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The secret to a better life? Sleep.




On average, human beings spend a third of their life in a state of sleep.
On average, human beings spend a third of their life in a state of sleep.
Luc De Leeuw/Flickr Creative Commons

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Catching some Z’s. Counting sheep. Sawing logs. Getting some shut-eye.

However you slice it, there’s no denying the importance of sleep. But, have you ever asked yourself why we sleep? Or why many of us feel so awful when we don’t get enough?

These are the questions neuroscientist and sleep researcher Matthew Walker explores in his new book "Why We Sleep: Unlocking the Power of Sleep and Dreams." And for a long time, those questions about the thing we do for a third of our lives remained largely unanswered. But recent years have yielded a handful of important advances in what we know about sleep.

In his book, Walker, who heads up U.C. Berkeley’s Center for Human Sleep Science, dives into his own research into sleep as well as the work of others with the aim of finding answers to questions like what really happens during REM sleep, and how substances like alcohol and caffeine affect our sleep patterns. Walker’s book aims to shed light not only on the mystery of sleep itself, but how you can harness your sleep to work best for you.

To find out more about cognitive behavioral therapy for sleep, visit here.

Guest:

Matthew Walker, author of the book, “Why We Sleep: Unlocking the Power of Sleep and Dreams” (Scribner, 2017); he is also a professor of neuroscience and psychology at U.C. Berkeley and the director of its Sleep and Neuroimaging Lab