Sleep: What Advising Authors Tell Us About Bedtime

Bedtime sleep need not be excessive in order to make one’s waking time more manageable. Below are quotes on this subject from three recent nonfiction advice books:

I. Sleep Smarter: 21 Essential Strategies to Sleep Your Way to A Better Body, Better Health, and Bigger Success (2016) by Shawn Stevenson

…fortifies your immune system, balances your hormones, boosts your metabolism, increases physical energy, and improves the function of your brain.

A good laugh and a long sleep are the two best cures for anything.

The cultural idea of sleeping when you’re dead will only accelerate the day that it becomes your reality.

II. The Sleep Revolution: Transforming Your Life, One Night at a Time (2016) by Arianna Huffington

The evidence is all around us. For instance, do you know what happens if you type the words “why am I” into Google? Before you can type the next word, Google’s autocomplete function—based on the most common searches—helpfully offers to finish your thought. The first suggestion: “why am I so tired?” The global zeitgeist perfectly captured in five words. The existential cry of the modern age.

By helping us keep the world in perspective, sleep gives us a chance to refocus on the essence of who we are. And in that place of connection, it is easier for the fears and concerns of the world to drop away.

These two threads that run through our life—one pulling us into the world to achieve and make things happen, the other pulling us back from the world to nourish and replenish ourselves—can seem at odds, but in fact they reinforce each other.

III. Why We Sleep: Unlocking the Power of Sleep and Dreams (2017) by Matthew Walker, PhD

[Sleep is]The best bridge between despair and hope…

…the single most effective thing we can do to reset our brain and body health each day — Mother Nature’s best effort yet at contra-death.

The physical and mental impairments caused by one night of bad sleep dwarf those caused by an equivalent absence of food or exercise.

The leading causes of disease and death in developed nations—diseases that are crippling health-care systems, such as heart disease, obesity, dementia, diabetes, and cancer—all have recognized causal links to a lack of sleep.

From this cascade comes a prediction: getting too little sleep across the adult life span will significantly raise your risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease. Precisely this relationship has now been reported in numerous epidemiological studies, including those individuals suffering from sleep disorders such as insomnia and sleep apnea. Parenthetically, and unscientifically, I have always found it curious that Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan—two heads of state that were very vocal, if not proud, about sleeping only four to five hours a night—both went on to develop the ruthless disease. The current US president, Donald Trump—also a vociferous proclaimer of sleeping just a few hours each night—may want to take note.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.