J. Pedro Ribeiro

Book Notes #8: Why We Sleep: The New Science of Sleep and Dreams

March 13, 2021

Why We Sleep Book Cover

Never thought I’d be reading and enjoying a book about sleeping. Insightful, and oddly entertaining. And yes, I do get the irony of reading a book about sleep after going through some books on coffee 🤷🏽‍♂️

A 5-star rating on my GoodReads.

Here are my highlights:

  1. (On different types of body cycles) If I were to keep you awake all night, your core temperature would still show the same pattern. (pg.19)
  2. (…) melatonin helps regulate the timing of when sleep occurs by systematically signaling darkness throughout the organism. But melatonin has little influence on the generation of sleep itself. (pg.22)
  3. For every day you are in a different time zone your suprachiasmatic nucleus can only readjust by about one hour. (pg.24)
  4. The longer you are awake, the more adenosine will accumulate. (pg.26)
  5. You can artificially mute sleep signal of adenosine by using a chemical that makes you fee more awake: caffeine. (pg.26)
  6. Individuals who are deliberately fasting will sleep less as the brain is tricked into thinking that food has suddenly become scarce. (pg.66)
  7. (…) migrating birds will grab brief periods of seep lasting only seconds in duration. (pg.66)
  8. (…) NREM sleep helps transfer and make safe newly learned information into long-term storage sites on the brain. (pg.74)
  9. REM sleep can (help define what) a collection of information mean as a whole, not just as facts. We can awake the next morning with new solutions to previously intractable problems or even be infused with radically new and original ideas. (pg.75)
  10. Sleep is not the absence of wakefulness. (pg.108)
  11. (…) the more sleep spindles an individual has at night, the greater the restoration of overnight learning ability come the next day. (pg.111)
  12. The second benefit of sleep for memory comes after learning (…), consolidation. (pg.112)
  13. (…) emotional regions of the brain are up to 30% more active in REM sleep compared to when we are awake. (pg.193)
  14. (…) REM sleep is the only time during the twenty-four hour period when your brain is completely devoid of this anxiety-triggering molecule (noradrenaline). (pg.206)
  15. (…) REM sleep dreaming accomplishes 2 critical goals: remember (…) and forget. (pg.206)
  16. (…) alcohool will often suppress REM sleep, specially during the first half of the night. (pg.270)
  17. (On alarm clocks) The snooze feature means that you will repeatedly impose a cardiovascular spike again and again within a short span of time. (pg.278)

Liked this post? Read my other book notes.

J. Pedro Ribeiro

I’m a Brazilian front-end developer living in London. This website features some of my latest projects and my thoughts on anything web related.
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