Despite five decades of modern neuroscience, we have only a very limited knowledge of the role of sleep and barely know anything about the role of dreams. Common experience tells us to agree with Shakespeare's simple conclusion that sleep "knits up the raveled sleeve of care."
Even as sleep becomes more critical for all manner of bodily functions, this only highlights the mystery that is sleep. Sleep is certainly a physiological necessity, but neuroscience can hardly improve on Shakespeare's observation after the guilty Macbeth cannot fall asleep.
The more we learn about sleep and sleep disorders, the more we realize that the symptoms of fatigue and sleepiness experienced by those with chronic sleep disruption are only the tip of the proverbial iceberg. In fact, poor sleep can exert its effects on nearly all medical conditions.
Although some superhero babies sleep 10-12 hours straight starting around 3-4 months of age, most infants wake up during the night and cry out for their parents. There are scientific reasons and some developmental and behavioral explanations for these awakenings.
I think the sleep revolution is one major endorsement away from exploding into popular culture. The foundation is in place. We just need one athlete to speak out about how he or she considers sleep to be a cornerstone for success.
Despite the initial promise of sleep learning, the general consensus in the scientific community is that such research is outdated. However, the same collective seems to be taking another look at sleep now.