Dreamland - Randall, David K.
Summary: A reporter for the Associated Press examines the complex world of sleep and discusses interesting questions as to whether or not women sleep differently than men and if you killed someone while sleepwalking, whether it would count as murder. 15,000 first printing. - (Baker & Taylor)
Veteran journalist Randall tackles the mysterious landscape of sleep by surveying the many areas of sleep research. He proceeds in a somewhat chronological order, beginning with historical sleep patterns. According to some research, when sleep patterns were determined by daylight, before interior lighting became prevalent, a typical night's rest was split into "first sleep" and "second sleep," with approximately an hour awake in between. In the modern age, Randall argues, the advent of gaslights and electric lightbulbs have radically changed the way our bodies want to sleep. From here, he covers the perfect mattress (there isn't one: it's merely what a person finds most comfortable); bed sharing; labor laws; and the future of sleep monitoring. Randall is at his best when talking about sleep disorders, such as violent parasomnias, wherein a person can unknowingly commit assault or even murder in his or her sleep. Though he doesn't go into minute detail, Randall provides a comprehensive and accessible introduction to a mystifying but necessary part of life. Copyright 2012 Booklist Reviews.