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Book Review - The Sleep Revolution: Transforming Your Life, One Night at a Time


Book Review - The Sleep Revolution:
Transforming Your Life, One Night at a Time 

Diane McCurdy

Sleep has always been precious to me. I'm a restless, light sleeper who will wake up at the drop of a pin. If I don't sleep, my eyes appear to be sunken in, my nerves become raw and I am reduced to what I call my zombie state. Arianna Huffington's new book analyzes the effect that sleep or lack of same has on our lives. Culturally sleeping can be equated with laziness, lack of ambition. She refutes this and advocates for at least 7 or 8 hours of rest and maybe more. She arrives at her hypotheses through empirical experience having passed out at her desk and shattering a facial bone due to being sleep deprived.

Arianna Huffington was born Ariadne-Anna Stasinopoulou in Greece, migrated to England at 16 and received an M. A. from Cambridge. She has written 15 books and has led a colorful life as co-founder and until recently CEO and editor of the Huffinginton Post newspaper. Through her marriage to former Republican congressman, Michael Huffington, she became a political activist and in 2003 ran for governor of California in the Grey Davis recall election. Today she is involved in a war of words with Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump who she says is a buffoon and dangerous. He counters by saying that she is unattractive and that when her husband left her for a man, it was a good decision. Arianna's name always appears on lists of influential women. 

It's no wonder that being so involved she found little time to rest. In the first part of her book she explores all the negative conditions that can contribute to not getting enough rest such as: heart disease, cancer, diabetes, a weakening of the immune system and a myriad of other bodily dysfunctions. She accentuates the value of REM sleep that is healing and recharging. She touches on the whole sleep industry but doesn't dwell on pharmaceuticals, preferring other alternatives rather than the chemical approach. She considers short naps refreshing and hopes that someday businesses will have nap rooms! All the usual techniques are touched upon: hot baths, lulling fragrances, avoidance of caffeine, herbal teas. A great hint for our technological age is that the LED light emitted by our various devices seems to inhibit the production of melatonin which is essential for deep relaxation.

She writes in a brisk, breezy style mixing astute scientific research with personal anecdotes. The book includes an appendix with not only guided meditations but recommendations for the best hotels and the best mattresses that foster proper sleep hygiene. Her basic premise is that in our high pressure society we do not allocate enough bed time. I wish she had spent some time on those of us who do designate time to hit the blankets, those of us use the herbs, meditate, count sheep but still toss and turn.