Why We Sleep by Matthew Walker | Book Summary

Book Name- Why We Sleep

Author- Matthew Walker

Do you often feel like you haven’t slept enough? Has it been a while since you woke up in the morning feeling fresh and well-rested? if your answer is yes then you’re not alone.

Studies have shown that two-thirds of all adults across the world’s industrialized countries do not get the recommended eight hours of sleep at night.

Most people think sleep is an unproductive thing, but in reality it is one of the most productive things you can do if done correctly.

Matthew Walker who is a leading neurologist and a sleep expert is the author of this amazing book “Why We Sleep” .

Walker stresses that sleep is infinitely more complex, more interesting, and more essential to our well-being than previously recognized.

In “why we sleep”, Matthew Walker gives us an understanding of the vital meaning of sleep.

Why Sleep is Important?

why we sleep book summary

For a good health, three most important things are-

  1. Exercise
  2. Diet
  3. Sleep

Out of three, good sleep is the foundation of good health.

“We will come to learn that sleep is the universal health care provider: whatever the physical or mental ailment, sleep has a prescription it can dispense.” 

The author emphasizes bad sleeping habits are not only disruptive to your immune system but it also affects your eating habits, your mood, and your general state of mind.

We sleep to fulfill a multitude of physical functions that benefit our brain and our body.

Literally all significant organs in our body and vital processes in our brain benefit from getting enough sleep and subsequently suffer if you’re sleep-deprived.

So having a good sleep should be one of your top priorities.

10 Tips for good night sleep summarized from the book “Why We Sleep” are as follows-

1- Stick To A Sleep Schedule

  • You must create a sleeping schedule and make it a habit.
  • Set an alarm for when to wake up as well as for when to sleep.

2- Don’t Exercise Too Late

  • In the day we all know that exercise is beneficial preferably at least 30 minutes every day.
  • But don’t exercise too close to bedtime because this elevates your body temperature.
  • That makes it hard to fall asleep. So try to exercise at least 2-3 hours before bed.

3- Avoid Stimulants

“Caffeine is not a food supplement. Rather, caffeine is the most widely used (and abused) psychoactive stimulant in the world.” 

  • Caffeine is a stimulant that will prevent you from falling asleep. So don’t drink coffee before bedtime.
  • The effects of caffeine can take up to eight hours to wear off.
  • Nicotine is also a stimulant which is why smokers often sleep very lightly and wake up too early.

4- Avoid Alcoholic Drinks Before Sleep

why we sleep book summary
  • Alcohol reduces your REM sleep.
  • REM stands for rapid eye movement. This is the deepest sleep stage so it’s very important that you don’t drink alcohol before bed.

5- Avoid Large Meals

  • Avoid large meals and beverages late at night.
  • Large meals cause your digestive system to interrupt your sleep.
  • Drinking fluids late at night can lead to you waking up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom.

6- Don’t Nap After 3 p.m.

  • Napping can be beneficial but doing so too late in the day will affect your sleep at night time.
  • It can be taken for very small intervals for 5-15 minutes.
  • But don’t stretch naps for a longer duration.

7- Relax Before Bed

  • You may try reading or listen to music before bed.
  • For me personally if I get stuck into a good book I become relaxed and it helps me to nod off.
  • Meditation is the best way to relax. You can start off with a smaller duration.

8- Take A Bath Before Bed

  • Taking bath before going to bed can be very relaxing.
  • When you come out of bath your body temperature drops.
  • This drop in temperature will help you to feel sleep better and more comfortably.

9- Dark and Distraction-Free Bedroom

  • Keeping your bedroom dark and cool at bedtime helps you to fall asleep faster.
  • You should also get rid of any gadgets which might distract you such as a phone or a television.
  • Avoid checking your phone before going to sleep.

10- Don’t Stay In Bed If You Really Can’t Sleep

  • If you’ve been in bed and you still can’t fall asleep, don’t lie there.
  • Stop forcing yourself up about it. This only exacerbates the problem.
  • Get out of bed do a relaxing activity such as meditation or reading and then go back to bed when you feel sleepy again.