13 December 2022

Review: Why We Sleep by Matthew Walker

Why We Sleep: The New Science of Sleep and Dreams by Matthew Walker book cover

Am I putting you to sleep with the number of books and audiobooks I review on the topic of sleep? I sincerely hope not, but I might need to acknowledge that this has become a comfort topic, something that I'm always interested in, am already largely familiar with, but keep wanting to consume or re-visit from time to time. 

Why We Sleep: The New Science of Sleep and Dreams by Matthew Walker is my latest audiobook endeavour to understand more about sleep. Providing a new-to-me angle, Walker focusses on what happens within the body when we sleep, and then what happens in the body if sleep is inadequate. The short-term and long-term physical repercussions of that were made terribly clear and none of the news was good.

The reverse was also highlighted, meaning a lack of sleep or poor quality sleep over time can cause detrimental damage to vital systems and processes in the body leading to a multitude of health problems. Some of these can then add to the pressure of not getting enough sleep or inability to sleep, creating an unhealthy spiral that is difficult to escape.

I believe this quote from the author in Chapter 7 encompasses the main thrust of this book:
"No facet of the human body is spared the crippling noxious harm of sleep loss." Chapter 7
Familiar topics including: school start times, concentration levels and workplace culture that values early starters and late finishers were all explored. However, as I was listening to the audiobook, the author's frequent reference to a PDF that I didn't have access to was frustrating and significantly detracted from the content.

Why We Sleep by Matthew Walker was an interesting book on the road to sleep but I don't think I've reached saturation point on the topic, so stay tuned for more in the new year. Three titles at the top of the pile are Sleep in Early Modern England by Sasha Handley, When Brains Dream by Antonio Zadra and Hello Sleep: The Science and Art of Overcoming Insomnia Without Medications by Jade Wu. 

Have you read any of these or have any recommendations?

Sweet Dreams!

My Rating:

Would you like to comment?

  1. I read this book and do agree - but its an interesting subject. Could you please share the best books you have read so far on sleep?

    1. Hi Amelia, how wonderful to find another reader as keen as I am about learning more about sleep. Here are some of the books I've read on the topic, in reverse rating order:
      Sleeping with David Baddiel by Geoff Jein - 1 star
      The Secret Life of Sleep by Kat Duff - 3 stars
      Nodding Off: The Science of Sleep by Professor Alice Gregory - 3 stars
      Lucid Dreaming Made Easy by Charlie Morley - 3 stars
      Why We Sleep by Matthew Walker - 3 stars
      What We Did In Bed: A Horizontal History by Brian Fagan & Nadia Durran - 4 stars
      At Day's Close - A History of Nighttime by A. Roger Ekirch - 5 stars

      Have you read any of those? What's the best book on sleep you've read? I'd love some recommendations too, although it's hard to go past A. Roger Ekirch At Day's Close.


Thanks for your comment, Carpe Librum!