Sleep Thieves - Stanley Coren As my friends will tell you, I'm still repeating anecdotes from this book several years after I read it. It's one of the most useful and interesting books--on any subject--I've ever read. The author makes a compelling case that sleep deprivation has serious consequences, ranging from poor work performance to fatal car accidents to large-scale catastrophes such as the Chernobyl disaster.

Coren outlines how certain employment practices, such as "swing shifts" (switching between first, second, and third shift) and paying truck drivers by the mile (encouraging them to work longer without sleep), can cause consequences far worse than tiredness. He puts himself through sleep experiments, shortening his nightly allotment of sleep, and observes the effects on his work (not good). He thoroughly debunks the myth that we can "get by" on less sleep than we need and suffer no ill effects.

There are a lot of fascinating bits of information in this book, but the one that's stuck with me the most is the study on daylight saving time. The author wondered if the hour of sleep lost in the spring had any ill effects, and he found that there are more fatal car accidents the Monday after DST begins than at other times of year, and conversely, there are fewer accidents the Monday after the autumn switch to standard time. It's such a simple study, and the results are striking: sleep deprivation is deadly.