Updated: Sep 24, 2021
“Why We Sleep” is an extraordinary, detailed book that covers how and why we sleep. Written by the acclaimed Berkeley professor Matthew Walker; he is a sleep expert in the field of Psychology and Neuroscience.
Matthew begins by exploring the chemical composition of our brains that is responsible for our sleeping patterns. Matthew then dives into the personality of morning or night owls that is largely dependant on genetics while throwing curve balls surrounding the placebo effect. Throughout the course of the book, the author reiterates facts that may be considered scary to the average reader. “People that fly through multiple time zones have a higher increase in cancer and type 2 diabetes” is a quote that rings a bell.
Why We Sleep is a book that is both informative and alarming, it will make the average reader criticize their own beliefs about everyday normality’s. Drinking caffeine at selected times and not having an afternoon nap can be detrimental to one’s health as study’s proven in Greece. Although, this is deemed as a debatable by other “sleep experts”, it still provokes thought. The book then swings to how our emotions are heavily impacted if we are sleep deprived, creating focus and productivity issues. This is a point proven obvious as our everyday lives involve a pattern of grogginess at some point during our workday, leaving us unable to focus during the common afternoon slumps. Closing towards the end of the book, Matthew provides a valuable relationship between mental health and sleep deprivation. Of particular interest, psychiatric mood disorders occur in the same region of the brain that involves sleep regulation.
Whilst providing important information, the authors overall message is to inform us about the potential consequences of having little to no sleep. Matthew pinpoints specifically in multiple sections that sleep should be taken seriously and cannot be avoided at all costs. It is important that we achieve an adequate amount of sleep to function properly as a species. In our everyday lives we are caught in the cycle of “I will sleep when I’m dead”, but Matthew makes this abundantly clear that this is, and most certainly can be extremely detrimental to our bodies.
Why We Sleep provides thought provoking information that will scare the living daylights out of anyone that reads it. It is a book that cannot and should not be missed. We often do not realise the importance of sleep and this book will change the whole outlook of life of anyone who reads it.
Overall, I would recommend this book.