Why We Sleep by Matthew Walker is one of the most profound books I have ever read. It has directly impacted my attitude towards sleep and subsequently altered my behaviour. Books that change your behaviour are rare and this is one of them. You should read it.
We all know that sleep is important. But Walker dissects study, after study, after study to describe how important sleep exactly is, and what the devastating effects of too little sleep are. Walker presents what we know about sleep — which is still a large research area — and he comes to quite sobering, startling and stunning conclusions about the importance of sleep.
The shock and awe approach could leave you with a sense of defeat of how we approach sleep related problems. Because, individually and as a society, we handle it very poorly. But Walkers’ optimism towards the end regarding solutions, does provide a little bit of comfort.
Modern man has dug quite a hole for himself, with blue LED lights, caffeine, alcohol, iPads and online distractions, which all disrupt our (sleep) lives more than we can even begin to imagine. But Walkers’ solution is not to shy away from technology, but rather to embrace and expand it explicitly towards better sleep. So fortunately there is at least also some direction in this book. We badly need it.
Please read this book.
Also published on Medium.