A spoiler free Review
I’ve been seeing the recommendations for this book everywhere on Goodreads and Amazon and my Kindle for a few months. Finally, with an exasperated sigh, I gave in to these recommendations and put it on my “Want to read” list for a while. Just as it was garnering dust over itself, I came across a post with Bill Gates talking about this book and Ho Ho Ho- If this book is good enough for Bill Gates, who am I to not get on board with it.
Also, this is perhaps the first book I’ve read knowing Mr Gates read it. And honestly, it was an eye-opener and giving me reasons to shift my sleeping habits. Ironically I completed the read by pulling an all-nighter.
The book is divided into four major sections which talk about Why we sleep, what would happen if we didn’t sleep, how dreams are important to sleep and how the society perceives sleep and how we can improve our sleeping habits. Something I liked about this book is that one does not have to read the book in chronological order. You can pick up any chapter and begin reading it independently!
The author goes into a lot of depth and goes to great lengths to explain the intricacies to a common reader through great analogies and descriptions. The studies conducted were explained thoroughly and the writing style sure is immersive.
One thing this book does is help you look back onto your sleep schedules and in my case, terrorised me while thinking about it. And yes, it did also help calm me down. It gives an in-depth understanding of how crucial sleep is from a social, evolutionary, physical perspective and its effects on our immune systems as well. It also talks about how sleep helps in creativity, exercise and improving day to day lifestyles.
I have had my fair share of doubts as well when a few studies were conducted on rats on sleep deprivation. The author in the beginning clearly shows the differences in sleep between that of various animals by type of sleep, quality of sleep and quantity of sleep. In the back of my head, I was pounded with a million questions regarding a few studies which interpreted results from rats and inferred them onto human sleep. Coz well, humans and rats are not the same! And, perhaps these tests cannot be conducted on humans due to ethical reasons. Again, these studies were very very less when compared to studies performed on humans.
The author is convinced that sleep is the primal force through which mother nature allowed all life forms to flourish and has substantiated most of it with facts, but there sure were a few ideologies where the use of the words perhaps, may have been used.
But one sure would realise by the end of the book is the importance of sleep and the effects that deprivation of 7-9 hours of sleep every day does. Even though my doubts about the studies and claims about uses of sleep in evolution, the benefits of sleep outweigh the doubts I carry. (I do intend to mail the author with my doubts though! )
Perhaps, you think you can get by with 5 to 6 hours of sleep and believe you function at your best. Don’t worry, I was someone of the though too. This book allowed me to understand that the lack of sleep continuously lowers the standards of functionality to a sleep deprived person without them realising it while they believe they are at the top of the game. And also, goes on to mention that we are incapable to recover the sleep that is lost and that there is only so much that we can regain from trying to recover sleep on weekends!
This is one book I would recommend everyone to read for sleep is one thing we all need and it is something that sure does have long term benefits of increasing lifespan, reducing the risk of mental disorders (including Alzheimer’s)
To those who have erratic sleep schedules, this book is for you. Also, to those who cannot fall asleep or struggle to sleep continuously, this book provides insights to the questions you would be facing and also provides some tips to work on to achieve better sleep. If none of them works, reaching out to a sleep specialist is recommended!
I would give a recommendation score of 10/10.
Also, I will be posting some tips to have a better sleeping habits based on the book in the Next Post! It could help you, perhaps.
While writing this post, weirdly the Sound of Silence kept playing at the back of my mind. So, how about enjoying this classic?
If you decide to pick this book up, please do let me know!
More Power to You!