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‘Why We Sleep’ & More: 5 Books To Help You Understand & Fix Your Sleeping Habits

Having trouble sleeping? Here are five books that will help you understand all you need to know about your condition, and how to sleep better.

‘Why We Sleep’ & More: 5 Books To Help You Understand & Fix Your Sleeping Habits

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With an average sleeping time of seven hours and a minute, Indians are the second most sleep-deprived after the Japanese. So it is likely that you are not getting much sleep. 

The global COVID-19 pandemic has only worsened the situation and thrown our lives into a tizzy. Various factors like an exponential increase in screen time, anxiety over the rising coronavirus cases, a lack of routine and rising unemployment are taking a serious toll on our mental health and sleeping cycles.

Solutions? If you are interested in the history, science, theory and philosophy behind a good night’s sleep, you should turn to books. Reading is also a great way to unwind at the end of a hectic day. 

From understanding what role do our innermost fears play, tapping into our minds to putting an end to sleepless nights, here are 5 books that you can read to understand it all better: 

  • Why We Sleep, Matthew Walker
sleeping patterns

Read this book for unsettled common questions like ‘how will caffeine affect my health’, ‘how many hours of sleep can reset the brain’ and ‘how sleep deprivation affects physiological functions’. 

Find out if reading a book on an LED screen restricts natural melatonin – which is responsible for enhancing our natural sleep-wake cycle. Or if adults aged 45 or above are 200 per cent more likely to suffer a heart attack if they sleep for less than six hours daily. 

The writer is an English scientist and professor of neuroscience and psychology at the University of California, Berkeley. His research is generally focussed around the impact of sleep on human health. 

After two decades of meticulous research and testing along with his peers, Walker attempts at establishing a direct link between sleep, urbanisation, industrialisation and rapid developments. 

He explains the therapeutic powers of sleep and the dire outcomes of not getting enough of it. Statistics and clinical studies back all the theories mentioned in the book.

  • Sleep: Harness the Power of Sleep for Optimal Health and Wellbeing, Petra Hawker 

I can personally vouch for this book that breaks down complex sleeping concepts and the science behind sleep disorders. It lists over 40 proven methods to achieve a natural sleep cycle. From meditation, breathing exercises, body movements to types of light, colour and sound, you can try any or all methods as per your needs. 

Apart from serious disorders, the strategies can also help tackle other problems related to sleeping like stress, jet lag and shift work. 

Hawker has 25 years of experience in psychotherapy and counselling. She is a clinical hypnotherapist who uses hypnotherapy to break behaviour patterns developed during childhood or due to trauma.

  • The Shapeless Unease, Samantha Harvey

“There’s a terror when a basic animal need isn’t met. At first, you fear death, then a worse thing happens — you fear life. You no longer want your life, not on these terms.”

sleeping patterns

Harvey, a Betty Trask Prize-winner, writes a personal memoir (with a touch of fiction) about sleep deprivation. She explores topics and anecdotes from her personal life like loss of a cousin followed by grief and subsequently insomnia. 

Anyone dealing with insomnia knows it’s all about pursuing a good sleep while lying awake endlessly. Just when the sleep arrives, there is a sudden jolt leaving you wide awake yet again. 

Harvey effortlessly articulates her insomnia in a way that a reader can relate to. To overcome the sleeping disorder, she tries everything, from medication, therapy to dietary and lifestyle changes. 

If you do not have trouble sleeping, this is a must-read book to understand the issue and to burst your myths. 

  • Sleep Soundly Every Night, Feel Fantastic Every Day: A Doctor’s Guide to Solving Your Sleep Problems by Robert S. Rosenberg 

If you have trouble falling asleep, you get tired often and are restless by night, then this book is for you. It will help you narrow down various factors until you identify the root cause. 

The cure is tailored around the type of problem. Find answers to topics like snoring, sleepwalking, insomnia, sleep eating, etc.

  • Sleep Smarter, Shawn Stevenson

Stevenson shares easy tips to discover proper sleep that can improve your overall health. You can explore his 14-day sleep makeover to achieve a healthier and more energized lifestyle. 

The tips come from his personal life. He was diagnosed with degenerative bone disease, and in the course of treatment, he learnt the importance of sleep. 

He claims that his methods gave him ideal sleep, which in turn helped him to shed fat and stay productive. 

Interestingly, even small tweaks can have big effects. This is exactly what happened with Saurav Rakshit from Ranchi. The 27-year-old entrepreneur grappled with bad sleep until an acquaintance recommended an orthopaedic memory foam mattress. After due consideration, Saurav got his from

The orthopaedic memory foam mattress is made from a material that is both viscous and flexible in nature. It helps in spinal and posture alignment, thus making it ideal for all sleeping positions. It also helps relieve stress from your body. 

“The mattress came a few days after I ordered, and my sleep quality gradually improved. Since I started sleeping better, I purchased another mattress for my mother. It has been a while since we have been using our mattresses. The sleep pattern and quality couldn’t be better. My decision to invest in a memory foam mattress was a convenient and comfortable option,” Saurav shares. 

By investing in sleep solutions like these, and working on understanding how exactly our sleep cycles work, everyone could work on improving their sleeping habits, and in turn their overall health.  

Edited by Vinayak Hegde

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