Praise for Wild Nights:

"A captivating examination… Reiss gives readers much to ponder long into the night" - Publishers Weekly, starred review

"Liberating.. pops with insight... eye-opening... harrowing.  Reiss makes it achingly clear that sleep is anything but democratically distributed."  - New York Times

"..a marvelous scientific and literary study.  [Reiss] deftly interweaves multiple threads, from the industrial manipulation of time to the near-hibernation of snowbound Russian peasants in 1900, Henry David Thoreau's clock-free sojourn at Walden Pond, and the 50-cup-a-day coffee habit of French novelist Honore de Balzac." -- Nature

"One finishes Wild Nights with the feeling that our modern-day anxieties about sleep are the symptom of another, more complicated disease.  If societies were better able to provide their citizens with life's basic necessities...then the sleep crisis would fade away on its own.  As long as we lack this larger vision, Reiss warns, we are struck 'attempting to repair broken sleep with the tools that broke it.'"
-- New Republic

"Completely fascinating.  The notion of a good night’s sleep, it turns out, is as political as anything else." - Chicago Reader

"Gives us fresh reason to re-conceptualize this essential aspect of our life." - Maryanne Wolf, author of Proust and the Squid: The Story and Science of the Reading Brain

"Wild Nights is a literary and historical triumph" - Carlos H. Schenck, M.D., author of Sleep: The Mysteries, The Problems, The Solutions 


by Benjamin reiss

Why is sleep frustrating for so many people? Why do we spend so much time and money managing and medicating it, and training ourselves and our children to do it correctly? In Wild Nights, Benjamin Reiss finds answers in sleep's hidden history--one that leads to our present, sleep-obsessed society, its tacitly accepted rules, and their troubling consequences.

buy wild nights:

A stirring testament to sleep's diversity, Wild Nights offers a profound reminder that in the vulnerability of slumber we can find our shared humanity. By peeling back the covers of history, Reiss recaptures sleep's mystery and grandeur and offers hope to weary readers: as sleep was transformed once before, so too can it change today.

Read these three op-eds on children's sleep, sleep's racial past, and sleeping in public in the Los Angeles Times.

And here's an editorial on sleep deprivation in the Guardian that draws on Wild Nights.

upcoming events


Additional Info