Why We Sleep – September Book of the Month

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An Introduction

“Scientists have discovered a revolutionary new treatment that makes you live longer. It enhances your memory and makes you more creative. It makes you look more attractive… It protects you from cancer and dementia. It wards off colds and the flu. It lowers your risk of heart attacks and stroke, not to mention diabetes. You’ll even feel happier, less depressed, and less anxious. Are you interested?” – Matthew Walker in Why We Sleep

If you could genuinely get all of these benefits from a pill, especially one that was free and had no negative side effects, would you take it? I know I would! A pill that gives you all of these health benefits may not yet exist, but there is still a path that can get you there. Sleep!

Welcome to September and this month’s Book of the Month post. Today we will be discussing how amazing of a book Why We Sleep by Matthew Walker is, and how it has changed my perspective on snoozing for good.

Sleep is Important, Blah, Blah, Blah

I know sleep is important, you know sleep is important, and I know that you know sleep is important. You know?

Most of us are aware that sleep is “important”, but does this awareness help us make it a priority? In most cases, probably not. Oddly enough, a chronic lack of adequate sleep is often worn as a badge of honor among students in high school and college and employee working at competitive companies. People actually brag about how little sleep they get, and they often try to “1-up” each other.

Student 1: Hey, how are you doing today?

Student 2: I’m pretty tired. I only got like 6 hours of sleep last night.

Student 1: Oh yeah? You think 6 hours is bad, try 4 hours. That’s how much I slept.

Student 3: Lol you don’t even know tired. I haven’t slept for three years, which makes me the coolest. Please help me.

How people feel when they got the least amount of sleep

This is (not quite) literally how some students’ conversations sound. It’s a pissing contest of who can get by on less sleep, and I’m not really sure what the purpose is. Are they looking for the most sympathy, like “you poor thing, you must be way more exhausted than the rest of us”? Or do they actually think it makes them cool? If any of you know the answer, do tell, because I can’t understand why this becomes a competition every time someone says they are tired.

The idea of getting less sleep appears less and less cool and cute once you learn about all of the poor health outcomes people can suffer from not getting adequate Z’s at night.

Playing around with your sleep is actually a pretty dangerous game, especially when it turns out that driving a car with 4-5 hours of sleep is like having a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08 (legal driving limit in the US). Even worse, having less than 4 hours of sleep is comparable to a BAC of 0.12-0.15.1

Don’t get in the car with Kramer or someone who is severely sleep deprived!

On top of that, getting less than 7 hours of sleep truly makes us less productive, creative, and pleasant to be around. I think that instead of bragging about how little we sleep at night, we should brag about how much we got. Or maybe not brag, but you know, encourage people to take good care of themselves and get adequate sleep.

Okay, Why Should I Read This Book?

Why We Sleep may sound boring and like it could literally put you to sleep like some other evidence-based books available. Instead, Matthew Walker chooses fascinating studies to discuss in plain language that will make everyone view sleep in an entirely different light. He takes us through the possible origins of why we sleep, how our sleep differs from other animals, and the different types of sleep.

He also covers the various methods people use in an attempt to achieve better sleep, and he discusses evidence-based findings for how to truly feel well-rested upon rising. It sounds nerdy to say that this was a page-turner, but it actually was. And I plan on revisiting it every once in a while to review and learn even more about the mysteries of sleep. You have to admit, sleep is a really weird concept, and it’s pretty fascinating once you stop and think about it.

Why We Sleep isn’t just a soap-box speech about how sleep is important. It also serves as a practical guild to getting more and better sleep, and it offers strategies to help you make it more of a priority. If more people read this book and truly understood sleep’s importance, I think there would be more conversations like the following:

Student 1: Hey, how are you today?

Student 2: Fantastic. I got a full 8 hours of sleep last night, and I feel so ready to learn.

Student 1: That’s awesome! I too got 8 hours of sleep, and I can’t wait to hear this lecture.

Student 3: Hell yeah, brother. Sleep should be priority for everyone, and you both are doing a great job.

Hell yeah, brother, catch those z’s!

I was literally laughing out loud as I typed this hypothetical interaction because I cannot picture this type of conversation ever happening on a college campus. So maybe Why We Sleep wouldn’t quite get us to this point, but maybe it would normalize prioritizing sleep to the point where we could all live a happier, healthier live free from sleep deprivation bragging.

Seriously, Read This Book

Why We Sleep (affiliate) offers an amazing look into what sleep actually is and how to get more and better quality sleep. This information is something that I truly wish was taught in schools across the country, because I think it would greatly benefit society as a whole. I don’t think that will ever happen, so we will just have to rely on ourselves to choose informative books and other resources to learn about how to take actual good care of ourselves.

This is an incredibly important read, and I highly recommend you get your hands on a copy as soon as you can!

You can also get this audiobook (or any other available audiobooks) for FREE if you sign up for a free 30-day trial of Audible! This book’s message is so important, I wanted everyone to have the opportunity to get it, whether or not they can pay for it. If you already have Amazon Prime, you get TWO FREE audiobooks with this offer.

Also, if you don’t yet have it, here is a free 30-day trial of Amazon Prime that will allow you to get FREE 2-day shipping and the ability to borrow Kindle books! What’s not to love?

As an Amazon Associate, I earn a small percent off qualifying purchases from products linked on my website. It costs you nothing, but it helps keep my website running. I only recommend things I genuinely love.

Sources:

  1. Acute Sleep Deprivation and Risk of Motor Vehicle Crash Involvement

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