Sleep Smarter Book Summary - Sleep Smarter Book explained in key points
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Sleep Smarter summary

Shawn Stevenson

21 Essential Strategies to Sleep Your Way to A Better Body, Better Health, and Bigger Success

4.5 (811 ratings)
19 mins

Brief summary

Sleep Smarter by Shawn Stevenson is an informative book that provides tips and tricks for improving the quality of sleep. It explains the science behind sleep, covers common sleep disorders, and suggests healthy habits for sleeping better.

Table of Contents

    Sleep Smarter
    Summary of 6 key ideas

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    Key idea 1 of 6

    The importance of sleep is overlooked and underrated.

    In our modern world, which prizes speed and productivity, sleep can seem like such a waste of time. If we’re swamped with work or overwhelmed by a laundry list of tasks, the first thing that we sacrifice is our sleep. This war on rest has become so acute that the average person’s sleeping hours have decreased from roughly nine hours to seven.

    But there are big problems with painting sleep as the enemy of productivity. When you’re sleep deprived, not only are you slower and less creative – you also accomplish less.

    One study, published in the medical journal The Lancet, found that surgeons awake for over 24 hours took up to 14 percent longer to complete tasks and made 20 percent more mistakes once they did. And if there’s one person you don’t want to slip up, it’s your surgeon.

    One primary reason for this is that sleep deprivation reduces the brain’s glucose content – an essential carbohydrate that your grey matter uses as fuel. And this glucose starvation doesn’t affect all parts of your brain equally; the ones that are hardest hit are your parietal lobe and prefrontal cortex, which are involved with problem-solving and high-level thinking. After 24 hours without sleep, glucose in these regions decreases between 12 and 14 percent.

    Furthermore, several studies have shown that skipping one night of rest makes us as insulin resistant as a type-2 diabetic. Having an insufficient amount of this essential hormone leads directly to weight gain, signs of aging and decreased sexual drive.

    Thus, sleep is not the enemy of productivity or an obstacle to overcome. It is a necessary restorative state, vital for our physical and psychological well-being. We simply cannot be healthy or function at peak performance without good quality sleep.

    That’s partly because being awake is catabolic, while sleep is anabolic. Catabolism occurs when molecules oxidize – they combine with oxygen, causing them to break down. Anabolism is the opposite of this: it constructs molecules from smaller units, literally building us up. So, while we sleep our bodies are repairing themselves – fighting signs of aging and strengthening our immune, muscular and skeletal systems.

    Hopefully now you understand the value of a good night’s rest and that scaling back on sleep in the name of productivity is counterproductive. So, what can you do to increase the quality of your Zs? Find out in the next blink!

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    What is Sleep Smarter about?

    Sleep Smarter (2014) is your quickstart manual for improving the quality of your sleep. Drawing from a host of scientific studies and punctuated with practical tips, this accessible guide promises to change the way you think about sleep and give you a better night’s rest, starting tonight.

    Sleep Smarter Review

    Sleep Smarter (2016) is a valuable book that offers practical advice on improving sleep quality and optimizing our overall health. Here's why this book is worth reading:

    • It presents a science-backed approach to sleep, providing actionable tips and strategies to help us maximize our sleeping potential.
    • Combining expert advice, research findings, and personal anecdotes, the book is informative, relatable, and easily relatable to our own sleep struggles.
    • Shawn Stevenson's engaging storytelling style keeps readers hooked, making the topic of sleep fascinating and definitely not boring.

    Who should read Sleep Smarter?

    • Productivity enthusiasts who think sleep is a waste of time
    • Insomniacs who need help drifting off
    • Those waking up feeling exhausted

    About the Author

    Shawn Stevenson studied business, biology and kinesiology at the University of Missouri–St. Louis, before founding Advanced Integrative Health Alliance – a company providing wellness services for individuals and organizations worldwide. He is also a keynote speaker and podcaster, having spoken at TEDx and created The Model Health Show podcast.

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    Sleep Smarter FAQs 

    What is the main message of Sleep Smarter?

    The main message of Sleep Smarter is that improving our sleep habits can transform our health and well-being.

    How long does it take to read Sleep Smarter?

    The reading time for Sleep Smarter varies, but it typically takes several hours. The Blinkist summary can be read in just 15 minutes.

    Is Sleep Smarter a good book? Is it worth reading?

    Sleep Smarter is worth reading as it offers practical tips and insights into optimizing our sleep for better overall health and performance.

    Who is the author of Sleep Smarter?

    The author of Sleep Smarter is Shawn Stevenson.

    What to read after Sleep Smarter?

    If you're wondering what to read next after Sleep Smarter, here are some recommendations we suggest:
    • The Sleep Revolution by Arianna Huffington
    • The Sleep Prescription by Aric Prather
    • The Sleep Solution by W. Chris Winter
    • The Circadian Code by Satchin Panda
    • End the Insomnia Struggle by Colleen Ehrnstrom and Alisha L. Brosse
    • The Telomere Effect by Elizabeth Blackburn and Elissa Epel
    • The Longevity Paradox by Steven Gundry
    • Why We Can’t Sleep by Ada Calhoun
    • 13 Things Mentally Strong Couples Don't Do by Amy Morin
    • That Little Voice in Your Head by Mo Gawdat