“Why We Sleep: unlocking the power of sleep and dreams,” by Matthew Walker, Ph.D.


When I discovered this book, I was intimidated by the length (nearly 400 pages, or 14 hours of listening time on Audible), figuring it would be a snooze (sorry, pun intended).  It was not.  It was utterly spellbinding from the beginning to the end, and gave me much to consider regarding my own sleep habits.

The author is the Director of UC Berkeley’s Sleep and Neuroimaging Lab, and has used his groundbreaking research, and the research of others, to address one of the most important, but least understood aspects of our lives.  We spend – or should spend – approximately 1/3 of our lives sleeping, yet undervalue the power that quality sleep has in determining mental health, physical wellness and longevity.  Walker’s research covers a multitude of issues, including:  What happens (or needs to happen) when we sleep? How do sleep patterns shift throughout the course of our lives? How do sleep aids affect us, and do they cause long-term damage? How does sleep enrich our ability to learn and to remember what we have learned?  How does sleep affect our mood, metabolism, rate of aging, productivity and mental acuity?  What can we each do to improve our own “sleep hygiene”?

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