Book Review: “Why We Sleep” by Matthew Walker PhD

why we sleep

I thought sleep was an important factor in good health, I didn’t realise quite how essential a good night’s sleep is to our overall health.

Routinely sleeping less than six or seven hours a night demolishes your immune system, more than doubling your risk of cancer.

This book is a fascinating read backed up by a wealth of research, looking into why we sleep, and what happens if we deprive ourselves of sleep in any way. As a teacher, I was interested in how sleep affects learning, children today sleep on average two hours less than their counterparts a century ago, and it plays havoc with their learning.

When it comes to information processing, think of the wake state principally as reception (experiencing and constantly learning the world around you), NREM* sleep as reflection (storing and strengthening those raw ingredients of new facts and skills), and REM sleep as integration (interconnecting these raw ingredients with each other, with all past experiences, and, in doing so, building an ever more accurate model of how the world works, including innovative insights and problem-solving abilities).

 

I could go on at  great length about the value of this book but, as its approaching midnight, I feel I should get myself some restorative shuteye. I think everyone should read this to realise how valuable sleep really is.

In the small enclaves of Greece where siestas still remain intact, such as the island of Ikaria, men are nearly four times as likely to reach the age of ninety as American males.

*NREM is non-REM sleep

My rating : 5 out of 5

I Dreamt I was sitting around a Kitchen Table with Presidents Trump, Obama and the Clintons

Last night, I dreamt I was sitting around a kitchen table with Presidents Trump, Obama and the Clintons. I don’t remember ever dreaming about American Presidents before, Trump has been in the news constantly in recent weeks, I also recently caught on YouTube Graham Norton’s interview of Hilary Clinton  Graham Norton Show . The problem with dreams is that they are so quickly forgotten on waking. Dreams are created in a part of the brain away from the part that creates memories. I tried writing what I could remember of the dream, when I woke up.

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What I recalled:  After an 11 mile walk for charity with Khato (my wife), I decide to hitchhike back. We are in the countryside somewhere near Birmingham (UK). A car pulls over driven by President Trump. We are taken to some house (I don’t recognise the house, it doesn’t seem unusual in any way) and sit around a kitchen table. Then another car pulls in, from which come President Obama with Bill and Hilary Clinton. We are all sitting around the table. Everyone seems calm, it is like we are waiting for someone else (George Bush, maybe?). I’m trying to work out what is happening, why am I with so many presidents?

That is all I can recall, I wonder if it means anything? In the bitter bipartisan politics of the moment it seemed strange all these people seemed so calm and quiet. I don’t remember anyone saying anything. I wish I could remember more. I sometimes try to write my dreams down but realise most of the dream has floated away into the ether before I can write it down.

Another dream I wrote down: Model Car Dream