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There have been a lot of studies into sleep recently, including research into why we dream and how our sleep patterns work. Studies have shown, for example, that we tend to sleep in cycles that last around an hour and a half – meaning that we are more likely to have a good night’s sleep if we plan it to last a duration that divides into 90 minute segments. So three hours of sleep (180 minutes or 2 X 90 minutes), is likely to be better than four hours. This allows us to go through the different phases of sleep and wake up when we are not in the deepest part of our sleep, which can leave us feeling grouchy and irritable.

We spend around 1/3 of our lives asleep, during which time the body is repairing and resting and we go in and out of different phases of sleep, having dreams and generally subconsciously working through things from the day. But there is also another important function at work, one which scientists are only really beginning to fully understand, and that is how your brain is ‘cleaned’ while you sleep.

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