Title: Why We Sleep
Author: Matthew Walker
Publisher: Penguin Random House UK
Genre: Science Book
Why We Sleep by Matthew Walker is a brilliant book explaining not only the science of sleep but what it means to sleep rather regularly. With time, humans have evolved so much that from one-time meal, we have come to three-times meal, but only minute changes have been observed in our sleep duration. We spend almost twenty-six years of our life sleeping and yet we give very little significance to it.
Why is it so important to sleep? And why aren’t only six sleeping hours enough for us? Does sleep offer something of enough importance to invest so much time in it? Where do we go when we sleep? Are our dreams related to our previous life? Why is it important to dream? How do people sleepwalk or even commit murders while sleeping? Does lack of sleep affect our memory? Will I die if I don’t sleep for a day? Can sleeping pills really help me to get better sleep? Why do I feel sleepy when I consume alcohol? Do electrical gadgets disturb my sleep routine? Why don’t I sleep right away when I lie down on my bed? Should the government raise more awareness about sleep? Are companies suffering loss due to lack of sleep? Can we reduce accidents by car raising awareness just by sleeping better?
If any of these questions bother you, the answer is right in this book. Divided into four parts, this book talks about everything related to sleep. The author starts from the science of sleep which is one of the least funded research fields. You will learn that why you can’t sleep at whatever time you want to, but only at a specific time. Also, the author discusses that how before the discovery of fire humans needed to sleep more than fourteen hours because they had to sleep on the trees to be safe from animals. But when the fire was discovered, the fear of falling from the tree was no longer the worry, they managed to compensate for the fourteen hours sleep in eight hours.
This book talks about how human health is severely affected by lack of sleep. If you complete your sleep every day, i.e. of eight hours, you will have the following benefits –
- It enhances your memory
- Increases your creativity
- You will become more attractive
- You will have fewer food cravings
- Sleep keeps you slim (that’s true!)
- It protects you from dementia and cancer
- It wards off colds and other flu
- It lowers the risk of heart stroke and attacks, and diabetes.
- You will feel less depressed and anxious
Doesn’t everyone want to enjoy each of the benefits in the list?
The author gives a detailed explanation of how our brain saves our everyday memory in the long-memory drive. Why is it that we remember some of it, but forget the other parts? This book will teach you how you are damaging your own brain just by not sleeping.
One of the most interesting topics from the book is where the author tells why teenagers should be allowed to sleep for fourteen hours rather than being harshly woken up for school at six o’clock in the morning. The teenagers who have attended school early morning, no doubt, have a less developed brain.
Why do you think we dream? Does it help us in any way when we are fully awake? The author discusses how the most brilliant people in the world have used dreams to find solutions to their problems. Also, in this book, you’ll learn about sleep paralysis and lucid dreaming. The researchers haven’t advanced much in the field of lucid dreaming, but the author does state that: it is possible that lucid dreamers represent the next iteration in Homo sapiens’ evolution.
This book tells us how sleeping pills affect our sleep deeply and works the same as alcohol, that is sedate us, rather than luring us to sleep. The author suggests methods and practices that can help us fall asleep.
Certainly, gadgets have harmed our sleep exponentially, according to the author going against technology is a lost war. So, he suggests to make use of technology. He talks about how artificial intelligence can help us to sleep better. There are many companies developing tools that will be in the market in the coming years.
Also, this book says that just by lack of sleep, the US companies are suffering a loss of $54 million per year, which is $2000 per employee per year. The only thing that author didn’t mention in this book is the relationship between masturbation and sleep.
In this book, Matthew has given many examples to understand the complex scientific process. Through experiments and researches are given in order to explain the science behind certain brain activities. The book is engaging and has a good writing style.
When you will read this book, you will realise how severely the world is damaged because individuals are waiting for the top dogs to raise awareness about certain things, rather than taking actions individually. Why We Sleep by Matthew Walker is a must-read because each one of us sleeps whether we feel the need or not.
About the Author
Matthew Paul Walker is an English scientist and professor of neuroscience and psychology at the University of California, Berkeley. He is a public intellectual focused on the subject of sleep. As an academic, Walker has focused on the impact of sleep on human health. He has contributed to many scientific research studies. Walker became a public intellectual following the publication of Why We Sleep, his first work of popular science, in 2017. It became an international bestseller.