Why We Sleep (Matthew P. Walker)

January 27, 2018

4/5 Stars

 

Detailed yet accessible exploration into all aspects of sleep.

As a chronic insomniac, I knew I had to read this as soon as I spotted it on Netgalley. When sleep is elusive, it colours every aspect of your life - from functioning at work to appetite levels, so I was keen to learn more about it from an expert, and hopefully pick up some tips on how to cut out the dreaded sleeping pills from my life!

 

 

What was immediately apparent was the accessibility of this book. Right from the start, the tone is engaging and accessible, which really does help when you're wading through quite a complex topic. The information was frequently fascinating, and occasionally alarming. For example, in this book, you'll find out how some animals never 'fully' sleep (I'm looking at you, dolphins!), and how humans have a natural 'sleep rhythm' that doesn't quite match our 21st century lifestyles - no surprise there, eh?

The author also covers some worrying topics associated with sleep - not least the damaging effects of sleep deprivation and of sleeping pills. After reading the section on sleeping pills, I vowed to try to wean myself off them (I'm on the third night without taking one now - wish me luck). Given how many years my husband has been trying to get me to stop taking them, it's quite a miracle that this book got me to finally take the plunge, after just a few days' reading. Believe me - the horrifying nature of these unnatural tablets is enough to put anyone right off.

In places, the book did get a little dry, and probably necessarily so, because it's a weighty topic. However, for the most part, it had me keen to read on - and is a definite must-read for anyone with an interest in sleep.

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