Why We Sleep - Laura Winnan
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Why We Sleep

Why We Sleep – A Review

I have recently read Matthew Walkers ‘Why We Sleep’ and it totally opened my eyes to the lack of general public knowledge in regards to sleep. How much, the the quality of sleep and the effect that it has on our health. In order to raise the awareness in the importance of our sleep, I have put together some of the scientific facts and evidence in a shorter blog post, but I would definitely recommend this book to anyone and everyone!

early bird v night owl

Being an early bird or a night owl comes from our genes, we were born with them and if possible you should be accounting for them in day to day life. There are key factors that control when we sleep and when we feel tired; our biological clock alongside a sleep pressure chemical called ‘Adenosine’. These two factors are strongly influenced by our genetics, which varies from person to person, and therefore can’t be altered just by telling ourselves “don’t be lazy”. Which raises many questions in such industrialised countries that have such set time for schools, work and family life. As our countries develop are we negatively effecting  the health of those who are forced to go against their natural timings?

Each night we have a 90 minute cycle which goes through two stages of sleep,  the first half of the cycle is known as NREM sleep, and the second REM sleep. The two different types of sleep have different importances and effects on our health. By not achieving 8 hours of sleep each night, you may think you’re sacrificing just 2 hours of sleep but you will actually lose out between60-90& of REM sleep that kicks in later into your sleep time.


This is where your stores new information that you have taken in throughout the day, they are then transferred from the temporary memory storage so you have more ‘room’ to take in more information the next day, whether it be school, work or even learning new skills and techniques in sports/fitness. One way to realise whether or not you are getting enough is not being able to absorb information the first time you receive it, for example if you have had re read sentences of revision before  an exam but the information isn’t going in.


This phase of sleep is also know as your dreaming phase. REM sleep connects all the dots of your thoughts and in particular your emotions, whilst also enabling our ability to problem solve and be creative. Starting with the phrase ‘sleep on it’ throughout recent years Matthew Walker, alongside other sleep experts and dream experts have made incredible links between the importance of getting enough REM sleep and the positive effects it has on reducing anxiety and post traumatic stress disorder.

I will writing another blog post also stemmed from recent research which started from my personal reading of ‘Why We Sleep’ analysing the effects of caffeine, alcohol and lighting and how this can effect our sleep and general wellbeing.

This is definitely my longest and in depth post to date, thank you all for reading and I wish you all a great night sleep!

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