"The famous co-discoverer of DNA who also became renowned for his work in neuroscience, the late Francis Crick of the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in San Diego, and molecular biologist Graeme Mitchison of the University of Cambridge have maintained that we actually dream to forget. According to their theory, dream sleep is a self-cleansing program. Unencumbered by the constantly flowing signals of the waking state, the brain uses the calm of the night to free the system from informational refuse. Superfluous and disturbing images, memories and associations are brought up in dreams, checked for value, then erased from the cortex."
"Sweet Dreams Are Made of This"- Read this article at Scientic American Mind
From now on, if someone asks me why in the world I sleep for 8 hours a day, I'll say, "Hey, I need to cleanse informational refuse from my clogged neuronal network!!"..:)
Jokes apart, I know many friends of mine who survive on 5-6 hours of sleep per day and are consequently irritated, forgetful and cranky. I daresay there are thousands of others out there who cut back on sleep to maybe party, work hard or watch television. To my friends and all those others, there's nothing that a little bit of planning and prioritizing can't accomplish. Nothing is worth your sleep!