Sunday, April 1, 2007

Good Night (and how to sleep tight)

Most people who read this blog, at some point, have caught a post where I whine and moan about my sleep issues and the resulting migraines.

Typically, I slog through the day with a mind that feels as fuzzy as a mohair sweater. But when 9 p.m. comes around, I have enough energy to run a marathon.

I’ve researched this topic many a time. I’ve even been to a sleep doctor who got testy when I told him I’d rather not go on various prescription sleep medicines. So when an opportunity to review “Good Night” came up, I was jumping for joy -- with visions of being alert and energetic dancing in my head. I was hoping Dr. Michael Breus, Ph.D. – the superhero of sleep -- would be the answer to my prayers.

What I liked:
Dr. Breus has a very approachable and friendly writing style. He goes into great detail as to WHY sleep is important and HOW it can help you look younger, lose weight, give you energy and avoid future health problems. And when it comes down to the business of improving the quality of your sleep? He offers practical solutions – even mentioning products you may not have known existed to assist in your endeavor. But he also emphasizes in the beginning that if you want to succeed? You must commit and make the quest for a good night’s sleep a priority.
As you advance in your reading, you can put various tips you pick up into practice. A better night’s sleep? Is merely a flip of a page away.

I found the “Sleep Hygiene” information very insightful. The doctor gives some great advice on how to transform your bedroom into a heaven – a place you associate relaxation and sleep. While I know we need our bedroom to be dark and quiet to ensure the best sleep, I never thought about how temperatures, smells or general clutter could affect my rest.

Once I followed his “bedroom makeover” tips, I did feel more at ease in our sleeping space. After I bought new pillows (based on his recommendations), and an air purifier, I noticed even my husband (a man who rarely has sleep issues) was sleeping better.

Dr. Breus also talks about the people who “steal” your sleep. My husband? Champion sleep stealer. For years, I’ve thought the only way I’d ever get a good night’s sleep on a consistent basis would be if I: a.) died or b.) divorced him. And like many couples, we’ve tried separate bedrooms but stopped after feeling the intimacy in our relationship wane. “Good Night” offers some wonderful ideas on how to deal with these kind of spouses. For example, I had no clue there are alarm clocks out there that vibrate to wake someone – no more awful screeching sound at 5 a.m. (Which is great when you can't seem to fall asleep until 2 a.m.) And sound machines to drown out extreme snoring? Best. Invention. Ever.There’s even tips on how to deal with those little slumber-swiping critters we call children!I also found the "smart napping techniques" extremely useful as well as information on exercise times based on whether a person is a “morning person” or a “night owl.”

He even discusses the best foods to eat, the best times for sex and has a plethora of relaxation methods to employ to gain a restorative night’s sleep.Also, according to the good doctor, you don’t have to give up caffeine or alcohol. He gives some very smart advice on how to balance your “love” of both and STILL get a good night’s rest.

What I didn’t like: I tried to keep a journal to figure out how many hours of sleep I need in order to feel “well rested.” I found this difficult. What do you do when you typically wake up each morning with an achy noggin due to sinus problems or migraines? How do you calculate your sleep when you’ve got a child who’s now in bed with you because he’s had a bad dream and repeatedly kicks you in the face throughout a night? What about those times when you've been up so many times you've lost count?

This book is PERFECT for:
There are many who will benefit from this book -- mainly anyone who's tired on a regular basis. Even people who sleep well at home but not on the road can use the travel sleep tips listed. I’ve mentioned this book to several women I know who have sleep issues. I’ve got three people who are dying to get their hot little hands on my copy of this book.

But if you can’t get the book just yet, the doctor has two great websites: http://www.yourbeautysleep.com/ and http://www.theinsomniablog.com/.

In short?
The book offers a plethora of solid advice. I started reading the book at the beginning of what ended up being a long period of stress and upheaval within my family. (Illnesses, a time change, many migraines, a family vacation, husband’s travel, back problems, and our son's trip to the emergency room.) So it was difficult to be consistent to the sleep boot camp schedule. But I still got a lot out of the program. And for the record? I plan to return to the boot camp schedule in a few days.

This review was written for The Parent Bloggers Network. If you have a product you'd like PBN to review, click on this link for more info.

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