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Most Helpful Review
2 customers found this helpful
Average Rating:(4.0)out of 5 stars
If like me youre a ch...
If like me you're a chronic insomniac, or if you're the parent of a young child or a carer or a shift worker, you may initially be put off by the tone of Why We Sleep. The author's premise is that we are, as a society and as individuals, joyfully squandering our sleep time with terrible consequences - which he outlines, at length. Still, I gave the book a chance and there is some interesting stuff in here. The health benefits of sleep for physical and mental health are so great that he suggests, not entirely frivolously, that the question should be not why do we sleep, but why do we wake up? We need NREM (non-rapid eye movement) sleep to file away everything we've learnt during the day, to process it and move it from short-term to long-term memory. This is why cramming the night before an exam won't work, because it's sleep that allows you to properly integrate and retain what you've learnt. I found what he said about REM sleep (where we dream) most interesting. This is where we make odd connections, have creative thoughts, gain a fresh perspective. Anyone involved in any kind of artistic project will know that feeling. You hit what seems like an insoluble problem, you go to bed and wake up the next morning with a solution that is not just feasible but feels inevitable. This applies as much in daily life - we talk about 'sleeping on' a decision all the time. He's a big fan of siestas (as am I) and talks about the genesis of the term 'power nap' which came from research on the optimum time for airline pilots to rest. It was found that a short sleep at the beginning of a long period of sleep deprivation (eg during a long-haul flight) was the most effective. The FAA decided to institute this as policy but rejected the suggested terms 'prophylactic napping' or 'planned napping' (the second was considered too managerial, the first, well you can guess). The trouble with the term 'power napping' is that it is now colloquially used to suggest a macho alternative to sleep, rather than a short-term expedient when a full-night's sleep isn't possible. The book covers the body clock and circadian rhythms and even sleep in other species. The author also shares exhaustive evidence on the dangers of sleep deprivation, both immediate - such as driving while tired - and long-term, through poor health outcomes. My slight qualm about the book is that the author is so evangelical about his position. You are left thinking that all the world's problems could be solved if only we all got a regular eight hours sleep. He cites lots of research backing up his case but a general reader has no context. It's a bit like watching a courtroom drama and being totally convinced by the prosecution's case but not getting to hear the defence. If you do have problems sleeping you are likely to be so frightened by this book that it will keep you awake at night. When was this golden age when everybody got their eight hours? How can we make the comparison? Maybe in past centuries people spent more time in bed (what he calls sleep opportunity) but unless you were wealthy you probably shared a room with several family members (and possibly other fauna). How much quality sleep would you have got in a room where a baby was teething or siblings were fighting or mice were scuttling? The bit I was really excited about getting to was the chapter on insomnia treatments but all the author offered (after much fanfare) was the old cognitive-behavioural chestnut, which among other things insists on no napping (despite his earlier waxing lyrical on the benefits) and, more seriously, no reading in bed. There's a lot in Why We Sleep and overall I found it an interesting and informative read, albeit one without a miracle cure at the end of it. * I received a copy of Why We Sleep from the publisher via Netgalley. A longer version of this review first appeared on my blog katevane.com/blog
<ul><li>Format:Paperback</li><li>Publication Date: 2018-06-19</li></ul>
10 reviews
Average Rating:(5.0)out of 5 stars

Excellent book. Very ...

Excellent book. Very informative and useful. I have changed so many of my sleep habits and environment and I am sleeping and feeling so much better. Just changing lowering the temperature in the room has made a huge difference. Sleep deprivation is at epidemic proportions in our world and so many activities and decisions are being done and made from this place that it is truly scary for all of us. Matthew Walker has made a huge contribution in increasing the quality of all of our lives by helping us all learn how important a "good night's sleep" is. I would highly recommend this book for parents, teachers, students and book clubs to encourage discussions and support us all in valuing and obtaining enough sleep. (Which numerous studies show is about 8.5 hours per night or we severely compromise our immune systems over time.)

Helpful?
Average Rating:(5.0)out of 5 stars

This was an eye-openin...

This was an eye-opening book about how sleep, giving an overview of the scientific evidence on why our bodies need sleep. That chronic sleep deprivation could do as much--if not more--harm than smoking over our lifespans was terrifying...and that 6 hours a night qualified as chronic sleep deprivation was enough to make me try to go to bed early from now on. My only 'complaint' was that it didn't address at all the chronic sleep deprivation of parents, especially of mothers with babies. And it didn't discuss at all if there are any differential effects for women vs men. Perhaps there isn't enough evidence to report, but still. Nonetheless, it was an incredibly instructive (and terrifying!) book. Highly recommended.

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Average Rating:(5.0)out of 5 stars

A great book that comp...

A great book that completely changed the way I think about sleeping. The changes I've implemented for myself and my family have definitely improved our overall well-being. Definitely recommend everyone check it out, especially parents.

Helpful?
Average Rating:(4.0)out of 5 stars

If like me youre a ch...

If like me you're a chronic insomniac, or if you're the parent of a young child or a carer or a shift worker, you may initially be put off by the tone of Why We Sleep. The author's premise is that we are, as a society and as individuals, joyfully squandering our sleep time with terrible consequences - which he outlines, at length. Still, I gave the book a chance and there is some interesting stuff in here. The health benefits of sleep for physical and mental health are so great that he suggests, not entirely frivolously, that the question should be not why do we sleep, but why do we wake up? We need NREM (non-rapid eye movement) sleep to file away everything we've learnt during the day, to process it and move it from short-term to long-term memory. This is why cramming the night before an exam won't work, because it's sleep that allows you to properly integrate and retain what you've learnt. I found what he said about REM sleep (where we dream) most interesting. This is where we make odd connections, have creative thoughts, gain a fresh perspective. Anyone involved in any kind of artistic project will know that feeling. You hit what seems like an insoluble problem, you go to bed and wake up the next morning with a solution that is not just feasible but feels inevitable. This applies as much in daily life - we talk about 'sleeping on' a decision all the time. He's a big fan of siestas (as am I) and talks about the genesis of the term 'power nap' which came from research on the optimum time for airline pilots to rest. It was found that a short sleep at the beginning of a long period of sleep deprivation (eg during a long-haul flight) was the most effective. The FAA decided to institute this as policy but rejected the suggested terms 'prophylactic napping' or 'planned napping' (the second was considered too managerial, the first, well you can guess). The trouble with the term 'power napping' is that it is now colloquially used to suggest a macho alternative to sleep, rather than a short-term expedient when a full-night's sleep isn't possible. The book covers the body clock and circadian rhythms and even sleep in other species. The author also shares exhaustive evidence on the dangers of sleep deprivation, both immediate - such as driving while tired - and long-term, through poor health outcomes. My slight qualm about the book is that the author is so evangelical about his position. You are left thinking that all the world's problems could be solved if only we all got a regular eight hours sleep. He cites lots of research backing up his case but a general reader has no context. It's a bit like watching a courtroom drama and being totally convinced by the prosecution's case but not getting to hear the defence. If you do have problems sleeping you are likely to be so frightened by this book that it will keep you awake at night. When was this golden age when everybody got their eight hours? How can we make the comparison? Maybe in past centuries people spent more time in bed (what he calls sleep opportunity) but unless you were wealthy you probably shared a room with several family members (and possibly other fauna). How much quality sleep would you have got in a room where a baby was teething or siblings were fighting or mice were scuttling? The bit I was really excited about getting to was the chapter on insomnia treatments but all the author offered (after much fanfare) was the old cognitive-behavioural chestnut, which among other things insists on no napping (despite his earlier waxing lyrical on the benefits) and, more seriously, no reading in bed. There's a lot in Why We Sleep and overall I found it an interesting and informative read, albeit one without a miracle cure at the end of it. * I received a copy of Why We Sleep from the publisher via Netgalley. A longer version of this review first appeared on my blog katevane.com/blog

Helpful?
Average Rating:(4.0)out of 5 stars

Why We Sleep is a fasc...

Why We Sleep is a fascinating and compelling book about the science of sleep. Like most Americans, I am sleep deprived. But (also, like many Americans), before I read this book, I would have said that I don't need more sleep. I'm genetically designed to get by on 6 hours a night or less. After reading this book, my guess is that I'm just like everyone else and many aspects of my life would be significantly better if I got more sleep. From better memory retention to weight loss to higher integrity in the workplace, sleep, according to Dr. Walker, is a necessary component. There is a little bit of preaching in this book, but it is probably one of the books I read this year that will have an impact on my life. Definitely going to work on getting a better night's sleep!

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Average Rating:(4.0)out of 5 stars

Honestly I recommend t...

Honestly I recommend this book to everyone. Vitally interesting about all the way sleep (NREM and REM) contributes to our overall health, and the ways we start to decline when we don't get enough sleep. Interesting detail about the mechanics of dreaming, too.

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Average Rating:(4.0)out of 5 stars

I recently visited a d...

I recently visited a doctor for a back issue who noticed me reading Why We Sleep and told me what an important book it is. And I don't disagree, though the title could just as well have been Everything You Need to Know About Sleep But Were Afraid To Ask. And I mean afraid literally, because Walker goes into painstaking detail about why our bodies need sleep and how lack of a good night of it (at least 7 hours) causes chronic harm to body and mind, contributes to a multitude of physical and mental illnesses, and shortens one's lifespan. For many of us this can be a rude awakening (pun intended). Walker supports his arguments with massive amounts of scientific research. He himself is a sleep scientist. Walker's book, like Arianna Huffington's, may help those who have been putting sleep off in favor of other activities (work, staying out late with friends, watching TV, etc.) to reconsider their lifestyle choices. For those others who suffer from a clinical sleep problem (insomnia, sleep apnea, or another condition) the book does offer some helpful advice about good sleep hygiene, however learning about fatal familial insomnia (a rare genetic mutation that prevents sleep and kills a person within months) can only increase insomnia related stress, even if you realize you don't carry this unfortunate gene. For those who can't sleep, rather than those who choose not to sleep, this book does the sensible and responsible thing, counseling readers to seek care from qualified sleep specialists. Walker's brave calls for public policy interventions and broad societal changes range from pragmatic and sensible suggestions to wildly optimistic changes that are unlikely to come about. But give him credit for thinking big.

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Average Rating:(4.0)out of 5 stars

The book isnt a curso...

The book isn't a cursory, casual examination of sleep. It's a scientific book, written by a respected research scientist in the area of all things sleep. There is lots of scientific evidence supporting Walker's conclusions about our need for sleep and the dangers of sleep deprivation. Walker also says much about the dangers of sleep medication, even so called "safe" medications that are readily prescribed by doctors every day. My only disappointment in the book is its short shrift of the most common sleep disorder, sleep apnea. There are half a dozen references in the index on the subject, but none have much depth and don't mention CPAP therapy, something of interest to millions of people who might want to read this book.

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Average Rating:(4.0)out of 5 stars

Im just a girl who is...

I'm just a girl who is always looking to see why she doesn't sleep and I didn't find it here. But, what I did find was a wealth of truly remarkable and amazing facts about sleep. Seriously. It's a fascinating read.

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Average Rating:(5.0)out of 5 stars
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