Why We Sleep

Why We Sleep


Book Summary

Why we Sleep

Matthew Walker

26 April, 2024


“Humans need more than seven hours of sleep each night to maintain cognitive performance. After ten days of just seven hours of sleep, the brain is as dysfunctional as it would be after going without sleep for twenty-four hours.” - Matthew Walker

Key Takeaways

🔵 Adequate sleep is important for physical and mental well-being.

🔵 A regular sleeping schedule ensures the body gets enough rest to function well.

🔵 Prioritize your sleep over other activities to avoid serious long-term health consequences due to lack of rest.

🔵 Be mindful of how much time you spend on the phones or TVs before bedtime as this can interfere with the body’s natural circadian rhythm.

🔵 It is important to get enough sleep to maintain a healthy lifestyle and productivity.

🔵 Sleep plays an essential role in memory, learning, and creativity.

Big Ideas

Get adequate sleep

Matthew Walker's Why We Sleep Book talks very much about getting enough sleep. Without quality sleep, your physical and mental health will be at risk, leading to complications like obesity, depression, increased risk of cancer, heart diseases, and possibly impaired cognitive functions.

An adult requires at least seven to eight hours of sleep per night for optimal health benefits. But many reasons lead to not meeting the requirements; either work or personal obligations.

The benefits of adequate sleep are plenty. You’re more likely to recall recent events than those who do not get a full night’s rest. It also impacts immune function, metabolic regulation, learning, attention, cell repair, creativity, mood regulation, and even overall life expectancy.

Create healthier sleep patterns

Sleep is not an optional lifestyle luxury; it is a non-negotiable biological necessity. This explains why the book Why We Sleep suggests establishing a consistent bedtime routine and sticking to it every night. You should go to bed and wake up at the same time each day.

Things like avoiding electronic devices just  before bedtime and a comfortable sleeping environment may improve your chances of falling and staying asleep. So, cut off light exposure or noise pollution before time to hit the hay.

Do not use the bedroom for activities other than what it’s for. Set a regular bedtime, avoid screens before then, and exercise always. The moment you start, your body’s internal clock will adjust to this consistent routine, and your sleep quality will improve.

Don’t deprive yourself of sleep

Losing sleep because of society’s glorification of productivity is at your expense. Nobody needs to lose sleep over meeting up with schedules because of its dire consequences. If not now, then later in life.

While it may be challenging to choose rest over time and attention-demanding issues, remember that sleep isn’t a luxury. Those who get the recommended eight hours of sleep are more productive and less prone to mistakes than those who sleep less.

Sleep deprivation can be especially damaging for younger children whose brain is still developing. They require enough rest to strengthen learning and improve memory during childhood development stages. In fact, we all need good sleep, and too little or too much can reduce life expectancy by up to twelve years if left unchecked.

Avoid stimulants and incorporate physical activity

Many people can’t do without stimulants. Matthew Walker in his book Why We Sleep suggests avoiding them and adding physical activity to our daily routine instead to solve sleep issues.

Stimulants such as caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol disrupt the sleep cycle, causing one to stay awake longer or wake up more frequently at night. By limiting stimulants in the hours leading to bedtime or avoiding them altogether, anyone can enhance the duration and quality of their sleep.

Also, incorporating physical activity has a positive impact on sleep patterns. Studies show that exercise improves deep sleep each night, which is crucial for physical and mental restoration. Even light exercise, such as walking or stretching before bedtime, boosts sleep quality.

Engage in calming activities before bed

Certain activities can help to unwind and prepare for rest. They’re things like meditation or deep breathing exercises. These activities reduce stress levels and promote feelings of calmness for falling and staying asleep throughout the night.

Not only do calming activities enhance sleep, but they also promote other healthier habits, and improve mood for a more positive outlook. Other wonderful activities are reading a book or listening to soothing music. They divert your attention from electronic devices that emit blue light and create a peaceful environment that signals the brain that it’s time for sleep.

Incorporate these calming activities into your nightly routine, and you can achieve deeper, more restorative sleep that will leave you feeling refreshed and energized come morning.

How Why We Sleep changed me

Matthew Walker’s Why we sleep book has transformed what I once thought about sleep. It has motivated me to improve my habits and I’m now trying to get enough sleep each night.

Before reading it, I didn’t know how little sleep could affect my mood and cognitive abilities. I now go to bed early to get enough rest each night. I feel more positive overall and can better focus on my day-to-day activities.

Who is Why We Sleep for?

Why we sleep is ideal for anyone looking for answers about why they should prioritize sleep, how to optimize their sleep patterns, and why adequate rest can improve their overall well-being.

The book offers an invaluable opportunity to understand the importance of sleep in regulating emotions, improving academic performance, and boosting creativity. Whether you’re a student or a parent, read it to find out why staying up late and sacrificing sleep can lead to long-term health problems.

Leave A Comment


About Matthew Walker

Matthew Walker is an English professor of Neuroscience and Psychology at the University of California, Berkeley. He received his Ph.D. in Neurophysiology from the University of London and has authored and co-authored over 100 scientific articles in journals such as Nature, Science, Neuron, and PNAS.


Isak Vidinghoff is a Strategic Life Coach and Content Creator. He communicates personal development strategies to help people find purpose and meaning to live their fullest potential in life.

| Let’s Connect


© 2024 Wellsquire. All Rights Reserved

| Newsletter

Sign up for inside information, exclusive content and limited discount codes