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Synopsis

The acclaimed science writer Jennifer Ackerman lends her keen eye and lively voice to this marvellous exploration of the human body. Taking us through a typical day, from the arousal of the senses in the morning to the reverie of sleep and dreams, Ackerman reveals the human form 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 intensely 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 synchronising our actions with our 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, and take medication, along with a host of other curious facts, such as why you succumb to a cold and your spouse doesn’t, even though you’ve both been exposed to the same sick child.

Did you know that you can tell time in your sleep? Or that up to half of the calories you consume can be burned off simply by fidgeting? That women have more nightmares than men? That tuna, sardines, and walnuts may ease depression?

At once entertaining and deeply practical, this fascinating book will make you think of your body in an entirely new way.

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