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.
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
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Steven W. Lockley, Assistant Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School; Associate Neuroscientist, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, USA, and Russell G. Foster, Chair Nuffield Laboratory of Ophthalmology, Professor of Circadian Neuroscience, Senior Kurti Fellow Brasenose College, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK