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Dr. Richard Wiseman presents a compelling book review exploring the power of sleep and the transformative experiences of Night School.

Night School: Wake up to the power of sleep – by Dr. Richard Wiseman

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Sleep is a largely neglected part of health for most people. Compared to factors like food and exercise, it’s something that experientially we’re mostly not present for! Little wonder then that we also often feel like it’s outside of our control.

While Dr. Wiseman does cover the usual advices with regard to getting good sleep, this book has a lot more than that.

Assuming that they go beyond the above, resources about sleep can usually be divided into one of two categories:

  • Hard science: lots about brainwaves, sleep phases, circadian rhythms, melatonin production, etc… But nothing very inspiring!
  • Fantastical whimsy: lots about dreams, spiritualism, and not a scientific source to be found… Nothing very concrete!

This book does better.

We get the science and the wonder. When it comes to lucid dreaming, sleep-learning, sleep hypnosis, or a miraculously reduced need for sleep, everything comes with copious scientific sources or not at all. Dr. Wiseman is well-known in his field for brining scientific skepticism to paranormal claims, by the way—so it’s nice to read how he can do this without losing his sense of wonder. Think of him as the Carl Sagan of sleep, perhaps.

Style-wise, the book is pop-science and easy-reading. Unsurprising, for a professional public educator and science-popularizer.

Structurally, the main part of the book is divided into lessons. Each of these come with background science and principles first, then a problem that we might want to solve, then exercises to do, to get the thing we want. It’s at once a textbook and an instruction manual.

Bottom line: this is a very inspiring book with a lot of science. Whether you’re looking to measurably boost your working memory or heal trauma through dreams, this book has everything.

Click here to check out Night School and learn what your brain can do!

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