A brilliant book about sleep
Updated: Aug 19, 2019
A while ago a friend recommended Matthew Walker's book Why We Sleep: the new science of sleep and dreams. "It changed my life," she said.
I can see why she said it. It's full of fascinating insights about what we do during those hours that constitute about a third of our life and why we need to pay more attention to the need for sleep. Walker offers some tips too.
One question I often ask clients is how well they are sleeping. It's one of those telltale signs about mental health, which include eating patterns, concentration and unusual mood swings. Professor Walker's book is not a self-help guide but he offers some suggestions on how we can get the eight hours' sleep he strongly believes the average person needs per night. (That may sound a lot: the science is unequivocal about the fact that most people in the west do not get the amount of sleep they need to function effectively.)
Some of his tips include not watching a screen, like a laptop or iPad, just before retiring for bed; keeping the bedroom a little cooler than the rest of the house; trying to go to the bed at about the same time each day; and getting up after 20 minutes rather than lying awake in the night tossing and turning.
Of course not everyone is the same, but he has done huge amounts of research into sleep patterns and the dangers of snooze deprivation. Walker makes you understand how we humans have evolved to need an essential amount of shut-eye. Well worth a read.