Monday, June 5, 2017

Review: WHY WE SLEEP by Matthew Walker

Rating: 4/5 stars

In the beginning, the author made claims that seemed to have no medically researched background, such as, "Routinely sleeping less than six or seven hours a night demolishes your immune system, more than doubling your risk of cancer," and "A lack of sleep can kill you outright." I was worried the whole book would be written like this, that the author would expect me to believe his claims without evidence, but it was only the first chapter that left me skeptical. The rest of the book was actually well organized, and Walker's claims were backed up by the results of decades worth of research and studies. I slowly became impressed at the amount of evidence that went into each chapter of this book.

Why We Sleep is written in a witty and light banter that's easy to understand and engage with. It was such a relief to read a nonfiction book that actually feels like the author was telling me a story instead of quoting a textbook. Matthew Walker uses many analogies to explain concepts that may be difficult to the average reader (like me) who is not familiar with the scientific and medical terminology. For the most part, the explanations are easy to understand and enjoyable to read about.

There were a few parts that became mundane and started sounding like a university essay. One example was when the author started talking about biological concepts involving the evolution of sleep in different species of animals since the beginning of time. I think that part was too technical and unnecessarily long for this book. Other than those few parts, this book was a pleasurable and highly informative read.

This book talks about not only why we sleep (as the name suggests), but also the effects of different amounts of sleep on a person, and especially how a lack of sleep can affect someone over time. I learned about the problems of mixing caffeine and technology with sleep, what sleeping pills actually do for you, how the brain functions while sleeping, how sleep revives our minds, and everything I ever wanted to know about dreams. I honestly was shocked to learn just how important sleep is for every aspect of our well-being, and I will definitely be making a better effort to get at least eight hours of sleep every night after reading this book. As Walker says, "That humans can never 'sleep back' that which we have previously lost is one of the most important take-homes of this book."

Thank you to NetGalley for providing me with this ebook in exchange for an honest review.

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