- Paperback: 368 pages
- Publisher: Atria Books; 1/30/01 edition (March 1, 2001)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0671038680
- ISBN-13: 978-0671038687
- Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 1 x 8.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars See all reviews (170 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #52,786 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Lights Out: Sleep, Sugar, and Survival Paperback – March 1, 2001
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From Library Journal
This fascinating, thought-provoking study discusses the central role of sleep in our lives. After probing the scientific literature, Wiley and Formby, researchers at the Sansum Medical Research Institute, conclude that "the disastrous slide in the health of the American people corresponds to the increase in light-generating night activities and the carbohydrate consumption that follows." Our internal clocks are governed by seasonal variations in light and dark; extending daylight artificially leads to a craving for sugar, especially concentrated, refined carbohydrates that, in turn, cause obesity. More seriously, lack of sleep inhibits the production of prolactin and melatonin--deranging our immune systems and causing depression, diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. The authors prescribe sleeping at least nine and a half hours in total darkness in the fall and winter and switching to a diet low in carbohydrates and high in protein, vegetables, and healthy fats. They support their arguments with 100 pages of notes and by tracing the progression of disease from hunter-gatherers to our high-tech society. Despite its somewhat strident, all-knowing tone, this illuminating work is highly recommended for academic and public libraries.
---Ilse Heidmann, San Marcos, TX
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
The lightbulb put us out of sync with nature. Way back when, people spent the summer sleeping less and eating heavily in preparation for winter because light triggers the hunger for carbohydrates. Now, with light available 24 hours a day, we gulp down food all year long. So, Wiley and Formby assert, it is light, not what we eat or whether we exercise, that causes obesity--and diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. Indeed, eating bacon, ham, butter, and eggs for breakfast doesn't impair health, and exercise can make you fat. If we considered our waking periods as equivalent to the long days of summer and the short ones of winter, we would avoid those health problems. Wiley and Formby offer three steps for improvement, but they aren't optimistic, because the light-driven speed and intensity of contemporary life may be too much to overcome. Still, try, first, plugging the leaks in your psyche; then, because you will have lost weight, resisting carbohydrates; and, finally, swallowing a few pills and helpful foods. William Beatty --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top customer reviews
Kudos. Must read.
On a more serious note, this was an eye opener for me as I'm a perpetual night owl surviving on too little sleep too often. It definitely inspired me to make some changes. No doubt it'll be hard but I think well worth it in the end. I would recommend this book to anyone who thinks that sleep is just a waste of time as this will help you better understand how important this is to your health - more than any other factor the medical profession would have you believe, like genetics or food or whatever.
There may be revolutionary and life altering information contained within, but it is difficult to tell because the authors make so many outrageous claims that it is impossible to discern what is real and what is fantasy. This tendency is made worse by the authors' poor organization of the flow of the book, pension for going off on tangents, and the tendency of the authors to inject metaphors that are difficult to understand. They also draw from areas which should have been outside their scope, seemingly to make points which are questionable at best and do not serve to further the overall thesis of the book. Their attempts to be scientific and poetic at the same time, a la Fritjof Capra, seem to fail.
For example, "The same strings throwing off the electrons, quarks, and neutrinos in ten different dimensions that make up the atoms that make up the molecules that make up the hormones that receive vibrations from the waves of light and gravity play the music of the cosmos to our bodies through our hormone receptors."
A questionable interpretation at best, impossible for the layperson to understand at worst. A bit cheesy even to those who might agree with this interpretation of string theory, and certainly unproven.
And yet, if you are learned enough to understand their overarching theory, open minded enough to accept and research some of the more outrageous claims, and dogged enough to suffer through the tangents, repetition, and useless prose, this book may just be convincing enough to get you to value your sleep for the precious resource that it is. I hope that it is.
I bought this book 13 years ago. It may have been updated since then. It has helped me make choices that have improved my health.