Top positive review
71 people found this helpful
A serious book - and seriously effective
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.