Dreamland: Adventures in the Strange Science of Sleep
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Dreamland: Adventures in the Strange Science of Sleep

3.66 of 5 stars 3.66  ·  rating details  ·  1,781 ratings  ·  314 reviews
An engrossing examination of the science behind the little-known world of sleep.

Like many of us, journalist David K. Randall never gave sleep much thought. That is, until he began sleepwalking. One midnight crash into a hallway wall sent him on an investigation into the strange science of sleep.

In Dreamland, Randall explores the research that is investigating those dark ho...more
Hardcover, 290 pages
Published August 13th 2012 by W. W. Norton & Company (first published August 6th 2012)
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Community Reviews

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Sergei_kalinin
Очень хорошая научно-популярная книга о сне! Пожалуй, главной задачей автора было - собрать под одной обложкой самые интересные и неожиданные факты о природе сна, снабдив их самыми современными научными комментариями (хотя в книге есть и физиологические "азы" про сон, вроде описания фаз сна и проч.). Задачу эту он решил практически на "отлично" :)

Книга читается на одном дыхании, и я себя постоянно ловил на том, что непроизвольно начинаю пересказывать окружающим только что узнанные мною занимате...more
Caris
May 25, 2013 Caris rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2013
Let’s talk about pop-science, baby.

Me and sleep have an interesting relationship. I’m very interested in sleep. I can’t think of many things that I enjoy more. And yet I often find myself at odds with sleep. Take right now, for instance. It is 12:40 am and I am writing a book review. I have nothing pressing to do right now, no deadlines to meet or driving whims to entertain (other than a vague desire to watch some sort of killer shark movie). Nope. In fact, I’m feeling rather bored, which is why...more
Orsolya
Sleep. It is something that children fight against seemingly viewing it as a punishment; while adults wish they had more of the sweet reward. Just how much do scientists truly know about sleep? Honestly: not much. However, David K. Randall shares some of the unique data surrounding the world of sleep in “Dreamland: Adventures in the Strange Science of Sleep”.

“Dreamland” is an instant thought-provoking work as it presents theories and questions surrounding the act of sleeping (for example: we may...more
Aaron Thibeault
*A full executive summary of this book is now available here: http://newbooksinbrief.com/2012/08/20...

We spend up to a third of our lives sleeping, and yet, unless we are not getting enough of it, and/or are experiencing a sleeping disorder of some kind, most of us hardly ever give our sleep a second thought (other than to rue over how much precious time it takes up). Science too largely neglected sleep for the longest time, treating it mainly as a static condition during which the brain was not...more
Melissa Prange
I wanted to like this book, but I ended up finding it incredibly boring. At times, there was interesting information (like the bit about first and second sleep), but too many of the stories felt like repeats. On and on, the author shows how sleep is important. And I wanted to say: Yes, I understand that, but is there anything else you have to say?
Caren
This was a moderately interesting look at current research into sleep. There were a few things I hadn't read before, such as that the type of mattress you choose doesn't affect the quality of your sleep; you sleep best on the sort of mattress most familiar to you. I had already known that light affects your Circadian rhythm. While it is helpful to be exposed to natural light in the morning, shun blue screen light (TV, laptop, cell phone) at least an hour before bed. In fact, it is best to have s...more
Emily Mishler
I won a copy of this book in a goodreads giveaway.

Randall does an excellent job in keeping his book well grounded in research while also keeping in mind that sleep is still a very new and therefore uncertain science. The book is a summary of much of what is currently known and has been theorized about sleep and how it affects the mind and body. A surprisingly engaging read and very easy to understand as Randall writes in a style that accommodates the layman. While a lot of the information is fai...more
Crystal Starr Light
Bullet Reviews:

I've always been fascinated with the brain and sleep so when I saw this book, I snapped it up. Unfortunately, I found most of the information dry or stuff I already knew, and what I was really interested in - the brain and dreams - was a small chunk, squeezed next to soldiers and athletes' sleeping patterns. You know, two areas I didn't really give an origami fish about.

For someone looking for the sleep basics, this is a great book. Nice research, covers all the bases with good wr...more
Zahir
David Randall takes us into the mysterious and fascinating world of sleep. He takes us through a journey that starts with his personal account of waking up after hitting his leg while sleepwalking, into some of the biology that occurs when we go to sleep, and what effect that sleep and rest has on our ability to function. What Randall does exceptionally well is he writes for the layman, and does not lose a non-scientific reader like myself by including too many scientific details or explanations...more
Anne


if this book were a college course, its title would be something like Intro to Sleep Science. The author gives a brief overview of the current state of knowledge about various aspects of sleep with references for those who might want to pursue a given topic more in depth. Dreamland contains lots interesting tidbits about the relationship between sleep and SAT scores, sleep and baseball performance, dreams, and, sadly for mattress manufacturers but good for your wallet, the lack of relationship...more
Robyn
I can't stop sharing all the info I learned from this book!
Meadow
I read this book while in the midst of a severe sleep deprivation time due to a colicky baby who would not sleep more than 2 hours at a time day or night! I was fascinated by anything scientific that might help me understand sleep, and the consequences of lacking it. This book was a great read, as it introduced me to quite a few studies on sleep I had never heard of. From this book I went on to enjoy the true story movie "Sleepwalk with Me", and also a few TED talks about sleep. It's fascinating...more
Deb
**A wake-up call to the power of sleep**

It seems that as our lives get busier, the first thing to be sacrificed is sleep. Sure, that tradeoff may give us more hours for the doing, but it also takes quite the toll on our quality of lives. As the author explains:

“Health, sex, relationships, creativity, memories—all of these things that make us who we are depend on the hours we spend each night with our heads on the pillow. By ignoring something that every animal requires, we are left turning to pi...more
astried
You know how with those most important thing in life you take it for granted until it's gone? That's how I used to think about sleeping, which is not thinking about it at all. Back then I'd sleep early or late, wake up whenever I have to without a thought. Then, (ah.. the unavoidable significant moment) I had my life turned upside down. Then I started to notice that sleep ceased to be an enjoyable activity. I'd be lying dead tired but not only I couldn't fall asleep, I also have a suspicion that...more
Ann
This non-fiction book meanders through the various aspects of sleep and dreaming. It never gets very technical and the author barely skims the surface of this fascinating subject. We hear about how the marital bed may be bad for a good night’s sleep, how babies around the world sleep, how sleep deprivation is responsible for all sorts of bad things, including deaths of American service personnel by friendly fire, about devices develped to monitor one’s sleep etc. None of it is very detailed. Her...more
Virginia
I wish there were footnotes instead of endnotes for this book. (Actually, I wish that about all books. Footnotes are awesome.) I felt like this was a good overview of the current research about sleep medicine, but it did not really get into next steps, or future solutions. The writing style was great, though, very easy to read.

I wish more people (and by people I mean corporations) took sleeping more seriously. Especially since it can affect so many areas of health. I really hate the macho Ameri...more
Heather Pagano
I wanted Randall to say something beyond: sleep is super important. But the message he wanted to give was just that, nothing more, and he said it fairly well. This book was very basic introduction and intended to do little more than develop an appreciation for the role sleep plays in our lives as individuals and in our society. There were some interesting facts and anecdotes, the tone of the book was very personable. The rigor of some of the studies he mentioned seemed a little dubious to me, an...more
Jessica
A mostly fascinating study of the little understood science of sleep. Two chapters are devoted to dreams (I'd have liked more) but lots on why we need sleep, how it helps us, how it used to be (First Sleep, then Second Sleep) in the pre-Industrial Age, how we can sleep better, use it better. Will be recommending it to my sister and good friend, both of whom have trouble sleeping, and I definitely recommend it to any of you who have any interest at all in the subject. As for me, well, sleep &...more
Charles
I would rewrite the subtitle as "fun historical facts about sleep research." To be fair, "adventures in the strange science of sleep" doesn't promise much and the author acknowledges the infancy of the field, but I had hoped for a better understanding of what happens (or fails to happen) as we lay in bed with the lights out. The penultimate chapter delivers some of the goods, however, and I wouldn't say it was an unpleasant read despite the canned 'lets make this fun' tone that pervades so much...more
Ash
I was hesitant to read a book like this. I was afraid that it was going to be a, pun fully intended and proud of it, snoozefest. Thank goodness, it was not! I'm not sure what I could have gotten through nearly 300 pages about sleep. David K. Randall's Dreamland: Adventures in the Strange Science of Sleep is, well, about sleep. Specifically, about the biology of why humans sleep, what the levels of sleep are, sleep disorders, and everything else in between.

Randall explains the reason for even und...more
Amy
A terrific read. I am not 'a science person' but I learned something on every page. The best thing about this book is that it has already made it easier for me to sleep better, and longer, every day. I would recommend it to anyone with an interest in general health and/or psychology, sleep and relaxation specifically, and of course anyone with a history of sleep problems. It contains a wealth of information, well-documented and clearly presented.
Hollowspine
I really enjoyed this funny and informative book on sleep. I actually spend a lot of time thinking about sleeping, something most people find rather boring. I've always had an interest in both what goes on in my mind while I sleep (dreams) and what goes on outside while I'm sleeping. Do I thrash about or speak, how much do I move, how many times do I wake up? I've always had those questions on my mind and I also wonder how good of sleep I'm having.

Although the book couldn't answer all my questio...more
Harith
If you already did some previous reading (books or lengthy blog posts) on this topic (Why we sleep, how we sleep, why we dream, what happens to the body etc.), chances are that you won't learn a lot from this book.

The author recounts his experiences with sleep related experimentation and related research. This consists of tales about people with strange sleep related disorders, how it affected their lives. Through these tales you'll learn how the brain functions during sleep and how you can exer...more
Martha
Not the first book I've read about sleeping, and I find it a pretty fascinating subject. This book was an easy read and included a lot of interesting facts about sleep and the brain. It really could have used a good proofreader, though. More errors than a book published by a major publisher should have. (What's with the hyphen in "several-thousand"? So wrong.)
Laura
A light and entertaining read with some very interesting bits, but overall not quite as in depth as I'd have liked. The author also does not address the topic of infant sleep which would have been a perfect addition. He only barely touches on sleep in different cultures, which is a pity given how much fascinating material this would have provided.
Ang
Who knew reading about sleep could be so enthralling? Such a quick little read, too. I always say, any book that compels you to blurt out facts to the person you live with is a gem, and Sam now knows all about sleep too. This book probably isn't going to help you sleep better, but it will help you understand why you sleep the way you sleep.
Shawn Dvorak
An interesting look into the science of sleep. Although we spend a third of our life (if we're lucky) asleep it seems we really don't know a lot about the hows and whys of sleep. Oddly ignored by medical researchers until the 20th Century, even the basics of sleep were not understood until the middle of the last century. Why do some people talk, walk, even eat, in their sleep? The short answer is "we don't know!" With the amount of money we spend on comfortable beds, air conditioning, sound mach...more
Constance
Makes me pay attention to what I can do in my life to get a better quality sleep. Pretty important if you want a better quality life in the realms of mood, memory, and health. Also learned a few interesting things about sleepwalkers.
Ben
To someone who was already read perhaps only one book about dreams, this one won't offer much. There were interesting parts to it, like the chapter on sleepwalking, which detailed a few stories of people who were violent while sleepwalking. This chapter also put sleepwalking into some historical context which was fun.
However most of the information Randall wrote about could have been given with more detail. There would have been ample room for this extra detail if at least some of the anecdotes...more
Rania Masri
expected more. first few chapters were the best - and then small gems scattered throughout. not enough to recommend it, though, except to those suffering from sleep problems
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David K. Randall is a senior reporter at Reuters and has also written for Forbes, the New York Times, and New York magazine. He is an adjunct professor of journalism at New York University and lives in Brooklyn, New York.
More about David K. Randall...

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