I do not think that there can ever be enough books about anything and I say that knowing that some of them are going to be about Pilates.The more knowledge the better seems like a solid rule of thumb, even though I have watched enough science fiction films to accept that humanity’s unchecked pursuit of learning will end with robots taking over the world.-Sarah Vowell

Monday, September 15, 2014

The Secret Life of Sleep by Kat Duff

I wouldn't be true to this blog if I didn't write bad reviews too, so this is one.  This book, which I hoped would provide me with insight and perhaps help in my twenty-year long battle with sleep, did neither.  It was completely biased against using medications, which do happen to work, at least for a while, and believes that if we don't keep our children in our bedrooms until the age of five, they will become poor sleepers as adults. 

She approaches this from various angles; the mystic, pseudo-science, anthropology, and first hand accounts.  Her only saving grace, is her belief in the use of cognitive behaviorism, which is actually a helpful way to deal with problems like sleep.  First you must understand and fix your ideas about sleep; making it less a battle.  Then, you must also provide a good sleep environment, with the use of few electronics before sleep and using your bed for only sleep, so that your body will know what to do once its there.

A better book on sleep is Dreamland: Adventures in the Strange Science of Sleep by David K. Randal.  He is a journalist who has had sleep problems, including sleep walking, for years.  His book, is unbiased and really examines the issue from a very real and scientific view.  It also offers good suggestions to help you sleep, for example, turning the lights down an hour before you go to sleep so that the melatonin, the hormone that regulates sleep, will begin to produce early and help you to go to sleep.  I've used this method with some degree of success.

In the end, there are better books out there to read on sleep than The Secret Life of Sleep.  Unless, of course you want something to read to put you to sleep, because this book is so boring, it just might do that.

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