Over the last half century, scientific research has offered increasingly better explanations of sleep and the vital functions it plays in people’s day-to-day lives. The quantity and quality of sleep that people get influences their health, decision-making, interpersonal relationships, and performance at school or work. But many circumstances can get in the way of a good night’s sleep, including lifestyle choices, stress, responsibilities at work or home, chronic pain, and sleep disorders.

A good step toward getting a good night’s sleep is learning more about how sleep works, how to maintain good sleep hygiene, and how to manage conditions that disrupt sleep. One way to accomplish this is by reading books about sleep. Here, we highlight several of the best books on sleep and what they offer readers. 

Sleep for Success! Everything You Must Know About Sleep But are Too Tired to Ask

This book describes itself as a “wake-up call” for people who want to be happier, healthier, less stressed, and more successful. It offers a few simple steps that readers can take to ensure they get the sleep they need. Its authors are Cornell-educated sleep experts James B. Maas and Rebecca S. Robbins, the founders of the consulting company Sleep for Success.

Sleep for Success! opens with several quizzes to help readers assess the state of their sleep. It then provides an overview of the science of sleep before offering practical strategies for getting good sleep. The 264-page book dedicates several chapters to addressing sleep challenges for particular populations, such as women and travelers, and to describing common sleep disorders and their treatments.

Why We Sleep: Unlocking the Power of Sleep and Dreams

This New York Times bestseller takes a deep dive into the science of sleep, making a compelling case for the importance of sleeping and dreaming. The author, neuroscientist Matthew Walker, is the founder and director of UC Berkeley’s Center for Human Sleep Science. 

Why We Sleep draws upon decades of scientific research and Walker’s own experiences as a clinician.  In its 368 pages, the book explains the vital role that sleep and dreaming play in learning, memory, emotional wellbeing, metabolism, immunity from disease, and more. It also addresses questions about  how sleep changes across the lifespan and how sleep aids, caffeine, and alcohol affect sleep. 

The Power of When

The Power of When argues that there is a right time to do almost anything—from eating lunch to asking for a raise—based on the body’s inner clocks. Written by Michael Breus, a clinical psychologist who specializes in sleep disorders, this book offers readers advice about how to tune into their natural rhythms so that they can be as happy, healthy, and productive as possible. 

Breus has developed four animal-based “chronotypes” that reflect a person’s patterns of sleepiness and alertness, and “The Power of When” offers readers a quiz to help determine theirs. The remainder of the 544-page book details the best time for each chronotype to engage in dozens of activities in nine categories: relationships, fitness, health, sleep, eat and drink, work, creativity, money, and fun.

The Sleep Solution: Why Your Sleep is Broken and How to Fix It

The Sleep Solution aims to help readers understand their sleep problems and implement solutions that are tailored to their lifestyles. The author, W. Chris Winter, is a neurologist and sleep specialist who regularly consults with professional athletes, corporations, and U.S. Military personnel about how to get a better night’s sleep.

This 272-page book begins with an overview of sleep basics that debunks misconceptions about sleeping pills. It then gives readers strategies for incorporating sleep and napping into their lives based on their needs and life circumstances. The Sleep Solution also addresses questions about common sleep disorders, as well as the role that sleep technologies can play in facilitating sleep.

Learn more about our Editorial Team

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