Harsh's Library

Why We Sleep: Unlocking the Power of Sleep and Dreams

By: Matthew Walker - Read: April 5, 2024 - Rating: 8/10

In Why We Sleep, Matthew Walker delves into the enigmatic world of sleep, a subject so integral to our existence yet often overlooked in our understanding. Growing up, I only knew the basics from my school textbooks, such as reductions in body temperature and heart rate during sleep. However, Walker's book opened my eyes to the profound complexities of sleep that extend far beyond these simple changes.

Walker introduces the concept of the circadian rhythm, which governs our sleep cycles, and explains how morning sunlight influences the build-up of adenosine, a chemical that promotes sleepiness. He also explores how caffeine interferes with this process by blocking adenosine receptors, a temporary fix that loses effectiveness as our bodies adapt by producing more receptors. This adjustment demands higher caffeine consumption over time, illustrating just one of the many intricate ways our bodies strive to maintain balance.

The book also covers the physiological and psychological impacts of traveling across time zones, revealing that it typically takes a day to recover from each hour of jet lag. As someone who often travels between India and the US, this insight into a 12-day adjustment period resonates deeply with me.