Why We Sleep – Matthew Walker

Book Review

If you find yourself making a lot of stupid mistakes, having difficulty remembering names, and being unable to connect with people due to your bad mood, then you might need to consider to have more sleep.

“Why We Sleep” is a must read for all those who think that sleep is a waste of time, and that 5 or 6 hours of sleep are sufficient for them. It explains how modern life style is deteriorating our sleep quality and quantity, and its impact on our everyday lives, on organisations and on society.

In a nutshell, here are the proven benefits of a full night of sleep as the author puts it : it makes you live longer. It enhances your memory and makes you more creative. It makes you look more attractive. It keeps you slim and lowers food cravings. 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.

Establish a regular bedtime and wake-up time, even on weekends.


Sleep Loss (dotted) and Obesity in the US

The author warns the reader against the use of sleeping pills, and recommends the cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia, or CBT-I, which is proved to be more effective and is rapidly being embraced by the medical community as the first-line treatment. The tips below include some of the CBT-I methods.

Tips for a better sleep

  1. Reduce caffeine, nicotine and alcohol intake.
  2. Avoid large meals and beverages late at night.
  3. Remove screen technology from the bedroom.
  4. Have a cool, dark, gadget-free bedroom.
  5. Establish a regular bedtime and wake-up time, even on weekends.
  6. Go to bed only when sleepy and avoid sleeping on the couch early/mid-evenings.
  7. Never lie awake in bed for a significant time period; rather, get out of bed and do something quiet and relaxing until the urge to sleep returns.
  8. Avoid daytime napping if you are having difficulty sleeping at night.
  9. Reduce anxiety-provoking thoughts and worries by learning to mentally decelerate before bed.
  10. Remove visible clock-faces from view in the bedroom, preventing clock-watching anxiety at night.
  11. If possible, avoid medicines that delay or disrupt your sleep.

The following link is cited in the book, it includes detailed tips for better sleep (page 16): Tips for getting a good night’s sleep.


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