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Why We Sleep

Unlocking the Power of Sleep and Dreams
Narrated by: Steve West
Length: 13 hrs and 52 mins
5 out of 5 stars (3,098 ratings)
Regular price: $22.67
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Publisher's Summary

The first sleep book by a leading scientific expert - Professor Matthew Walker, director of UC Berkeley's Sleep and Neuroimaging Lab - reveals his groundbreaking exploration of sleep, explaining how we can harness its transformative power to change our lives for the better.

Sleep is one of the most important but least understood aspects of our life, wellness, and longevity. 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 we don't sleep. Compared to the other basic drives in life - eating, drinking, and reproducing - the purpose of sleep remained elusive.

But an explosion of scientific discoveries in the last 20 years has shed new light on this fundamental aspect of our lives. Now, preeminent neuroscientist and sleep expert Matthew Walker gives us a new understanding of the vital importance of sleep and dreaming. Among so many other things, within the brain, sleep enriches 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 mollifies painful memories and creates a virtual reality space in which the brain melds past and present knowledge to inspire creativity.

Walker answers important questions about sleep: How do caffeine and alcohol affect sleep? What really happens during REM sleep? Why do our sleep patterns change across a lifetime? How do common sleep aids affect us, and can they do long-term damage? Charting cutting-edge scientific breakthroughs and synthesizing 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; increase longevity; enhance the education and lifespan of our children, and boost the efficiency, success, and productivity of our businesses. Clear-eyed, fascinating, and immensely accessible, Why We Sleep is the crucial account on sleep that will forever change listeners' minds on the subject.

©2017 Matthew Walker (P)2017 Simon & Schuster, Inc.

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

The best book on sleep bar none

I absolutely hated this book for the first number of chapters. Both the narrator and the content (as applicable) seemed pretentious, dry, and lacking in anything of interest. However, it got so much better as I progressed through the book and eventually I came to view this as the best "sleep book" that I've ever read. I listen to a lot of podcasts on health, sleep and related content, and yet I learned a lot in this book that I never knew about sleep related issues.

I highly recommend that everyone read this book and I've purchased copies for many people that I know already. The content in this book can dramatically help improve the life of almost anyone.

46 of 48 people found this review helpful

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I recommend this to EVERYONE

I first noticed Why We Sleep on Audible's homepage under "New in Non-Fiction" and clicked on it simply because I saw it was narrated by one of my favorite narrators, Steve West. The subtitle "Unlocking the power of sleep and dreams" makes this sound like it would be full of watered down science and generic advice about getting a good night's sleep or interpreting your dreams. That is NOT what this book is, thankfully. Matthew Walker presents study after study explaining why we need sleep for every aspect of our lives (to prevent disease, to help remember things, to look more attractive, etc.). I was fascinated for all 14 hours of this book. I've recommended it to every person I know, because the content of the book is just so IMPORTANT. The next time I hear someone say, "Oh, I only need 5 hours of sleep a night," I will tell them how wrong they are and shove this book in their face. Seriously, everyone needs to READ THIS BOOK!!! Our society holds some really erroneous beliefs about sleep, from how much you should be getting a night, to whether you really have insomnia (you probably don't). Walker addresses everything you ever wanted to know about sleep and more in this book. I will be listening to this again soon.

9 of 9 people found this review helpful

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One of my favorite nonfiction reads of 2017

I had been avoiding reading a book on what lack of sleep does to a person because I figured it the news would not be good and I sleep so badly, I just didn't want to know. But I heard the author on NPR and it sounded so interesting, I got it.

The news was worse than I thought! Nevertheless, it was so fascinating, full of such interesting information, I'm glad I read/listened to it. It's one of the few books that I'd say, "Everyone should read this." For those who can manage to get a decent night's sleep but think 5 or 6 hours is enough--this might change their minds.

28 of 30 people found this review helpful

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Good basic information

This was a good book, but had some very basic information in it. If you are looking for ways to help you sleep better, find something else. If you are wanting to understand the benefits of sleeping or detriments of not sleeping, this is very good. I enjoyed the narration.

16 of 18 people found this review helpful

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Five stars from a habitual short sleeper

With my new found knowledge on the importance of sleep, this book may prove to be one of the most valuable purchases I've made. Having experienced many of the issues talked about herein and now understanding the power of sleep, I have already began putting forth an effort to sleep more. I plan to make all necessary adjustments until I can regularly get a full nights sleep. Hopefully in the near future this information becomes more widespread and is taught in all schools. I don't think I would have been so careless with my sleep had I known the benefits from early on. Better late than never though, so I'm very thankful to have found this book now.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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Fascinating book on sleep, highly recommended!

I️ was searching for a book on the science behind sleep, and I️ definitely found it! The author did a phenomenal job explaining all things sleep. From benefits, to diseases, to harmful impacts and more. I️ love learning the science behind things, and this book definitely delivered in that aspect.

In terms of practically, if you’ve ever read anything on how to sleep better I️ doubt you’ll find something new here. But this book doesn’t promise “how to sleep better” so I’m not docking it for that. I️ do recommend “Sleep Smarter” by Shawn Stevenson if you want more practical tips on how to sleep better. That being said, I️ have never been so motivated to get a consistent sleeping schedule than after/ while reading this book. For me, the book is worth it for that alone.

The narration was ehhh, I️ would give it a 3.5. I️ liked the authors voice but I️ did not finding him engaging, at all. To me it seems like he assumed people would be listening to this right before bed and read with a relaxed tone. However, it is definitely not bad enough to where I️ wouldn’t listen to it again.

The only part I️ thought was silly was when the author was trying to emphasize the evolutionary importance of sleep and he tries to flip the question of “why we sleep” to “why ever need to wake up?” Well let’s see there is food, water and sex, just to name a few reasons. Other than that I️ loved the book and think it’s well worth your credit!

8 of 10 people found this review helpful

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Good content. Good voice. Badly read.

I like the book, content and message. 5 stars.
I like the voice of the reader. 5 stars
However, there are unnatural pauses after every second or third word. This causes a very very incoherent listening experience.

10 of 13 people found this review helpful

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Good content, inadequate reading

Story: 5 starts Reading: 1 star

The Story
The content is updated, well organized and clear, yet not too simplistic. The previous time that I read about the science of sleep was almost three decades ago, and after listening to Matthew Walker's audio-book, I realized that these three decades had been very productive for sleep researchers.

The Reading
On the other hand, The reading is problematic and has some problems which seriously spoil the reading experience. First, it is very monotonous, and lacks the necessary vocal excitement that is so much needed for the delivery of an exciting scientific information. This may imply that the reader is not really interested in the fascinating story, and the result is that I had some difficulties keeping my concentration an found myself pressing the '30 seconds back' button repeatedly.

My conclusion is that it is best if scientists would read their own books, just like in the lectures of "The Great Courses".


7 of 9 people found this review helpful

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Interesting But Case Studies Seemed Flawed

A book on sleep was enjoyable and interesting to read. I believe that sleep is extremely important to one’s ability to function and thrive, and even though the author makes many points that I think are correct, some times his case studies or statistics seemed flawed. The seemly faulted statistical information makes one wonder about ever case study and statistical data set that is applied to situations. Example: He talks about how people are getting less sleep in the last one-hundred years and how in some case studies people are living short lives that sleep less than x hours daily. But the reality is that the average life span for people in every country is increased by decades in the last one-hundred years. A quick search on the internet shows you that from 1911 to 2011 life span has went from male 50/female 53 to 80/75. Undoubtedly the author has no idea what he’s talking about half the time, or created or found data to support what he want to be true. I could go on and on about his flaws in logical theory. If you can believe or jump from A = B and B = C to B must equal K, then this book might not become a misguided comedy that one needs to sleep upon before validating the legitimacy of congruent thought. But otherwise read it without pandering for a veracity of cheerful bliss.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Most educational

This is by far the most educational book on sleep. The only way to improve your sleep pattern is to master the science behind. Besides giving the importance of sleep for health, the book also approaches several mysteries about dreaming and sleep which keep the book entertaining. However, do not buy unless particulary interested in sleep. But if you are, this is the best.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful