Title: Dreamland: Adventures in the Strange Science of Sleep
Author: David Randall
Fun Fact: Just 24 hours without sleep will cause the neurons involved in decision making to slow down.
Review Summary: This book has achieved the holy grail of non-fiction: funny, approachable, well researched, and informative.
Sleep. Most of us love it, many of us don’t get enough of it, and none of us knows very much about it given the percentage of our lives we spend doing it. Even scientists don’t know that much about it, especially compared to their understanding of other basic biological functions. However, sleep research is becoming more popular and in Dreamland the author David Randall shares some of the latest findings.
The best part of the book was definitely the tone. The author is hilarious! He shares many funny anecdotes and writes in an unusually accessible way. The anecdotes he shares are often unconnected except for their relation to sleep, but the author does a great job smoothly transitioning between them. Fortunately, the book isn’t all about the anecdotes; the author just uses them to make his discussion of the research more interesting. There aren’t in chapter citations, which sadly means specific facts aren’t paired with citations, but there is a detailed list of references at the end of the book.
For those of you looking for a book on sleep because you’re having trouble getting enough good sleep, this is a great book to pick up. Although our theoretical understanding of sleep is still in the works, enough data has been collected that the author can offer some practical information. For instance, bright enough lights re-set your circadian rhythm, so it’s best to keep the lights low as you’re getting ready for bed. Now that’s information we can use!
Who should read this? anyone having trouble getting good sleep, anyone who thinks they can function without much sleep