Counting Sheep

Glovinsky, Paul & Arthur Spielman. You Are Getting Sleepy: Lifestyle-Based Solutions for Insomnia. Diversion. Jul. 2017. 240p. ISBN 9781682308226. pap. $15.99; ebk. ISBN 9781682308219. HEALTH
In a world where daily physical labor is increasingly rare, insomnia is rife. This title posits that, in order to sleep, you must get sleepy, and details ways to encourage sleepiness when you want it (and not when you don’t). Some suggestions are familiar: don’t exercise near bedtime; no caffeine after 3 p.m.; no liquor after dinner; no TV or computers in the hour before bedtime; use your bed only for sex and sleeping; etc. But the authors also go more deeply into cognitive behavioral techniques, discussing ways to adjust your internal clock, relaxation exercises, and the effects of pharmacological sleep aids. There is less emphasis on what, specifically, to do to promote sleepiness and more on the ways and whys that each strategy works or fails. Overall, this is an exhaustive study of our psychology and its physical responses, but it offers no quick fix, because there isn’t one. ­VERDICT At times the writing is too technical for most lay readers. A more readable choice is W. Chris Winter’s The Sleep ­Solution: Why Your Sleep is Broken and How to Fix It.—Susan B. Hagloch, ­formerly with Tuscarawas Cty. P.L., New Philadelphia, OH

redstarWalker, Matthew. Why We Sleep: Unlocking the Power of Sleep and Dreams. Scribner. Oct. 2017. 352p. illus. notes. ISBN 9781501144318. $27; ebk. ISBN 9781501144332. HEALTH
Why do we sleep? Walker (neuroscience & psychology, Univ. of California Berkeley) draws from 20 years of sleep research, which demonstrates that sleep provides a plethora of benefits, both mental and physical, to the entire body. He discusses the biology of sleep, the dangers of sleep deprivation, why we dream, and sleep disorders. The author laments the organizational culture that equates sleeplessness with productivity, and demonstrates the fallacy of that belief. He emphasizes the importance of sleep to the developing brains of children and teenagers, and why early school start times are harming high school students physically and academically. He also explains that if all of the benefits that sleep bestows could be formatted into a pill, no one would hesitate to take it; but the benefits are available to all of us for free. The book closes with a discussion of personal, organizational, and societal practices that would greatly benefit health, productivity, creativity, and longevity. Walker is a scientist but writes for the layperson, illustrating tricky concepts with easily grasped analogies. ­VERDICT Of particular interest to business owners, educators, parents, and government officials, and anyone who has ever suffered from a poor night’s sleep.—Rachel Owens, ­Daytona State Coll. Lib., FL

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