Thursday, April 14, 2016

Counting Sheep: The Science and Pleasures of Sleep and Dreams - Paul Martin

Book Details

Book Title:  Counting Sheep: The Science and Pleasures of Sleep and Dreams

Author: Paul Martin

Publisher: Harper Collins Publishers 2002

Source: The library :D

Page Count: 406

Format: Non-Fiction

Genre: Sleep Health

Audience: Those who need to know more about sleep.

Summed up in one word: Dreamy

Author Bio: Paul Martin is a Cambridge University graduate with a PhD in behavioural biology. Paul has authored several books all focusing on the pleasure aspects of behaviour and life (sleep, happiness and food) and has also written about mental illness.

Summary of the Book:

Counting Sheep is a book all about sleep and its various benefits, problems and history, that definitely did not have me nodding off. Everything comes down to sleep, health, life satisfaction, learning and memory. This book will change your understanding of how you spend one third of your life.

I learned plenty about the life under the covers and in the land of Nod, Paul Martin has put together a great book with one major message to get across to us all, we need more sleep and he has the knowledge and the advice to help.

Paul Martin works hard to get his point across to the reader, but he does a great job. The book is separated into 7 parts with a total of 17 chapters. Each chapter had sub sections, each with their own valid piece of information, each accompanied with a quote that relates to the subject matter. I enjoyed the format of this book, it was broken up nicely and make for comfortable reading, I didn't once find my self confused about what PM was talking about or his overall point.

Counting Sheep is a journey through all the elements of sleep, from how humans and animals actually go to sleep, what happens if we don't get enough (which we don't), dreams and how to control them, sleep disorders, cultural sleep habits and the dangers of sleep deprivation in everyday life. 

PM shares with us the medical side of sleep, with lots of different terminology and jargon that I felt added some extra depth to the overall learning capabilities with this book, I like to learn whilst I read and this definitely taught me some important pieces of information. One of my favourite being that a Uvulopalatopharyngoplasty is a surgery to remove the Uvula to alleviate the symptoms of sleep apnoea (a deadly sleep disorder). 

PM pulls out all the stops, he delves into the evolutionary history of sleep, why we snore, how we move in our sleep, and how our senses can affect our dreams while we are asleep. Dreaming and its capabilities is a whole other portion of the book and it is very interesting, especially the advice on how to achieve lucid dreams and how to enjoy your sleep to the maximum.  

My main criticism of this book is it seemed that PM needed to use historical figures and their various stories to make his point at each stage, I feel that he over did it with the stories, they were interesting at first but they seem to dilute what he was trying to say at times. I found what PM had to say was interesting, he is clearly esteemed enough to make his own points but he felt that stories, quotes and references to historical figures maybe gave the material that extra gusto, but I thought PM was doing a great job by himself.

This really is a book for everyone, there is information for babies, children, teenagers, men, women, the older generation and for animals too. My main positive aspect of this book is that Paul Martin genuinely wants to help people. He gives advice to the sleep deprived, new parents and the general population on how to deal with their sleep problems and that allow them to live a better lives when they are resolved (though there is not much you can do as a parent of a baby, been there...totally worth it though!)

PM has written a very influential book that is a must read by everyone, it will change your understanding of an evolutionary activity that you will spend one third of your life participating in, get learning and enjoy sleep, so you can enjoy life to the fullest.


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