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Why We Sleep
Cover of Why We Sleep
Why We Sleep
Unlocking the Power of Sleep and Dreams
"Why We Sleep is an important and fascinating book...Walker taught me a lot about this basic activity that every person on Earth needs. I suspect his book will do the same for you." —Bill Gates

A New York Times bestseller and international sensation, this "stimulating and important book" (Financial Times) is a fascinating dive into the purpose and power of slumber.
With two appearances on CBS This Morning and Fresh Air's most popular interview of 2017, Matthew Walker has made abundantly clear that sleep is one of the most important but least understood aspects of our life. 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. Compared to the other basic drives in life—eating, drinking, and reproducing—the purpose of sleep remains more elusive.

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. Dreaming creates a virtual reality space in which the brain melds past and present knowledge, inspiring creativity.

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. Charting the most cutting-edge scientific breakthroughs, and marshalling his 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, and increase longevity. He also provides actionable steps towards getting a better night's sleep every night.

Clear-eyed, fascinating, and accessible, Why We Sleep is a crucial and illuminating book. Written with the precision of Atul Gawande, Andrew Solomon, and Sherwin Nuland, it is "recommended for night-table reading in the most pragmatic sense" (The New York Times Book Review).
"Why We Sleep is an important and fascinating book...Walker taught me a lot about this basic activity that every person on Earth needs. I suspect his book will do the same for you." —Bill Gates

A New York Times bestseller and international sensation, this "stimulating and important book" (Financial Times) is a fascinating dive into the purpose and power of slumber.
With two appearances on CBS This Morning and Fresh Air's most popular interview of 2017, Matthew Walker has made abundantly clear that sleep is one of the most important but least understood aspects of our life. 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. Compared to the other basic drives in life—eating, drinking, and reproducing—the purpose of sleep remains more elusive.

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. Dreaming creates a virtual reality space in which the brain melds past and present knowledge, inspiring creativity.

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. Charting the most cutting-edge scientific breakthroughs, and marshalling his 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, and increase longevity. He also provides actionable steps towards getting a better night's sleep every night.

Clear-eyed, fascinating, and accessible, Why We Sleep is a crucial and illuminating book. Written with the precision of Atul Gawande, Andrew Solomon, and Sherwin Nuland, it is "recommended for night-table reading in the most pragmatic sense" (The New York Times Book Review).
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About the Author-
  • Matthew Walker is a professor of neuroscience and psychology at UC Berkeley, the Director of its Sleep and Neuroimaging Lab, and a former professor of psychiatry at Harvard University. He has published over 100 scientific studies and has appeared on 60 Minutes, Nova, BBC News, and NPR's Science Friday. Why We Sleep is his first book.
Reviews-
  • Library Journal

    July 1, 2017

    Why do we sleep? Walker (neuroscience & psychology, Univ. of California Berkeley) draws from 20 years of sleep research, which demonstrates that sleep provides a plethora of benefits, both mental and physical, to the entire body. He discusses the biology of sleep, the dangers of sleep deprivation, why we dream, and sleep disorders. The author laments the organizational culture that equates sleeplessness with productivity, and demonstrates the fallacy of that belief. He emphasizes the importance of sleep to the developing brains of children and teenagers, and why early school start times are harming high school students physically and academically. He also explains that if all of the benefits that sleep bestows could be formatted into a pill, no one would hesitate to take it; but the benefits are available to all of us for free. The book closes with a discussion of personal, organizational, and societal practices that would greatly benefit health, productivity, creativity, and longevity. Walker is a scientist but writes for the layperson, illustrating tricky concepts with easily grasped analogies. VERDICT Of particular interest to business owners, educators, parents, and government officials, and anyone who has ever suffered from a poor night's sleep.--Rachel Owens, Daytona State Coll. Lib., FL

    Copyright 2017 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • Publisher's Weekly

    August 21, 2017
    Walker, a professor of neuroscience and psychology at UC Berkeley, begins his first book by reminding readers that until quite recently, the routine that most of us go through nightly was a mystery. Adopting a conversational style that belies his research background, Walker conveys his insights into the process of sleep with enthralling clarity. He recounts how once, after giving a lecture, he was approached by a pianist, who made the seemingly incidental remark that, after a good night’s sleep he can “just play” even demanding pieces, leading Walker to recognize how closely related learning is to rest. He also sheds new light on well-covered areas, revealing that Freud had developed a more biologically founded approach to dreams before formulating his famous theory. The biggest takeaway is not that lack of sleep can literally kill, but that most of us, without being in mortal danger, are still not getting nearly enough. Anyone who reads this book will (though perhaps only after a good night’s sleep) learn a great deal about one of life’s most basic, but also most profound, needs. Agent: Tina Bennett, William Morris Endeavor.

  • Kirkus

    September 1, 2017
    Revelations about sleep that illustrate its vital importance to our brains, our bodies, and our lives.The director of the Sleep and Neuroimaging Lab at the University of California, Walker has spent decades researching sleep and has served as a consultant to sports teams, financial institutions, and TV producers. In other words, he is an expert, but more importantly, he knows how to explain it all clearly to general readers. He begins by showing what sleep is and what it isn't, how other creatures sleep, and how it changes across a lifetime. In Part 2, he examines the numerous benefits of sleep and how it affects mental and physical health, such as the ability to learn and the fitness of the gut and the cardiovascular and immune systems. So important is sleep to our well-being that Walker counsels that the shorter one's sleep, the shorter one's life span. In Part 3, which peers into the brains of people dreaming, Walker provides examples of the sometimes-astonishing creativity and problem-solving power of dreams. This section also tackles the phenomenon of lucid dreams--i.e., dreams controlled by the dreamer. In Part 4, the author takes up sleep disorders and the harmful effects of sleep deprivation, not just to the individual, but to society. Walker counsels against sleeping pills and offers nondrug therapies that he has found to be effective. In the concluding chapter, "A New Vision for Sleep in the 21st Century," the author outlines his proposals for enhancing sleep quantity and quality: individual use of new technology, sleep education in schools, sleep reform in the workplace, public campaigns to heighten awareness of the hazards of drowsy driving, and, more elusive, societal change in sleep awareness. Readers, he cordially advises, may read the parts in any order they prefer and close their eyes and take a nap if they feel like it. Though readers seeking dream interpretation will be disappointed, Walker provides a well-organized, highly accessible, up-to-date report on sleep and its crucial role in a healthy life.

    COPYRIGHT(2017) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

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Why We Sleep
Why We Sleep
Unlocking the Power of Sleep and Dreams
Matthew Walker
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