T his month I am writing in praise of sleep.  I have just read a fascinating book called Why We Sleep, by Matthew Walker, Director of the Sleep and Neuroimaging Laboratory at the University of California and it seems most of us are not getting enough. Walker says two thirds of adults throughout all developed nations fail to obtain the recommended eight hours of sleep a night, and that routinely sleeping less than six or seven hours “demolishes your immune system, more than doubling your risk of cancer”. That warning is enough to keep you awake at night, just when you really need to be doing the opposite. It is a badge of honour in our society to say we don’t need much sleep, but at what cost?

Guy Noble 

Maybe we are all slowly killing ourselves with lack of sleep, paradoxically cramming so much into our days yet shortening our lifespan with the wear and tear of constant consciousness. In sleep, amyloid proteins that are associated with Alzheimer’s are washed out of the brain. Walker points out that Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan both claimed they only...

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