David's Reviews > Why We Sleep: Unlocking the Power of Sleep and Dreams

Why We Sleep by Matthew Walker
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it was amazing
bookshelves: audiobook, biology, evolution, health, medicine, science, psychology

This is such an excellent book, mainly because I had never thought very much about the need for a good night's rest. The first part of this book does not really address "why we sleep". Instead, the book describes "what happens if we do not get enough sleep." Not until about halfway through the book, does the question "why we sleep" really get answered.

The author, Matthew Walker, is a professor of neuroscience and psychology. I always prefer to read science-related books that are written by scientists who are actively doing research in the field. They are the most authoritative, and they best understand all of the nuances involved in the interpretation of experimental results. As long as the science book is well written--and this book is definitely written in an engaging style--I always prefer to read a book written by an active researcher.

The author divides a night's sleep into two primary portions; the early portion is characterized mostly by NREM (non-REM) sleep, while the later portion is mostly REM sleep (Rapid Eye Movements). Both portions are essential. NREM sleep helps one to cement memories into permanent storage, while REM sleep helps one to apply past experiences to solve problems. If you skimp on either portion, then your brain has a very difficult time recuperating. The book describes, in just the right amount of detail, a host of experiments that have shown the deleterious consequences of insufficient sleep. And, I was really surprised by the range of consequences, and their seriousness. This book has thoroughly convinced me to make every effort to get a full night's sleep; at least 7 hours, and preferably 8 hours.

I am not going to try to recap the myriad consequences of insufficient sleep. Suffice it to say, they are truly scary. This is a fascinating book, and I highly recommend it to everyone who sleeps.

I didn't read this book; I listened to the audiobook version, as narrated by Steve West. He does a very good job keeping my interest throughout his narration.
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Reading Progress

December 31, 2017 – Shelved
Started Reading
October 3, 2018 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-15 of 15 (15 new)

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message 1: by Frank (new)

Frank So does this mean that a good night of sleep can REALLY improve our intellect and how we feel physically?


David The book doesn't exactly say that, Frank. It says that if your sleep is insufficient, even for a single night, your intellect and physical condition suffers enormously.


message 3: by Kalliope (new)

Kalliope This book sounds like it will not make the reader fall asleep. Too interesting.


message 4: by Kismet (new) - added it

Kismet Inn Thank you for your thorough review. I am looking for a good book on sleep, I will definitely read this one.


message 5: by Mark (new)

Mark Mortensen It sounds like an occasional well deserved nap may also be powerful.


message 6: by Brandi (new)

Brandi D'angelo I enjoyed your review very much. What program do you use to listen to books? I have never done that but it sounds promising.


message 7: by Tony (new)

Tony Scary. Now I can't sleep.


message 8: by Jason (new)

Jason Coleman "I highly recommend it to everyone who sleeps."

Funny.


David Brandi wrote: "I enjoyed your review very much. What program do you use to listen to books? I have never done that but it sounds promising."

Brandi, usually I listen to audio books on my Android cell phone, using an app called Smart Audiobook Player. You can try it out for 30 days, and if you want to continue using it, there is a $2 charge.


message 10: by Brandi (new)

Brandi D'angelo Thanks- I'm going to try it out! David wrote: "Brandi wrote: "I enjoyed your review very much. What program do you use to listen to books? I have never done that but it sounds promising."

Brandi, usually I listen to audio books on my Android c..."



message 11: by Petr (new) - rated it 5 stars

Petr I had basically the same experience from reading this book. I read it early this year and since then I always have at least 7 hours (before I went with 5-6 almost everyday...). The consequences are really scary!

*Kalliope wrote: "This book sounds like it will not make the reader fall asleep. Too interesting."*
This is funny, in introduction author himself allows 'falling asleep' over this book as it will be beneficial for your health :)

*Mark Mortensen wrote: "It sounds like an occasional well deserved nap may also be powerful."*
This is also covered in the book. Main point is: as long as such naps are not making you sleep (fall asleep) worse during night, it is good! ;)


message 12: by Jose (new)

Jose Nice review David; we share the same point on reading science books written by scientists. Will for sure look into this one.


David Thanks, Jose!


message 14: by Mirjam (new)

Mirjam Thank you for your review David!
It makes me think that this book maybe isn't for me. I don't wanna feel anxious and guilty about missing sleep from time to time


David Mirjam,
You are quite right--having read the book, I do start to feel guilty when I have missed my standard amount of sleep!


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