Why we sleep matters

why we sleep image

I have just finished reading “Why we sleep” by Matthew Walker.

It is filled with the most fascinating insights about the many benefits of sleep, all backed by science – covering memory, creativity, mental health, dementia, ADHD, driving accidents, PTSD, DNA, cancer, heart health and lots more.

I have come away from this book absolutely marveling at the human body and particularly the divine brilliance of this process we call sleep.

Most of us learn about diet, exercise, and sex as part of the school health curriculum but I don’t ever recall learning about why sleep matters beyond relieving tiredness.

Some people talk about needing little sleep. A badge of honor that says – “I’m a hard worker, I have stamina, I’m doing more”. I know that kind of thinking has influenced my view of sleep over the years. That needing sleep = doing less = being less.

This book has changed my view. I’m now making 8 hours of sleep-opportunity-a-night, my focus. And I’m fitting my day around that.

I used to de-prioritize sleep to accommodate everything else that I thought I should be doing to make me healthier and happier. Matthew Walker teaches us that if we prioritise and value our sleep, we will see measurable benefits physically and mentally including being more creative, productive and happier!

I came away from the book thinking of all the reading I have done over the past 30+ years around health and well-being. About all the things I have done, tried and formed habits around. And, moved sleep aside for. Only to discover now (in mid-life) that sleep is, in fact, the answer.


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