“Scientists have discovered a revolutionary new treatment that makes you live longer. It enhances your memory, makes you more attractive. It keeps you slim and lowers food cravings. It protects you from cancer and dementia. It wards off colds and flu. It lowers your risk of heart attacks and stroke, not to mention diabetes. You’ll even feel happier, less depressed, and less anxious. Are you interested?”
Why we sleep? Not a question that you may have considered often. Well, in his latest book, Why We Sleep, Matthew Walker, a neuroscientist, shares a revolutionary way of feeling smarter, more energetic, happier and healthier - a good night’s sleep.
The core of the book is that sleep deprivation is a public health challenge, brought about by a culture that looks up to insomniacs like Margaret Thatcher who famously clocked-in less than 5 hours of sleep per night. Hugely efficient in her prime, Margaret Thatcher eventually succumbed to Dementia – another case in point that regular sleep deprivation will eventually impede your health. In fact, Walker’s book is full of examples and clinical studies to prove it is rare not to suffer long-term damage if you sleep little, habitually.
Walker, in a funny, convincing and hard-hitting way, shares the results of several clinical experiments to prove how sleep quality is intrinsically related to many body and brain functions, such as memory, attention span, problem-solving, growth, immune system, and proper functioning of the vital organs. Lack of sleep leads to dementia, blood pressure, cancer, stroke, road accidents, illnesses and more – clearly earmarking sleep deprivation as a common cause of morbidity in humans.
But you can always catch up on lost sleep, right? Even if you sleep for 5 hours a day, you can always make up for it by snoozing the entire day on Sunday!
Well, we certainly wish this were true but Walker believes differently. In his book, he goes on to show that you can’t catch up on lost sleep. Yes, sleeping late on the weekends will not help you undo the damage you have done to your body and brain during the week.
You’d love to sleep eight hours a night, of course. But your problems won’t solve on their own, would they?
Once again, Walker disagrees with the common consensus. His ingenious experiments show that dreams have therapeutic, creative and problem-solving functions – which means your problems may actually disappear after a good night’s sleep (otherwise, you may feel more alert to find a solution faster).
Say Hello to a Good Night’s Sleep
Eight hours of sleep is crucial to your well-being. But sleeping for eight hours is not enough; rather, you need quality sleep for eight hours each night to gain the actual benefits of this miraculous remedy shared by Walker. Small lifestyle changes like turning off all your gadgets an hour before bedtime, not using your bed for work, having a warm bath before sleeping and using the right pillow tailored to your sleeping style can ensure quality sleep for you, night after night, so that you wake up fresh, every single morning of your life.