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  • Writer's pictureSleep Positive

The Best Books On Sleep

Fascinated by sleep and dreams, and want to learn more? Here are five book recommendations that will help you to do just that!



The Best Summary

Why We Sleep by Matthew Walker

If you have ever doubted the importance of sleep, then allow Matthew Walker to explain how it impacts every-single-aspect of your life. From maintaining immunity and cardiovascular health to boosting your motivation, mood and fertility, it's impossible to find something that a good night's sleep doesn't benefit. Written in an accessible way and split into sections that allow you to dip into the bits you're particularly interested in, this book will change your opinion on sleep and make you wonder why it hasn't been prescribed by your doctor!


The Matt Walker Podcast (available on Spotify, Apple Podcasts and Google Podcasts)


The Mysterious World of Insomnias and Parasomnias

The Nocturnal Brain by Guy Leschziner

In the Nocturnal Brain, Guy Leschziner introduces some extraordinary people who may just re-define the way you think about sleep. While many of us will have experienced struggles with our sleep - usually getting enough of it - for others, sleep is inescapable. And if you think that sleep-walking is nothing more than an innocent night-time walkabout, then think again. While fairly common in young children, this night-time activity can be especially problematic in adults with serious cases - think motorbike riding and midnight snacks! In each chapter of this amazing book, we are introduced to a unique individual and watch their story unfold as Guy tries to help them achieve a good night's sleep. If you have read anything by Oliver Sacks, you will love this!


Sleep Across the Lifespan

Nodding Off by Professor Alice Gregory

Like most things, sleep is something that changes as we get older. From the amount of time spent dreaming to the time we prefer to go to bed, our sleep patterns really do reflect our age (and contribute to it!). In Nodding Off, Alice Gregory helps us to understand how our sleeping habits change alongside our developing brains and bodies, shedding light on why babies need so much sleep (in between bursts of outright refusal to do so!), and why teenagers are well within their biological right to demand a lay-in. There is also plenty of discussion on sleep in adults and older-people, where we discover why difficulty sleeping through the night is something we may return to in later life. And if the relationship between sleep and age leaves you wanting more, then you will be fascinated to know how research on sleep paralysis is helping to change the way we think about paranormal experiences.


The Sleepy Pebble and Other Stories: Calming Tales to Read at Bedtime by Alice Gregory and Christy Kirkpatrick - a children's bedtime story, written and designed by sleep experts.


On Dreaming

When Brains Dream by Antonio Zadra and Robert Stickgold

For years, dream research has often been thought of as 'pseudoscience' compared to other research areas - largely due to Freud and the tendency of science to revere objective, rather than subjective, data. However, in When Brains Dream, Antonio Zadra and Robert Stickgold take up the torch and illuminate the fascinating history of this seemingly magical phenomena. The book tackles some of the most fascinating questions left unanswered by science, delving into the latest research on dreams and helping us to understand their significance. Whether it's nightmares or lucid dreams, forgotten fragments with no meaning or seemingly prophetic impossibilities, this book finally gives dreaming the attention it deserves.


Sleep and Dreams in the Brain

The Neuroscience of Sleep and Dreams by Patrick McNamara

For those of a more scientific persuasion, The Neuroscience of Sleep and Dreams is a great physiological road map of the sleeping brain. Textbook-like in style, if you want to know more about the anatomy and neural mechanisms involved in the regulation of sleep, dreaming and wakefulness, then this book provides a great foundation, as well as a general overview.



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