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on 16 August 2010
I don't normally write reviews on Amazon but I feel quite strongly about this book. I have recurrent acute insomnia to the point of desperation and nothing has helped me sleep - until this book. From the start it is obvious it is a serious piece of work: its author is the director of the Centre for Sleep Medicine at Glasgow University and a leading academic in the field. As he says throughout, the strategies described in the book are the only clinically proven treatment for insomnia and the research evidence and rationales for the strategies are carefully set out as the book unfolds. This means that this book won't be for everyone: those who prefer a more motivational, zippy 'self help' approach might find it tests their patience. However, I found the careful, scientific approach was in fact what made this book so helpful.

The earlier chapters explain carefully what sleep is, how it works, and explores commonly held beliefs about quality and quantity of sleep and the connection between sleep and functioning during the day. I found this in itself really calming - for instance just knowing that the first few hours of sleep are the most important ones in terms of quality really helps stop the panic if you find yourself only sleeping for three or four hours; similarly learning what a'normal' amount of sleep means really helped me stop feeling unwell and alone. The second half of the book sets out the strategies to change behaviours. These are not easy and take considerable effort - change happens over weeks rather than hours. But it is proper, lasting change and the author helps you along as much as he can with a series of very useful, detailed worksheets and suggestions of how to put them into place. As he says, these are the exact strategies used in the Centre - and they are the only clinically proven treatment for insomnia. And having worked my way through them - they are the *only* thing that has ever worked for me.

The book is written in a way which makes it clear the author knows exactly the issues we face, has seen it millions of times in millions of varieties in his patients, and understands the devastation it can create in your life and well being. The tone is gentle, warm and sympathetic. But most importantly - it really does help you get better.
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on 27 April 2011
I can only echo the other reviews for this book and recommend it to anyone who is having sleep problems. It was recommended by my GP as being used in the NHS and is written by a very experienced medical professional, based on a method that has been proved successful in clinical trials. I hadn't slept through the night for 6 years after a couple of years of sleep deprivation when my children were babies. I would wake every night around 3 and stay awake for about 2 hours. Just reading the book, keeping a sleep diary and completing the CBT exercises has changed my life and I don't think i've woken up in about 4 months now.
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on 15 January 2012
I am about halfway through this course, but I have already had genuine benefit and am more relaxed about getting enough sleep. It's clear that the course is very well-thought out, and addresses the real concerns of those really suffering from insomnia. I would recommend this book to anyone suffering from persistent insomnia.
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on 9 June 2009
I've read every book there is on insomnia, and most are written by authors who have never experienced it and offer lame and obvious 'advice'. This book is the ONLY one I've read that truly understands what it is like to have chronic insomnia (not just a bad couple of nights!). This gives the book immense credibility over any others on the market. I don't know if the author is himself an insomniac or just has an outstanding understanding of what it is like. Doesn't matter - this book is different, and that is what makes it stand out.

The CBT program itself is very easy and very good - sticking to the 6 week timeframe and tasks (i.e not just reading the book cover to cover..!) is crucial. I followed the program religiously, and can report that after 20+ years of insomnia of varying intensity, it was VERY successful. And crucially it still is - 1 year on.

OK, I'm not an expert sleeper, but as the book says, I probably never will be. Some people are good at maths - some are good at sleeping. But gone are the 3am / 5am shockers, and my 'sleep efficiency' (how quickly you nod off) is much much improved.

This is a book for chronic insomniacs. You know who you are! Get it - you won't regret it, and you WILL sleep better. I give it full marks.
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on 27 December 2012
Being a long term severe insomniac, having tried every single other thing there is to aid me, this is the only safe thing that has helped me turned my insomnia into sweet dreams.

I have completed the whole programme, i am now on my fifth week still applying the second part of the course...the sleep restriction regime. The last 10 nights i have slept a minimum of seven solid deeper than deep blissful hours each night, with the exception of just one night tallying four hours. This is pretty remarkable for me given my awful typical sleep pattern. Applying the guide lines in this book has turned me into a very happy sleeper & i am so so grateful to colin espie for this. I thought id never achieve a stress free night ever again.

The book is incredibly easy to read, understand & apply. It just takes dedication to stick to it. Thats our job, its up to us to stick to the rules, theres no easy answer, but I've done it & its paid off hugely, I'm so impressed it works.

Id also like to share that i have a severe neurological disease which has left me wheelchair dependant & housebound. Because of my terribly bad frail health many advised me not to to apply the regime as they were worried it would make me sicker & some dear friends were worried it would harm me. I couldn't find any info anywhere about whether it was safe for a sick person to apply the sleep restriction, not in the book, nor on the net & no sick person i know has done the plan. But being so desperate to help myself, i decided to try it one night at a time & expected to give up pretty quick if i got sicker. But it didn't happen, my health didn't change & i have to say i coped so very much better than i thought i would. It has done me no harm health wise applying this regime & I'm so relieved I've done it.

It's not a walk in the park, the times you have to drag yourself out of bed when you are so desperate to stay there are tough & it takes some grit to do it. Making yourself get up at the right time when you've had so little sleep is so challenging too, as is trying to keep awake till your bedtime, but it's achievable & the rewards will soon be relished.

Each week i slowly saw little changes, & each week they grew & grew. I just know I'm going to become a champion sleeper. Thank you dr colin espie, I'm more grateful than you could ever know.

**this is an update just to say that a whole 4 months later i am still sleeping so wonderfully well. I go to bed at the same time every night, fall asleep within 15 minutes, sleep a really deep solid blissful 7.5 hours (sometimes 7, sometimes 8 hours) & never have a day where i feel tired or under-slept. I am completely sleeping meds free & don't have to do any tricks or silly routine to get a good night. I get the occasional not so good night, but they are last not so perfect night was over 3 weeks ago. But routinely my sleep is a real treat . Thank you Dr Colin! You're amazing!
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on 4 September 2010
You have to treat this book like a course.
There is a lot of background knowledge in the book that is useful and well presented.
I have been a very bad sleeper for a long long time. I haven't finished all the exercises in the book yet but working through the exercises is already having a good effect on both my perceptions of my sleep and my actual sleep. This book will help you to take a realistic look at how you sleep (or don't). It will challenge your thoughts about your sleep and help you establish new ones.
If you are anything like me then you will be ready to try anything to get some consistent sleep. It's not hard to follow the process but it's not an instant fix either so be prepared to have a go and stick with it for the full 6 weeks.
The sleep compression section is the real crunch point. I read about a lot of people asking how it could possibly work when they were such bad sleepers already. The answer is it works because you are left with only one option and that's to sleep. It requires some determination, particularly in your first weekend when you would normally 'catch up' on sleep and you have to get up. If you can see it through it will work (it worked for me) and you can regain some control in your life.
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on 11 May 2011
This is the first review I have written on Amazon, but I just wanted to express my sincere gratitude to Prof Espie for writing this book. I suffered for 12 years with ever worsening insomnia which ultimately led me to a nervous breakdown. I have tried quite literally everything, including seeing a very expensive Harley Street doctor. Within about 3 days of trying this programme I was sleeping through the night, and it has probably saved my life. My mood has improved and I am enjoying life again. If you have similar problems I urge you to follow Prof Espie's programme. It makes sense and works.
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on 11 March 2009
I'm on week 2 out of 6 in this program, and I'm finding it very interesting and helpful. It's not easy, and the techniques take practise but I've slept better and felt calmer in the last 2 weeks than I have done for a couple of months. I tried a Paul McKenna book previously but found it hard to take seriously. This book has a lot more scientific backing and is written in a very reassurring manner. It was actually recommended by a doctor which is saying something.
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on 13 May 2013
I gave this book 5 stars for the simple fact that the author of this book knows what the is talking about, he knew what I was thinking and how I was feeling, (spooky at times) I have a Dr. that believes and understands what I am going through and it was him that recommended this book, there are tables and diaries to fill out, it is not a quick fix, which I understood as I have been suffering for years, it will take a while to sort the problem out, you are suppose to read this book over a number of weeks so be prepared and take your time, I am only 2/3 through the book but I will try anything and at least now I feel more positive.
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on 8 February 2009
The author is an expert in the use of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy as a treatment for insomnia. The book offers excellent advice on how to manipulate your sleep patterns, calm your racing mind and relax, so that you sleep more soundly. My only problem with this book is that it can be quite heavy going at times - reading it at bedtime might prove to be an aid to sleep in more ways than one .........!
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