Why We Sleep by Matthew Walker


Why We Sleep by Matthew Walker

Publication date: 04 January 2018

Genre: Nonfiction, Science

Length*: 10 hours 31 minutes

(*based on the time it took me to read this title)

Published by: Penguin

Available at: Amazon.co.uk, Goodreads

My rating: 5 out of 5

Publisher’s description:



‘Vital … a life-raft’ Guardian ‘

A top sleep scientist argues that sleep is more important for our health than diet or exercise’ The Times

‘It had a powerful effect on me’ Observer

‘I urge you all to read this book’ Times Higher Education

Sleep is one of the most important aspects of our life, health and longevity and yet it is increasingly neglected in twenty-first-century society, with devastating consequences: every major disease in the developed world – Alzheimer’s, cancer, obesity, diabetes – has very strong causal links to deficient sleep. Until very recently, science had no answer to the question of why we sleep, or what good it served, or why its absence is so damaging to our health. Compared to the other basic drives in life – eating, drinking, and reproducing – the purpose of sleep remained elusive.

Now, in this book, the first of its kind written by a scientific expert, Professor Matthew Walker explores twenty years of cutting-edge research to solve the mystery of why sleep matters. Looking at creatures from across the animal kingdom as well as major human studies, Why We Sleep delves in to everything from what really happens during REM sleep to how caffeine and alcohol affect sleep and why our sleep patterns change across a lifetime, transforming our appreciation of the extraordinary phenomenon that safeguards our existence.

My thoughts:

Matthew Walker presents the best call-to-arms book that I have read in years. Massively informative, alarmingly eye opening (check out the bits about caffeine, and the cost of a bad night’s sleep), and perfectly written to convey a lot of technical information in a way that is extremely understandable to a lay-person. As you’d expect, it’s all backed up with oodles of medical and scientific studies – so you can be sure that what is presented here is more than fad-thinking – it’s the latest scientific thinking, collated by a man who has spent his career studying sleep, and asking the questions that no one else was asking.

Best of all, and unlike so many other call-to-arms books, Walker doesn’t just give you the facts, show you the problem, and call for change in large, abstract terms – he has practical, implementable ideas about HOW these issues surrounding sleep can actually be addressed. And not just at government policy and societal levels; he speaks to business leaders, employers, managers, and each of us as individuals with advice about what changes can be implemented TODAY to prevent any of us paying the financial and personal costs of bad sleep for a minute longer than necessary.

Perfect. I’ll be having a nap if anyone needs me.


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