Books to Battle Quarantine Sleep Problems

It’s been widely reported that insomnia, bad dreams, and other sleep difficulties have grown during the coronavirus pandemic among kids and adults alike. The titles below, all available electronically, will help readers understand the reasons for insomnia and offer practical solutions for addressing sleep disturbances.

It’s been widely reported that insomnia, bad dreams, and other sleep difficulties have grown during the coronavirus pandemic among kids and adults alike. COVID-19 has increased stress and anxiety around both health and financial security, cut many in lockdown off from experiencing nature, at least in cities, disrupted daily routines, and isolated people from their support systems and the comfort of companionship. It’s no surprise that sleepless or disturbed nights may follow. The titles below, all available electronically, will help readers understand the reasons for insomnia and offer practical solutions for addressing sleep disturbances.

 

SOLUTIONS FOR INSOMNIA
Why We Can't SleepCalhoun, Ada. Why We Can’t Sleep: Women’s New Midlife Crisis. Grove. 2020. ISBN 9780802147851. $26.
Calhoun speaks to Gen X women who are entering middle age with a plethora of anxiety-producing issues that aren't being adequately addressed by society, even before COVID-19. She explores why women who were told that they could "have it all" feel overwhelmed, and provides suggestions for relief.

End The Insomnia StruggleEhrnstrom, Colleen & Alisha L. Brosse. End the Insomnia Struggle: A Step-by-Step Guide to Help You Get to Sleep and Stay Asleep. New Harbinger. 2016. ISBN 9781626253438. pap. $24.95.
Ehrnstrom and Brosse, licensed clinical psychologists, offer personalized solutions to the millions of people who suffer from insomnia. They cover the physiology of sleep and how people come to "get stuck" in a pattern of insomnia, and provide exercises for readers to clarify their own patterns. Not a quick fix, this book leads each reader through the steps necessary to discover the best strategies for customized treatment.

Anxiety HappensForsyth, John P. & George H. Eifert. Anxiety Happens: 52 Ways to Find Peace of Mind. New Harbinger. 2018. ISBN 9781684031108. $14.95.
The authors, both psychologists, offer mindfulness exercises to move past anxiety. Their techniques are based in acceptance and commitment therapy, and the book was chosen as a Self-Help Book Recommendation by the Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies. They also discuss the roots of anxiety and why avoiding it doesn’t work. Useful for anyone whose chronic anxiety interferes with their sleep and life.

You Are Getting SleepyGlovinsky, Paul, and Arthur Spielman. You Are Getting Sleepy: Lifestyle-Based Solutions for Insomnia. Diversion. 2017. ISBN 9781682308226. pap. $15.99.
The authors, both sleep physicians, show readers how to get sleepy. They address how our daily routines may interfere with sleepiness, how to use cognitive behavioral therapy to improve sleep, and how to manage anxiety and medication dependence. Their discussion of out-of-sync biological clocks may be particularly beneficial to shift workers, including many of the front-line healthcare personnel who are caring for COVID-19 patients.

MelatoninHughes, Locke. Melatonin: The Natural Supplement for Better Sleep. Sterling Ethos. 2019. ISBN 9781454937661. $16.95.
Melatonin is a hormone, produced in the pineal gland, that regulates the sleep cycle. It can also be used as a natural supplement to aid in going to sleep. This book explains how melatonin works and how to use it safely. It also includes suggestions for nighttime rituals to improve sleep.

Why We DreamRobb, Alice. Why We Dream: The Transformative Power of Our Nightly Journey. Eamon Dolan. 2018. ISBN 9780544931213. $27.
Robb explains the science of dreaming: Why do we dream? What’s the importance of nightmares? How can we improve our dreams? What meaning should we take from them? The author also discusses lucid dreaming, in which people can control the outcomes of their dreams. This book might be helpful to those who are newly experiencing vivid dreams during the pandemic.

Why We SleepWalker, Matthew. Why We Sleep: Unlocking the Power of Sleep and Dreams. Scribner. 2017. ISBN 9781501144318. $28.
Walker, a sleep researcher, provides a deep exploration of sleep science explained simply for the lay reader. There are detailed explanations of REM and non-REM sleep, and why we need both. He discusses the intersection of sleep with society: sleep in the workplace, sleep deprivation as torture, sleep and school schedules, and sleep and medical training.

The Sleep SolutionWinter, W. Chris. The Sleep Solution: Why Your Sleep Is Broken and How to Fix It. Berkley. 2017. ISBN 9780399583612. pap. $17.
This is an entertaining, highly readable and practical handbook for those with insomnia, written with humor and empathy. The author is a board-certified sleep medicine specialist who dives into the science behind sleep, and how what we do during the day impacts how we sleep at night.

 

MEMOIRS
InsomniaBenjamin, Marina. Insomnia. Catapult. 2018. ISBN 9781948226059. $18.95.
An insomnia sufferer herself, Benjamin interweaves the story of her own experience with the history and cultural view of sleep and sleeplessness. She offers no solutions to insomnia, but wonders whether there is something of value to be found in the hours of darkness. Sleep-deprived readers will recognize that they are not alone.

The Shapeless UneaseHarvey, Samantha. The Shapeless Unease: A Year of Not Sleeping. Grove. 2020. ISBN 9780802148827. $24.
In 2016, Harvey began to experience unrelenting insomnia. This book relates her journey through doctors, treatments, and well-meaning advice, none of which worked. Beautifully written, Harvey’s story will resonate with insomnia sufferers.

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