What I'm reading: Why we Sleep

why we sleep

Although this title appears to have nothing to do with writing, it does. First, there are the effects of blue light, ie light from screens, that interferes with good sleep. A few years ago I watched one of those videos that purports to predict what the future hold, and it depicted both kids in a family checking their phones or tablets first thing in the morning, to find out their schedule for the day, all day long in school, because everything was online, after dinner to check and do their homework, and last thing at night to check or do something else. I thought it was both ridiculous and irresponsible, and having read half of this book, I now know why.

The second reason I think it's important is that some ridiculous advice is given on the internet pertaining to sleep. One book I read advised me that in order to get more writing done I could squeeze two extra hours out of the day by going to bed one hour later and setting the advice one hour earlier. An article I read informed me that the writer of the article had managed to get by on only 4 or 5 hours sleep a night while he worked on a project. He did end up sleeping for ten hours a night for two weeks, but didn't seem to realise there might be a connection between the two events.

I think reading this book would be enough to cure anyone of the delusion that sleep is an optional extra. I certainly wish I'd had this book when I was doing my main job (Head of ICT and Business Studies) and six other part-time jobs in order to keep my house as interest rates soared. I think I might have chosen to find a lodger instead.

I know in my own case, for example, that if I sleep more I get more and better writing done than when I try to burn the candle at both ends.

What the book discusses, drawing on up-to-date research, is how much benefit we get from sleep beyond just feeling rested and, conversely, how much damage is done by sleep deprivation, or the lack of particular parts of the sleep cycle.

When you read the list, which includes dementia and even cancer, it's enough to keep you awake at night.

Why we sleep (Amazon affiliate link).