DCPLive is a blog by library staff at the DeKalb County Public Library!
Oct 15 2018

Are You Sleeping?

by Dea Anne M

Thomas Edison famously referred to sleep as “an absurdity” and “a bad habit.” Of course, one could argue that the advent of artificial light disrupted our natural sleep patterns forever for good or ill. Certainly, when I was coming along in college and then further along in my working life, the general consensus was that if one was faced with an overloaded schedule, sleep was naturally the first thing to go. My friends and I bragged about how little sleep we were getting. That seems ridiculous to me now but at the time it seemed like a badge of honor – proof positive that our lives were full, rich and interesting. Don’t even get me started on the epic battles my parents had with me about my more than reasonable bedtime. Small children need their sleep but to me it just didn’t seem fair.

My current thinking on sleep and its importance diverges wildly from Edison’s as well as my younger selves. I make sleep a priority these days and I find that the much touted eight hours a night is just about perfect for me. Of course, some people really do fine on less and then there are folks who need quite a bit more. Model, Heidi Klum says that she sleeps 10 hours a day and LeBron James reportedly needs a full 12 hours. Personally, I find that enough sleep eases stress, keeps my appetite stable, makes exercise more satisfying…in short life is just more fun!  My 25 year old self would say…”How can it be more fun? You’re asleep…you’re missing so much!” To that self I say now, “You don’t know what you’re missing.” My five year old self  would say “But…why?” and, of course, the proper reply to that is “Because I said so. Now go to bed!”

Current research indicates that sufficient sleep helps with metabolism, memory and concentration, and athletic performance. As well, it might decrease your risk of heat attack, stroke and diabetes.

Are you someone who needs help getting the sleep that you know you need or are you someone just interested in learning more about the fascinating (and in many ways still mysterious) world of sleep? Never fear! Either way, DCPL has got you covered.

In recent years, the most visible person lending face and voice to the importance of sleep is Arianna Huffington. Huffington, who has provoked plenty of controversy through the years, is probably best known as the co-founder of the Huffington Post (now known as HuffPo) the news and opinion website. A few years ago, Huffington was your typical high achieving go-getter and sleep was in no way a priority. Then one day exhaustion finally laid its claim. She collapsed at her desk and woke up in a pool of blood with a broken cheekbone. Much has changed since then and Huffington is a true believer in the power of sleep. Check out her book The Sleep Revolution: transforming your life one night at a time and find out how you too can benefit.

But wait! There’s more! Try these titles too for more about the importance of sleep and how you can reap its rewards.

Nodding Off: the science of sleep from cradle to grave by Alice Gregory

Sleepyhead: the neuroscience of a good night’s rest by Henry Nicholls

The Sleep Solution: why your sleep is broken and how to fix it by W. Chris Winter

Why We Sleep by Matthew Walker

Wild Nights: how taming sleep created our restless world by Benjamin Reiss

So tonight, do yourself a favor and…go to bed already!

Also, of course, sweet dreams.

 

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