Thursday, May 26, 2022

Why we sleep - Matthew Walker


This book is super interesting. People who like to sleep a lot will love it and those who are sleep-deprived or, even worse, boast about being able to carry a healthy and active life with only a few hours of slumber each night, well…they definitely need to read it.
Matthew Walker, a real guru on the subject, starts by explaining what sleep is, how it works and how it evolved over the aeons. You’ll get to know about sleep phases (NREM, REM, etc.), circadian rhythm, fundamental chemical reactions, how different animal species sleep and the various changes across the life span.
He goes on illustrating how sleep regulates our body and mind functions and how sleep deprivation can lead to utter disaster. We are talking about serious stuff here: cardiovascular diseases, cancer, memory loss, immunodeficiency and the likes.
Then comes the part I liked the most: REM sleep dreams. Recent research and experiments gave us clear explanations on why evolution endowed us with such a wonderful feature. Dreaming seems to have two major purposes: 1. it helps remove heavy emotional loads from particularly traumatic memories and 2. it boosts problem-solving and creative skills.
The last chapter deals with the effects of modern society on sleep: 24h noise and light, work/school hours, electronic devices all play a (negative) part on our sleep habits. A couple of good tips are provided here, and some ideas for societal change as well.
Are you interested in knowing how our brain does all that stuff through sleep? Read the book and you’ll find out.