Baghdad: City of Peace, City of Blood kI won a copy of this book in a goodreads giveawayRandall does an excellent job ineeping his book well grounded in research while also Imagine That! keeping in mind that sleep is still a very new and therefore uncertain science The book is a summary of much of what is currentlynown and has been theorized about sleep and how it affects the mind and body A surprisingly engaging read and very easy to understand as Randall writes in a style that accommodates the layman While a lot of the information is fairly common sense if one were to actually spend time thinking about a subject like sleep Randall does bring to light pardon the pun a few interesting studies on things like the correlation between artificial light and cancer Definitely a worthwhile read if you ve ever had pro I wanted to like this book but I ended up finding it incredibly boring At times there was interesting information like the bit about first and second sleep but too many of the stories felt like repeats On and on the author shows how sleep is important And I wanted to say Yes I understand that but is there anything else you have to say Sleep It is something that children fight against seemingly viewing it as a punishment while adults wish they had of the sweet reward Just how much do scientists truly Elena's Conquest know about sleep Honestly not much However David K Randall shares some of the uniue data surrounding the world of sleep in Dreamland Adventures in the Strange Science of Sleep Dreamland is an instant thought provoking work as it presents theories and uestions surrounding the act of sleeping for example we may think that sleep is the result of the body s need for rest yet even if you relaxed on a hammock all day you would still need sleep when the clock struck the late hours From this introduction on Dreamland moves onto describing various aspects of sleep such as the effects of artificial lights impact of fatigue on work environments sleep walking etc These subjects are supplemented with research experiments and data which are compelling and leave the reader itching for However fo Wishing Yourself A Good NightWhat do you do when you really don t have much to tell on a subject especially when you care a lot about it You tell anecdotes and try toeep it interesting Most neuroscience books these days tend to be packed with anecdotes that are weird but on which there is no scientific consensus The reader is left to hisher own devices on what to make of all the stories This book is not much different It starts with an admission that we Sister of My Heart know next to nothing about sleep the activity that occupies 13 rd of our livesThe author sets off an a uest to discover about his own sleep conditions and finds that he has fallen into a strange rabbit hole that exists just on the other side the pillow and which most of are never aware of Once I started really thinking about sleep for the first time the uestions came in waves Do men sleep differently than women Why do we dream Why is getting children to fall asleep one of the hardest parts of becoming a new parent and is it this hard for everyone around the world How come some people snore and others don t And what makes my body start sleepwalking and why can t I tell it to stop Asking friends and family about sleep elicited a long string of I don tnows followed by looks of consternation like the expressions you see on students who don t King Alfred's Version of St. Augustine's Soliloquies know the answers to a pop uiz Sleep the universal element of our lives was the great unknown And frankly that makes no senseA few take aways1 The Need for sleepMost of us will spend a full third of our lives asleep and yet we don t have the faintest idea of what it does for our bodies and our brains Research labs offer surprisingly few answers Sleep is one of the dirty little secrets of science We don tnow about sleep and the book opens with the most obvious uestion of all why we and every other animal need to sleep in the first placeHere we hear many horror stories of sleep deprivation Within the first twenty four hours of sleep deprivation the blood pressure starts to increase Not long afterward the metabolism levels go haywire giving a person an uncontrollable craving for carbohydrates The body temperature drops and the immune system gets weaker If this goes on for too long there is a good chance that the mind will turn against itself making a person experience visions and hear phantom sounds akin to a bad acid trip At the same time the ability to make simple decisions or recall obvious facts drops off severely It is bound to end obvious facts drops off severely It is bound to end Severe Conseuences Including Death conseuences including death is a bizarre downward spiral that is all the peculiar because it can be stopped completely and all of its effects will vanish simply by sleeping for a couple of hours2 The Amount of sleepHumans need roughly one hour of sleep for every two hours they are awake and
THE BODY INNATELY KNOWS WHEN THIS RATIO BECOMES OUT body innately Rescuing Gus knows when this ratio becomes out whack Each hour of missed sleep one night will result in deeper sleep the next until the body s sleep debt is wiped clean3 The Stages of SleepResearchers now say that sleep is made up of five distinct stages that the body cycles through over roughly ninety minute periods The first is so light that if you wake up from it you might not realize that you have been sleeping The second is marked by the appearance of sleep specific brain waves that last only a few seconds at a time If you reach this point in the cycle you willnow you have been sleeping when you wake up This stage marks the last stop before your brain takes a long ride away from consciousness Stages three and four are considered deep sleep In three the brain sends out long rhythmic bursts called delta waves Stage four is nown as slow wave sleep for the speed of its accompanying brain waves The deepest form of sleep this is the farthest that your brain travels from conscious thought If you are woken up while in stage four you will be disoriented unable to answer basic uestions and want nothing than to go back to sleep a condition that researchers call sleep drunkenness The final stage is REM sleep so named because of the rapid movements of your eyes dancing against your eyelids In this type of sleep the brain is as active as it is when it is awake This is when most dreams occur4 The Ideal Pattern of Sleep that you are not followingNatural light is the way to go Artificial light messes up your sleep patterns and the body pays for it in the long run Post Edison world has come close to banishing the night but our bodies still live in a world where sun is the only source of light and have all sorts of troubles processing artificial light induced sleep patters More and health problems are being tied to unnatural sleep patterns and Light PollutionExample Electric light at night disrupts your circadian clock the name given to the natural rhythms that the human body developed over time When you see enough bright light at night your brain interprets this as sunlight because it doesn t now any better The lux scale a measure of the brightness of light illustrates this point One lux is eual to the light from a candle ten feet away A standard 100 watt lightbulb shines at 190 lux while the lighting in an average office building is 300 lux The body s clock can be reset by any lights stronger than 180 lux meaning that the hours you spend in your office directly impact your body s ability to fall asleep later That s because your body reacts to bright light the same way it does to sunshine sending out signals to try to eep itself awake and delay the nightly maintenance of cleanup and rebuilding of cells that it does while you are asleep Too much artificial light can stop the body from releasing melatonin a hormone that helps regulate sleep Poor sleep is just one symptom of an unwound body clock Circadian rhythms are thought to control as many as 15 percent of our genes When those genes don t function as they should because of the by products of artificial light the effects are a rogue s gallery of health disorders Studies have linked depression cardiovascular disease diabetes obesity and even cancer to overexposure to light at night Researchers now this in part from studying nurses who have spent years working the graveyard shift One study of 120000 nurses found that those who worked night shifts were the most likely to develop breast cancer Another found that nurses who worked at least three night shifts a month for fifteen years had a 35 percent greater chance of developing colon cancer The increased disease rates could not be explained as a by product of working in a hospital In one of the most intriguing studies researchers in Israel used satellite photos to chart the level of electric light at night in 147 communities Then they placed the satellite photos over maps that showed the distribution of breast cancer cases Even after controlling for population density affluence and other factors that can influence health there was a significant correlation between exposure to artificial light at night and the number of women who developed the disease If a woman lived in a place where it was bright enough outside to read a book at midnight she had a 73 percent higher risk of developing breast cancer than a peer who lived in a neighborhood that remained dark after the sun went down Researchers think that the increased risk is a result of lower levels of melatonin which may affect the body s production of estrogen There could be discoveries on the horizon that show detrimental health effects caused by artificial light Researchers are interested in how lights have made us less connected to the changing of the seasons We ve deseasonalized ourselves Wehr the sleep researcher said We are living in an experiment that is finding out what happens if you expose humans to constant summer day lengths 5 What Should Be Your Sleep ScheduleIn the Canterbury Tales one of the characters in The Suire s Tale wakes up in the early morning following her first sleep and then goes back to bed A fifteenth century medical book meanwhile advised readers to spend the first sleep on the right side and after that to lie on their left And a scholar in England wrote that the time between the first sleep and the second sleep was the best time for serious study Sleep it seems wasn t always the one long block that we consider it todayThis natural mode of sleep sounds weird to the post Edison world of artificial lights and 6 hour sleep cycles But it was a fact of life that was once as common as eating breakfastFor most of human history every night people fell asleep not long after the sun went down and stayed that way until sometime after midnight This was the first sleep that ept popping up in the old tales Once a person woke up he or she would stay that way for an hour or so before going back to sleep until morning the so called second sleep The time between the two bouts of sleep was a natural and expected part of the night and depending on your needs was spent praying reading contemplating your dreams urinating or having sex The last one was perhaps the most popularExperiments confirm this tendency Thomas Wehr who worked for the National Institute of Mental Health in Bethesda Maryland was struck by the idea that the ubiuitous artificial light we see every day could have some unknown effect on our sleep habits On a whim he deprived subjects of artificial light for up to fourteen hours a day in hopes of re creating the lighting conditions common to early humans Without lightbulbs televisions or street lamps the subjects in his study initially did little at night than sleep They spent the first few weeks of the experiment like ids in a candy store making up for all of the lost sleep that had accumulated from staying out late at night or showing up at work early in the morning After a few weeks the subjects were better rested than perhaps at any other time in their lives That was when the experiment took a strange turn Soon the subjects began to stir a little after midnight lie awake in bed for an hour or so and then fall back asleep again It was the Like many of us journalist David K Randall never gave sleep much thought That is until he began sleepwalking One midnight crash into a hallway wall sent him on an investigation into the strange science of sleepIn Dreamland Randall explores the research that is investigating those dark hou. Are two 1 Far too many ppl are not getting enough sleep including toddlers teens soldiers who are after all often teens themselves and athletes and 2 research is needed into a variety of aspects of sleep including dreaming circadian rhythms parasomnias etc35 stars and a positive recommendation if you re interested with the caveat that it really is a light read and probably won t enrich your I enjoyed this It gets a little repetitive though it s not all that long but for the most part it ept my interest Randall decides to research sleep after he walks into a wall hard during a sleepwalking incident and after a night in a sleep lab is told by his doctor I m going to be honest with you There s a lot that we now about sleep but there s a lot we don t now If the sleepwalking continues let s try some sedatives But I don t want you to start taking drugs that you don t need Try to cut down on your stress and see what happens Unsatisfied with this Randall says If my doctor couldn t tell me about sleep I reasoned then I would go out and search for the solution myself So began my adventures in the strange science of sleep I set out to discover everything I could about a period of time that we can only conceive of as an abstraction a bodily state that we now about but never really experience because well we are asleep Once I started really thinking about sleep for the first time the uestions came in waves Do men sleep differently than women Why do we dream Why is getting children to fall asleep one of the hardest parts of becoming a new parent and is it this hard for everyone around the world How come some people snore and others don t And what makes my body start sleepwalking and why can t I tell it to stop Randall explores these topics and others such as the interplay between science and the legal system when people claim to have been asleep when they committed crimes and the efforts of coaches and school administrators to improve athletic and academic performances through manipulation of athletes and students circadian rhythms As with many pop science books he relies heavily on anecdotes and I enjoyed the stories To illustrate the devastating results of sleep deprivation he talks about various military accidents he gives the story of Jack Nicklaus s golfclub grip crisis to show how the mind can solve problems during sleep and he tells about Colin Sullivan and his sleep mask machine for the treatment of sleep apnea in a chapter on various sorts of sleeping problems One issue which makes Randall s topic a challenging one is that his doctor was not Moonrise kidding when he said that much is still not understood about sleep Wenow it s really important for mental and physical health We Fallen Angel: The Passion of Fausto Coppi know that sometimes the mind manages to solve problems during sleep which it couldn t seem to solve while awake Wenow that dreams replay bits of memories and create mash ups which sometimes reflect our current preoccupations But there s also much we don t After Tamerlane: The Global History of Empire Since 1405 know Not only details of the whys and hows of the things we donow but whole areas such as why many people wake up around 2 am and Randall goes into how this was historically a time when people would wake after their first sleep to read or snuggle or whatever for a while before going on to the second sleep why men and women sleep differently what causes insomnia etc So for instance while we Alien Alpha know that Randall s sleepwalking problem was probably caused by a brain malfunction where the paralyzing hormones were not sent out to his arms and legs before REM sleep began so that he got up and walked around in response to his dream we don tnow how to fix it beyond sedatives or physical restraint As the wife of a calm gentle man who sometimes gets into loud angry fights in his dreams I would have loved for science to have made a bit progress with this oneAnother thing and this is minor but it did annoy me is that the editing of the book was uite sloppy Most annoying were lay vs lie issues which occurred throughout For instance As subjects laid on their Back With Their Eyes with their eyes each night p 259 and early humans were at their most defenseless when they laid down on the ground for several hours in the middle of the night p 244 Lay for which laid is a past form reuires an object There were some other sorts of errors but this one given the subject with people lying down to sleep or to try to sleep on a regular basis was particularly unfortunate WW Norton is a big enough publisher to do betterStill an enjoyable look at a subject in which we
all have anhave an Randall is an engaging storyteller and this is an entertaining book 4 stars A full executive summary of this book is now available here spend up to a third of our lives sleeping and yet unless we are not getting enough of it andor are experiencing a sleeping disorder of some ind most of us hardly ever give our sleep a second thought other than to rue over how much precious time it takes up Science too largely neglected sleep for the longest time treating it mainly as a static condition during which the brain was not doing much of anything interesting However ever since rapid eye movement REM was discovered in the 1950 s the science of sleep has really taken off and the discoveries that have come out of it go to show that this unconscious period is interesting than we ever could have imagined It is these discoveries that writer David K Randall explores in his new book Dreamland Adventures in the Strange Science of Sleep The book is split into 13 chapters with each chapter outside of the introduction and conclusion exploring a separate topic in the world of sleep In the book we learn about such basics as REM sleep and the 5 stage sleep cycle as well as the benefits of sleep and the harmful effects of sleep deprivation It turns out that sleep is instrumental in such things as muscle regeneration long term memory formation skills acuisition problem solving emotional control and creativity Dreaming we find plays an important role in many of these benefits thus making it seem far less likely that Freud was correct in thinking that dreams are actually a manifestation of subconscious wish fulfillmentWe also learn that our natural sleeping pattern is set by our circadian clock and that many of our routines in the modern world run somewhat against this natural pattern As it turns out these routines not only have a negative effect on our sleep but on our waking lives as well Fortunately many organizations are now beginning to take these lessons to heart and are modifying their policies and practices to help ensure that their members are better rested so as to lessen the negative effects of fatigue For instance high schools are starting later businesses are allowing their employees to take naps and hiring on fatigue management consultants to help eliminate the effects of under rested employees sports teams are hiring trainers to ensure that their players are getting enough sleep and to manage the difficulties of inter time zone travel and the military is allowing its soldiers rest during peace time and also monitoring and managing sleep during combatWe also learn about the difficulties of and the controversy surrounding putting your children to bed and how the practice of co sleeping sleeping in the same bad with your infant is making a come back At the same time the tradition of sleeping in the same bed as your partner is taking a hit as and couples experiment with sleeping in separate beds and even in separate bedroomsLast but not least we learn about sleeping disorders such as sleep apnea continual waking up due to blockage of the windpipe and the billion dollar business of treating and controlling this very distressing and potentially deadly disorder sleepwalking and the bizarre phenomenon of crimes committed while sleepwalking including child molestation rape and even murder as well as how the justice system is dealing with these very troubling cases and also insomnia and the sordid history of sleeping pills as well as the latest techniues in fighting sleeplessness including cognitive behavioral therapy Fortunately we also learn that there are several ways to improve our sleep other than with pills or therapy such as avoiding coffee alcohol and bright light before bed getting some regular exercise turning down the room temperature before bedtime andor taking a cool shower and practicing some breathing techniues to help us fall asleep one such exercise has you focus on your breathing by thinking in as you inhale and out as you breathe outVirtually every chapter contains a treasure trove of fascinating information about the topic in uestion and the author lays it all out in a very clear and interesting way If you are curious about the world of sleep and what science has to say about it then you can t go wrong A full executive summary of this book is available here podcast discussion of the book is also available I get insomnia a lot So this book was interesting and insightful I learned a bit and now understand different sleep disorders A good book Sleep that nits up the raveled sleave of careThe death of each day s life sore labor s bathBalm of hurt minds great nature s second courseChief nourisher in life s feast Macbeth Act 2 Scene 2To die to sleepTo sleep perchance to Dream aye there s the rubFor in that sleep of death what dreams may comeWhen we have shuffled off this mortal coilMust give us pause Hamlet Act 3 Scene 1The Bard has said it all Of late I am having bouts of anxiety which is preventing me from getting a full night s sleep on weekends I wake up early in the morning then toss and turn trying to go back under Not getting enough sleep makes me anxious which again contributes to my insomnia thus creating a negative feedback loop Maybe my weekend drink also contributes to the problem but I ll never admit thatI approached this book with the idea that it will enlighten me about sleep It did but not in the way I expectedThis is a book written by a journalist intensely readable terrifically informative and covering a lot of areas but it s not your scholarly tome It will give you a lot of info on the field of sleep research all fascinating and new but largely superficial It s a fun to read primer on sleep and will give you pointers for further study Fun Facts I Learned 1People did not sleep for one continuous stretch at night in the past They went to sleep not long after sunset and woke up in the middle of the night for an hour or two then again went to sleep and slept till dawn These were called the first sleep and second sleep The time in between was used for reading praying or having sex and from all reports it was awesome I should have learned this two decades ago dash it2Sleeping alone will guarantee a better night s rest than sleeping with your partner my wife adds especially when your partner sounds like a sawmill in operation 3There are two schools of thought whether infants should be given a separate bed or whether they should sleep with on their parents bed There are huge cultural differences involved here I don t now what s good for the ids but can say from personal experience that children sleeping alone will do wonders for dad s sleep4Forget Freud and Jung There is no symbolism in dreams it s all rather straightforward I don t fully agree5Sleeping on a problem will clear the mind of clutter and allow you to go to the heart of the matter old hat that6Lack of sleep is one of the reasons many mistakes committed by the military could be true Lack of sleep is one of the reasons for invading soldiers misbehaving with the natives especially American GIs in Ira a load of bovine excrement7There are cases of murder being committed while a person is sleepwalking and it has proved a valid defense in many cases of homicide this was totally new for me and somewhat frightening8Teenagers will perform better by going to sleep late at night and waking up late hopefully my son won t read this review9The best cure for insomnia is relaxation not pills Don t think of sleep at all easier said than done. Differently than men And if you happen to ill someone while you are sleepwalking does that count as murderThis book is a tour of the often odd sometimes disturbing and always fascinating things that go on in the peculiar world of sleep You’ll never look at your pillow the same way aga. Ame sort of segmented sleep that Ekirch found in the historical records While seuestered from artificial light subjects were shedding the sleep habits they had formed over a lifetime It was as if their bodies were exercising a muscle they never new they had The experiment revealed the innate wiring in the brain unearthed only after the body was sheltered from modern life Not long after Wehr published a paper about the study Ekirch contacted him and revealed his own research findings Numerous other studies have shown that splitting sleep into two roughly eual halves is something that our bodies will do if we give them a chance In places of the world where there isn t artificial light and all the things that go with it like computers movies and bad reality TV shows people still sleep this way In the mid 1960s anthropologists studying the Tiv culture in central Nigeria found that group members not only practiced segmented sleep but also used roughly the same terms of first sleep and second sleep6 Sleep PerformanceThe places where most of the cutting edge research happens and great places to understand the importance of sleep is the Military and Sports fields areas where human excellence endurance and performance is pushed to the limits It stands to reason that these fields notice the effects of sleep problems first Many sports teams no take great trouble to make sure Light is adjusted to natural cycles athletes get the full uota of sleep etc It s only a matter of time before rest of popular culture catches on just like many health ides diets exercises etc7 Sleep Timings Change with Age The three basic stages of adulthood teenage middle age old age have drastically different sleep structures Teenagers going through puberty find it impossible to fall asleep early and would naturally sleep past ten in the morning if given the choice Their grandparents often fall asleep early in the night but then find that they can t stay that way for than three or four hours at a time Middle aged adults typically fall between the middle of these two extremes content to fall asleep early when circumstances allow it yet able to pull an all nighter when a work project calls for it These overlapping shifts could be a way to ensure that someone in the family is always awake and eeping watch or at least close to it In this ancient system it makes sense that older adults who are unable to move as fast as the rest of the family are naturally jumpy never staying in deep sleep for long simply because they were the most vulnerable to the unknownThe other stage babyhood is a time with no sleep structure at all They sleep and wake up independent of the lightcircadian rhythms To the eternal consternation of all parentsSo human society is biologically designed to live in different time zones Biology s cruel joke goes something like this As a teenage body goes through puberty its circadian rhythm essentially shifts three hours backward Suddenly going to bed at nine or ten o clock at night isn t just a drag but close to a biological impossibility Studies of teenagers around the globe have found that adolescent brains do not start releasing melatonin until around eleven o clock at night and eep pumping out the hormone well past sunrise Adults meanwhile have little to no melatonin in their bodies when they wake up With all that melatonin surging through their bloodstream teenagers who are forced to be awake before eight in the morning are often barely alert and want nothing than to give in to their body s demands and fall back asleep Because of the shift in their circadian rhythm asking a teenager to perform well in a classroom during the early morning is like asking him or her to fly across the country and instantly adjust to the new time zone and then do the same thing every night for four years If professional football players had to do that they would be lucky to win one game8 What Sort of Bed Should You Choose The biggest uestion whether a bed should be hard or soft has a long and confusing history In 2008 the medical journal Spine seemed to settle the uestion of firmness It found that there was little difference in back pain between those who slept on hard mattresses and those who slept on softer ones How hard a person likes his or her bed is a personal preference and nothing In fact the bed that you find the most comfortable will most likely be the one that you are already sleeping on9 Forget The Bed Sleep Hygiene Is What You NeedWhile a comfortable mattress may have little impact when it comes to sleep uality there are several other aspects of the bedroom that do Taken together they form what specialists call sleep hygiene Most are common sense No coffee before bed in the evening Nor is drinking alcohol BEFORE BEDTIME A SMART MOVE ALCOHOL bedtime a smart move Alcohol help speed the onset of sleep but it begins to take its toll during the second half of the night As the body breaks down the liuid the alcohol in the bloodstream often leads to an increase in the number of times a person briefly wakes up This continues until the blood alcohol level returns to zero thereby preventing the body from getting a full deep restorative sleep Developing a few habits with the circadian rhythm in mind will most likely make sleep easier Adeuate exposure to natural light for instance will help eep the body s clock in sync with the day night cycle and prime the brain to increase the level of melatonin in the bloodstream which will then bring on sleepiness around ten o clock each night By the same token bright lights including the blue and white light that comes from a computer monitor or a television screen can deceive the brain which registers it as daylight Lying in bed watching a movie on an iPad may be relaxing but the constant bright light from the screen can make it difficult for some people to fall asleep afterward Walk around your house and switch off all bright lights half an hour before you sleep including the TV the iPad and the laptop Recent studies have shown that body temperature also plays an outsized role in getting decent sleep Takes steps to have a comfortable temperature Take a cold shower etc Even a small increase in the amount of exercise a person gets leads to measurable improvements in the time that it takes to fall asleep and stay that way This is particularly true for older adults10 The Effort Is Worth Your Time But though its effects were subtle devoting extra time and attention to this most basic of human needs impacted nearly every minute of my day Because I was improving my sleep I was improving my life And all it took was treating sleep with the same respect that I already gave other aspects of my health Just as I wouldn t eat a plate of chili cheese fries every day and expect to continue to fit into my pants I structured my life around the idea that I couldn t get only a few hours of sleep and expect to function properly If there was one thing that I took away from my talks with experts than any other it is that getting a good night s sleep takes work And that work is worth it Health sex relationships creativity memories all of these things that make us who we are depend on the hours we spend each night with our heads on the pillow By ignoring something that every animal reuires we are left turning to pills that we may not need experiencing health problems that could be tamed and pushing our children into sleep deprived lives that make the already tough years of adolescence difficult And yet sleep continues to be forgotten overlooked and postponed Any step whether it comes in the form of exercise therapy or simply reading a book like this one that helps us to realize the importance of sleep inevitably pushes us toward a better stronger and creative life Sleep in short makes us the people we want to be All you have to do is close your eyesIn addition to all the sleep advice the best part of the book was the full fledged dissing of poor Freud Far from being full of hidden symbols most dreams were remarkably straightforward and predictable Dream plots were consistent enough that just by Alexandra, Gone knowing the cast of characters in a dream scientists could forecast what would happen with surprising accuracy None of Freud s claims are true by any of our standards today Domhoff said dipping his spoon into his yogurt If you look at dreams if you really look at them like we have then you see that it s all there out in the open You don t need any of these symbols He went on Freudians got all caught up in the idea that there were hidden meanings to our dreams But their interpretations only worked because we share a system of figurative language and metaphor Too Lengthy for your tastes Would reading such a big review eat into your sleep uota for today Find the uick Summary Here This was a moderately interesting look at current research into sleep There were a few things I hadn t read before such as that the type of mattress you choose doesn t affect the uality of your sleep you sleep best on the sort of mattress most familiar to you I had alreadynown that light affects your Circadian rhythm While it is helpful to be exposed to natural light in the morning shun blue screen light TV laptop cell phone at least an hour before bed In fact it is best to have soft light in your home in the evening After 10 pm melatonin is released in your body causing your core body temperature to drop so it is helpful to sleep in a cool 60 66 degrees Fahrenheit room Exercise promotes better is helpful to sleep in a cool 60 66 degrees Fahrenheit room Exercise promotes better but it doesn t have to be strenuous exercise In fact it is important that your body thinks you have had a good workout than that you have run a marathon The brain is also tricky when it comes to sleeping pills They may work largely because they inhibit memory formation of any restless sleep you may think you have slept better than you actually have and that matters The length of sleep gained is apparently not remarkableThe author makes the provocative statement that people actually sleep better in separate beds It is probably best to have a little canoodle then toddle off to individual sleeping uarters for the best uality sleep He also explores the sleep disruptions brought by a baby in the family Should you let the infant cry it out or is the family bed the answer We all A Year in 120 Recipes know that teens prefer to stay up late and sleep in The world probably functions to the level of people in their prime At age forty REM sleep begins to decline This become noticeable at fifty and is set at age sixty five Anthropologists speculate that this was a survival mechanism left from ancient times When people slept in groups it was helpful to have someone sleeping lightly or awake to guard against danger Older people tend to fall asleep around 9 pm waking in the wee hours with less time spent in REM sleep It makes sense that as someone ages and slows down he should sleep lightly in order to be better able to wake up uickly and escape dangerThere is also a sort of afternoon slump at around 2 pm conducive to napping Some cultures have a long usually two hour lunch break to accommodate this natural rest cycleThe author also looks at the dangers of sleep deprivation For some professions such as for soldiers or airline pilots the issue of sleep is of life and death importance but has only recently been recognized as suchThe author became interested in this topic as a result of his own sleep walking episode He delves into examples of bizarre sleep walking behavior such as murder Is a person responsible for a murder committed while he was asleep The responses of juries to that uestion are unevenMy biggest problems with this book were the lack of an index and the uality of the editingproofreading Despite the fact that in his acknowledgements he credits two editors and a copyeditor I found some really glaring errors For example on page 111 Albert Szent Gyorgyi a Hungarian scientist who won a Noble Prize in 1937 and on p Written by a journalist so it s easy to enjoy with lots of tidbits of interest but light on the science No agenda just a bunch of essays about the subject The take aways. Rs that make up nearly a third of our lives Taking readers from military battlefields to children’s bedrooms Dreamland shows that sleep isn't as simple as it seems Why did the results of one sleep study change the bookmakers’ odds for certain Monday Night Football games Do women sleep.