Synopses & Reviews
An entirely new way of looking at the human body.
The acclaimed science writer Jennifer Ackerman lends her keen eye and lively voice to this marvelous exploration of the human body. Taking us through a typical day, from the arousal of our senses in the morning to the reverie of sleep and dreams, Ackerman reveals the body as we've never seen it: busy, cunning, and miraculous.
Advances in genetics and medical imaging have allowed us to peer more deeply inside ourselves than ever before, and one of the most amazing recent discoveries is that we are deeply rhythmic creatures. The human body is like a clock actually an entire shop of clocks measuring out the seconds, minutes, days, and seasons of life. Weaving pieces of her own life with that of "everyman," Ackerman shows the importance of synchronizing our actions with these biological rhythms and how defying them can cause us real harm. We learn the best time of day to drink a cocktail, take a nap, run a race, give a presentation, or take medication, along with a host of other fascinating facts (such as why you always succumb to a cold while your spouse doesn't even though you've both been exposed to the same sick child). At once entertaining and deeply practical, this fascinating book will make you consider your body in a whole new light.
"A fascinating look at what modern science tells us about who we are." Elizabeth Kolbert
"It's rare to find a book that delivers so much knowledge in prose that's such an enormous pleasure to read." Miriam E. Nelson, Tufts University, and author of Strong Women Stay Young
"Jennifer Ackerman writes with the precision of a scientist and the elegance of a poet...invigorating, informed, insightful, and wise." Steve Olson, author of Mapping Human History and Count Down
"A delightful picaresque....You'll never think about your body and what you do to it in the same way again." Stephen S. Hall, author of Size Matters and Merchants of Immortality
"Neophytes, and even science-phobes, will find Ackerman's approach to biology welcoming." New York Times
"An insightful text celebrating just how clever is the machine we call the human body." Kirkus Reviews
Did you know that you can tell time in your sleep? That women have more nightmares than men? Or that up to half of the calories you consume can be burned off simply by fidgeting? In Sex, Sleep, Eat, Drink, Dream, acclaimed science writer Jennifer Ackerman takes us on an astonishing and illuminating tour of the human body during a typical day, from waking in the morning to the reverie of sleep and dreams.
Most of us are familiar with the concept of circadian rhythms, the idea that the human body maintains its own internal clock. Recent scientific advances reveal the importance of synchronizing our actions with our biological rhythms and show how defying them can cause us real harm. With Ackerman as our guide we learn the best time of day to take a nap, give a presentation, take medication, and even drink a cocktail, along with a host of other useful and curious facts. Entertaining and deeply practical, this book will make readers think of their bodies in an entirely new way.
About the Author
Jennifer Ackerman is the author of Notes from the Shore and Chance in the House of Fate. She writes regularly for National Geographic, the New York Times, and other publications. As a journalist, she has tracked the rare red-crowned crane in Hokkaido, interviewed a chimpanzee and "raced" him on a treadmill, chased a hurricane with geologists on a North Carolina barrier island, crossed the Pacific in a research vessel studying the effects of global warming, and searched for dinosaur and early bird fossils in the remote Liaoning province of western China. The recipient of an Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Grant and Bunting Fellowship, she is married to the novelist Karl Ackerman and has two daughters. She resides in Charlottesville, VA.