Why We Sleep

Why We Sleep

Unlocking the Power of Sleep and Dreams

Scribner, 2017




  • Scientific
  • Applicable
  • Eye Opening


Matthew Walker – a neuroscientist and director of UC Berkeley’s Sleep and Neuroimaging Lab – offers a readable if sometimes scary survey of modern sleep research. Sleep facilitates memory, creativity, problem solving and the acquisition of motor skills. It recharges the immune system, modulates blood sugar, clears coronary arteries and wards off disease. Most adults in the industrialized world fall short of the recommended amount of sleep. Modern life – and its lights, air travel, caffeine, alcohol and expanding workday – adversely affects sleep. The results include impaired memory, decreased productivity and drowsy drivers. getAbstract recommends Walker’s important overview to nearly everyone, especially managers who subscribe to the you-snooze-you-lose work ethic. 

Dr. Walker is a man on a mission. He wants to get you and everybody else to sleep more. Walker lays out in terrifying detail how even minimal amounts of sleep loss can have devastating effects on your physical and mental health. Ironically, his data-rich horror stories are enough to keep you up at night – but to excellent purpose. Walker also offers reassuring evidence of how a good night’s sleep will enhance your well-being, and he offers practical advice on how to fall asleep.

Walker is a neuroscientist; that is, he’s a scientist. So his mind-set is one of discovering and imparting facts, which he presents with great clarity and in great number. Many of his facts stand alone and provide insight. Others function as metaphors to illuminate additional facts or to serve as bridges between crucial points. Walker varies his approach with a skill that keeps his informative prose readable and engaging.

About the Author

Matthew Walker, PhD, is a professor of neuroscience and psychology at the University of California, Berkeley, where he directs the Sleep and Neuroimaging Lab. A psychology professor at Harvard, he has published more than 100 scientific studies.

More on this topic

Why Can’t We Sleep?
Lighting Up the Nighttime
Are We Prepared for the Looming Epidemic Threat?
A Beginner’s Guide to the End
Thinking, Fast and Slow

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