Dreamland: Adventures in the Strange Science of Sleep

My dear friend Tamara Johnson, author of 31 Dates in 31 Days, sent me a short message a while back about a book she’d heard about on NPR entitled Dreamland, Adventures in the Strange Science of Sleep. The author, journalist David K. Randall, had decided to deeply research sleep after he had started sleepwalking.  I decided to give the book a read while on a recent vacation sans kids (remember actually reading on a plane?).

I was completely engrossed in this book from page one.  The first quote that caught my eye was when Randall noted that, “This is a book about the largest overlooked part of your life and how it affects you even if you don’t have a sleep problem…as I spent more time investigating the science of sleep I began to understand that these strange hours of the night  underpin nearly every moment of our lives.”  Randall goes on to talk about how cops, truck drivers and ER doctors are turning to sleep researchers for help in understanding how sleep effects the brain’s ability to make decisions.

This sentiment, unsurprisingly, resonates strongly with me.  I think sleep, for children and adults, is as vital as the nutrients a person takes in.  Dreamland purports that how you sleep impacts what you decide to eat and how much money you make, and a plethora of other things that comprise who you are as a person.  Randall states that, “All of those things that add up to what you consider you – your creativity, emotions, health, and ability to quickly learn a new skill or devise a solution to a problem – can be seen as little more than by-products of what happens inside your brain while your head is on a  pillow each night. ”  That is heavy stuff.

Over the last few years I’ve noticed how little importance many people place on sleep.  Especially amongst the parent-set it’s treated as a luxury.  A lack of sleep is worn as a badge of honor to represent just how much one is willing (and should!) sacrifice for their children or their work.  But I think looking at sleep in that light is downright dangerous. In New Jersey you can be PROSECUTED FOR VEHICULAR HOMICIDE if you are a driver that causes a fatality after being awake for 24 straight hours or more.  Study after study after study shows the terrible effect lack of sleep, but as a society we think very little about how too little sleep can effect our lives. Dreamland is an excellent read that helps a person understand all the important, and sometimes mind-blowing, things that take place in a person’s brain and body while they’re asleep.
By | 2017-04-13T12:46:23+00:00 October 28th, 2012|Categories: Science of Sleep, Sleep Training|Tags: , |0 Comments

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