‘Why We Sleep’ shows that sleep makes us smarter and healthier

By Ande Jacobson

Matthew Walker, PhD is a world renowned sleep researcher who shares some astonishing, well-kept secrets in his 2017 New York Times Bestseller, Why We Sleep: Unlocking The Power Of Sleep And Dreams. In this fascinating book, Walker starts with the basics such as what sleep actually is, how widespread sleep is in the animal kingdom, and why it is needed. He goes on to explain what the various stages of sleep do for us and what happens when they are missed. He closes with an enlightening discussion of how our societal norms help and harm us with respect to sleep. To accomplish this, he breaks the book into four main parts including:

  1. This Thing Called Sleep
  2. Why Should You Sleep?
  3. How and Why We Dream
  4. From Sleeping Pills to Society Transformed

He draws a startling and compelling conclusion at the end. He also provides a helpful appendix drawn from the NIH Guide to Healthy Sleep with 12 common sense tips.

Walker’s book packs insights from decades of research and over three million years of evolution into under 350 pages, and it’s worth reading every word. He is a masterful storyteller citing numerous studies and expanded material via footnotes throughout the book to support his assertions. In format, while the index is extensive, the one thing missing is a consolidated bibliography that would help readers refer back to those informative studies. Continue reading