The Neuroscience of a Good Night's Rest

A narcoleptic’s tireless journey through the neuroscience of disordered sleep

Whether it’s a bout of bad jet lag or a stress-induced all-nighter, we’ve all suffered from nights that left us feeling less than well-rested. But for some people, getting a bad night’s sleep isn’t just an inconvenience: it’s a nightmare. In Sleepyhead, science writer Henry Nicholls uses his own experience with chronic narcolepsy as a gateway to better understanding the cryptic, curious, and relatively uncharted world of sleep disorders. We meet insomniacs who can’t get any sleep, narcoleptics who can’t control when they sleep, and sleep apnea victims who nearly suffocate in their sleep. We learn the underlying difference between morning larks and night owls; why our sleeping habits shift as we grow older; and the evolutionary significance of REM sleep and dreaming. Charming, eye-opening, and deeply humanizing, Sleepyhead will help us all uncover the secrets of a good night’s sleep.
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Genre: Nonfiction / Science / Life Sciences / Neuroscience

On Sale: September 4th 2018

Price: $17.99

Page Count: 288

ISBN-13: 9781541672567

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PRAISE FOR The Galapagos:
"Of all the creatures mentioned in Henry Nicholls's second book on the Galapagos...perhaps none is so intriguing as homo sapiens, a nonnative species believed to have made landfall on these volcanic islands more than 500 miles off the coast of Ecuador in the early 16th century.... [G]eology, plant life (including wondrous-sounding forests of giant daisy trees) and other creatures are not ignored in this slim, delightful volume.... Mr. Nicholls, entertaining in his own light, keeps things lively with lots of human observations.... As protective as Mr. Nicholls is of these strange islands, the reader gets the distinct feeling that he wants you to see for yourself these animals that 'show no prejudice, no fear'--an experience that will do no less than 'transform the way we think about our place in the world.'"—New York Times
"In this natural and human history of Darwin's living laboratory, Henry Nicholls surfs from geology, oceanography and marine biology to resident land species, not least the burgeoning population of Homo sapiens. Throughout, he intertwines key accounts such as Darwin's inspired musings on geological uplift and the piscine encounters of pioneer diver William Beebe. One for the scientific islomane with a sense of the bigger picture."—Nature
"The tale of the Galápagos's solitary giant tortoise and conservation icon was told to great effect by Henry Nicholls in Lonesome George. Sadly, George died in 2012, but happily Nicholls is back with an account that shows why the archipelago that shaped Darwin's ideas still matters to us."—New Scientist, 2014 books preview
"Nicholls describes the natural life of the Galapagos with both knowledge and zest: its rocks, the ocean and the sea life that surround it, its seabirds (including the 'famously small' Galapagos penguin), its plants, its invertebrates, its land birds...and its reptiles.... The human element is a big part of the Galapagos story too, not only Darwin but also that of naval officers, explorers, privateers and, later, conservationists.... The book is a fascinating portrait of the archipelago's natural and human history."—Chicago Tribune
"[A] succinct, well-structured account of the natural and human history of this 'little world within itself,' as Darwin called the Galápagos. It is an account written with great care, as if every word mattered. In crystal-clear prose that gently wraps itself around the facts, Nicholls explains why the Galápagos have become so special to the human imagination, and why we must continue to treat the islands as such.... Nicholls is very good at evoking the rough magic of the islands Spaniards had called Las Encantadas (The Enchanted Ones).... In the Galápagos, it does not pay to be fussy, Nicholls says, and he has given us a wonderfully unfussy book.... [An] irresistibly readable book."—The Weekly Standard
"Anyone planning or just dreaming of a trip to the famed islands will get a preview of their natural history in this engaging volume."—Science News
"Nicholls packs a wealth of information very succinctly in ten chapters that can each be read in short bursts.... [A] delightful overview of interesting natural history topics that serve as a general introduction of the islands.... [Nicholls] peppers these descriptions with history, culture, politics, and economics of the islands to flesh out the context of their natural offerings."—The Dispersal of Darwin
"The Galápagos: A Natural History is a book that should be on the reading table of all those interested not only in the natural history of the Galápagos Islands but by everyone who wishes to expand their perspective upon the subject of natural history itself--as well as, of course--those who simply enjoy reading interesting and well-written books in general."—The Well-Read Naturalist
"In choosing his topics, Nicholls does what he calls 'some cherry-picking' and the result is both entertaining and enlightening.... Nicholls navigates [the] complex issues [related to the human population] with care, sensitivity and honesty."—Galápagos Digital
"[A] thoroughly engaging and deftly distilled primer on the Galapagos Islands. From rocks to ocean, seabirds, plants, invertebrates, land birds, reptiles, and humans...[Nicholls] weaves the history of discovery in Galapagos with eyewitness reports, the ecology and evolution of the archipelago and conservation challenges--all in just 150 pages.... [F]or a succinct overview of the islands, their history, nature and import, the book is admirable."—Longitude Books blog
"A readable introduction to the natural history of the Galapagos Islands."—Birdbooker Report
"In an enticingly structured, thoroughly enjoyable, rolling narrative, [Nicholls] discusses the islands' volcanic origins, native flora and fauna, and human explorers and residents. He also describes with firsthand excitement and surprising detail what it's like to be in the presence of the islands' remarkably tame wildlife, from the playful red-footed boobies to Pacific green turtles and the enormous tortoises for which the archipelago is named and which were slaughtered to the brink of extinction.... There is no question, as Nicholls eloquently reveals, that we all have a stake in protecting the Galápagos."—Booklist
"[A]n accessible introduction to the islands' natural history.... [Nicholls'] writing is always skillfully rendered and his enthusiasm for the islands, where he has spent much time, is palpable.... [T]his book is a solid addition to the existing literature on the Galápagos. A pleasant, anecdotal work, it will delight armchair travelers and tourists hoping to maximize their own trips to these magical islands."—Library Journal
"[Nicholls] presents a historical perspective, quoting extensively from Darwin and other early explorers; he brings in some basic ecological and geological principles to explain the patterns observed; and he provides fleeting reference to actual species currently extant in the ecosystem."—Publishers Weekly
"A fascinating overview of the natural and human history of this remarkable archipelago, from prehistoric times to the present."—Kirkus Reviews
"Informative and succinct, fascinating and easy to read, The Galapagos: A Natural History is an absolute 'must read' whether you are a first time visitor or an 'old hand' with an on-going interest in the Archipelago."—Galápagos Matters (UK)
"With pink iguanas and blue-footed boobies (not to mention red-footed ones that like to hide toy plastic bassoons and other jetsam in their hilltop nests), the islands are a carnival of amazing beings that somehow thrive in a place that has reminded visitors (from a 15th-century Spanish bishop to Herman Melville) of a slag heap or the gates of hell. Henry Nicholls introduces and celebrates these wonders and more in seven short chapters covering the geology, ocean life, seabirds, plants, invertebrates, land birds and reptiles of the archipelago. Three more explore the human impact and the hope that Nicholls and others have for the islands' future."—The Guardian (UK)
"[A] concise and very well-informed natural history.... Nicholls...has produced a must-pack book if you intend to be one of the 175,000 people who visit these extraordinary islands each year."—The Times (UK)
"Countless coffee-table picture books have been made about the Galapagos, but Nicholls's volume takes a refreshingly different course: it is the only popular account I am aware of that ventures off the well-beaten track of famous tortoises or the photogenic Darwin's finches, to document the rich diversity of species that made these islands a World Heritage site."—Prof. Mark Pagel, BBC Focus (UK)
"[An] anecdote-rich tour of 10 million years of evolutionary history.... Nicholls offers fascinating insights into [the islands'] evolutionary quirks."—BBC Wildlife (UK)
"If you read one book about the Galápagos, make sure it is this. Thoroughly researched, highly informative, lively, and enjoyable, each page is a real pleasure to read. Whether a first time visitor or an old Galápagos 'hand,' Henry Nicholls's The Galápagos should accompany you on any physical or virtual trip to these Enchanted Islands."—Ian Dunn, Chief Executive Officer, Galápagos Conservation Trust
"Nicholls's book is filled with fascinating natural history tales, from volcanically-heated seas melting the resin that holds a ship together to encounters with foot-long centipedes, and also includes a sobering, but ultimately hopeful account of the efforts to conserve the archipelago's flora and fauna. It's a book you'd want to read on a plane flight to the Galápagos. It's also a book that will make you want to book that flight."—Alan de Queiroz, author of The Monkey's Voyage
"This is the perfect book to take with you if you are planning a trip to the Galápagos. Even if you are not, this is an enchanting and enlightening account of the most scientifically significant islands in the world."—Tim Birkhead, author of Bird Sense
"Henry Nicholls has added an informative, fun, and up-to-date read to the Galápagos literature. By sprinkling his discussion of the geology, biology, and history of the islands with quotes from historical figures, including Darwin, the Bishop of Panama, Herman Melville, and many others, he takes the reader on a unique journey of discovery of the wonders of Galápagos. He merges historical information with up-to-date science and conservation, then brings the reader back to the sites and species they will see when visiting the islands. Most importantly, he discusses why Galápagos matters and the challenge to all of us to ensure its long-term protection."—Linda J. Cayot, science advisor, Galapagos Conservancy
"The Galápagos is an engaging, informative introduction to the natural history of the archipelago. Charles Darwin's observations and insights on the Galápagos are effectively used to highlight key aspects of the archipelago's terrestrial and marine environments, the unique plants and animals they support, and how our understanding of them has evolved since his historic visit. An inspiring pre-travel read for anyone considering a visit to 'Darwin's Islands.'"—K. Thalia Grant and Gregory B. Estes, authors of Darwin in Galapagos
"Henry Nicholls has turned his most observant eye on the remarkable, but less often described human history of Galápagos. The future of the islands and their distinctive biota will be in the hands of the national lawmakers and growing number of Galápagos residents as the isolation enjoyed by Galápagos becomes a distant memory. In his lively prose, Henry lauds the unsung scientists and conservation managers who work doggedly and successfully on persistent wildlife management challenges wrought by human accident or design. His persistent focus on stewardship--man's absolute responsibility to nature--is refreshing and important in the world of natural history literature. A thoughtfully executed and excellent read."—Johannah Barry, president of the Galapagos Conservancy
"In a relaxed and conversational style, Henry Nicholls introduces many of the animals and plants that live there, explains why so many are strange and unusual, and shows how natural history has been first shaped by geological history and then influenced by human history. The book is an inspiring call to visit the islands, to experience the animals and plants in the sea and on land, and to join in conserving them."—Peter Grant, Professor Emeritus, Princeton University, and coauthor of 40 Years of Evolution: Darwin's Finches on Daphne Major Island
"In his new natural history, Henry Nicholls transforms the Galápagos archipelago from perennial example to subject. Chapters devoted to geology, plants, animals, and insects finally provide a landscape framework for some of biology's most famous stories-from Darwin's finches to the giant tortoises that give the islands their name. Nicholls also includes a welcome and thoughtful discussion of the archipelago's most recent and transformative arrivals, its people."—Thor Hanson, author of Feathers and The Triumph of Seeds
"I have been to the Galápagos five times, including an extended private expedition retracing Darwin's footsteps in these magnificent islands that so inspired his insights into the evolutionary process. I thought I knew everything about the islands until I read Henry Nicholls' The Galápagos, the best single-volume work I've found and the perfect guide for travelers. Every visitor to the islands should be given a copy of this marvelous natural history to read in order to fully appreciate the richness of one of the most important pieces of real estate on the planet. A captivating book."—Michael Shermer, publisher of Skeptic magazine, and author of Why Darwin Matters
PRAISE FOR The Way of the Panda:
"Nicholls is surely set to become an author of many more fascinating science books. In many ways, this book is what good science writing is all about--explanation through a ripping narrative."—The Independent
"A fascinating story of an extraordinary animal."—Desmond Morris, famed zoologist and author of The Naked Ape
"A brilliant storyteller and narrative stylist in the finest tradition."—Michael Shermer, host of Exploring the Unknown on ABC; columnist for Scientific American
PRAISE FOR Lonesome George:
"The literary device of placing a reptilian icon at the center of a dynamic play about science, conservation and our attitudes to nature results in a highly readable book that has much to say about the ways we flounder around in our attempts to protect things that seem important to us."—Nature
"Is he gay, impotent or just bored? Read this fascinating book for the full story. It skillfully blends historical derring-do with cutting-edge conservation biology."—New Scientist
"Like the best human-focused biographers, Nicholls uses his unusual subject as a springboard into more universal territory. He aptly portrays Lonesome George as a sort of reptilian Forrest Gump, an unwitting bystander continually thrust to the forefront as society's defining crises play themselves out around him."—Wired
"Not simply the story of a tortoise but the tale of that icon of evolution, the Galápagos archipelago, and of the heroics and (sometimes) seeming futility of the conservation movement. The science is compelling, the tone is light - highly recommended."—Olivia Judson, Seed Magazine
"Nicholls is a brilliant storyteller and narrative stylist in the finest tradition--an emotional but fact-filled call for action."—The Skeptic
"Conscientious, comprehensive and balanced. Everyone with an interest in conservation should read this account and consider its implications."—Trends in Evolution and Ecology
"This marvelous look at the conservation of nature, as embodied in one enormous reptile, is highly recommended."—Nancy Bent, Booklist
"Told with real affection and humour...a fitting tribute to one of the voiceless victims of human progress."—Guardian (UK)
"Nicholls' lively tale takes the reader on a journey through the Galapagos - and how much there is to lose."—BBC Focus Magazine (UK)
"Well written and fascinating--Nicholls' passion for his subject and sense of humour are always evident."—Times Literary Supplement (UK)
"A warmly enjoyable book...a pleasure to read."—
"Manages to package human drama, reproductive biology and a conservation message with humour and exemplary clarity."—Folha de S.Paulo
"Highly readable. I encourage you to read this succinct book and pass it on to your colleagues, even children."—EMBO Reports, Professor Jeffrey Powell, Yale
"This is a wonderful tale of an almost mythical beast. Rich in historical detail George's story is one of pathos, despair and hope with some quirky reproductive biology thrown in for good measure. Nicholls has done us all a service, reminding us of the fragility of life in general and of one very special chelonian in particular."—Tim Birkhead, author of Promiscuity and The Red Canary
"It is a cracking tale - and crackingly well told. It is also salutary. Giant tortoises are indeed extraordinary - but not as strange as human beings."—Colin Tudge, author of The Secret Life of Trees
"If Darwin were alive today he would be fascinated by Henry Nicholls' splendid account of this solitary survivor from Pinta Island. A must for anyone who cares about extinction or has a soft spot for the remarkable history of a very singular animal."—Janet Browne, author of Charles Darwin: A Biography
"Lonesome George will do for the cause of science and preservation in the Galápagos what Jonathan Weiner's The Beak of the Finch did a decade before--entertain, enlighten and encourage us all to do our part to preserve not just these islands, but Earth itself."—Michael Shermer, author of In Darwin's Shadow
"In terms that are at once accessible and breezy, he makes an unequivocal case for the sole known remaining individual of the Galapagos giant tortoise subspecies, Geochelone nigra abingdoni...Nicholls is a master raconteur...the chapters themselves are marvels of elucidation...Nicholls' effort is both timely and redoubtable, and demands critical attention now."—John Matthew, History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences