The Twenty-four Hour Mind Book Summary - The Twenty-four Hour Mind Book explained in key points
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The Twenty-four Hour Mind summary

Rosalind D. Cartwright

The Role of Sleep and Dreaming in our Emotional Lives

3.9 (56 ratings)
11 mins

Brief summary

The Twenty-four Hour Mind by Rosalind D. Cartwright explains how we use dreams to process emotions and problem-solve. The author uses case studies and research to show how sleep improves our mental health.

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    The Twenty-four Hour Mind
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    Sleep helps us stay physically and mentally balanced.

    We’ve all experienced the effects of a bad night’s sleep: we’re tired, can’t concentrate and are generally unpleasant to be around. But why?

    There’s nothing puzzling about it: science can explain why a sleep deficit affects our body and mood.

    For starters, deep sleep is an important part of the way we release tension. Our sleep is divided into two states that work together in a cycle, quiet sleep (NREM) and deep active sleep (REM), which both need to run through their cycles before waking in order to replenish the body and brain, a process which takes seven to nine hours.

    Light sleepers – those who are REM-deprived – and people who don’t sleep enough are prone to be more tense than people who get enough deep sleep. For example, employees who work the nightshift and sleep during the day don’t sleep as deeply, and as a result show more signs of stress.

    In addition, sleep reduces our negative emotions. One study showed that, of the 31 participants who were struggling through a divorce, 20 worked through their emotions in their sleep. In their dreams, they dealt with their anger and sadness, playing through scenes with their ex-spouses and slowly improving their “dream reactions,” helping them to develop strategies to move on.

    We take strong, unresolved emotions with us into our sleep, where our minds continue to work through them and help us to come to terms with them. For example, when we get upset by a nasty comment someone makes about our looks or weight, those emotions feel less powerful after a proper night’s sleep.

    Finally, our endocrine system functions best when we get enough sleep because it affects the hormones that control our appetite. In fact, most people who sleep fewer than six hours a night will experience an increase in appetite, and studies have even shown that you’re 7.5 times more likely to be obese if you’re a short sleeper.

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    What is The Twenty-four Hour Mind about?

    The Twenty-four Hour Mind illuminates the mysteries of sleep, dreams and sleep disorders. The author posits that the main purpose of sleep and dreaming is to help us cope with the negative emotions caused by new experiences by linking them to older memories.

    The Twenty-four Hour Mind Review

    The Twenty-four Hour Mind (2010) by Rosalind D. Cartwright explores the fascinating world of sleep and dreams, revealing how they impact our daily lives. Here's why this book is definitely worth reading:

    • Through compelling research and real-life experiences, the book uncovers the profound role that sleep plays in our physical and mental well-being.
    • By delving into the science behind dreaming, the book offers eye-opening insights into the unconscious mind and its influence on our conscious thoughts and emotions.
    • With its engaging storytelling and thought-provoking analysis, the book takes a complex subject and presents it in a way that is accessible, captivating, and anything but boring.

    Best quote from The Twenty-four Hour Mind

    Sleep is a busy time.

    —Rosalind D. Cartwright
    example alt text

    Who should read The Twenty-four Hour Mind?

    • Anyone who’s ever wondered what their dreams mean
    • Anyone who suffers from poor sleep
    • Anyone interested in the human mind

    About the Author

    Rosalind D. Cartwright is a sleep researcher and the former director of psychology at the University of Illinois College Of Medicine where she studied the function of dreaming and REM sleep. She later opened a Sleep Disorder Service, where she diagnosed and treated patients with various sleep difficulties. In addition, she has authored many books, including Night Life: Explorations in Dreaming, A Primer on Sleep and Dreaming, and Crisis Dreaming: Using Your Dreams to Solve Your Problems.

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    The Twenty-four Hour Mind FAQs 

    What is the main message of The Twenty-four Hour Mind?

    The main message of The Twenty-four Hour Mind explores the importance of our sleeping and dreaming lives.

    How long does it take to read The Twenty-four Hour Mind?

    The reading time for The Twenty-four Hour Mind varies but it can be read in a few hours. The Blinkist summary takes around 15 minutes.

    Is The Twenty-four Hour Mind a good book? Is it worth reading?

    The Twenty-four Hour Mind is worth reading as it provides fascinating insights into the science of sleep and dreaming.

    Who is the author of The Twenty-four Hour Mind?

    The author of The Twenty-four Hour Mind is Rosalind D. Cartwright.

    What to read after The Twenty-four Hour Mind?

    If you're wondering what to read next after The Twenty-four Hour Mind, here are some recommendations we suggest:
    • Dangerously Sleepy by Alan Derickson
    • The Mind at Night by Andrea Rock
    • Exploring the World of Lucid Dreaming by Stephen LaBerge and Howard Rheingold
    • The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Manson
    • Languishing by Corey Keyes
    • Singletasking by Devora Zack
    • You Are Your Best Thing by Edited by Tarana Burke and Brené Brown
    • The Interpretation of Dreams by Sigmund Freud
    • The Age of Empathy by Frans de Waal
    • Deep Work by Cal Newport