- Paperback: 304 pages
- Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company; 1 edition (August 5, 2013)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0393345866
- ISBN-13: 978-0393345865
- Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.8 x 8.3 inches
- Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 147 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #509,161 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Dreamland: Adventures in the Strange Science of Sleep 1st Edition
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“A lively overview of recent research into sleep.”
- Maureen Corrigan, NPR's Fresh Air
“A thoroughly enjoyable overview of a familiar yet remarkably foreign terrain.”
- Abigail Zuger, MD, New York Times
“The most diverting and consistently fascinating book on the topic ever... but you couldn’t find a more charming guide to what we do know than Dreamland.”
- Laura Miller, Salon.com
“A page-turner for the science-minded.”
- Susannah Cahalan, New York Post
“'Small science' at its best, illuminating aspects of human biology and behavior that have powerful repercussions in our private and social lives.”
- Carol Tavris, Wall Street Journal
“Randall’s wit and curiosity make him a comforting guide.”
- Boston Globe
“An accessible and well-researched guide to a fascinating subject.”
- New Scientist
“This fabulous book is likely to address any and all questions you might have about sleep.... There’s plenty of practical information, like how to overcome insomnia without drugs, how to combat snoring, how to encourage young children to get to sleep and, perhaps most useful, how to bet successfully on professional football games: our circadian rhythms favor West Coast teams over East Coast teams on Monday nights. This is one book that will not put you to sleep.”
- Publishers Weekly, starred review
“Randall emphasizes the too-often neglected common-sense realization that sleep is no void; rather, it is perhaps one-third of the puzzle to living well. The author also notes that sleep is not an undifferentiated continuum; the most restful sleep arrives in five stages of about 90 minutes each. A welcome study of an element of life that is often 'forgotten, overlooked, and postponed.'”
- Kirkus Reviews
About the Author
David K. Randall is the New York Times best-selling author of Dreamland and a senior reporter at Reuters. A California native, he now lives outside New York City with his family.
Top customer reviews
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1) The Secret World of Sleep: The Surprising Science of the Mind at Rest by Penelope A. Lewis
2) Dreamland: Adventures in the Strange Science of Sleep by David K. Randall
3) Sleep: A Very Short Introduction by Steven W. Lockley
4) The Secret Life of Sleep by Kat Duff
I was looking mainly for scientific information, in conjunction, perhaps, with interesting anecdotes. Dreamland by David Randall was the closest to what I thought I was looking for and I highly recommend it for anyone interested in sleep. The Secret World of Sleep by Penelope Lewis and Sleep: A Very Short Introduction by Lockley were a little more purely scientific. However, among these two I strongly preferred the no-nonsense style of Sleep: A Very Short Introduction. By comparison, The Secret World of Sleep felt like an academic paper that had been hastily modified by a copy-editor to read like a popular science book. The result is not-very-exciting writing that is larded with "accessible" descriptions and analogies. The amygdala is referred to at least a dozen times by the epithet "almond shaped". The first time was fine, the fifth time was patronizing. But I powered through.
I cannot recommend Kat Duff's book, because of passages that give serious credence to the explanation that hypnogogic hallucinations are in fact visitations by evil spirits. See my review there for more details.
The best thing about Dreamland is that it responsibly covers the material while being written in an engaging and entertaining style. I suggest reading it along with (before or after) Sleep: A Very Short Introduction which is drier, but reads fast and provides a lot more detail about the science (if that's your thing).
Perhaps the biggest sticking point for me was the poor writing. I felt the persistent desire to take a red pen to the book and submit my revised version to the publisher. It's hard for me to understand how such blatantly clunky (and in some cases just flat out grammatically incorrect) writing makes it to the printer.
Anyway, this was fun to read, and I learned at least a few facts that I will be sharing with others:
-Some scientists believe that humans naturally sleep in two chunks four-hour chunks with a period of wakeful relaxation in the middle.
-Sleeping pills "work" for some people only because they make those people forget that they didn't sleep very well.
-Test subjects are sometimes able to solve puzzles after a restful night of sleep. That's why when you spend all day playing a game, you sometimes see it in your dreams - your brain is trying to figure out how to do better next time.
I thought there would be more about dreams, but really this book is all about REM sleep, sleep patterns and stages, physical obstructions to sleep and ways to get more of it. I loved the book, overall.