Walker’s book about why we sleep is an international bestseller. Enough said! Maybe that is where my review should stop but this book is too interesting to stop there.
Walker guides us through what could be a dry topic of complicated scientific research in a user-friendly way. He explains what sleep is, what biological processes drive us to sleep, what happens in body when we sleep, why we need it and why we dream. He also explains sleep disorders like insomnia and narcolepsy. Most interestingly, in my opinion, Walker looks at what he describes as the “decimation of sleep throughout the industrialized world” and how that is having catastrophic effects on health (sleep deprivation being a factor in the development of several chronic diseases), safety, life expectancy and education of our children.
What is the use of knowing about all the problems caused by sleep deprivation if we don’t know about solutions? Luckily, Walker delivers here too. He talks about good sleep practices and says, if you were to do only one thing to improve your sleep, going to bed and waking up at the same time every day no matter what is the most effective way of improving your sleep.
I have made some habit changes based on this book e.g. I have cut down to one coffee per day, allowing myself two on special occasions (loose definition to be sure) but only before noon.
If you want to cut to the chase, head to the Appendix; “Twelve Tips for Healthy Sleep”.
In my podcast episdoe with sleep expert, Dr Scott Coussens, we touch on many of the topics covered in Walker’s book. If you’re an audio rather than a visual person, you can listen to my podcast with Scott by clicking on this link:https://amandaswellbeingpodcast.com/scott-coussens/
I definitely recommend reading Why We Sleep.
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Why We Sleep: Unlocking the Power of Sleep and Dreams
A New York Times bestseller and international sensation, this “stimulating and important book” (Financial Times) from the director of UC Berkeley’s Center for Human Sleep Science is a fascinating dive into the purpose and power of slumber. As the Guardian said, Walker explains “how a good night's shut-eye can make us cleverer, more attractive, slimmer, happier, healthier, and ward off cancer.” Until very recently, science had no answer to the question of why we sleep, or what good it served, or why we suffer such devastating health consequences when it is absent. Within the brain, sleep enriches a diversity of functions, including our ability to learn, memorize, and make logical decisions. It recalibrates our emotions, restocks our immune system, fine-tunes our metabolism, and regulates our appetite. In this “compelling and utterly convincing” (The Sunday Times) book, preeminent neuroscientist and sleep expert Matthew Walker provides a revolutionary exploration of sleep, examining how it affects every aspect of our physical and mental well-being. He also provides actionable steps towards getting a better night’s sleep every night.