I just finished rereading Why We Sleep by Matthew Walker for the third time. Why have I read it three times since it was published in 2017? Because I end up sleeping better when I read it.
In the book, Matthew Walker takes you on a journey through sleep - one that really makes you realise how important it is. He talks about changes in sleep across the lifespan, and goes through all the benefits it has for our health.
Good sleep can help you lose weight, balance your blood sugars, reduce your chances of developing a range of diseases such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes and it improves your mental health. Matthew argues that sleep might be more important for us than diet and exercise! And he might be right...
There's nothing like a good sleep to help you process your thoughts and ideas. Matthew talks about the neuroscience of sleep and what happens in the brain during the different stages. Like how the brain sends impulses across the different areas to consolidate our learning and memories.
He also talks about dreaming being like a kind of overnight therapy, challenging the traditional model of Freudian dream analysis.
I think for me, the reason the book helps me sleep better is because it makes me appreciate the value of sleep.
Sleep is often a major factor affecting the patients I see. Sometimes it's not obvious that sleep might be contributing to ill health. It's only through careful questioning and reflection that I sometimes get that 'aha!' moment with my patients. Often discussing sleep routines and using health coaching to help my patients set small goals makes a massive difference to their overall health.
So, as the nights are drawing in, curl up with a decent book before bed. This book. Learn about sleep and reflect on what you could do to improve yours. It could be life changing for you.