Happy World Sleep Day! I cannot tell a lie – sleeping is one of my favourite activities. On a cold night there’s nothing better than snuggling into bed with a book and a cat (and on top of my heated mattress pad, which is possibly the best investment I’ve ever made). Sleep is vitally important to our health and well-being, as Arianna Huffington states in her upcoming book The Sleep Revolution. Despite the fact that sleep is an essential part of life, there are still many questions that researchers are trying answer about the subject. To celebrate World Sleep Day, here are some titles that might interest the lay(ing-in-bed)person.
The Secret World of Sleep: the surprising science of the mind at rest by Penelope Lewis. Lewis is a neuroscientist at the University of Manchester. She wrote this easy-to-digest introduction to the science of sleep and it makes a perfect beginner’s text for someone who’s new to the subject. Lewis goes over why we sleep, how the brain controls sleep, and what the different stages of sleep are. She also covers the effects of sleep on our thoughts, memory, and emotions, and gives tips on how to improve your quality of sleep.
The Twenty-Four Hour Mind: the role of sleep and dreaming in our emotional lives by Rosalind D. Cartwright. Cartwright has spent decades studying sleep and sleep disorders. This book provides a very interesting look into sleep and related issues and is written in an intelligent but accessible voice. Cartwright provides case studies for different sleep disorders and even situations of murder-by-sleepwalking! This is fascinating look at how sleeping and dreaming can interact with our waking lives.
Now that you know how important sleep is, how can you get a good night’s shuteye? Try reading Sound Asleep: the expert guide to sleeping well by Chris Idzikowski. Idzikowski is another sleep expert who wants everyone to have a good night’s rest. He covers what sleep is and how it helps us, and then delves into the important stuff- sleep hygiene. Following his advice will have you sleeping soundly – if you’re still having trouble, he follows up with population-specific advice for children, athletes, and other groups that may need targeted ideas. He also discusses sleep disorders and effective sleep treatments.
Having all your sleep problems solved, you may have a lot more dreams to analyze. There are numerous dream analysis books available. One of them is You Can Understand Your Dreams: change your thinking, change your life by David Fontana, which draws on Jungian analysis. Fontana describes many techniques and exercises for contacting the dream world and controlling your dreams, as well as a chapter on interpreting symbols and archetypes.