- Format: Kindle Edition
- File Size: 2834 KB
- Print Length: 341 pages
- Publisher: Penguin; 01 edition (28 September 2017)
- Sold by: Amazon Asia-Pacific Holdings Private Limited
- Language: English
- ASIN: B06Y649387
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Customer Reviews: 3,364 customer ratings
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #330 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Why We Sleep: The New Science of Sleep and Dreams Kindle Edition
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A powerful rallying cry by a researcher at the top of his game. If you want an effective distillation of a science that reaches deep into the frontiers of consciousness and identity . . . this is a good place to start. (Oliver Moody The Times)
A stimulating and important book . . . richly packed with science . . . Walker describes superbly what is going on in the brain during sleep and dreaming (Clive Cookson Financial Times)
Startling, sobering, vital, a life raft. . . . it's probably a little too soon to tell you that Why We Sleep saved my life, but I can tell you that it's been an eye-opener (Mark O'Connell Guardian)
Why We Sleep is a book on a mission...One especially winning attribute of Walker is that he's not a scold. He frames his suggestions for more healthful sleep habits not as a series of eat-your-Wheaties admonitions, but as wondrous, uplifting improvements in quality of life...Why We Sleep mounts a persuasive, exuberant case for addressing our societal sleep deficit and for the virtues of sleep itself. It is recommended for night-table reading in the most pragmatic sense (The New York Times Book Review)
This is brilliant popular science writing: accessible, compelling and enlightening (David Lodge Times Literary Supplement Book of the Year)
One of my favourite books this year, and definitely the most useful . . . Now I go to sleep much earlier and feel much better for it. (William Leith Evening Standard Books of the Year)
A top sleep scientist argues that sleep is more important for our health than diet or exercise (Tom Whipple The Times)
Most of us have no idea what we do with a third of our lives. In this lucid and engaging book, Matt Walker explains the new science that is rapidly solving this age-old mystery. Why We Sleep is a canny pleasure that will have you turning pages well past your bedtime (Daniel Gilbert, author of Stumbling on Happiness)
Simply a must-read. World-renowned neuroscientist and sleep expert Matthew Walker takes us on a fascinating and indispensable journey into the latest understandings of the science of sleep . . . that may change the way you live your life. In these super-charged, distracting times it is hard to think of a book that is more important to read than this one (Adam Gazzaley, co-author of The Distracted Mind) --This text refers to the hardcover edition.
Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
To Sleep . . .
Do you think you got enough sleep this past week? Can you recall the last time you woke up without an alarm clock feeling refreshed, not needing caffeine? If the answer to either of these questions is “no,” you are not alone. Two-thirds of adults throughout all developed nations fail to obtain the recommended eight hours of nightly sleep.I
I doubt you are surprised by this fact, but you may be surprised by the consequences. Routinely sleeping less than six or seven hours a night demolishes your immune system, more than doubling your risk of cancer. Insufficient sleep is a key lifestyle factor determining whether or not you will develop Alzheimer’s disease. Inadequate sleep—even moderate reductions for just one week—disrupts blood sugar levels so profoundly that you would be classified as pre-diabetic. Short sleeping increases the likelihood of your coronary arteries becoming blocked and brittle, setting you on a path toward cardiovascular disease, stroke, and congestive heart failure. Fitting Charlotte Brontë’s prophetic wisdom that “a ruffled mind makes a restless pillow,” sleep disruption further contributes to all major psychiatric conditions, including depression, anxiety, and suicidality.
Perhaps you have also noticed a desire to eat more when you’re tired? This is no coincidence. Too little sleep swells concentrations of a hormone that makes you feel hungry while suppressing a companion hormone that otherwise signals food satisfaction. Despite being full, you still want to eat more. It’s a proven recipe for weight gain in sleep-deficient adults and children alike. Worse, should you attempt to diet but don’t get enough sleep while doing so, it is futile, since most of the weight you lose will come from lean body mass, not fat.
Add the above health consequences up, and a proven link becomes easier to accept: the shorter your sleep, the shorter your life span. The old maxim “I’ll sleep when I’m dead” is therefore unfortunate. Adopt this mind-set, and you will be dead sooner and the quality of that (shorter) life will be worse. The elastic band of sleep deprivation can stretch only so far before it snaps. Sadly, human beings are in fact the only species that will deliberately deprive themselves of sleep without legitimate gain. Every component of wellness, and countless seams of societal fabric, are being eroded by our costly state of sleep neglect: human and financial alike. So much so that the World Health Organization (WHO) has now declared a sleep loss epidemic throughout industrialized nations.II It is no coincidence that countries where sleep time has declined most dramatically over the past century, such as the US, the UK, Japan, and South Korea, and several in western Europe, are also those suffering the greatest increase in rates of the aforementioned physical diseases and mental disorders.
Scientists such as myself have even started lobbying doctors to start “prescribing” sleep. As medical advice goes, it’s perhaps the most painless and enjoyable to follow. Do not, however, mistake this as a plea to doctors to start prescribing more sleeping pills—quite the opposite, in fact, considering the alarming evidence surrounding the deleterious health consequences of these drugs.
But can we go so far as to say that a lack of sleep can kill you outright? Actually, yes—on at least two counts. First, there is a very rare genetic disorder that starts with a progressive insomnia, emerging in midlife. Several months into the disease course, the patient stops sleeping altogether. By this stage, they have started to lose many basic brain and body functions. No drugs that we currently have will help the patient sleep. After twelve to eighteen months of no sleep, the patient will die. Though exceedingly rare, this disorder asserts that a lack of sleep can kill a human being.
Second is the deadly circumstance of getting behind the wheel of a motor vehicle without having had sufficient sleep. Drowsy driving is the cause of hundreds of thousands of traffic accidents and fatalities each year. And here, it is not only the life of the sleep-deprived individuals that is at risk, but the lives of those around them. Tragically, one person dies in a traffic accident every hour in the United States due to a fatigue-related error. It is disquieting to learn that vehicular accidents caused by drowsy driving exceed those caused by alcohol and drugs combined.
Society’s apathy toward sleep has, in part, been caused by the historic failure of science to explain why we need it. Sleep remained one of the last great biological mysteries. All of the mighty problem-solving methods in science—genetics, molecular biology, and high-powered digital technology—have been unable to unlock the stubborn vault of sleep. Minds of the most stringent kind, including Nobel Prize–winner Francis Crick, who deduced the twisted-ladder structure of DNA, famed Roman educator and rhetorician Quintilian, and even Sigmund Freud had all tried their hand at deciphering sleep’s enigmatic code, all in vain.
To better frame this state of prior scientific ignorance, imagine the birth of your first child. At the hospital, the doctor enters the room and says, “Congratulations, it’s a healthy baby boy. We’ve completed all of the preliminary tests and everything looks good.” She smiles reassuringly and starts walking toward the door. However, before exiting the room she turns around and says, “There is just one thing. From this moment forth, and for the rest of your child’s entire life, he will repeatedly and routinely lapse into a state of apparent coma. It might even resemble death at times. And while his body lies still his mind will often be filled with stunning, bizarre hallucinations. This state will consume one-third of his life and I have absolutely no idea why he’ll do it, or what it is for. Good luck!”
Astonishing, but until very recently, this was reality: doctors and scientists could not give you a consistent or complete answer as to why we sleep. Consider that we have known the functions of the three other basic drives in life—to eat, to drink, and to reproduce—for many tens if not hundreds of years now. Yet the fourth main biological drive, common across the entire animal kingdom—the drive to sleep—has continued to elude science for millennia.
Addressing the question of why we sleep from an evolutionary perspective only compounds the mystery. No matter what vantage point you take, sleep would appear to be the most foolish of biological phenomena. When you are asleep, you cannot gather food. You cannot socialize. You cannot find a mate and reproduce. You cannot nurture or protect your offspring. Worse still, sleep leaves you vulnerable to predation. Sleep is surely one of the most puzzling of all human behaviors.
On any one of these grounds—never mind all of them in combination—there ought to have been a strong evolutionary pressure to prevent the emergence of sleep or anything remotely like it. As one sleep scientist has said, “If sleep does not serve an absolutely vital function, then it is the biggest mistake the evolutionary process has ever made.”III
Yet sleep has persisted. Heroically so. Indeed, every species studied to date sleeps.IV This simple fact establishes that sleep evolved with—or very soon after—life itself on our planet. Moreover, the subsequent perseverance of sleep throughout evolution means there must be tremendous benefits that far outweigh all of the obvious hazards and detriments.
Ultimately, asking “Why do we sleep?” was the wrong question. It implied there was a single function, one holy grail of a reason that we slept, and we went in search of it. Theories ranged from the logical (a time for conserving energy), to the peculiar (an opportunity for eyeball oxygenation), to the psychoanalytic (a non-conscious state in which we fulfill repressed wishes).
This book will reveal a very different truth: sleep is infinitely more complex, profoundly more interesting, and alarmingly more health-relevant. We sleep for a rich litany of functions, plural—an abundant constellation of nighttime benefits that service both our brains and our bodies. There does not seem to be one major organ within the body, or process within the brain, that isn’t optimally enhanced by sleep (and detrimentally impaired when we don’t get enough). That we receive such a bounty of health benefits each night should not be surprising. After all, we are awake for two-thirds of our lives, and we don’t just achieve one useful thing during that stretch of time. We accomplish myriad undertakings that promote our own well-being and survival. Why, then, would we expect sleep—and the twenty-five to thirty years, on average, it takes from our lives—to offer one function only?
Through an explosion of discoveries over the past twenty years, we have come to realize that evolution did not make a spectacular blunder in conceiving of sleep. Sleep dispenses a multitude of health-ensuring benefits, yours to pick up in repeat prescription every twenty-four hours, should you choose. (Many don’t.)
Within the brain, sleep enriches a diversity of functions, including our ability to learn, memorize, and make logical decisions and choices. Benevolently servicing our psychological health, sleep recalibrates our emotional brain circuits, allowing us to navigate next-day social and psychological challenges with cool-headed composure. We are even beginning to understand the most impervious and controversial of all conscious experiences: the dream. Dreaming provides a unique suite of benefits to all species fortunate enough to experience it, humans included. Among these gifts are a consoling neurochemical bath that mollifies painful memories and a virtual reality space in which the brain melds past and present knowledge, inspiring creativity.
Downstairs in the body, sleep restocks the armory of our immune system, helping fight malignancy, preventing infection, and warding off all manner of sickness. Sleep reforms the body’s metabolic state by fine-tuning the balance of insulin and circulating glucose. Sleep further regulates our appetite, helping control body weight through healthy food selection rather than rash impulsivity. Plentiful sleep maintains a flourishing microbiome within your gut from which we know so much of our nutritional health begins. Adequate sleep is intimately tied to the fitness of our cardiovascular system, lowering blood pressure while keeping our hearts in fine condition.
A balanced diet and exercise are of vital importance, yes. But we now see sleep as the preeminent force in this health trinity. The physical and mental impairments caused by one night of bad sleep dwarf those caused by an equivalent absence of food or exercise. It is difficult to imagine any other state—natural or medically manipulated—that affords a more powerful redressing of physical and mental health at every level of analysis.
Based on a rich, new scientific understanding of sleep, we no longer have to ask what sleep is good for. Instead, we are now forced to wonder whether there are any biological functions that do not benefit by a good night’s sleep. So far, the results of thousands of studies insist that no, there aren’t.
Emerging from this research renaissance is an unequivocal message: sleep is the single most effective thing we can do to reset our brain and body health each day—Mother Nature’s best effort yet at contra-death. Unfortunately, the real evidence that makes clear all of the dangers that befall individuals and societies when sleep becomes short have not been clearly telegraphed to the public. It is the most glaring omission in the contemporary health conversation. In response, this book is intended to serve as a scientifically accurate intervention addressing this unmet need, and what I hope is a fascinating journey of discoveries. It aims to revise our cultural appreciation of sleep, and reverse our neglect of it.
Personally, I should note that I am in love with sleep (not just my own, though I do give myself a non-negotiable eight-hour sleep opportunity each night). I am in love with everything sleep is and does. I am in love with discovering all that remains unknown about it. I am in love with communicating the astonishing brilliance of it to the public. I am in love with finding any and all methods for reuniting humanity with the sleep it so desperately needs. This love affair has now spanned a twenty-plus-year research career that began when I was a professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and continues now that I am a professor of neuroscience and psychology at the University of California, Berkeley.
It was not, however, love at first sight. I am an accidental sleep researcher. It was never my intent to inhabit this esoteric outer territory of science. At age eighteen I went to study at the Queen’s Medical Center in England: a prodigious institute in Nottingham boasting a wonderful band of brain scientists on its faculty. Ultimately, medicine wasn’t for me, as it seemed more concerned with answers, whereas I was always more enthralled by questions. For me, answers were simply a way to get to the next question. I decided to study neuroscience, and after graduating, obtained my PhD in neurophysiology supported by a fellowship from England’s Medical Research Council, London.
It was during my PhD work that I began making my first real scientific contributions in the field of sleep research. I was examining patterns of electrical brainwave activity in older adults in the early stages of dementia. Counter to common belief, there isn’t just one type of dementia. Alzheimer’s disease is the most common, but is only one of many types. For a number of treatment reasons, it is critical to know which type of dementia an individual is suffering from as soon as possible.
I began assessing brainwave activity from my patients during wake and sleep. My hypothesis: there was a unique and specific electrical brain signature that could forecast which dementia subtype each individual was progressing toward. Measurements taken during the day were ambiguous, with no clear signature of difference to be found. Only in the nighttime ocean of sleeping brainwaves did the recordings speak out a clear labeling of my patients’ saddening disease fate. The discovery proved that sleep could potentially be used as a new early diagnostic litmus test to understand which type of dementia an individual would develop.
Sleep became my obsession. The answer it had provided me, like all good answers, only led to more fascinating questions, among them: Was the disruption of sleep in my patients actually contributing to the diseases they were suffering from, and even causing some of their terrible symptoms, such as memory loss, aggression, hallucinations, delusions? I read all I could. A scarcely believable truth began to emerge—nobody actually knew the clear reason why we needed sleep, and what it does. I could not answer my own question about dementia if this fundamental first question remained unanswered. I decided I would try to crack the code of sleep.
I halted my research in dementia and, for a post-doctoral position that took me across the Atlantic Ocean to Harvard, set about addressing one of the most enigmatic puzzles of humanity—one that had eluded some of the best scientists in history: Why do we sleep? With genuine naïveté, not hubris, I believed I would find the answer within two years. That was twenty years ago. Hard problems care little about what motivates their interrogators; they meter out their lessons of difficulty all the same.
Now, after two decades of my own research efforts, combined with thousands of studies from other laboratories around the world, we have many of the answers. These discoveries have taken me on wonderful, privileged, and unexpected journeys inside and outside of academia—from being a sleep consultant for the NBA, NFL, and British Premier League football teams; to Pixar Animation, government agencies, and well-known technology and financial companies; to taking part in and helping make several mainstream television programs and documentaries. These sleep revelations, together with many similar discoveries from my fellow sleep scientists, will offer all the proof you need about the vital importance of sleep.
A final comment on the structure of this book. The chapters are written in a logical order, traversing a narrative arc in four main parts.
Part 1 demystifies this beguiling thing called sleep: what it is, what it isn’t, who sleeps, how much they sleep, how human beings should sleep (but are not), and how sleep changes across your life span or that of your child, for better and for worse.
Part 2 details the good, the bad, and the deathly of sleep and sleep loss. We will explore all of the astonishing benefits of sleep for brain and for body, affirming what a remarkable Swiss Army knife of health and wellness sleep truly is. Then we turn to how and why a lack of sufficient sleep leads to a quagmire of ill health, disease, and untimely death—a wakeup call to sleep if ever there was one.
Part 3 offers safe passage from sleep to the fantastical world of dreams scientifically explained. From peering into the brains of dreaming individuals, and precisely how dreams inspire Nobel Prize–winning ideas that transform the world, to whether or not dream control really is possible, and if such a thing is even wise—all will be revealed.
Part 4 seats us first at the bedside, explaining numerous sleep disorders, including insomnia. I will unpack the obvious and not-so-obvious reasons for why so many of us find it difficult to get a good night’s sleep, night after night. A frank discussion of sleeping pills then follows, based on scientific and clinical data rather than hearsay or branding messages. Details of new, safer, and more effective non-drug therapies for better sleep will then be advised. Transitioning from bedside up to the level of sleep in society, we will subsequently learn of the sobering impact that insufficient sleep has in education, in medicine and health care, and in business. The evidence shatters beliefs about the usefulness of long waking hours with little sleep in effectively, safely, profitably, and ethically accomplishing the goals of each of these disciplines. Concluding the book with genuine optimistic hope, I lay out a road map of ideas that can reconnect humanity with the sleep it remains so bereft of—a new vision for sleep in the twenty-first century.
I should point out that you need not read this book in this progressive, four-part narrative arc. Each chapter can, for the most part, be read individually, and out of order, without losing too much of its significance. I therefore invite you to consume the book in whole or in part, buffet-style or in order, all according to your personal taste.
In closing, I offer a disclaimer. Should you feel drowsy and fall asleep while reading the book, unlike most authors, I will not be disheartened. Indeed, based on the topic and content of this book, I am actively going to encourage that kind of behavior from you. Knowing what I know about the relationship between sleep and memory, it is the greatest form of flattery for me to know that you, the reader, cannot resist the urge to strengthen and thus remember what I am telling you by falling asleep. So please, feel free to ebb and flow into and out of consciousness during this entire book. I will take absolutely no offense. On the contrary, I would be delighted.
I. The World Health Organization and the National Sleep Foundation both stipulate an average of eight hours of sleep per night for adults.
II. Sleepless in America, National Geographic, http://channel.nationalgeographic.com/sleepless-in-america/episode/sleepless-in-america.
III. Dr. Allan Rechtschaffen.
IV. Kushida, C. Encyclopedia of Sleep, Volume 1 (Elsever, 2013). --This text refers to the hardcover edition.
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For normal folks like you and me, and for doctors or scientists as well, sleep's been always a mysterious phenomena. We humans sleep (preferably) one third of our whole life. This is an enormous amount of time which demands some attention. Though historically the attention has not been allotted to sleep it deserves, academically or culturally.
If you read this book (and you should; whether you love or hate or enjoy or avoid or have problem with or have some queries on sleeping) you'd understand why the evolutionary process didn't eliminate sleep from our biological dictionary. Why, though seemingly unnecessary/time-wasting/futile/unproductive, we still need to get a good night's sleep to get a long list of physiological, biological, psychological benefits. And if you by any chance fail to get the necessary amount of sleep (voluntarily or otherwise), you're a big gambler who doesn't have the idea about the grave repercussions. (No kidding.)
This book will be beneficial to everybody except those smart dudes who have unwavering faith in some generic and prejudiced sayings like: "Six hours of sleep is enough for a functional adult" or "You'll have chance to sleep all you need when you're dead" or "Our great leader sleeps only four hours/day, hence I should do the same to be like him." etc.
Don't trust them for Kumbhkarna's sake. Don't mess with sleep.
Some curious takeaways from the book:
● Not only the starting phase of sleep is important, when you're going to wake up in the morning is equally significant too. If you get up earlier without fulfilling your sleep-quota, there will be consequences. Serious consequences.
● Melatonin doesn't make you feel drowsy; it just reminds your brain, "Time to go to bed, fella." Part of a whole set of timekeeping mechanism actually. The chemical substance which in fact pressurize your system to make you feel sleepy is named Adenosine.
● Dreaming makes you more visionary/creative/shrewd, really. And dreaming is not just some "commercial breaks" between slumber, it has serious impact on your mindset/thinking/worldview/self assessment and many things more.
● Homo sapiens is "biphasic" in case of sleep requirement. That is, we humans are biologically inclined to get sleep two times a day. Taking a siesta is not just a cultural phenomena in origin, but deeply biological. Dozing after lunchtime is absolutely human-like, nothing shameful if you think so.
● It's not mere practice that makes a person perfect. Practice, followed by a good night of sleep is what required for perfection. And the writer is serious about that.
● You can sleep as many hours trying to recover/make up the sleep that you've lost or skipped; but make no mistake, humans can never "sleep back"/rebound the sleep once lost.
● "Night owls" are real, not myth. As real as the "Morning larks" are. Don't bully them; or feel guilty of being one.
● Caffeine is the most widely used (rather abused) addictive psychoactive stimulant drug in the world. It is also the only addictive substance that we readily give to our children and teens.
● And a lot more.
Matthew Walker is a sleep scientist and does an exceptional job in this book of explaining what sleep achieves for us. In fact, sleep deprivation is extremely dangerous and there is not enough awareness of this. Modern lifestyle has dealt a blow to both our duration and quality of sleep, and the effects are already quite apparent.
While sleep has not completely revealed all its mysteries to us, a lot is now known after painstaking research over several years. Our sleep shuffles between NREM, Light and REM sleep – and all of them have their purpose. NREM sleep fortifies our memory helping in longer term recall, while REM sleep & dreams lend emotional balance and help us get to the big picture. The book discusses a large number of experiments detailing what happens when we skip sleep. Depending on the sleep cycle and the quantum of deprivation, the ill effects are nothing short of disastrous – lower immunity, failing memory, loss of emotional balance, pre-disposition to serious diseases such as diabetes, dementia and even cancer. Getting adequate sleep (~8 hours) on the other hand makes people more creative & productive other than being healthy.
Somehow, our cultures today do not emphasise the importance of sleep, as much as we do exercise and diet. So much so, that sleeping less is mistakenly regarded as a confirmation of working hard and being more ambitious. The assumption that each of us can do with varying periods of sleep is largely a myth as well. While a genetic mutation allows a few to function effectively with around 6 hours of sleep, this is extremely rare. Almost all of us do need ~8 hours of sleep. There are tips on improving sleep quantity as well as quality all through the book, such as regulating caffeine in the later part of the day.
Most of us are guilty of not according sleep the importance it deserves, and this book is an eye opener. This is a book everyone should read. There are very important points of note for individuals, educational institutions, hospitals, organisations and even governments.
I have spent a lifetime of cutting down of sleep time to get some more work done. If I had read the book earlier, I would organised my life differently.
downside - you may get depressed that you are probably not sleeping right :)
Top international reviews
Well there could be a much simpler explanation. You could be sleep deprived. Lots of people are and many don't even know.
This book explains why we sleep, the positive effects of sleeping in your mind, body and health and the negative effects that not sleeping enough has on them.
I really enjoyed this book. I am sleeping more now and I definitely feel a lot better, more clear minded and energetic. I can now clearly understand the effect a few nights in a row of not sleeping enough have on me... and I can detect it and easily fix it by just going to bed earlier! Life changing.
I have given 3 stars on account of the serious research that has gone into the book. Otherwise it would be even less.
First addressing the process of sleep, why the different phases of sleep are necessary to health, and how modern life and technology disrupt healthy and natural sleep patterns, Walker sets a persuasive context for the problems caused by lack of sleep, from "drowsy driving" (responsible for more avoidable deaths than alcohol and drugs combined) to medical errors by sleep-deprived doctors, from depleting personal happiness to severely hampering the immune system.
At my age, the particularly powerful wake-up call (ho ho) for me is the much greater chance of premature death, even in your sixties.
We're reading this book for the BBC Radio Gloucestershire Book Club in June, and I'm glad this will help give his findings more of an audience. It's already an international bestseller, but I wonder how many people have truly changed their sleeping habits long term as a result? I hope I can find the resolve to change mine before it's too late, and I will be pressing this book on everyone I know with evangelical zeal. Part of me is also gratified to find scientific confirmation of old wives' tales and instincts about sleep: "an hour before midnight is worth two after", "Sleep is nature's healer", "Got to get my beauty sleep", etc. These and many more are all unassailable according to Walker. if we put old wives in charge of the world, it would be a much healthier, happier and peaceful place.
Matthew Walker's writing style is engaging, as are his Youtube videos, and you will learn important information that could, literally, prevent your life from being prematurely curtailed!
I'll save you the money by summarizing the book:
"Sleep is really, really, really, really, really important. If you don't get enough sleep, you could have many problems because sleep is really, really, really important. I'm not going to tell you how to get better or more sleep, I will only tell you that sleep is really important."
Personally, I think he's holding out on this information for his next book. Grrrrrrrr.
The author is a neurologist and talks about how the brain works when we are sleeping.
How sleep helps the learning process, memory, etc.
There is a science behind sleep, that few people know about. I wish I had read this book when I was in university.
Das Buch ist in vier Teile eingeteilt: (1) This Thing Called Sleep: Hier erklärt Walker die biologischen Grundlagen des Schlafes und vermittelt ein Verständnis für die unterschiedlichen Schlafphasen. (2) Why Should You Sleep?: Hier geht es um die absolute Wichtigkeit des Schlafes und die Folgen von mangelndem Schlaf. (3) How and Why We Dream: Hier wird die Bedeutung von Träumen erläutert. (4) From Sleeping Pills to Society Transformed: Hier wird der gute und der schlechte Umgang mit Schlaf in unserer Gesellschaft dargestellt und ein Weg in die Zukunft gezeigt. Ein Anhang mit zwölf Tipps für gesunden Schlaf rundet das Buch ab.
Wer ein wissenschaftliches Interesse mitbringt, wird einiges lernen können (obwohl das Buch allgemeinverständlich geschrieben ist), aber auch der Leser, dem es primär um den praktischen Umgang mit dem Schlaf geht, kommt absolut auf seine Kosten. Man muss nicht jedes wissenschaftliche Detail verstehen, um von dem Buch profitieren zu können. Warum ist eine Stunde mehr Schlaf oft produktiver als eine Stunde mehr Lernen? Welchen Einfluss haben Alkohol und Drogen auf unseren Schlaf? Wie kann man Schlafproblemen entgegnen und warum sind Schlaftabletten oft die falsche Lösung? Welche Rolle kann ein Power Nap haben? Wie kann man mit Jetlags umgehen? Und… warum sollte ich den Snooze-Button meines Weckers lieber nicht nutzen? Auf diese Fragen und viele andere hat Matthew Walker Antworten. Absolut lesenswert!
This guy might be a professor but bless him, he can’t write for love or money. He has a tin ear and it’s very excruciating to read. He’s onto something however. I think that the fitness and nutrition industry will (or should) wise up to the need of adequate sleep. In that sense this book is a piece of sensible advice and warning.
I feel now, having read this book, that I have read everything there is to know and understand about sleep, why we sleep and more importantly, the dreadful damage that lack of it does to us. The book is so thorough and in-depth and I feel all aspects of the topic have been fully covered. It is written in plain language, so very easy to understand.
I have learned so much about sleep deprivation now and the harm it does to physical and mental health. I understand a lot more about the dreaming stages and I feel fully 'trained' to go out there and sleep to the best of my ability, for the sake of my life!
There are some incredible points that leapt out at me, such as: until this study scientists didn’t understand WHY we need to sleep - hence the title! With all the science we have available you would have thought we’d have known this long ago but it took this ‘proper’ investment to reach that knowledge & understanding.
And another is WHEN; without this information the human race has set some ridiculous parameters around when we should sleep & decided they should apply to everyone. Worse, we’ve decided along the way that anyone who won’t or can’t live up to them is lazy or uncaring. We have designed our modern society around a set of non-scientific, irrelevant & sometimes even harmful ‘rules’, such as ‘working 9-5’ & ‘early start & early finish school times’. We believe all babies & small children should go to bed early. We go to great lengths to stop children napping, to get the sleep they need (possibly because they’ve had to get up some time before they were ready!), so that we can put them to bed early & enable parents to have an evening without them! The book shows us clearly that some babies & children won’t be able to go to sleep early (& stay asleep!) no matter how hard their parents try!
One of the critical learning points is the necessity of sleep to our overall health, wellbeing & even life expectancy! I’ll never forget this & obviously we should be adopting it - as we are a first world society - now that we finally understand it! It’s ludicrous to ignore this knowledge just because we’ve got it wrong previously!
I think anyone reading this book will end up with much better developed sleep strategies for themselves & their families. It’s really well written & interesting. Unsurprisingly it’s quite ‘meaty’ content & I found I tended to read a bit & then have to stop & have a think about it! But the key learning points are certainly sticking with me. I definitely think everyone can learn something from reading this book & I definitely recommend it!