followed in her father's footsteps by going into the field of psychology. 

But after a time, she realized she was miserable, and set about making changes. 

Her current approach to therapy is more holistic than what she began with. 

It even includes ideas on life disruptions like sleeping poorly

The Savvy Insomniac

May 13, 2014
Fine Fettle Books

Some nights the sleep just won't come, and nothing from warm milk to counting sheep will help. 

Health journalist Lois Maharg can relate. 

Maharg struggled with sleep--and therefore struggled to cope in the daytime--for years.