Counting Sheep: The Science and Pleasures of Sleep and Dreams

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9780006551720: Counting Sheep: The Science and Pleasures of Sleep and Dreams

A brilliant overview of that most vital, most underrated and most elusive of human activities, sleep.Using the approach and skills he deployed to such successful effect on the relationship between mind and body in the prize-winning `The Sickening Mind', likeable British popular science author Paul Martin here tackles the science of that most mysterious, elusive and alluring of human activities, sleeping, and draws on both cutting-edge neuroscience and classic literature to do so.We spend one third of our lives asleep, but know hardly anything about it, and can remember so little of it as we come out of it. Why?Are dreams the place we go to resolve our problems, emasculate our fears and rehearse our hopes? Why are we paralysed when we dream? Why did sleep evolve?And is anybody getting enough sleep?

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About the Author:

Paul Martin studied biology at Cambridge, acquiring a First in Natural Sciences and a PhD in behavioural biology. He went to Stanford as a Harkness Fellow and then to the School of Medicine as Postdoctoral Fellow, before lecturing and researching at Cambridge University. He is the co-author with Pat Bateson of Measuring Behaviour and Design for a Life. His first solo book was The Sickening Mind, which was shortlisted for the NCR Prize in 1997.

Review:

'A fascinating book!which makes a powerful case for spending more time unconscious and explains the damaging effect on our lives of not spending enough. Martin makes an overwhelming case for valuing sleep more!If you read Martin's book, you will be persuaded to buy the most comfortable bed and mattress that you can afford. It could be the best investment you ever make.' Mary Ann Sieghart, The Times 'Energetic and immensely readable!This is as good a popular science book as I have read, which is to say it treads lightly but comprehensively across a relatively complex subject without shirking its responsibility to explain and illuminate. Martin's achievement is to do this with such vivacity and infectious enthusiasm that by the end of the book you'll be racing for your bed to try out a few sleepy experiments for yourself!I've read countless books on sleep, but rarely have I encountered one as sure-footed and hospitable as this.' Melanie McGrath, Evening Standard 'Bracingly clear and thoroughly researched ! a masterpiece of efficiently and entertainingly delivered information. ! you will find no more brisk and intelligible account. ! a compendious celebration of the delights of sleep.' Bryan Appleyard, New Statesman 'Paul Martin's novelty is his polemical verve!He writes what I still rejoice in calling natural history. He knows the research and quotes widely and appropriately from literature. You could see Counting Sheep as an antidote to the symptoms of the frenetic society delineated by James Gleick in Faster. I hope it does as well, either as in instant hit or as a sleeper.' Guardian 'Like many parents of small children, I have become obsessed by sleep, to the point where it strikes me as a more gripping subject for a book than almost any other! Reading Paul Martin's account of Charles Lindbergh crossing the Atlantic in 1927 in a one-seater plane, I experienced strong feelings of identification, almost of kinship, with the nocturnal desperado for whom sleep is at once an enemy and an object of desire! Even if you don't buy into the dark side of sleep deprivation, Martin's mourning of the lost pleasures of languor might win you over! To me, at least, it sounds irresistible.' Rachel Cusk, Daily Telegraph

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