Review: Why We Sleep: The New Science of Sleep and Dreams

Why We Sleep: The New Science of Sleep and Dreams Why We Sleep: The New Science of Sleep and Dreams by Matthew Walker
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Some are getting too much, most aren’t getting enough. No, I don’t mean that; what I am talking about is sleep. There are people out there who seem to be able to exist on almost no sleep, people who are in the office at stupid o’clock in the morning and who are still up way after midnight. While scientists knew that we needed food and water and could explain why, no one could adequately explain why we slept, what purpose it served.

It is only recently though that scientists have been able to understand through decades of cutting-edge research just how key sleep is to our health and well-being. In essence, sleep is an essential element to our well being and health and in this book, Professor Matthew Walker sets out just how important it is and how most common diseases in the modern western world have roots deep within our lack of sleep. In this he will explain just what the different sleep types are and how they help us think over deeper and long-term issues, the effects of stimulants on our sleep and why do most teenagers drive like they are missing part of their brain? Because they are… It takes deep sleep and developmental time to accomplish the neural maturation that plugs this brain ‘gap’ in the frontal lobe. There is a fascinating demonstration on how lack of sleep can affect how we perform; he shows that sleep deprivation can have an equivalent effect to alcohol when driving.

Walker recommends that we need around eight hours each night; I normally only have about six hours sleep a night, heading to bed around midnight and being startled into life as the alarm screams at 6.15. Reading this has made me think about the best way to increase that given the potential health benefits of sleep. Did like the fact that a sleep graph is called a hypnogram. Generally, it is very well written too, he takes time to explain in a clear manner the points that he is making but occasionally it drifts towards more academic prose. If you have trouble sleeping or are just fascinated by the way the body works then you should read this.

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2 Comments

  1. LyzzyBee

    I really need to read this as I very much start to suffer if I don't get at least 7 but more like 8 hours.

  2. Paul Cheney

    It is very informative Lyzzy. Didn't have much last night

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