Wild Nights

Wild Nights

How Taming Sleep Created Our Restless World

Book - 2017
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"Humans have slept since the dawn of our species. And yet the way humans sleep across history has changed dramatically, most disastrously in our own modern era. For the last two centuries sleep, the industrialized West has reduced sleep to one narrow definition: hours of unbroken slumber, in a private chamber, alone or with at most one additional partner. And this artificial cultural definition is now spreading around the world. We've gained much from this sleeping revolution--privacy and security and independence--but along the way added a whole new host of problems: the explosion of sleep disorders, sleep anxieties, and life-style diseases connected to exhaustion and sleeplessness; the devastating rise in addiction to both sleeping pills and caffeine; the nightmarish nightly-battles faced by parents enforcing artificial 'bed times' for children. Our modern world may be founded on taming sleep; and yet our collective exhaustion reveals the extraordinary costs we've all paid"-- Provided by publisher.
"Why the modern world forgot how to sleep Why is sleep frustrating for so many people? While human history presents a vast diversity of sleeping styles, today we define a good night's sleep very narrowly: eight hours in one shot, sealed off in private bedrooms, children apart from parents. These sleeping rules have become ingrained in our culture over the past two hundred years, yet few seem able to live by them. For the world's poor, modern sleep is full of financial and physical risk, and even the well-off require drugs and gadgets to regulate waking and sleeping. Taming sleep is big business, but it has come at enormous cost to our well-being. In Wild Nights, Benjamin Reiss draws on centuries of literary, medical, and scientific writings to show how ordinary lives were upended as sleep became modern. In so doing, he offers hope to weary readers: as sleep was transformed once before, so too can it change today"-- Provided by publisher.
Publisher: New York : Basic Books, 2017
ISBN: 9780465061952
0465061958
Branch Call Number: 616.8498 R378w 2017
Characteristics: 305 pages ; 25 cm

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carleoellen
Sep 08, 2017

I no longer feel bad about my insomnia, for I discovered that I am in good company. Millions, famous and unknown, contemporary and historical, have suffered from disrupted sleep. Reiss explains that our sleep norms were created -- mostly to fit society into the rhythms of an industrial society -- and these norms are evolving as our world becomes increasingly wired. I would recommend this book, but I thought it was overwritten in places. For example, how often does he need to say that our practice of separating children into separate rooms to sleep is not the way most people, globally and historically, have slept? Overall, it was eye-opening.

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