The Sleep Revolution

We are in the midst of a sleep deprivation crisis, writes Arianna Huffington, the co-founder and editor in chief of The Huffington Post. And this has profound consequences – on our health, our job performance, our relationships and our happiness. What is needed, she boldly asserts, is nothing short of a sleep revolution.  Only by renewing our relationship with sleep can we take back control of our lives.

In The Sleep Revolution, Arianna shows how our cultural dismissal of sleep as time wasted compromises our health and our decision-making and undermines our work lives, our personal lives — and even our sex lives. She explores all the latest science on what exactly is going on while we sleep and dream.  She takes on the dangerous sleeping pill industry, and all the ways our addiction to technology disrupts our sleep. She also offers a range of recommendations and tips from leading scientists on how we can get better and more restorative sleep, and harness its incredible power.

I’m not sure I’ve ever seen an author work so hard to get me to put my book down (and electronics, and everything else), and go to sleep. But that is exactly what Arianna Huffington wants me to do. Ironically, this hasn’t been a good sleep week for me–but normally, I’m a pretty strong sleeper. My husband, however, is not. Neither is my best friend. So when I heard about Huffington’s book on Late Show with Stephen Colbert, I thought it would be an interesting read.

The first part of this book is just going to piss off a lot of you. “I know I need to sleep more, Arianna. Ambien is the freakin’ devil and where the hell did all these shoes come from? But I’ve been living with insomnia for years. You’re preachin’ to the choir here!” I could hear my friend’s arguments all the way through it. Because it is perfectly grand to suggest all these things while you sleep 8 hours a night, but try telling an insomniac to give up their sleeping pills and see how it goes. They KNOW they need more sleep. They KNOW the medication is causing them to do all kinds of crazy things. It doesn’t make them any less exhausted.

The second half of the book does give some tips, but again…it’s very much “this works for some people, but you have to find your own thing.” You can’t really go into The Sleep Revolution expecting a self-help magic trick to get better sleep. Instead, Huffington uses her journalism skills to collect research and quotes from scientists and successful sleepers to form the basis of her own hypothesis into what makes for a good night’s rest. Turn off your cell phone, eat right, and just make yourself do it.

Can I say it works? I don’t know–I’ve never had a problem with sleeping 99% of the time, so I’ve not really ever been on the other side of the line. It does seem a little patronizing to me, though.

The writing is excellent, and the book itself is interesting. I mean, it’s Arianna Huffington. I wouldn’t expect anything less. I’m unsure about the theory, but her journalism is top notch as usual. There’s a reason Huffington Post rose so quickly to the top of online media. She is supreme at what she does. If you’re interested in this topic at all, I’d pick it up. I’d be super interested to know if any of you have tried Arianna’s suggestions, and if they work. Let me know!

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Blogging for Books and Harmony provided a copy for an unbiased review.

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