Podcast & Book Reviews

January 16, 2023

Book Review: Why We Sleep – The New Science of Sleep and Dreams

By Jared Tilley | Senior Investment Analyst at NAOS Asset Management

Book Review: Why We Sleep – The New Science of Sleep and Dreams

For as long as I can remember, I have always questioned the need to get 8 hours sleep, so on the cusp of welcoming our third child into the family, thought it was smart to pick up one of Bill Gates highly recommended books.

Matthew Walker who is a neuroscientist and sleep expert who leaves no stone unturned, in what is a gripping and insightful venture into the reasons why we sleep. Walker does not only break down the components of sleep but dives into a wide range of areas that effect our sleep including food, coffee and alcohol, further articulates the devastating consequences reduced sleep has on our health.

Although it’s not all doom and gloom, as Walker highlights the importance and how one can harness its potential to improve learning, memory, and energy levels, but also dives into some more serious diseases like cancer, Alzheimer’s and diabetes. And while the book doesn’t provide an in depth “how to guide” on improving sleep, Walker does provide 12 simple tips for a healthy night’s sleep.

I have a newfound respect and appreciation for sleep and while it’s difficult to get a full 8 hours sleep, it’s definitely a target.

My favourite quotes from the book:

  • Sleep is the single most effective thing we can do to reset out brain and body health each day – Mother Nature’s best effort yet as contra-death
  • The Guinness Book of World Records has stopped recognising attempts to break the sleep deprivation world record.
  • One brain function that buckles under even the smallest dose of sleep deprivation is concentration.
  • The recycle rate of a human being is around sixteen hours. After sixteen hours of being awake, the brain begins to fail. Humans need more than seven hours sleep each night to maintain cognitive performance. After ten days of just seven hours of sleep, the brain is as dysfunctional as it would be after doing without sleep for twenty-four hours. Three full nights of recovery sleep is more nights than a weekend, are insufficient to restore performance back to normal levels after a week of short sleeping.
  • “The number of people who can survive on five hours of sleep or less without any impairment, expressed as a percent of the population, and rounded to a whole number is zero.” Dr Thomas Roth at the Henry Ford Hospital.

Link to Book

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