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Publisher's 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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amazing book. loved it. so mush fresh information.

easy too get through. great narrator. easy to digest information. I really didn't think I could learn so much about sleep. literally changed me while listeniing to it.

21 people found this helpful

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A must read for absolutley for everyone now!

I believe this will change everyone's lives for the better. it's easy to listen to and relatively easy to make changes for positive outcomes in all aspects of our personal lives. some messages we already knew and now here's scientific evidence supporting them. May authorities who have power to implement changes that can affect many, read this and act quickly.

8 people found this helpful

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Awaken to sleep

Sleep scientist Matthew Walker lays out nothing short of an all out crusade about the importance of sleep in this well composed work, of which the chapters contained can easily be navigated in any order to what area of sleep knowledge the reader is looking to know as suggested by the author in the prologue.
The book does revolve largely around the affects of sleep or lack of on the brain and its different components most affected the frontal cortex, hippocampus, hypothalamus etc.
Also mentioned numerously throughout are the sleep cycles particularly REM & NREM, and the studies conducted to research the effects of the type of sleep people get, not all sleep is equal as he points out.
Everything else from sleeping conditions of which the are over 100 documented types, to the negative effects on every part of the body that poor sleep can cause, believed by Matthew to be of greater seriousness than poor diet or exercise but gets around 1% the attention of these other societal affecting crises of the modern age.
Put short I was highly engaged through most of the book, I'm sure it could be updated in the future with the amount of research being conducted into this developing field, Matthew does his best to dissuade readers from the many sleep aid developed drugs available on the market, to add the sleep aid market which is worth around 30billion dollars annually in the US shows the severity of the problem at hand, he rather lists quite well alternative ways to manage a good 8hrs shut eye into every 24hr period.
The narrator can come across sometimes as nothing short of a sleep nazi, though I believe anyone unconvinced of the bennifits of a good sleep to purchase a sleep tracking smartwatch of which this reader recently obtained and notice the affects on the body particularly the cardiovascular data recorded and you will soon learn to manage the sleep you get in a very different way, the parts in the book on dreaming are also a favourite of mine.

17 people found this helpful

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If you value your own health, listen to this book.

I was hesitant to purchase this book, as it wasn't something I would normally listen to. However, listening to this book has been one of the most important things i have ever spent my time doing. This book covers the recent and incredibly salient break throughs in the understanding of sleep and the consequences of its neglect. If you value your health/life expectancy or the health of those you care about you must listen to this. My prior attitude towards sleep was reckless. As a student studying maths and physics I regularly sacrificed sleep to complete assignments and other tasks, and in hind sight it's clear how deleterious that behaviour is. Every human should hear this, so their attitude towards sleep recognises/matches its true importance.

Also, fantastically well articulated concepts, by the author, and supurb reading by the reader. (only a few pronunciation mistakes throughout the entire book (impressive!))

35 people found this helpful

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goodnight everyone.

a real eye shutter! The knowledge of sleep is sound and should never be interrupted by modernity. The path to good sleep is worth the travel. Everyone should read this book. I now seek 8 hours every night with the evidence uncovered in this must read .👁🙏

6 people found this helpful

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Amazing book

This book is absolutely fascinating, I always knew sleep was important but until I listened to this I never appreciated how vital it is to every part of our life. I wish Matthew’s recommendations to society were followed in their entirety, what a huge difference it would make to our lives and the lives of our children. I for one will implement as many of his recommendations as I can and for the rest of my life I will prioritize sleep in my life!! Thanks so much for writing this book Matthew!

5 people found this helpful

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This book has been debunked

If you Google "Matthew Walker debunked" you'll find the link where Alexey Guzey has fact checked just the first chapter and found that the claims are not evidence based. Specifically
*shorter sleep does not imply shorter life span
*sleeping less than 6 hours a night does not double your risk of cancer
*lack of sleep will not outright kill you
*the World Health Organization never declared a sleep loss epidemic
*two-thirds of adults in developed nations do not fail to obtain the recommended amount of sleep
Guzey provides citations and shows that Walker's citations are misleading or inaccurate.
Wish I never wasted my time reading this book, or stressing out about my sleep

4 people found this helpful

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everyone should read this!!

what an interesting read!

I'm a nurse, and I'm amazed about how many people think its normal to use sleepers every night to sleep. if I get to talk about sleep hygiene they are so not interested. now I really under stand the science behind what happens when we use them.
I've also been able to explain to my teenager why her sleep is so weird.
how amazing that we take this one thing for granted, and there's nothing more satisfying than a good nights sleep, now I know how to get it, how much is good to have and what happens if I don't.

I will be listening to this again for sure!

4 people found this helpful

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A must for doctors and insomniacs

Not sure I enjoyed the narrator as he sounded more media than academic but the content was seriously enlightening. I wonder if a a few critiques of this book might have helped the context although one hopes such an eminent academic would have got the balance right. At times the narrator overstressed matters a little more than I think the author might have intended. I felt the medication section was a little deficient as this was my main interest. Nevertheless, a huge task summarising a lifetime of study and what a huge subject! Hopefully Matthew Walker will revise over time as new research emerges. Unusually, I may reread this more than a few times and will download the book for my reference (as an academic reader in a related discipline hopefully this might offer a few references).

4 people found this helpful

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Brilliant account of the science of sleep study

I have never read a book about sleep, though wanted to since I am a poor sleeper. I knew many of the basic problems affecting sleep, but had no idea of the vast amount of information and scientific study devoted to the subject. I feel far better informed now, and know where to turn for more information. In some ways this is a depressing study, since as with weight-loss programs, several favourite activities of mine are best avoided in the interest of better sleep. Matthew Walker presents sleep loss as a major social problem needing to be addressed by governments and big companies - it will take years for all this to happen, but I believe things can improve if we all want it to,

4 people found this helpful

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  • Winston Lee
  • 06-03-2018

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.

6 people found this helpful

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  • Paul Drakeford
  • 14-08-2020

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.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Margarita Marti
  • 01-10-2019

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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  • Anonymous User
  • 04-10-2021

Everyone should learn this at school or at home

Knowledge is power and if you use health tips to improve your daily life (sleep knowledge in this particular case) it will most probably make all the difference during your journey through life.

I extremely recommend reading/listening to this book and apply its recommendations during our sleeping routines in order to obtain positive results.

Improving our sleeping quality and quantity makes our daily mood change for good, it increases our concentration, memory and motivation levels at work or during any other activity.
What's more, in doing so, we also avoid many other negative side effects due to a lack of it.

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  • Reuben
  • 08-09-2021

Sleep is vitally important!

Eye opening book. Wish I would have read this earlier! Power of sleep is unmatched!

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  • Mr. Paul Velonis
  • 31-07-2021

A must read

An amazing reference for sleep research.

A must read tor any parent, teacher, doctor, manager to understand the link between sleep health and performance.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 12-07-2021

Best book on sleep

This book explains deeply through physiology and the history of animals of how sleep is comparable. Also the most important methods of how to optimise sleep and rest and why it is physiologically essential as well. I recommend it to everyone who seeks to understand why prioritising sleep is essential to performing optimally

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  • Pheonix
  • 15-06-2021

I enjoyed and liked so much

This book was very informative and gave a lot of examples. I would recommend it to anyone to read at least one. In it, you can do d information on animal sleep patterns, infants, teens and adolescents. There is plenty of advice to optimise sleeping patterns without medication and a breath discussion on how dangerous and harmful sleeping aids such as medications are.

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  • Swashbuckle
  • 08-06-2021

Wish I'd read this when I was younger

Essential insights into sleep and the impacts and causes of a lack of sleep. This book covers an exhaustive view of impacts, mental & physical. A condensed version should make for essential learning in schools, and a must for parents and anyone who doesn't prioritise sleep.

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  • Tatiana
  • 17-05-2021

I really enjoyed this audible

Something that everyone should read.
Something that government and broad authorities should read.

It’s never enough to be reminded how important it is.

Well written and explained. I probably didn't like only few pages at the end of the book. Everything else was great and it is already 2021 and still it's all so relevant!

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  • Bonnie
  • 11-08-2018

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.

202 people found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 20-01-2018

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.

120 people found this helpful

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  • R Blades
  • 15-01-2018

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.

69 people found this helpful

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  • irmish
  • 18-04-2018

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!

24 people found this helpful

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  • Mr. B. Lynch
  • 08-03-2019

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.

11 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 20-01-2018

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.

48 people found this helpful

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  • Mr L.
  • 14-10-2018

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

8 people found this helpful

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  • Simon Johnson
  • 11-02-2018

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.

29 people found this helpful

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  • CM
  • 16-04-2018

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.

6 people found this helpful

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  • dans_floor
  • 06-10-2018

Ironically, very eye-opening

This is an absolutely fascinating summary of what research has taught us about sleep. The consequences of poor sleep are spelled out in plain English, and with extensive reference to real-world examples. At times, the density of information almost desensitised me - there are just so many ways our bodies and minds are impacted by a lack of sleep, and these are all well-known. It's just a shame this information isn't better dissipated to the general public.

I've never read a book that has so fundamentally altered my understanding of my daily life.

5 people found this helpful