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Sleepfaring: The Secrets and Science of a Good Night's Sleep Paperback – December 15, 2007

ISBN-13: 978-0199228379 ISBN-10: 019922837X Edition: 1st

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; 1 edition (December 15, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 019922837X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0199228379
  • Product Dimensions: 7.9 x 5.5 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 2.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,321,981 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"Sleepfaring: A Journey Through the Science of Sleep brings the reader on a fascinating journey through the sleep experience, beginning with an exploration of sleep throughout the animal kingdom. The journey is informative, as it clarifies more than a century of sleep study findings, and ultimately culminates with important conclusions regarding why we sleep...Sleepfaring is well organized, written in easily comprehendible terms, and understandable at a level that would allow it to be beneficial to both graduate and undergraduate students. It would serve both the university and public library well and would be an excellent choice as adjunct reading in a broad range of psychology courses."--PsycCRITIQUES

About the Author

Jim Horne is Professor of Psychophysiology and Director of the Sleep Research Center at the University of Loughborough. He is a fellow of the Institute of Biology and the British Psychological Society, and is Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Sleep Research. He is the author of Why We Sleep (OUP 1990).

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Customer Reviews

2.7 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By J. Brown on September 5, 2010
Format: Paperback
When I saw this book, I knew I just had to get it to while away the long, dark, wee hours of the night. Although "Sleepfaring" is actually a serious look at the science of sleep, it is written with a dry wit which provides an amazing amount of material without appearing as information overload. From explaining that some animals go to sleep with half of their brain at a time (dolphins) to describing the (self-inflicted!) effects of sleep-deprivation on someone who stayed awake for 11 days (264 hours!), this book is a treasure trove for boring the pants off everyone at your next party with all sorts of weird and wonderful sleep-related trivia. Moreover, as sleep scientists discovered, quite a number of participants in sleep-deprivation experiments "passed through periods of giddiness and silly laughter, like addled drunks, when their behaviour became uninhibited" [p.80]. So, when you've had a few too many glasses of sauvignon blanc at that party, you can afterwards explain away all of your obstreperous and rambunctious conduct to manifesting the symptoms of chronic insomnia! At least, that's my new excuse and I'm sticking to it!

Horne takes you through various types of sleep experiments; what REM and non-REM sleep are; what alpha, beta, theta, and delta waves really are; the effects of sleepiness on driving - i.e., don't do it!; the body clock or circadian rhythm; how to beat jetlag; dreams; how much sleep we really need and insomnia (I didn't think he was terribly sympathetic to sufferers - i.e., they're really just stress-pots, rather unfair); sleep apnoea; sleep in children and much more.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Keith Lea on August 5, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
At times hard to get through, this book contains a wealth of information. However, the information rarely comes together into knowledge or wisdom about sleep - all facts and no theory - so my main takeaway from the book was a collection of disparate facts about the lack of necessity of REM sleep, nonhuman animal sleep patterns, etc.

Overall a good read for those interested in sleep.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By K. Doerr on August 23, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I don't work in Dr. Horne's field, but I get the sense that he is an accomplished researcher in this area. He has a thorough understanding of the history of science in this field. He also seems to be thoroughly aware of current research across the field, as one would expect from the editor of a journal that specializes in sleep research. Sleep science is a surprisingly broad field, and there are many interesting aspects of sleep which I had never thought about until I read this book.

All that said, this really is not a good book. If you are interested in this topic as a layman you will be disappointed. After a few cohesive introductory chapters centered around the history of sleep research, the structure of the book falls apart. Chapters are tightly connected primarily through the material used in the binding. Even within chapters, Dr. Horne strikes out on unrelated tangents, usually to do with arcana such as quibbles about the instruments used in studies. It is true that the book is littered with interesting anecdotes and results. But I chose the word litter carefully.

Not only the lack of structure, but the writing makes this book difficult to read. Here is an example of a sentence from the book: "All this might seem rather academic, but it is not, and here is an example of why, from the Second World War, many allied aircraft crashed on homeward flights, after bombing raids or 'dog fights'." Now, this may simply be a typo. A change in punctuation (e.g., switching a comma for a semicolon) would make this a readable sentence (or two). This is the kind of writing mistake all of us make. I am sure I make mistakes like this, because I catch mistakes like this every time I revise my work. And I catch this kind of mistake in my students' writing all the time as well.
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