The Sleep Revolution: Transforming Your Life, One Night at a Time by Arianna Huffington
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I really enjoyed this book, not necessarily because it provides a detailed step-by-step process of how to get more sleep, but more because I felt it was an interesting and thorough look into the history of sleep, our emerging attitudes about its importance that often seems at odds with our corporate, capitalistic structure, and the general discussion about why and how to make sleep a priority.
I've always believed sleep was important, so on that front there was nothing earth-shattering about this particular book. Still, I feel the majority of us struggle with how to balance sleep with our ever more demanding schedules.
A mother of four who gave birth four times in five years, my thirties can be characterized as sleep deficient as I spent the better part of seven years pregnant, nursing, or both. I honestly don't think I slept well until my early forties, and now I protect my sleep with the ferocity of a mother bear protecting her cub. Bottom line: if you value your life and your phone (in the case of my teens) you don't wake mom once she entered la-la land.
Ironically, I generally don't have trouble falling asleep. To the contrary, I often climb in bed with the intent of decompressing with a quick game on the Kindle, only to fall asleep with Kindle in hand. And for the most part, I sleep soundly, waking up once to use the bathroom and then right back to bed. I average about 6.5-7.5 hours a night, sometimes a little less, occasionally a little more.
Yet every once in a while, I will get awoken shortly after I've fallen asleep, usually because one of the kids decides to get up and use the bathroom, or heads to the kitchen for a late evening snack. On these rare occasions, I sometimes struggle to fall back asleep. I stare up at the dark ceiling, filled with anger and anxiety, especially on nights where I am scheduled to work a 12 or 13 hour shift the next day. And the more I fret about sleep, the less likely it is that I will. Finally, about 2 a.m. I'll head down to the medicine cabinet for a couple of benadryl, which more often than not helps the process along.
Based on Huffington's book, I'd have to say, it sounds like I'm doing better than a number of people out there, still, as someone who prides herself on caring for her body, I figure I can always do better. So, the night after finishing the book, I head up to bed an hour early. Make sure that lights are out by 10, determined to get at least 7.5-8 hours. All seems to be going as planned until I get woken at midnight. I immediately begin to stress. Not only do I have one of my horrendous long days ahead of me, but now more than ever I am convinced how important getting those precious ZZZZs are. And the more I stress, the less likely it seems I am going to fall back asleep.
I do eventually. Fall asleep. Sometime around 3 a.m. Yet in a cruel twist of fate, I think part of my difficultly came from reading this damn book. I've never been too concerned about sleep as I generally feel pretty energetic. But now? Now, I'm worried.
And to add insult to injury, it happened again just last night.
Luckily, I realize that this is just a phase that will surely pass. That said, view this as a cautionary tale and read at your own risk. LOL.