Why We Sleep

Why We Sleep

Unlocking the Power of Sleep and Dreams

Book - 2017
Average Rating:
Rate this:
"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. An explosion of scientific discoveries in the last twenty 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. 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 accessible, Why We Sleep is a crucial and illuminating book"-- Provided by publisher
Publisher: New York : Scribner, 2017
Edition: First Scribner hardcover edition
Copyright Date: 2017
ISBN: 9781501144318
Characteristics: viii, 360 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm


From Library Staff

#17 Most checked out Adult Non-Fiction title in 2019 at MCFL

From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment
Dec 27, 2019

Great I want to know

Dec 11, 2019

Bill Gates top 5 of 2019

Sep 24, 2019

This is an awesome book.

Sep 15, 2019

This book can be summarized in three words: get enough sleep. Beyond that, there isn’t much in the book that will surprise you. The author does a thorough (too thorough, in my opinion) job of describing all the ways sleep helps your body and how many ways lack of sleep hurts you. It really comes down to the same thing: get enough sleep. That’s what your mother told you. He describes many experiments, some of them ingenious, sleep researchers have done to prove the benefits of sleep. Sleepy drivers are more likely to die in a car crash. Duh. And so on. The workmanlike prose is very readable and understandable to the lay reader. I doubt reading this will change anyone’s behavior, especially since those who believe they function well on four hours a night aren’t likely to read it and will scoff at it if they do.

STPL_Emily Sep 07, 2019

Matthew Walker believes that lack of sleep is one of the biggest health emergencies of our time, and after reading this book, I can't help but agree. If you or anyone in your life has trouble sleeping, this is required reading in my opinion. Walker does a fantastic job of taking his years of sleep related research and communicating the information clearly and engagingly.

Aug 18, 2018

A must read for your health and the health of you kids.

Aug 18, 2018

This book emphatically makes the points that (1) getting enough sleep is absolutely essential to our physical and mental health and the quality of our life, and (2) most people in today’s world are not getting enough sleep.

How much is enough? Ideally, we should be getting at least 7.5-8 hours of sleep every single night. Even one night of poor sleep has negative impacts on our health. And “making up sleep” is a myth. We can not “make up” the loss from even one night of sleep.

What is the first step to making sure we get enough sleep? Spend at least 8-9 hours in bed every night. If we lie down in bed for only 6-7 hours, we can not possibly get enough sleep to be healthy. (You don’t have to sleep later; you can go to bed earlier. Will you really miss anything important?)

The section called “Why Should You Sleep” opens with the following:


“Scientists have discovered a revolutionary new treatment that makes you live longer. It enhances your memory and makes you more creative. It makes you look more attractive. It keeps you slim and lowers food cravings. It protects you from cancer and dementia. It wards off colds and the flu. It lowers your risk of heart attacks and stroke, not to mention diabetes. You’ll even feel happier, less depressed, and less anxious. Are you interested?”

If this were an ad for a drug, everyone would want it and Big Pharma would make a fortune. But it is not a drug. It is sleep; it is free and available to everyone. It is truly miraculous, and yet most of us do not take advantage of getting enough sleep. We are just not taking sleep seriously enough.

Question for us all: What are you doing with that extra time awake that is more important/beneficial than getting enough sleep? Whatever you are doing, it is not a good trade-off.

Jul 03, 2018

A plethora of information about sleep and its impact on our physical, mental, and emotional well-being. A must read for all!

Jun 26, 2018

I highly recommend this book! One of my favorite reads of the year. I've recommended this book to several of my friends. I'm so impressed I may have to buy a copy to add to my own personal library so I can refer to again and again. A one-time read will not be enough!
I love the way the author doesn't dilute the complexity of the science relating to anatomy and physiology of the brain --and the way sleep impacts. But, he uses ample analogy and examples to make a difficult subject easy enough for the general audience to understand.
After reading this, you will never feel guilty about going to bed on time --or even sleeping in or taking a nap if your body asks for it. But, oh, if it weren't often easier said than done!
In summary: Wow! Read it. And sleep on it. You'll be glad you did!!

Apr 26, 2018

If you're waiting for the book, look up his talks on YouTube.
It's amazing how much gets done to our bodies (in the way of repairs) when we're sleeping and the lack of good sleep may be responsible for a lot of what ails us in modern society.
Really important stuff.

View All Comments


Add a Quote
Dec 20, 2017

Neuroscientist Matthew Walker, PhD, expands our knowledge and emotional connection to the sleep that occupies so much of our lives. He draws amazing pictures of the work our brain completes during different cycles of sleep, and as a passionate advocate of health, he makes recommendations about public policies that could protect us.


Add Age Suitability

There are no ages for this title yet.


Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number


Subject Headings


Find it at MARINet

To Top