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The Secret Life of Sleep by Kat Duff

The Secret Life of Sleep

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Why do we sleep? Do we know how we cross from waking to sleep? And dreams and nightmares how do they fit in? These questions and more are addressed in The Secret Life of Sleep. For the lucky majority sleep comes easily for others it’s an elusive beast, for many in the West our unhealthy life styles chase away a good sleep pattern. Find out what we know and don’t know about sleep, an investigation that will lead to a greater understanding of our need to sleep.

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The Secret Life of Sleep by Kat Duff

What makes us cross the line from waking to slumber? According to Harvard scientists it's our 'sleep switch' - a cluster of neurons in the hypothalamus. For the ancient Greeks it was the god Hypnos, caressing you with his wings. For the Blackfeet Indians, a butterfly. And in European children's tales, the Sandman, sprinkling you with dust. Why do we sleep? What happens in our brains when we sleep? Why are sleep patterns in modern Western industrialised countries so unhealthy? Is the boundary between sleep and wakefulness as clear cut as we might have supposed? How meaningful are dreams? Kat Duff brings insights from her own life, from the latest in sleep science, the paintings of Salvidor Dali, the musings of Michel de Montaigne, and wisdom and rituals from around the world and the past to paint a fascinating picture of a world that is both the most intimate and the most secret to us: sleep.


`There's much to recommend in Duff's perceptive exploration' * Sunday Business Post * `Interesting... What is clear from The Secret Life of Sleep is that our relationship with the Sandman has changed greatly over the millennia, and it looks like it's going to continue to change even more in the future' * Big Issue * `Duff is right to identify that many of us are sleepless princesses, now, prickled by anxiety and text messages, by lights and to-do lists and rubbish on the internet; and right, too, that the intersection of the new science of the brain and our myths about sleep is a fascinating area.' * Guardian * `Timely and highly original

/5 stars. * New Internationalist * 'A charmingly written compendium... Duff offers a rich understanding of the subject in which personal insights blend with an amazing array of perspectives in ways that always seem to enhance and complement each other.
Jeannette Mageo

- Professor of Anthropology at Washington State University and author of * Dreaming Culture * 'A highly readable blend of science, dream analysis, literature and psychology, to help make us more conscious of all that lies tantalisingly beyond consciousness.
Lucy Beresford, novelist, psychotherapist, and broadcaster

'What distinguishes Duff's work from the average popular science title is her beautifully nuanced, lyrical prose and astute recognition that sleeping and dreaming have a much deeper meaning in our lives beyond the research laboratory.' * Booklist * 'Full of unique insights and surprising facts, this book brings to the fore an entire world that exists behind closed eyes.' * Kirkus * 'Duff leads an absorbing foray into the vibrant activity that we otherwise sleep right through.' * Publishers Weekly *'

About the Author

Kat Duff

Kat Duff is a journalist, author, and licensed counsellor. She is the creator of the popular blog upon which this book is based. She lives in New Mexico, USA.

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Book Info

Publication date

3rd April 2014


Kat Duff

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Oneworld Publications


272 pages


The Real World
Popular Science
eBook Favourites

Popular medicine & health
Popular science
Neurology & clinical neurophysiology



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