Monday, August 22, 2016

The Sleep Revolution, by Arianna Huffington

I'm always interested in reading about the benefits of embracing a healthier lifestyle, so I was intrigued by Arianna Huffington's new book about sleep, and its ability, according to the subtitle, to transform "your life, one night at a time." Ms. Huffington begins by recounting her own epiphany regarding sleep, when she was running herself so ragged that she collapsed in exhaustion one day, fracturing her cheekbone in the process. After her realization that she couldn't continue to live the way she had been, she began to explore and research sleep, through reading and interviewing doctors and other sleep professionals.

The Sleep Revolution consists of two parts, "Wake-Up Call" and "The Way Forward." In the first part, Ms. Huffington discusses the current sleep crisis in the U.S., with far too many people getting far too little sleep every night. She discusses the sleep industry, with its heavy reliance on sleeping pills, resulting in the subsequent heavy reliance on caffeinated drinks the next day. Further chapters cover sleep throughout history, the science of sleep, and sleep disorders.

In the second part, Ms. Huffington provides a lot of advice, tools, and techniques that can be used to help you get better at sleeping. She discusses the reluctance of couples to sleep apart, even when it would improve both partners' sleep experience. She provides many tips and techniques you can try to help you fall and stay asleep. She discusses the many changes that are taking place at work, school, and in professional sports as employers, teachers, and coaches begin to realize how much performance improves when someone has gotten enough sleep. Finally, she addresses the ubiquity of television and our many devices, and recommends keeping them out of the bedroom altogether, if possible.

There are a number of appendices that provide helpful information, such as a questionnaire to help you learn whether you need to change your sleep habits, guided meditations to help you fall asleep, hotels with the best sleep environments, and which mattresses are the best. There is also a robust notes section with citations to supporting research, as well as an index. Overall I found the book very informative, well-written, and entertaining. It's a worthwhile read for anyone who is interested in how they can improve their own well-being or that of their child.

Arianna Huffington. The Sleep Revolution: Transforming Your Life, One Night at a Time. New York: Harmony Books (an imprint of Crown Publishing Group, a division of Penguin Random House), 2016. 392 pages. ISBN 9781101904008.

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