Like many of us, journalist David K. Randall never gave sleep much thought. That is, until he began sleepwalking. One midnight crash into a hallway wall sent him on an investigation into the strange science of sleep.
In Dreamland, Randall explores the research that is investigating those dark hours that make up nearly a third of our lives. Taking readers from military battlefields to children’s bedrooms, Dreamland shows that sleep isn’t as simple as it seems. Why did the results of one sleep study change the bookmakers’ odds for certain Monday Night Football games? Do women sleep differently than men? And if you happen to kill someone while you are sleepwalking, does that count as murder?
This book is a tour of the often odd, sometimes disturbing, and always fascinating things that go on in the peculiar world of sleep. You’ll never look at your pillow the same way again.
About David K. Randall
David K. Randall is a senior reporter at Reuters and has also written for the New York Times, Forbes, and New York. He is an adjunct professor of journalism at New York University and lives in Brooklyn, New York.
The author engaged with sleep research in part because of his sleepwalking. The book is not a seamlessly constructed narrative but rather a loose progression of chapters about different sleep-related issues: the sometimes fatal dangers in various occupations caused by lack of sleep; causes of and partial cures for insomnia; the ugly reality of sleep apnea; why dreams happen and whether they can be interpreted sensibly; what happens when an infant enters a household; the advantages of romantic couples sleeping in separate beds; and much more. Randall explains how the invention of electricity led to countless cases of sleep deprivation; the lack of utter darkness after sunset is often the enemy of sound sleep. Researching the world of sleep is obviously difficult because sleeping subjects selected for studies rarely remember anything concrete. Nonetheless, Randall interviewed sleep researchers and read academic papers to glean what he could from those who devote their careers to the science of sleep. Depending on the quality of their sleep, readers may be alternately saddened or validated by research suggesting that sleeping pills rarely improve the quality of sleep and rarely increase quantity by more than a few minutes. Randall emphasizes the too-often neglected common-sense realization that sleep is no void; rather, it is perhaps one-third of the puzzle to living well. The author also notes that sleep is not an undifferentiated continuum; the most restful sleep arrives in five stages of about 90 minutes each. – Kirkus Reviews
‘Dreamland’: Open Your Eyes To The Science Of Sleep
NPR Book Review – August 7, 2012 (Excerpt)
Step, if you will, into my bedroom at night. (Don’t worry, this is a PG-rated invitation.) At first, all is tranquil: My husband and I, exhausted by our day’s labors, slumber, comatose, in our double bed. But, somewhere around 2 a.m., things begin to go bump in the night. My husband’s body starts twitching, like Frankenstein’s monster receiving his first animating shocks of electricity. Thrashing about, he’ll kick me and steal the covers. In his dreams, he’s always fighting or being chased; one night he said he dreamt Dick Cheney was gaining on him.
Meanwhile, I’m not a completely innocent bystander; I’m told I sometimes snore, loudly. And then there’s the dog, who starts out the night curled at the bottom of the bed, but by dawn has usually crept up to my pillow and snuggled atop my head. She snores, too … and farts.
Our rock ‘em, sock ‘em nightly routine, however, appears tame compared with David K. Randall’s nocturnal adventures. As he describes in his new book, Dreamland, Randall awoke one night to find himself collapsed in the hallway outside his bedroom, howling in pain because he’d sleepwalked straight into a wall. But Randall’s after-midnight mishaps are nothing compared with the accounts in his book of people who’ve driven cars, committed sexual assault and even murder, all while, supposedly, sound asleep. [Read the full article...]
THE BLEEDING HILLS
A Novel by Wilfried F. Voss
I have fought a good fight,
I have finished my course,
I have kept the faith.
- 2 Timothy iv. 7
The Irish War is officially a part of history, but not for Finnean Whelan, an IRA veteran of almost 40 years. British Intelligence has produced evidence that he is the mastermind behind a conspiracy to assassinate the First Minister of Northern Ireland. For Whelan this is not only a mission of revenge, but marks the beginning of a journey into the past and the return to the one true love: Ireland. [More...]
The Bleeding Hills is available at Amazon.Com, Amazon.co.uk, Barnes & Noble, and any other good bookstore.