Why We Sleep

Why We Sleep: Unlocking the Power of Sleep and Dream

Author: Matthew Walker.(wiki link)
Publishing year: 2017.

Why We Sleep offers a revolutionary view on how we should understand and approach sleep. Our minds and bodies need rest in order to recover. Unfortunately, our society sees sleep as a burden. This book sets out to prove otherwise.

Sleep is Underrated

There has been a lot of interested in sleep research in the last decade. From fish to reptile and from birds to mammals every species needs sleeps. Even plants and bacteria have a state that can be easily equated to slumber. This leads scientists to conclude that it has emerged very early in the evolution of life. And thus, that it has an essential purpose. Furthermore, it is vital for survival of both simple and complex life.

Bed ready for sleep, with book and blanket.
Sleep has emerged very early in the evolution of life and has an essential purpose.

Mission of the Book

The book aims to be scientifically accurate. It’s purpose is to help us understand the mechanisms behind sleep. Furthermore, it aims to help us reevaluate our appreciation of this state of rest. It’s ambition is to help us change our minds about its importance. 

Finally, the book attempts to assist us in starting a cultural shift. We need to embrace rest. It is our allied to mental and physical health. Sleep is not a villain and a time waster. 

In order to accomplish this, the book dives in explanations about how night rest is beneficial to all aspects of our lives. How it plays a role in regenerating our body and resting our mind.

From regulating sugar intake to facilitating normal brain functions, many processes revolve around sleep

The Science

Every living organism has a circadian rhythm. This is the 24 hour wakefulness cycle. Many physiological characteristics are regulated by this rhythm. For example, body temperature oscillates within this 24 hour cycle.

Humans have two systems that contribute to our night patterns. First system establishes circadian rhythm. The second system tells us when to fall asleep. Unfortunately these  two systems do not communicate. However, they need to be in sync in order to work correctly. If one system experiences disruptions, our rest pattern will also be affected. 

Message of the Book

We are in the midst of a society-wide sleep deprivation epidemic. In order to change this, we need a mindset change. We need to encourage a culture that embraces night rest:

“Unnecessary bankrupting the sleep of a teenager could make all the difference in precarious tipping point between psychological wellness and life long psychiatric illness.”

We need to recognize how important it is and we need to create a culture that values it:

“This silent sleep loss epidemics is the greatest public health challenge we face in the twenty-first century in developed nations.”

This is an easy and informative read. It explains how the circadian cycle is created and what are it’s functions. This is a book everybody should read and understand. 

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