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A fact-filled, quirky and maddeningly diverting bedside companion to the pleasures and pains of sleep, covering everything from pyjamas and dreams, pillows and narcolepsy to sex and insomnia.

Sleep remains one of the most mysterious areas of our lives. We all sleep, maybe not as much as we would like, but it’s a universal human experience, as necessary as breathing and as nourishing as eating. But how much do we really know about sleep? What happens in the third of our lives when we’re slumbering? How have sleep, dreams and nightmares been interpreted over the centuries? Why do so many people feel that they are deprived of sleep? How did our ancestors use to sleep?

Sleep has its own unexpected and rich story – ranging across science, history, literature and philosophy. It’s been a cultural battleground between those who see sleep as a gift from nature and those who have seen it as an idle waste of time.

In an overcrowded, exhausting 24-hour culture, sleep has become a valuable, rationed commodity. It’s something that people are thinking about more than ever before.

This bedside-table companion responds to this interest in sleep, providing a mixture of short, browsable pieces and more extended sections. The style is informed, thoughtful and entertaining, in keeping with the subject matter. It is intelligent but playful, quirky and amusing.

Any study of sleep has to savour the delight of the long lie-in, the sexual musk of night time; discuss the history of the bed, the origin of pyjamas and how the Elizabethans saw the pillow as a sign of moral weakness and examine why the Italians called the bed the 'the opera of the poor'.


For more on this fascinating subject, delve between the covers.

BBC Radio 4 Loose Ends

Fascinating ... answers a host of nocturnal conundrums.

Daily Mail

Everyone should have a jolly good sleep after this.

Vanessa Feltz

What could be more welcome than this celebration of the glory of a good night's kip?

Financial Times

A perfect gift.

The Bookseller

Fascinating facts and revelations.

Lovereading, Book of the Month

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Formats & editions

  • Paperback


    April 15, 2010


    272 pages

    RRP $19.99

    Online retailers

    • Abbey's Bookshop
    • Amazon
    • Angus & Robertson Bookworld
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    • Boomerang Books
    • Collins Booksellers
    • Dymocks
    • Books Kinokuniya
    • The Nile
    • QBD
    • Readings
    • Robinsons Bookshop

    Find your local bookstore at booksellers.org.au

  • EBook


    July 1, 2010

    Preface Digital

    272 pages

    Online retailers

    • iBooks
    • Amazon Kindle
    • Booktopia
    • eBooks
    • Google Play
    • Kobo


Why We Sleep: The New Science of Sleep and Dreams
The Sleep Revolution
Keeping Women in Science
The One-Week Baby Sleep Solution
The Sleep Solution: why your sleep is broken and how to fix it
The Gentle Sleep Solution
The Knowledge Wars
Cracking the Code
The Complete A to Z Dictionary of Dreams
The Joy Of Physics
The Geek Manifesto
Self Comes to Mind
Stripping Down Science
The Genesis Enigma
Too Far From Home
Programming The Universe
Religion Explained