Why do we need sleep? How much sleep is enough? What is sleep? What happens when we don't get enough?
We spend about a third of our lives asleep - it plays a crucial role in our health and wellbeing. References to sleep abound in literature and art, and sleep has been recognized as fundamental to the human condition for thousands of years. Over the past century, our knowledge of how sleep occurs, what it does, and what happens to our health if we do not have enough has developed hugely. The impact of poor sleep on our quality of life is also gaining recognition and the prevalence of sleep disorders in the population appears to be increasing as we live ever stressful lives.
This Very Short Introduction addresses the biological and psychological aspects of sleep, providing a basic understanding of what sleep is and how it is measured, looking at sleep through the human lifespan and the causes and consequences of major sleep disorders. Russell G. Foster and Steven W. Lockley go on to consider the impact of modern society, examining the relationship between sleep and work hours, and the impact of our 24/7 society.
ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
There are hardly any other things in life that we take for granted as much as we do sleep. For most of us getting a good night sleep is one of the best simple pleasures in life. We only start thinking about sleep when we are not getting enough of it, a condition that is becoming increasingly common in the modern world. Even when we do give sleep some serious though, it is almost never something that we study in any great depth. Sleep is simple. We either sleep enough, or we don't. And yet sleep is a very complex and still poorly understood phenomenon. "Sleep - A Very Short Introduction" is an incredible little book that takes us on an exploration of what we know about sleep right now.
The primary approach of this book is scientific. All of the best scientific evidence is presented, and the authors don't engage in much speculation except to point out a few prevailing theories about the origin and purpose of sleep. The social and cultural attitudes to sleep are mentioned only...
Sleep takes up about one third of our lives. Therefore it is important to understand sleep and its pathologies. This book fully meets this requirement and is therefore recommended to all who want to gain some insight into a hidden but crucial part of being a human. As frankly stated in the book, many features of sleep and the factors shaping it are not really understood. A definition of sleep fitting comparable phenomena in all forms of life is lacking. And, most important of all, “The reasons why we sleep remain frustratingly unresolved” (p. 40). But some of the essential functions of human sleep are known. These include many biological ones. On the mental level, “In humans, procedurial learning, declarative learning, and even higher-level “insights” – the process of mental restructing in the brain, that leads to a sudden gain of understandilgn or explicit knowledge – have been shown to depend on sleep” (p. 52). Also, “sleep...
The author reveals through thorough but extremely concentrated prose why sleep is far more important than we would like to believe. I felt this book was utterly informative, but personally, I like a bit more eloquence, story, and sense of style and art to shape and give life to what is otherwise just raw and somewhat boring data to those of us who don't have apple products for brains. Not really a fan of the new trend of removing all passion and feeling from information. The author isn't a bad writer, but the language is simply too concentrated and heavy. It would be much more interesting if the author had or had been given more freedom in this work. Then again, I'm not a scientist or a doctor, just a person who likes to learn. I would rather read a book ten times in length that was presented in a more digestible form. Still, you can't knock this book for it's heavy dosage of information, and I appreciate that the author has the guts to make controversial statements based on...
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