Mathias Basner is an assistant professor of sleep and chronobiology in psychiatry at the University of Pennsylvania's Perelman School of Medicine, and the deputy editor of the journal SLEEP. In answer to my questions, he shared his insights on the effects of sleep deprivation, the relationship between work and sleep, and the small steps anyone can take to improve their sleep immediately.
If you feel like nightmares are making it difficult to get a good night's sleep often or feel anxiety around falling asleep due to bad dreams, it is worthwhile to discuss it with your doctor and/or a psychologist. They can assess if there are underlying conditions to resolve and prescribe the right treatments and medications when applicable.
Sleep apnea is commonly thought of something that affects only older or overweight individuals, when in reality the face of the condition is much broader. It can affect the young or old, male or female, and out of shape to super fit, so awareness of the condition's signs and effects proves important for everyone.
Even with pretty amazing technology at our disposal, dreams -- their function, their purpose -- remain relatively little understood. The study of dreams through brain accidents, abnormalities, and disease will likely continue to be a source of new details that enrich our knowledge of this most mysterious aspect of life.