Sex Sleep Eat Drink Dream: A Day in the Life of Your Body
Sex Sleep Eat Drink Dream: A Day in the Life of Your Body (Houghton Mifflin, 2007; Mariner paperback, 2008) ISBN-10: 0618187588; ISBN-10: 0547085605
Foreign editions have been published in 13 languages, including Spanish, German, Korean, Russian, Dutch, Chinese, Japanese, Swedish, and Polish.
Selected as Editors’ Choice by The New York Times; New and notable book of scientific interest by Science News; Main selection of the Scientific American Book Club
“An enthusiastic tour through 24 hours in the life of a typical human body. . . .[an] illuminating and hospitable book.” —New York Times Book Review
“A readable and remarkably comprehensive tour of all that is new and intriguing in the study of human physiology.” — Abigail Zuger, MD, The New York Times “Science Times “ (for full review, see below)
“MOST of us are far too busy racing through life to pay much attention to what our bodies are up to. Jennifer Ackerman has paused to take a closer look and charts the journey of your body - an "ark of skin and blood and bones" - as it ferries you through a typical day. Her fascinating story of the body's complex workings and how they are driven by a daily rhythm will inspire even the most workaholic reader to consider tweaking their schedule to account for the best time to exercise, say, or even maximise their alcohol tolerance. An engaging, eloquent and accessible book.” — New Scientist
“Meticulously reported and well written” —O Magazine
“Both a fascinating read about our bodies’ complexities and a potentially lifesaving resource, this is a dream of a book.” —More Magazine
“A unique attempt to describe the science of who we are.” —Science News
“An insightful text celebrating just how clever is the machine we call the human body.” — Kirkus Reviews
“Offers fascinating insight into the workings of our often inscrutable bodies.” —Bookpage (for full review, click here)
Full review from The New York Times:
“Jennifer Ackerman’s ‘Sex Sleep Eat Drink Dream’ is a readable and remarkably comprehensive tour of all that is new and intriguing in the study of normal human physiology. “The body is like an Antarctica,” Ms. Ackerman writes, “a continent being opened up, mapped, even transformed.”
In the spirit of a continent-hopping tour guide, she hits all the high points of recent research at top speed.
An experienced science writer, she has the sense to hang such a gigantic undertaking on a strict framework: a day in the life of an average person who wakes up (a little before the alarm rings; how do we do that?), sips coffee (why does it taste so good?), drives to work (how does anyone know when to press the brake?) and looks forward to lunch (why do we become hungry?).
The day goes on through the midafternoon slump, the visit to the gym, the after-hours office party (that guy in accounting, what’s his name again?) and the tossing and turning of a particularly bad night’s sleep.
Readers learn that some people can routinely anticipate their alarm with an internal hormone-fueled clock, that coffee’s appeal is actually less in its taste than in its smell, that a drive to work is an exercise in multitasking whose success depends in no small part on an interior “interval timer,” another brain clock like an egg timer that accurately estimates when the yellow light is likely to turn red.
A host of new hormones have been discovered to govern appetite and satiety, and while the doldrums that follow lunch are still not completely understood, recent research strongly supports a brief nap to treat them.
As for those social duds at the office party who require endless reintroductions to the same people, they may be suffering from prosopagnosia, the inability to recognize faces, linked to damage in a tiny area of the brain just behind the right ear.
We may think we depend on the sun to measure time, but we actually have so many precise internal clocks adjusting our metabolism from hour to hour that in the future drugs are likely to be dosed at specific times to maximize their efficacy and minimize their side effects.
Ms. Ackerman’s small book can give these and many more amazements only the briefest of attention each, but her footnotes are a comprehensive source of further information.
— Abigail Zuger, MD, The New York Times Science Times