This aspect of health is often the first spoke on the wheel to get sprung. It seems that life speeds up, commitments press, family, work, children... We just don't have time in a day. So we sacrifice sleep time. We push our bodies and don't take the down time the body needs.
Why is rest so important? It is truly the recuperative and repair time for the body. When we sleep, unimportant, energy-intensive process are shut down and the body can shunt that energy to body repair. Remember the body is a closed system and only has so much energy to go around to do all the activities of the body. If one area needs more, it has to take that energy from somewhere. For example, when you are sick and the body’s immune system is more active it often time cause you to be very tired...it shuts down the body to fight germs.
Sleep is the time that the body uses to repair the hits to the body while it is awake and active.
Understand also that damage to our system is additive (everything we do to the body either helps build it up or damage it.) Over time, if we put more stress and strain into the body than what it can heal the body will deteriorate. The body will experience eventually dis-ease then move into disease.
Rest is not something to be sacrificed. Rest is the time for lots of repair. It is truly VITAL for our health and longevity.