Why We Sleep
Matthew Walker

Book cover image

Narrated By: John Sackville

Duration: 13 hours and 32 minutes

What to expect

Brought to you by Penguin



Penguin presents the audiobook edition of Why We Sleep by Matthew Walker, read by John Sackville.

Includes a bonus PDF of graphs and diagrams.

Sleep is one of the most important aspects of our life, health and longevity and yet it is increasingly neglected in twenty-first-century society, with devastating consequences: every major disease in the developed world - Alzheimer's, cancer, obesity, diabetes - has very strong causal links to deficient sleep.

Until very recently, science had no answer to the question of why we sleep, or what good it served, or why its absence is so damaging to our health. Compared to the other basic drives in life - eating, drinking, and reproducing - the purpose of sleep remained elusive.
Now, in this audiobook, the first of its kind written by a scientific expert, Professor Matthew Walker explores twenty years of cutting-edge research to solve the mystery of why sleep matters. Looking at creatures from across the animal kingdom as well as major human studies, Why We Sleep delves in to everything from what really happens during REM sleep to how caffeine and alcohol affect sleep and why our sleep patterns change across a lifetime, transforming our appreciation of the extraordinary phenomenon that safeguards our existence.

'Vital ... a life-raft' Guardian
'A top sleep scientist argues that sleep is more important for our health than diet or exercise' The Times
'It had a powerful effect on me' Observer
'I urge you all to read this book' Times Higher Education


Psychology: states of consciousness, Physiological & neuro-psychology, biopsychology

Listen to a sample

Most of us have no idea what we do with a third of our lives. In this lucid and engaging book, Matt Walker explains the new science that is rapidly solving this age-old mystery. Why We Sleep is a canny pleasure that will have you turning pages well past your bedtime

Daniel Gilbert, author of Stumbling on Happiness

Amazing . . . I'm obsessed with this book

Thom Yorke

A stimulating and important book . . . richly packed with science . . . Walker describes superbly what is going on in the brain during sleep and dreaming

Financial Times

A neuroscientist shows how a good night's shut-eye can make us cleverer, more attractive, slimmer, happier, healthier and ward off cancer . . . it's probably a little too soon to tell you that it saved my life, but it's been an eye-opener


Passionate, urgent, convincing . . . it had a powerful effect on me


Why We Sleep is a book on a mission...One especially winning attribute of Walker is that he's not a scold. He frames his suggestions for more healthful sleep habits not as a series of eat-your-Wheaties admonitions, but as wondrous, uplifting improvements in quality of life...Why We Sleep mounts a persuasive, exuberant case for addressing our societal sleep deficit and for the virtues of sleep itself. It is recommended for night-table reading in the most pragmatic sense

The New York Times Book Review

A top sleep scientist argues that sleep is more important for our health than diet or exercise

The Times

Simply a must-read. World-renowned neuroscientist and sleep expert Matthew Walker takes us on a fascinating and indispensable journey into the latest understandings of the science of sleep . . . that may change the way you live your life. In these super-charged, distracting times it is hard to think of a book that is more important to read than this one

Adam Gazzaley, co-author of The Distracted Mind

Uplifting . . . Walker is in love with sleep and wants us to fall in love with sleep, too

New York Times

Compelling and utterly convincing . . . you'll never think of your bedtime in the same way again

Sunday Times

Matthew Walker is probably one of the most influential people on the planet

Evening Standard

Startling, sobering, vital, a life raft. . . . it's probably a little too soon to tell you that Why We Sleep saved my life, but I can tell you that it's been an eye-opener


Astonishing ... an amazing book ... absolutely chocker full of things that we need to know

Chris Evans

Passionate, urgent . . . it had a powerful effect on me


A powerful rallying cry by a researcher at the top of his game. If you want an effective distillation of a science that reaches deep into the frontiers of consciousness and identity . . . this is a good place to start.

The Times

A stimulating and important book . . . richly packed with science