Why We Sleep: Unlocking the Power of Sleep and Dreams Why We Sleep discussion

Accusations of Scientific Mistakes/Errors

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message 1: by Christopher (new)

Christopher Something worth reading if you intend to read this book:


I haven't yet seen a response from Walker on the issues linked here. Some of them are pretty severe, such as editing a cited graph to remove evidence that runs contrary to Walker's thesis.

Alexey Walker went on BBC to defend himself against some of my concerns: https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/w3cs...

message 3: by Rob (new) - rated it 3 stars

Rob Brown I find this interesting. Thank you for making me aware of this where otherwise I would have no idea. For what it is worth the entire way through reading this book I assumed that this was only living up to 'popular science' standards as you put it. I always assumed 'sleep loss epidemic' and 'sleep literally causing deaths' were rhetorical devices not factually claims. However I acknowledge that it is written ambiguously enough that one could read them as positive statements. If Walker himself is attempting to shoehorn unverified claims from the book into the academic literature then that certainly is dodgy. Do you know how often this book is referenced in academic literature compared to other popular science books?

As a statistician I had a sense that there were quite a few instances of causation being claimed when only correlations were being observed. I am used to this in popular science but I was never interested enough to go back to the original literature to check though. I am glad you have. I especially like the scatters in Appendix 12, the huge variation in those reported figures do concern me (statistically speaking) more than I expected.

I am particularly interested in what you write about depression here. A big part of my trying (and succeeding) to get better sleep is to combat my ongoing struggle with depression. I certainly took the book as a manifesto to sleep more rather than an unbiased critical look at the information. Never did I think sleep deprivation therapy might actually work, I remember chuckling at the idea when it came up. But apparently I was wrong based on that info it can have benefits.

Alexey "Do you know how often this book is referenced in academic literature compared to other popular science books?"

I don't know the relative rates but it has already accumulated ~100 citations https://scholar.google.com/scholar?hl...

If you decide to try sleep restriction, I would love to hear if it works or not!

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