Sleep better, feel better

Updated on 22nd August 2019

Adequate sleep, of good quality, is essential for good physical and mental health, and for happiness and success in life, at home and in work…

Safeguard Your Sleep and Reap the Rewards:

Better health, happiness and resilience

This book contains a detailed review of the science of sleep, and what this tells us about the importance of sleep for a happy, successful life. Plus a range of solutions to common sleep problems.

By Renata Taylor-Byrne, August 2019

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Cover design by Charles Saul

This book summarizes twenty years of sleep science, and offers a broad range of solutions to all our sleep problems (apart from medical conditions like sleep apnoea!)

If you want to understand your body’s need for sleep; how much to get; how to get it when it’s not easy; and how to protect your sleep boundaries from those people and organizations that disregard your health and happiness, who want to keep you awake to suit their interests.  The author spent almost two years synthesizing the results of more than 108 books and articles to produce this helpful guide to better sleep and a happier life for you.

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To get your paperback copy today, please click the Amazon link that serves your home area:

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Chapter 1: Introduction

“When forced to choose, I will not trade even one night’s sleep for the chance of extra profit.

Warren Buffet. (Cited in Huffington, 2017).

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Front cover for website
Cover design by Charles Saul

This book consists of six parts, plus three appendices.

Part 1 looks at the basic sleep science research: which includes the relationship between our innate biological clock and the rising and setting of the sun; plus our innate sleep pattern, which has five minor variations. Also the importance of deep and shallow sleep; dreams; and the importance for our health of the brain-cleansing process that occurs at night, if we get the right kind and amount of sleep.  Plus three theories of dreams, which show that sleep is essential for emotional well-being. It is also important to understand how sleep changes as we age, from birth to old age. And, of course, sleep quality is related to physical and mental health and physical and mental illness.

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In Part 2, we take a look at the major sleep destroyers, which cause insomnia, and a range of related problems. It is important to understand what they are, if you are to protect your physical and mental health by getting the right quantity and quality of sleep.

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Part 3 is where we explore the negative effect of insufficient sleep upon our bodies and our emotional lives, including physical and mental health problems; reduced emotional intelligence; damaged immune system; cancer; arterial disease; infertility; weight gain; impaired memory and learning; and falling asleep at the wheel of motor vehicles or dangerous machinery. We then look at how you can build up a sleep debt, which has to be paid back; and the negative effects of night shift work, and jet lag, upon your ability to get sleep of sufficient quality and quantity.

Then, in the emotional area, we identify five negative effects of sleep deprivation or disruption, as follows:

  1. Your emotional intelligence will be reduced.
  2. Your concentration will be negatively affected
  3. Lack of sleep can lead to depression
  4. Sleep loss can lead to anxiety
  5. Anger problems can also be linked to inadequate sleep

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Back cover, for websiteNext, in Part 4, we examine the top solutions for improving your sleep. These come in two broad categories: physical solutions and mental solutions – (although there is an inevitable overlap between the two, because the body and mind are actually one, and not two!)

The physical solutions consist of: regular physical exercise; meditation; regular afternoon naps; physical relaxation techniques; hot baths before bed, and sleeping in a cool, darkened room.

The mental solutions for improving sleep are all about learning to manage your mind.  Some of these approaches involve writing out your worries; writing tomorrow’s to-do list tonight; writing a Gratitude List. But also, the effects on the mind of exercising, eating the right foods (which are listed) and avoiding the wrong foods (which are also listed). And relaxation and meditation make a reappearance in this part. Finally we look at how to re-frame your problems; and or to talk them out with a friend or a professional counsellor.

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Part 5 looks at how to improve your sleep in the real world. This includes a list of the 13 main pieces of advice that we give to our counselling/coaching clients who suffer from insomnia. And we present evidence that sleeping tablets cannot realistically be part of your insomnia cure.

Next we look in detail at how to change any habit that you need to change that relates to getting a good night’s sleep.  We have studied the most effective methods of behaviour change, and present the one that seems to us to be most effective.  It is also widely used by respectable organizations that help people to change their destructive habits.

And then we have an in-depth study of how our diet affects our sleep, and the nutrients that help you to sleep, and the foods that contain them; plus advice on using nutritional supplements.

However, your sleeping environment is also important, so we present some guidelines for how to set up your sleeping environment to support your need for sleep.

Of course, you also have to have strong boundaries in place to protect your sleep from those people who would keep you out of bed for their own purposes; including friends, associates, partners, TV and Internet marketeers, and employers.

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And finally, we come to Part 6, which contains two chapters.  Chapter 17 is a concluding summary, which presents a concise overview of the content of the whole book.  And Chapter 18 presents fourteen key learning points about managing your own sleep needs, which are made up of:

– Eight key learning points about the ways in which lack of sleep can harm you, and

– Six key strategies for protecting your sleep.

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To get your paperback copy today, please click the Amazon link that serves your home area:

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~~~

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The three appendices are as follows:

Appendix A: Glossary of terms

Appendix B: Learn and practice a relaxation system

Appendix C: The CBT-I approach to insomnia

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Front cover for websiteThis book describes some of the most recent research findings about sleep, which makes it clear that sleep is much more important for us than most people realize.

It is an essential ingredient for our mental, physical and psychological health.

Some of the information presented here will be disturbing, and at times shocking, but we need to know it.

Why?

Because in the UK and US, (and throughout the world), there are businesses intent on selling the myth of the ‘24 hour society’.

Here are two examples:

  • There are estate agents in America where the employees have to be available for customers 24 hours a day, and they consider that any business that fails to provide this kind of service is inefficient!
  • There are thousands of people working night shifts – in factories; driving lorries and delivery vans; working in hospitals; and in the emergency services throughout the UK – who receive the same hourly rate of pay as if they were working during the day – with no financial acknowledgement by their employers that there is a very big cost difference to the body of night workers relative to day workers! (It is impossible for a human body to acclimatize to sleeping by day and working by night.  The medium to long term health costs are high!)

At the present moment in history, there is a very powerful and insidious commercial pressure to normalize very short amounts of sleep at night. But we ignore our need for adequate, regular, nightly sleep at our peril.

Many people consider that they can ignore their body’s need for sleep, and that they can function effectively on a meagre diet of sleep and still achieve their goals.  When they feel under pressure of time, they begin to shave hours off their normal sleep time.  This can happen with students studying for professional qualifications, on top of a full time job; parents of young children; politicians in crazy parliaments; medical staff, including nurses, in hospitals and clinics; carers; security staff; overly-ambitious individuals; and many others.

But the scientific facts presented in this book will hopefully help them all to change their minds, and start to respect their sleep as the vital source of nourishment and healing that it is.

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To get your paperback copy today, please click the Amazon link that serves your home area:

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~~~

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The reason I wrote this book was because I was so amazed and disturbed by the research findings that Matthew Walker discovered over twenty years ago, at Harvard University, when he started researching sleep there. He summarized this research in the book he published in 2017. He is now the Director of the University of California’s Berkeley Sleep and Neuroimaging Lab, and has been fascinated by different aspects of sleep for many years.

Back cover, for websiteThis led me to do a more thorough study of the many other books, journal articles and blogs which are available in this field of sleep research. There are many other eminent researchers and authors who have contributed to our understanding of why sleep is so important for human beings – including William Dement; James Maas; Nick Littlehales; Shawn Stevenson; Chris Winter; Osmun, Strine and Chapman; Ariana Huffington, and others – and some of their key research experiments and/or insights have been summarised in this book.

I wanted to identify some of the most useful research findings, and to get them summarized and published, so that people could see what the scientific facts are about sleep.

The logic behind this approach is that the more people are aware of the most recent research evidence about the power of sleep; how it gets disrupted; and the negative effects of that disruption; the more they will be able to see what they would gain significantly from protecting and ring-fencing their sleep.

And if people are willing to experiment with developing better sleep habits, then they, and their families, will become healthier, stronger and happier.

But behaviour change isn’t easy, so I have included information about how to change your sleep-related habits. There is a deceptively simple structure to habits, discovered by researchers, which can give people an insight into how they can change their sleep-reducing habits. This knowledge gives people, who want to enjoy much better sleep, the confidence to create new habits one step at a time; and one habit at a time.

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To get your paperback copy today, please click the Amazon link that serves your home area:

Amazon US and worldwide Amazon UK and Ireland
   
Amazon Canada Amazon France
   
Amazon Germany Amazon Italy
   
Amazon Spain Amazon Singapore
   
Amazon Japan

~~~

Or you can buy a Kindle eBook version of this book from one of the following Amazon outlets:

Amazon.com, US+ Amazon UK + Ireland Amazon Germany
Amazon Spain Amazon Italy Amazon Nether-lands
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Also in the book are strategies you can use to handle outside pressure: You may want to make some alterations to your lifestyle on the basis of what you have read in this book. You may face pressure from others to stay exactly the same.

In fact there is a phenomenon called ‘sleep shaming,’ where people are ridiculed for protecting their sleep; even if their motivation is so they can do a decent day’s work the following day. I summarize some of the most useful verbal techniques you can use to strengthen your boundaries.

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There is a rich body of insights available to you in this book.  My hope is that you will select the ones that are most helpful for you and try them out and assess their value for yourself.

Most of us have at least some memories of the effects of a good night’s sleep on our moods and perceptions. Remember how refreshed, happy and well you felt after having a good night’s sleep? We feel strong, and sense that we can take on the world. We have a naturally positive approach to the day ahead, because we have recharged our batteries in the best way possible.

You can have that experience on a daily basis if you give yourself the amount and type of sleep recommended in my book. But in fact successful sportspeople, (who are aware of the effects of their occupations on their bodies, give themselves more time for sleep so their bodies can repair themselves and release more growth hormone. Roger Federer is an excellent example of what can be achieved with full self-care …

The techniques to restore and transform your sleep, which are described in this book, are some of the best available today. They are based on decades of modern scientific research; plus hundreds of years of research and practice in Eastern philosophical traditions.

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To get your paperback copy today, please click the Amazon link that serves your home area:

Amazon US and worldwide Amazon UK and Ireland
   
Amazon Canada Amazon France
   
Amazon Germany Amazon Italy
   
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Amazon Japan

~~~

Or you can buy a Kindle eBook version of this book from one of the following Amazon outlets:

Amazon.com, US+ Amazon UK + Ireland Amazon Germany
Amazon Spain Amazon Italy Amazon Nether-lands
Amazon Japan Amazon Brazil Amazon Canada
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Email: Renata’s email address

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[1] Walker, M. (2018) Why We Sleep: The New Science of Sleep and Dreams. London: Penguin.