- 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: 3,341 customer ratings
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #750 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
Audio CD, Audiobook, CD, Unabridged
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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.
From the Inside Flap
It is time for us to reclaim our right to a full night of sleep. In doing so, we can be reunited with that most powerful elixir of wellness and vitality. Then we may remember what it feels like to be truly awake during the day.
Sleep is one of the most important aspects of our life, health and longevity and yet it is increasingly neglected in twenty-first-century society, with devastating consequences: every major disease in the developed world - Alzheimer's, cancer, obesity, diabetes - has very strong causal links to deficient sleep.
Until very recently, science had no answer to the question of why we sleep, or what good it served, or why its absence is so damaging to our health. Compared to the other basic drives in life - eating, drinking, and reproducing - the purpose of sleep remained elusive.
Now, in this book, the first of its kind written by a scientific expert, Professor Matthew Walker explores twenty years of cutting-edge research to solve the mystery of why sleep matters. Looking at creatures from across the animal kingdom as well as major human studies, Why We Sleep delves in to everything from what really happens during REM sleep to how caffeine and alcohol affect sleep and why our sleep patterns change across a lifetime, transforming our appreciation of the extraordinary phenomenon that safeguards our existence.--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!