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Why We Sleep


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Why We Sleep is a genuinely interesting and accessible read about what sleep is and why it is so important. It highlights the paradox that getting ahead in modern life seems to involve a lifestyle that minimises sleep, even though doing do is absolutely deleterious to both performance and health. There are interesting chapters on how sleep can be helped and hindered, and lessons drawn from sleep disorders. There is plent in this book that I can use - and have used - to improve my personal and professional life.

 

But, and it is a big but, Why We Sleep falls into the same trap as many popular books written by scientists - of being verbose and repetitive. Sure, it is easily understandable and even the big words are carefully explained. But looking through any paragraph, half of the content is padding. And looking at the text as a whole, there is so much repetition and overlap between chapters. In my estimation, this rather long book could have been condensed into something between a third and a half as long with no loss of content or sense. 

 

Why We Sleep is a worthwhile read - the strength of content outweighs the shortcomings (longcomings?) in delivery - but Matthew Walker has managed to create a 3.5 star book from 5 star material. 

 

***1/2 

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