15 March 2020

Book Review: “Why We Sleep”

I am going to try to tamp down on the hyperbole but I am not sure how. This book is three thumbs up. Yes, I am aware I have two thumbs,

If I were to name three books that have had the deepest influence on me, they would be (*) The Top Five Regrets of a Dying Man (*) The Power of Now and this book (*) Why We Sleep.

I received this from my younger daughter as a Christmas gift. I finally picked it up for reading sometime in January. This was such a great book that I had to read cover to cover – TWICE !! Unfortunately, in the last two months, I have talked about this book in way too many group gatherings – undoubtedly putting them to sleep. Which, ironically, is what this book is all about.

Fantastic book to understand sleep. And dispel some myths about sleep….

Did you know that…

(*) Sleep is not about lack of wakefulness. There is a boat load of stuff your brain is doing when you are sleeping.
(*) Our brain shuts off the portion of itself that controls motor movements when we dream. Do you know why? Else we will act out our dream!! (try to get off from bed and run away when we dream we are being chased)
(*) Adolescents sleeping late and waking up late? That is not a choice. They need that. It is an evolution thing.
(*) Most sleeping pills do not control your sleep. They just act as sedatives (blunt out your brain)
(*) We have no concept of time when we dream. In fact the concept of time when we dream dilates 3X to 4X!
(*) NREM sleep helps you move your memories from the day from short term (hippocampus) to your long term (frontal cortex) but it is your REM sleep that helps you stick those memories to past memories (making you learn)
(*) Dolphins and whales sleep with one side brain shut off at a time!
(*) Evolution wise, we are biphasic sleepers (once after lunch and then the long sleep at night)
(*) Older adults need less sleep? Yeah, that is a myth
(*) We wash our face before we go to sleep because feelings clean causes better sleep? Another myth! But there is a biological reason why we should wash down our feet, hand and face/whole head to induce sleep.
(*) 65 degrees room temperature is ideal for deep sleep (that is too cold for me!!!)
(*) You are on high fat/low carb diet? You are messing up your REM sleep (leading to learning) but getting deep NREM sleep (short term memory cleaning is good)

Posted March 15, 2020 by Rajib Roy in category "Books

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