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Why We Sleep: Unlocking the Power of Sleep and Dreams

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Steve West

13 Hours 51 Minutes

Simon & Schuster Audio

October 2017

Audio Book Summary

A New York Times bestseller and international sensation, this “stimulating and important book” (Financial Times) from the director of UC Berkeley’s Center for Human Sleep Science is a fascinating dive into the purpose and power of slumber. As the Guardian said, Walker explains “how a good night's shut-eye can make us cleverer, more attractive, slimmer, happier, healthier, and ward off cancer.”

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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Reviews

  • Lorraine C

    This book is a must read. If you really listen to the message, you have to change your habits to get 8 hours of sleep. Or else die, or get Altzheimers, or get heart disease, or lose your mind or (name another disease). I gave it five because we all need to hear the message and the data, SLEEP MORE OR ELSE, but the oral read can be tedious. The narrator is the same voice as those British guys who do the hypnosis tapes on YouTube. You just zone out after 3 minutes of listening between the relentless delivery of data and the monotone, calm voice. Too bad because there are tons of tongue in cheek jokes throughout the book that with the right inflection could have given the read more vibrancy. I kept thinking I should just buy the book, especially since there are tons of charts, graphs and diagrams that he refers to during the read. You can get them emailed to you if you download it. Just send an email to Audiobooks and they'll forward it to you. I still highly recommend this book though! It's a life changer!

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  • Michael H

    A lot of great research data to support premise. Gives fascinating perspective on role of sleep in human life and its importance. Anyone interested in how the brain works will like this book.

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  • Ted E.

    a fascinating listen. Well documented. If you even think you have sleep issues, this book is a must! A side note: there were a couple of homophobic snide remarks that shocked me and made me realise the author is a wee out of synch with modern LGBT awareness.

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