Why We Sleep by Matthew Walker, PhD
Updated: Aug 10, 2019
What is this book is about?
This book is about the science of sleep. Matthew Walker takes us deep into the brains and bodies of humans to explore what happens at the level of our neurones during different stages of sleep and the resulting effects on every organ and system of our body. He describes in great detail the impact of sleep deficiency and describes the multitude of consequences on our health, our relationships and society as a whole. He suggests that we need to rank sleep as the number one public health priority of our time if we are to make any significant improvement in rates of chronic disease that continue to climb. This book is a call to action for governments, health services and education providers.
What I liked about the book
I enjoyed the way Matthew Walker presents the hard science of sleep with sprinklings of humour and wonder. As a doctor, this book really appealed to my curious mind that loves to learn about the complex interaction of the human brain and body and how we can influence these interactions in so many simple ways for the betterment of our health and wellbeing. I particularly enjoyed the chapters on dreams, which are so mysterious in the way they provide therapy to all humans who engage in this nightly ritual.
What I disliked about the book
Although I enjoyed the detailed descriptions of what happens during REM and NREM sleep, I suspect that some readers may find this section of the book a bit heavy going.
Who should read this book?
I implore all health professionals, educators and government leaders to read this book. The message is loud and clear: we are depriving ourselves of one of the most important, life-preserving requirements for health and wellbeing and it is killing us. If we are serious about creating public health policy that will allow humans to thrive and contribute to the world in a positive way, we must create systems where 7-8 hours sleep every night is prioritised above all other human activities.
Other work by Matthew Walker
You might like to watch his TED talk for a brief introduction to the significant amount of research Matthew Walker has done in the field of sleep.