"The effects of sleep disruption on mood, perception, and behavior are so strong that patients are sometimes misdiagnosed with psychiatric disorders when they simply need better sleep." ‒ from THE SECRET LIFE OF SLEEP
"Because growth hormones are secreted only during SW (Slow Wave) sleep, a reduction in deep sleep also lowers the levels of these hormones. The combination can account for many features of the aging process, including loss of muscle tone and physical strength, increased body fat, thinning of the skin, fatigue, diminished sexual desire, memory loss and immune malfunction." ‒ from THE SECRET LIFE OF SLEEP
"At present, several lines of evidence support the notion that our dreaming brains operate on the edge of chaos, albeit a self-organizing one that responds with enormous sensitivity to subtle influences, not unlike the weather systems that bedevil forecasters." ‒ from THE SECRET LIFE OF SLEEP
"Big dreams ... have a remarkable clarity and a profound sense of portent that alter and inform us for life. They are not just remixes of memory traces from past experiences or imagined possibilities ..." ‒ from THE SECRET LIFE OF SLEEP
"I used to think as I looked out on the Hollywood night, 'There must be thousands of girls sitting alone like me dreaming of being a movie star.' But I'm not going to worry about them. I'm dreaming the hardest." ‒ Marilyn Monroe
THE SECRET LIFE OF SLEEP by educator and mental health counselor Kat Duff can perhaps be described as a primer on sleep for the layperson.
Duff arbitrarily (but logically) divides her narrative into three general parts: falling to sleep, sleeping, and waking up. By default, the bulk of the text is concerned with the sleeping bit and, since dreaming is pretty much the only game in town during that time, with dreams. However, she also discusses such topics as how sleep is regarded across cultures, REM (Rapid Eye Movement) vs. SW sleep, the effects of the various types of sleep-promoting drugs, and the interaction of memory and invention within sleep. It's all enlightening stuff albeit told in a professorial and relatively humorless style. The author occasionally personalizes the narrative with her own dream experiences to instructionally illustrate.
Like the preferences for ties and perfume, I gather the experiences of sleep time are highly individualized. But the reader can still derive from THE SECRET LIFE OF SLEEP much relevant personal awareness. Without having given the topic much previous thought (because I generally sleep untroubled and well), I now realize that even though I haven't dreamt nightmares in decades, I also don't have Big Dreams, only Ordinary Dreams. Should I feel cheated?
THE SECRET LIFE OF SLEEP is a volume that imparts a wealth of interesting information ("Cool! I didn't know that!"), but will only be relevant to the extent that the proverbial eye mask and ear plugs fit.