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Summary

Brought to you by Penguin.

The number one Sunday Times best seller.

TLS, Observer, Sunday Times, FT, Guardian, Daily Mail and Evening Standard Books of the Year 2017.

Penguin presents the audiobook edition of Why We Sleep by Matthew Walker, read by John Sackville.

Includes a bonus PDF of graphs and diagrams.

Sleep is one of the most important aspects of our life, health and longevity and yet it is increasingly neglected in 21st century society, with devastating consequences: every major disease in the developed world - Alzheimer's, cancer, obesity, diabetes - has very strong causal links to deficient sleep.

Until very recently, science had no answer to the question of why we sleep, or what good it served, or why its absence is so damaging to our health. Compared to the other basic drives in life - eating, drinking and reproducing - the purpose of sleep remained elusive.

Now, in this audiobook, the first of its kind written by a scientific expert, Professor Matthew Walker explores 20 years of cutting-edge research to solve the mystery of why sleep matters. Looking at creatures from across the animal kingdom as well as major human studies, Why We Sleep delves in to everything from what really happens during REM sleep to how caffeine and alcohol affect sleep and why our sleep patterns change across a lifetime, transforming our appreciation of the extraordinary phenomenon that safeguards our existence.

©2017 Matthew Walker (P)2017 Penguin Books Ltd

Critic reviews

"Vital... a life-raft." ( Guardian)
"A top sleep scientist argues that sleep is more important for our health than diet or exercise." ( The Times)
"It had a powerful effect on me." ( Observer)

What listeners say about Why We Sleep

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Discouraging for insomniacs

This book is full of fascinating information and studies about every aspect of sleep you can imagine from animals to humans at every stage of their lives. As someone who has suffered with poor sleep for years, I was keen to hear some ideas about how I can improve my sleep. A few things about this book really annoyed me though. The main thing was that throughout the book it is implied that reduced sleep is a 'lifestyle choice' for people who do not priortise it. This may be the case for some people but I am desperate for more sleep. It is also depressing to hear in detail how much irreparable damage my poor sleep has done to me over the years - it sounds like a terminal illness! Finally, it makes it sound like insomnia is easily treated by CBTi. I have not found this to be the case. It's going to be even harder for me to reduce my anxiety and challenge my negative thoughts about poor sleep having read this book. Having said that I will forget all about it soon anyway as poor memory is a major feature of poor sleep.

181 people found this helpful

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Ground-breaking, so the flaws are forgivable

Potentially life changing, which you cannot say about many books. The science is illuminating and the evidence is extremely persuasive.

It is not without flaws. The futurology and social commentary is less convincing. If you spend much of a book setting out the facts, supported by evidence, in order to build an argument that is not widely understood, you endanger your overall message if you veer off into ideas and opinions. In that regard it also felt padded a little.

The narration is very good, if a little "high and mighty" in its tone.

But pay little attention to these flaws. The core of this book is truly profound, and may cause you to rethink how you live your life.

And if you want an executive summary: Get another 30-60 mins sleep per night. You won't regret it.

114 people found this helpful

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Is Sleep just for the Weak?

A hearty NO! Matthew’s 20+ years of sleep studying and psychological tests have delivered some of the biggest results for humans in the betterment of themselves, their safety and society. This is a must read(or listen) book for all who are interested in prolonging their life or taking steps so as not to shorten it. John narrates the book wonderfully and really brings the enthusiasm that Matthew Walker pens. From increasing you chance of fighting off the common cold to even improving your chances of surviving cancer “Why We Sleep?” is an insightful and motivating book.

65 people found this helpful

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Very interesting and possibly life changing book

Would you listen to Why We Sleep again? Why?

The deep and calm voice of the narrator makes this audiobook a pleasure to listen to. I will certainly re-listen to 'Why We Sleep' because it offers plenty of interesting information on the importance of sleep and it's packed with tips on how to make your sleep healthier; to make a full use of the knowledge the book offers, I need to listen to certain chapters again and take some notes.

Any additional comments?

The book is potentially life changing, especially if you happen to suffer from sleep deprivation and/or ill health potentially caused by it. It makes a very strong case for prioritising good sleep and it motivated me to care for myself and my family better. Of particular interest to me were the author's discussions of children's sleep, it's potential connection to ADHD and dangers of sleep deprivation in youngsters. I became a much more sleep-conscious parent as a result. I highly recommend this audiobook!

20 people found this helpful

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Facinating and useful

Sorting out my sleep patterns has been my main New Years resolution as I have come to the conclusion that most other things in my life will improve greatly once this is achieved.
But I hadn't realised the vast catalogue of problems sleep deprivation is causing in the developed world. And that almost all of us will be suffering from it to some degree.
This book is both very interesting in explaining the mechanism of sleep, and everything in our modern lives that have an influence on the quality of our sleep.
Concluding with a comprehensive list of everything we can do to free ourselves from the misery of tiredness and under performance in the day and sleeplessness at night.
I'm going to listen again. And this time I'm taking notes.

47 people found this helpful

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Absolutely interesting!!!

One of the best audio books I've ever listened to. Everybody sleeps and therefore everybody would find this interesting - I did! Wish I could have had a chat with the author afterwards. Will send a copy of this book to my children's school about start times. Thank you

7 people found this helpful

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Woke me up

Really well-considered work. Helped me to start to monitor my sleep pattern and working to obey first law, get to bed and up about same time every night and morning. Have struggled with diabetes and obesity for years. Now sleeping better and making good progress.

6 people found this helpful

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A life-changing book

Would you consider the audio edition of Why We Sleep to be better than the print version?

The narrator does an excellent job stressing the key phrased and pacing the narration in such a way that I believe I take away more information that I would have if I had read the book myself.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Of course everyone 'knows' that a good night's sleep is important, but my god the author brings together such a body of evidence that I'm left in no doubt of the benefits of 8 hours of natural sleep. You will never take sleep for granted again. I'm convinced that this book will save lives and the health of many people.

What about John Sackville’s performance did you like?

Well paced and a great voice.

Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

It's more of an intellectual and scientific book, but the importance that sleep plays in our life comes across in a profound way.

Any additional comments?

The author encourages the reader to read/listen to the chapters in the order that appeals to them.

27 people found this helpful

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  • CM
  • 16-04-18

Superb

Any additional comments?

This book has completely changed my attitude to sleep - it presents a number of fascinating facts and new research into the science of sleep and debunks many myths associated with sleep. I was particularly alarmed by the facts associated with sleep and alcohol.

5 people found this helpful

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The most fascinating book I have read in 20 years

Would you listen to Why We Sleep again? Why?

Yes, and I am already (immediately after finishing it). The subject has changed my life and I want to ensure I took it all in first time!

Which scene did you most enjoy?

I cannot pick one chapter. They are all exceptional. The beauty of the writing is that you can dip in and out of chapters and read them in any order and they still make perfect sense. Fantastic!

If you made a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

Sleep: Evolutionary Elixir (SEE for short!)

Any additional comments?

This book has already changed my life and continues to do so. It is no exaggeration to say it is the best book i have ever read/listened to. I am lucky in that I do not particularly suffer from sleep problems but, either way, the book is fascinating, interesting and informative. I could not recommend this book more highly.

26 people found this helpful

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  • Winston Lee
  • 06-03-18

Informative with passionate narrator

I would recommend this book to anybody who is currently sleeping less than 7 hours per night and wants to find a shortcut to improving their life in all aspects. I found the information here enlightening and the evidence compelling.

The narrator is great too, he manages to imitate the various accents and also reads the sentences in a way that very accurately brings across the weight and meaning of the point that Matthew Walker is trying to bring across. I felt like the narrator was the writer himself.

5 people found this helpful

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  • Margarita Marti
  • 01-10-19

One of the best books

Enlightening! Every policy maker must read this book. Many times we skip straight to solutions. This book is all about the why and I believe it is vital that our why is clear. Why we sleep? Explains the importance of sleep, what improves its quality and what doesn't.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Adeline
  • 23-03-21

Essential reading to live and sleep fully

One knows a few bits about sleeping but this book is comprehensive and fascinating.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 03-01-21

Mind-blowing

I really enjoyed this book, please do yourself a favor and listen to what Matt has to say, it will literally change your life

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 07-12-20

Life changing

This book is revolutionary. I truly believe every person should read it. Sleep education need to be more prioritised.

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  • Ilona Brunyanszki
  • 19-11-20

Lots and lots of info

Loved the book! Listened to it 2 times straight after each other and tracked back few times to process the information. Super interesting and I am sorry I didn't come across this book much much earlier in my life!! Definitely will import a large portion of the advise into my life. Thank you!

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  • J. Schmuecker
  • 16-09-20

Unfortunately just a collection of observations

Science is the art of creating models and then trying to invalidate them through experiments.

I am in chapter 4 now and I haven’t heard the author mentioning a model. The book describes “interesting” facts about sleep and the effects of not getting enough sleep.

I guess I expected some model of sleep beyond: cleaning up the brains memory.

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  • Paul Drakeford
  • 14-08-20

Life changing

While the aim of this book is to get you to close your eyes it ultimately opens them....to the damage done to one’s own health and the public health of not getting enough sleep. Plenty of great tips on how to improve sleep.

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  • Melanie Cook
  • 09-08-20

Life changing

Full of facts of why sleep is important and tips on how to get more of it.

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  • David Reimer
  • 04-08-20

Very informative

Great book on the subject with good tips on how to get better sleep. Only thing missing is the scientific studies related to the effect meditation has on sleep. Otherwise a great read. Highly recommend!