In 2007, Arianna Huffington, the founder of the Huffington Post, collapsed from overwork and exhaustion. That incident prompted her to explore the need for sleep that most people in this overworked and overstressed world tend to ignore. The result is this book.
The main part of the book is dedicated to an overview- a very comprehensive overview- of the history of sleep, the scientific basis for the importance of sleep, and the way our modern, technological world sets many people up to not get enough sleep. There are a lot of statistics throughout this section. It’s almost too much at times, since she quotes many, many studies and sources for sleep issues. The occasional anecdote, from her own life and others, breaks up the textbook-like feel in places. The information is good, it’s interesting, and I learned a lot from it, but it does get a bit boring at times, perhaps especially so since I was listening to this as an audiobook. The end of the book gives some practical ideas from Ms. Huffington’s own experience to increase the amount and quality of sleep.
I enjoyed the book for the most part. I am one of those folk who does have trouble sleeping at night, so I was interested in seeing what this book had to offer. I learned a good bit about sleep habits and how they have changed over the years since the Industrial Revolution, and how and why our brains still need sleep to function well. Also, how our hurry-up world with it’s need-to-know everything and reliance on technology feeds the illusion that sleep is something we can do when we are retired- or dead. There are a lot of good points in here, and the information and tips can be put to good use if you are willing to make some fundamental changes to your approach to sleep.
Overall, if you can get through the sometimes excessive quoting of statistics, the book is an interesting read on the history and value of sleep. If you are looking for a step-by-step self-help guide to curing insomnia, this may not be the best place to start.
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