Reviews for Secret World of Sleep : The Surprising Science of the Mind at Rest


Choice Reviews 2014 July
While everyone recognizes the physiological requirement of a restful sleep, far fewer understand the underlying cellular and biochemical complexities associated with the sleeping brain. Lewis has been studying the latter for years as the director of the Sleep and Memory Lab at the University of Manchester (UK). She utilizes a rich literature of sleep research to help readers connect their own experiences with sleep to the underlying biological mechanisms that produce that experience. For example, the fading memory of dreams is the result of the decreased responsiveness of the hippocampus--the part of the brain associated with memory--during sleep. The first four chapters of the book introduce basic brain anatomy and the biochemistry of neural communication. In the remaining chapters, readers learn that while the body may appear to be at rest, the brain remains busy reorganizing and replaying memories, managing stress, and even engaging in a creative process by making novel connections between disparate ideas and experiences. Each chapter concludes with a "Summing Up" section, which functions as a review of the most salient points. Both the subject matter and Lewis's engaging narrative style will appeal to a broad audience. Summing Up: Highly recommended. All levels/libraries. General Readers; Lower-division Undergraduates; Upper-division Undergraduates; Graduate Students; Researchers/Faculty; Two-year Technical Program Students; Professionals/Practitioners. J. A. Hewlett Finger Lakes Community College Copyright 2014 American Library Association.

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Publishers Weekly Reviews 2013 August #3

Most of us have some vague impression of the scientific explanations for sleep--resting, reorganizing our thoughts, etc.--but probably no real idea of why or how these things work; luckily Lewis is able to fill in the gaps in her concise and accessible book. As director of Sleep and Memory Lab at the University of Manchester, she is an authority in field and presents her research in an easy-to-read manner. The book starts with the basics: what is sleep? Lewis offers a working "loose definition," is that it's "an inactive time during which an organism responds less than usual when poked or disturbed, but from which it can be roused if danger threatens." From there she explores several possible "reasons" for sleep, including the way the sleeping brain bolsters our ability to remember things (like someone's name, or the way to a friend's house) by something called "memory rehearsal," a reenactment of the information at the "neural level." Lewis also confirms a truth we may have known intuitively, if perhaps had yet to see confirmed by scientific study: "sleep-deprived people are more easily frustrated, intolerant, unforgiving, uncaring, and self-absorbed than they would be if they were properly rested." (Sept.)

[Page ]. Copyright 2013 PWxyz LLC

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Publishers Weekly Annex Reviews

Most of us have some vague impression of the scientific explanations for sleep--resting, reorganizing our thoughts, etc.--but probably no real idea of why or how these things work; luckily Lewis is able to fill in the gaps in her concise and accessible book. As director of Sleep and Memory Lab at the University of Manchester, she is an authority in field and presents her research in an easy-to-read manner. The book starts with the basics: what is sleep? Lewis offers a working "loose definition," is that it's "an inactive time during which an organism responds less than usual when poked or disturbed, but from which it can be roused if danger threatens." From there she explores several possible "reasons" for sleep, including the way the sleeping brain bolsters our ability to remember things (like someone's name, or the way to a friend's house) by something called "memory rehearsal," a reenactment of the information at the "neural level." Lewis also confirms a truth we may have known intuitively, if perhaps had yet to see confirmed by scientific study: "sleep-deprived people are more easily frustrated, intolerant, unforgiving, uncaring, and self-absorbed than they would be if they were properly rested." (Sept.)

[Page ]. Copyright 2013 PWxyz LLC

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