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Dreamland: Adventures in the Strange Science of Sleep

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  • Posted August 9, 2012

    A Brief Summary and Review

    *A full executive summary of this book will be available at newbooksinbrief dot wordpress dot com by Aug 20. We spend up to 1/3 of our lives sleeping, and yet, unless we are not getting enough of it, and/or are experiencing a sleeping disorder of some kind, 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 more 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'. Randall himself became interested in the world of sleep as the result of nearly injuring himself while sleepwalking one night. The doctor he went to was unable to give him any straight advice with regards to preventing future bouts of potentially harmful somnambulism, and this got the author to thinking about other facets of sleep about which he had questions. This curiosity ultimately led Randall to do some investigating into the strange science of sleep, and the end result is this very interesting and informative book. 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. The 11 topics, in the order in which they are presented, include: 1) The phenomenon of natural sleep patterns, and an exploration of how modern living arrangements and conditions have disturbed these patterns (and what we can do to counteract these disturbances--advice that some individuals and organizations have begun to apply). 2) The topic of sleeping in the same bed with a partner, and the historical trends and pros and cons of this arrangement. 3) The topic of getting your kids to bed, and the question of whether co-sleeping with your infant or young child is beneficial. 4) The meaning of dreams--including an historical survey of views regarding the significance of dreams, all the way up to and including the latest theories about dreaming. 5) The effect of sleeping and dreaming on cognitive functioning, including its role in long-term memory formation, skills acquisition, problem solving, emotional control and creativity. 6) The very damaging (indeed deadly) effects of sleep deprivation in the military and during combat, and the latest measures being taken to insure that soldiers are getting enough rest. 7) Sleepwalking, and the bizarre phenomenon of crimes committed while sleepwalking--as well as how the justice system is dealing with these cases. 8) The science of sleep in sport, both amateur and professional. 9) The very widespread problem of 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. 10) Insomnia, and the troubled history of its remedies--as well as the latest techniques in fighting sleeplessness. 11) The science of maximizing and optimizing sleep, and what can be done to ensure that you are getting the best sleep possible. For the executive summary visit newbooksinbrief dot wordpress dot com

    7 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 28, 2012

    Snooze!

    It read like a text book. If that's what you're looking for, this is perfect.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 8, 2012

    Quite Fascinating

    I found this to be rather an intersting and thoughtful read. I would definitely recommend it to anyone that likes science-related fact-like things like this. It's like all the modern studies on sleep wrapped up neatly in a nice, well-written package, and makes its points well. I enjoyed reading it.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 9, 2014

    Fascinating subject!

    This book was well written and integrated so many areas of our daily lives. I learned a tremendous amount from this book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 22, 2012

    Definitely recommended

    A truly informative work that provides much new information and is fun to read. The author's ofter self deprecating humor is refreshing, and I must say I will be attempting to adjust certain "sleep" techniques given the material provided.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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    Posted April 25, 2014

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    Posted October 5, 2012

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