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4 Books About Sleep Worth Staying Awake to Read

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Alice Burton

Staff Writer

Chicagoan and aspiring cryptozoologist Alice Burton has a B.A. in Comparative Literature and is an Archives Assistant with the Frances Willard Historical Society. When not booking or historying, she is singing soprano wherever people will have her. She will watch any documentary on Neanderthals or giant extinct animals, and has a Stockholm Syndrome-like love for Chicago and its winters. Blog: Reading Rambo Twitter: @itsalicetime

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I was asking my friend what to write about this week, and she said, oh, Daylight Saving Time! And I said “nooooooooo!…but also, good idea.” #BanDaylightSavingTime, but also I like thinking about sleep, and a lot of people sure like writing about it. So let’s get into some books about sleep, fatigue of different kinds, and dreams:

Nocturnal Brain cover

The Nocturnal Brain: Nightmares, Neuroscience, and the Secret World of Sleep by Guy Leschziner

What happens if you can’t sleep? Neurologist Leschziner studies people dealing with insomnia, narcolepsy, night terrors, apnea, and sleepwalking. Here he shares stories of cases like the woman who, while sleepwalking, got dressed, got in her car, and drove several miles. He also shows “the neuroscience behind our sleeping minds.” Stories + science!

Black Fatigue cover

Black Fatigue: How Racism Erodes the Mind, Body, and Spirit by Mary-Frances Winters

This came out only last September! Black fatigue is here defined as “the intergenerational impact of systemic racism on the physical and psychological health of Black people.” Winters demonstrates how systemic racism impacts every aspect of life, including economics, education, work, and health. If you want to learn what you can do about it, pick this up.

Why We Sleep by Matthew Walker book cover

Why We Sleep: Unlocking the Power of Sleep and Dreams by Matthew Walker

So what’s up with sleeping? It leaves you so VULnerable. All unconscious for multiple hours. But also sleeping is awesome, so. Why? Walker “explains how we can harness sleep to improve learning, mood and energy levels, regulate hormones, prevent cancer, Alzheimer’s and diabetes, slow the effects of aging, and increase longevity.” He also gives you action items (I love an action item) for how you can improve your sleep. As someone who does that “revenge bedtime procrastination” thing, I am extremely interested in said items.

Burnout cover

Burnout: The Secret to Unlocking the Stress Cycle by Emily and Amelia Nagoski

Kim from For Real liked this! This is focused on how women experience burnout from stress differently than men, why, and what you can do to address it. I am extremely interested in the answer to “what you can do to complete the biological stress cycle — and return your body to a state of relaxation.” It’s probably not “watch Arrested Development over and over again.” Or IS it?

For more bedtime bookishness, check out: