50. The Sleep Revolution (Arianna Huffington)

41fH4tVCCbL._SL160_As I struggle to get enough zzzzzz’s, I decided to borrow The Sleep Revolution from the library. I have to admit that some nights, reading it has put me to sleep!  It is fully of the background on sleep and sleep habits, information on dreams and personal anecdotes from the author and others about their experience with sleep.

The book is divided into 2 sections along with a robust reference list.  The first part of the book was titled Wake Up Call and, despite some interesting facts, was a slow read.  This part included discussion about the current the author’s view that there is a sleep crisis corroborated by her experience with exhaustion when she fell and injured herself.  She details information about the sleep industry, the history of sleep, the science of sleep, sleep disorders and dreams. As I was solution focused, I found this part to be a bit tedius and it was difficult to stay on task while reading.

The second section was the reason that I borrowed the book, looking the answers that would facilitate restful sleep on those days that my mind does not seem to want to pause for rest.  This part was called the Way Forward and gave suggestions including tips for sleeping together (perhaps smothering a snoring partner is not the best choice), sleep hygiene, naps (many companies are starting to support his with nap rooms), jet lag, dealing timezones and sleeping for all ages.  There were also chapters on the effect of sleep as a performance enhancer for athletes and helpful technology.

To be honest, I think that I was looking for more tips relating to my own specific situation – busy mom’s in their 40s that are having difficulty sleeping – for discussion with peers in the same situation.  Although the sections on young children were interesting, they were not applicable at this time and jet lag and timezones are not a current worry.  Unfortunately, I found the tips to be typical suggestions that we should already know such as keeping your technology out of your room, avoiding alcohol, eating big meals earlier in the day, limiting caffeine later in the day and teaching our children to sleep well.

To keep a notebook close at the bedside and jot down all the tasks for tomorrow which may be on your mind, as a way of clearing away the day’s issues away and signaling bed time, might be a helpful way to shut down the swirling thoughts.  Writing or thinking about those tings that we are grateful for in a gratitude journal can be helpful as kindness and gratitude can also help calm the mind.  Huffington is a proponent of meditation and when she can’t sleep instead of grumbling and counting down the hours before it is time to get up, she reframes her wakefulness as a positive time to meditate which is an interesting thought although I might struggle to think optimistically when I am counting down the time until the alarm goes off.

In fairness the the author, she has done a great deal of research using many sources to provide a comprehensive overview on sleep.  For me, I was looking for more robust (and new) suggestions to help me settle my mind for sleep.   I will revisit the mediation and consider leaving a book beside the bed to jot down my thoughts of the next day.

 “The power of sleep in the animal kingdom is exemplified by the cheeta. It’s the fastest land animal on earth – able to accelerate from zero to sixty miles per hour in just 3 seconds – and yet it also spends up to 18 hours a day sleeping”


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