Why We Sleep

Why We Sleep

Unlocking the Power of Sleep and Dreams

Book - 2017
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"The first sleep book by a leading scientific expert--Professor Matthew Walker, Director of UC Berkeley's Sleep and Neuroimaging Lab--reveals his groundbreaking exploration of sleep, explaining how we can harness its transformative power to change our lives for the better. Sleep is one of the most important but least understood aspects of our life, wellness, and longevity. 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 we don't sleep. Compared to the other basic drives in life--eating, drinking, and reproducing--the purpose of sleep remained elusive. An explosion of scientific discoveries in the last twenty years has shed new light on this fundamental aspect of our lives. Now, preeminent neuroscientist and sleep expert Matthew Walker gives us a new understanding of the vital importance of sleep and dreaming. Within the brain, sleep enriches 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. Dreaming mollifies painful memories and creates a virtual reality space in which the brain melds past and present knowledge to inspire creativity. Walker answers important questions about sleep: how do caffeine and alcohol affect sleep? What really happens during REM sleep? Why do our sleep patterns change across a lifetime? How do common sleep aids affect us and can they do long-term damage? Charting cutting-edge scientific breakthroughs, and synthesizing decades of research and clinical practice, Walker explains how we can harness sleep to improve learning, mood, and energy levels; regulate hormones; prevent cancer, Alzheimer's, and diabetes; slow the effects of aging; increase longevity; enhance the education and lifespan of our children, and boost the efficiency, success, and productivity of our businesses."--
Publisher: New York : Scribner, 2017
Edition: First Scribner hardcover edition
Copyright Date: ©2017
ISBN: 9781501144318
1501144316
9781501144325
1501144324
Branch Call Number: 612.821 W1532W 2017
Characteristics: viii, 360 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm

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sandraperkins
Aug 18, 2018

This book emphatically makes the points that (1) getting enough sleep is absolutely essential to our physical and mental health and the quality of our life, and (2) most people in today’s world are not getting enough sleep.

How much is enough? Ideally, we should be getting at least 7.5-8 hours of sleep every single night. Even one night of poor sleep has negative impacts on our health. And “making up sleep” is a myth. We can not “make up” the loss from even one night of sleep.

What is the first step to making sure we get enough sleep? Spend at least 8-9 hours in bed every night. If we lie down in bed for only 6-7 hours, we can not possibly get enough sleep to be healthy. (You don’t have to sleep later; you can go to bed earlier. Will you really miss anything important?)

The section called “Why Should You Sleep” opens with the following:

“AMAZING BREAKTHROUGH!

“Scientists have discovered a revolutionary new treatment that makes you live longer. It enhances your memory and makes you more creative. It makes you look more attractive. It keeps you slim and lowers food cravings. It protects you from cancer and dementia. It wards off colds and the flu. It lowers your risk of heart attacks and stroke, not to mention diabetes. You’ll even feel happier, less depressed, and less anxious. Are you interested?”

If this were an ad for a drug, everyone would want it and Big Pharma would make a fortune. But it is not a drug. It is sleep; it is free and available to everyone. It is truly miraculous, and yet most of us do not take advantage of getting enough sleep. We are just not taking sleep seriously enough.

Question for us all: What are you doing with that extra time awake that is more important/beneficial than getting enough sleep? Whatever you are doing, it is not a good trade-off.

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jamesian
Dec 20, 2017

Neuroscientist Matthew Walker, PhD, expands our knowledge and emotional connection to the sleep that occupies so much of our lives. He draws amazing pictures of the work our brain completes during different cycles of sleep, and as a passionate advocate of health, he makes recommendations about public policies that could protect us.

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