Sleep: A Very Short Introduction

Overview


Why do we need sleep? What is sleep? What happens when we don't get enough? This Very Short Introduction addresses the biological and psychological aspects of sleep, providing a basic understanding of what sleep is and how it is measured, a look at sleep through the human lifespan, and the causes and consequences of major sleep disorders. The book describes dramatic breakthroughs in our knowledge of how sleep occurs, what it does, and what happens to our health if we do not have enough. The authors consider the ...
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Sleep: A Very Short Introduction

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Overview


Why do we need sleep? What is sleep? What happens when we don't get enough? This Very Short Introduction addresses the biological and psychological aspects of sleep, providing a basic understanding of what sleep is and how it is measured, a look at sleep through the human lifespan, and the causes and consequences of major sleep disorders. The book describes dramatic breakthroughs in our knowledge of how sleep occurs, what it does, and what happens to our health if we do not have enough. The authors consider the impact of modern society, examining the relationship between sleep and our 24/7 culture.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780199587858
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press
  • Publication date: 3/24/2012
  • Series: Very Short Introductions Series
  • Pages: 152
  • Sales rank: 781,067
  • Product dimensions: 4.20 (w) x 6.80 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Steven W. Lockley is an Associate Professor of Medicine at Harvard University. Russell G. Foster is the Head of the Nuffield Laboratory of Ophthalmology at the John Radcliffe Hospital, University of Oxford.

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Table of Contents

1. The history of sleep
2. The generation and regeneration of sleep
3. The sleeping brain
4. The reasons for sleep
5. The seven ages of sleep
6. When sleep suffers
7. Sleep and health
8. Society and sleep
9. The 24/7 society
References
Further reading

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted April 21, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    The Science of Sleep

    There are hardly any other things in life that we take for granted as much as we do sleep. For most of us getting a good night sleep is one of the best simple pleasures in life. We only start thinking about sleep when we are not getting enough of it, a condition that is becoming increasingly common in the modern world. Even when we do give sleep some serious though, it is almost never something that we study in any great depth. Sleep is simple. We either sleep enough, or we don’t. And yet sleep is a very complex and still poorly understood phenomenon. “Sleep – A Very Short Introduction” is an incredible little book that takes us on an exploration of what we know about sleep right now.

    The primary approach of this book is scientific. All of the best scientific evidence is presented, and the authors don’t engage in much speculation except to point out a few prevailing theories about the origin and purpose of sleep. The social and cultural attitudes to sleep are mentioned only insofar as they provide an example of the way that our “natural” sleeping patterns can get distorted, and the serious consequences of these alterations to individual and public health.

    Some of the most interesting parts of this book deal with sleep in animal kingdom. It turns out that some kind of “sleep state” occurs in almost all species, but the exact analogue to mammalian sleep is not entirely common. The attempts to discover evolutionary basis for sleep thus create almost as many questions as they offer answers.

    One of the most remarkable features of this short book is its ability to be equally at ease in the esoteric scientific topics as well as in the more applied everyday matters. After reading it I had not only learned so much about the physiological mechanisms of sleep, but I was also able to come away with a few truly useful and insightful tips. Even the practices that I had intuitively stumbled upon in the past have thanks to this book been put in a much more intelligible and evidence-based context. This book may not help with all of your sleeping questions and problems, but it’s definitely a very good start from which to take your inquiries further.

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