Why do we need sleep? How much sleep is enough? What is sleep? What happens when we don't get enough? We spend about a third of our lives asleep - it plays a crucial role in our health and wellbeing. References to sleep abound in literature and art, and sleep has been recognized as fundamental to the human condition for thousands of years. Over the past century, our knowledge of how sleep occurs, what it does, and what happens to our health if we do not have enough has developed hugely. The impact of poor sleep on our quality of life is also gaining recognition and the prevalence of sleep disorders in the population appears to be increasing as we live ever stressful lives. This Very Short Introduction addresses the biological and psychological aspects of sleep, providing a basic understanding of what sleep is and how it is measured, looking at sleep through the human lifespan and the causes and consequences of major sleep disorders. Russell G. Foster and Steven W. Lockley go on to consider the impact of modern society, examining the relationship between sleep and work hours, and the impact of our 24/7 society.
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Professor Russell G. Foster, PhD, FRS, is the Head of the Nuffield Laboratory of Ophthalmology at the John Radcliffe Hospital, University of Oxford and Senior Kurti Fellow, Brasenose College. He has published more than 120 original reports and reviews, many in top-ranked clinical journals and many book chapters and editorials. Professor Foster is also the author of several books on circadian rhythms, including the very successful Rhythms of Life (Profile Books, 2005) which explained the new science of chronobiology to the lay reader as well as becoming a standard text on university courses around the world. More recently, he has published Seasons of Life (Profile Books, 2010). Professor Steven W. Lockley, PhD, is a Neuroscientist in the Division of Sleep Medicine at Brigham and Women's Hospital, and Associate Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School in Boston, USA. He has published more than 50 original reports, reviews, and editorials and has also written chapters for several neuroscience and sleep disorders textbooks.
1. The history of sleep ; 2. The generation and regeneration of sleep ; 3. The sleeping brain ; 4. The reasons for sleep ; 5. The seven ages of sleep ; 6. When sleep suffers ; 7. Sleep and health ; 8. Society and sleep ; 9. The 24/7 society ; References ; Further reading