The science of sleep


Sleep, it seems, is one of the biggest mysteries of science. Why do we do it? How does it affect us? Why do we dream? When author David K. Randall woke up one morning and toppled over after sleepwalking into a wall, he sought out professional help. But, as it turned out, sleep therapists didn’t have answers to most of his questions. Thus began his obsession with understanding everything there was to know about sleep. For the resulting book, Dreamland: Adventures in the Strange Science of Sleep (W.W. Norton & Company, $25.95), Randall interviewed scientists and researched laboratory studies. One, for instance, found a significant relationship between sleep deprivation in soldiers and the occurrence of friendly fire. What makes the book unique is that it isn’t a self-help book: It’s a fascinating, well-researched scientific tome—albeit a fun read, too—perfect for anybody filled with curiosity about why we do the things we do.