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The history of sleep…and sleeplessness

Boy sleeping in bed.
Boy sleeping in bed.

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Book cover.
Book cover.

It’s supposed to be the best -- and simplest -- eight hours of your day, so why do so many people find themselves wrestling with that benign thing called sleep each night?

In the book “Wild Nights: How Taming Sleep Created Our Restless World,” writer Benjamin Reiss tackles the history of sleep (and insomnia) by looking at literature, social and medical history, and science.

The book tells the stories of sleep through different people, from cave-dwelling sleep researchers to sleepwalkers and frustrated parents.


Benjamin Reissa professor of English at Emory University, and the author of the new book, “Wild Nights: How Taming Sleep Created Our Restless World” (Basic Books, 2017)