In Why We Sleep: Unlocking the Power of Sleep and Dreams, published by Scribner and released earlier this month, Walker guides readers through decades of sleep research. He describes how the overtired brain and body make us vulnerable to cancer, Alzheimer’s, depression, anxiety, obesity, stroke, chronic pain, diabetes and heart attacks, among other medical conditions.
The book also explains the power of circadian rhythms, the therapeutic importance of Rapid Eye Movement (REM) dream sleep, and how alcohol, caffeine, pharmaceutical stimulants and sedatives disrupt sleep cycles and degrade the quality of brain waves that promote the rich slumber that wards off illness.
Cumulatively, he argues, the cognitive, emotional and physiological stresses of too few hours of sleep take a toll on such frontline personnel as military fighters, first responders, commercial airline pilots and long-haul truck drivers, leading to vehicular accidents, botched surgeries and fatalities, and, in the case of exhausted parents, child neglect and abuse.
“ ’I just snapped and ‘… those words are often part of an unfolding tragedy as a soldier irrationally responds to a provocative civilian, a physician to an entitled patient or a parent to a misbehaving child,” Walker writes. “All of these situations are ones in which inappropriate anger and hostility are dealt out by tired, sleep-deprived individuals.”
Read the full article at source: Berkeley News