The Insomnia Diaries: How I Learned To Sleep Again

Aster. Jun. 2021. 304p. ISBN 9781783254187. pap. $12.99. HEALTH
Before her insomnia began—“Year 0” in her words—Levy had it all: a successful journalism career, a great husband and kids, a collection of designer shoes. Then her husband told her that he wanted a divorce. She didn’t sleep that night and didn’t sleep again for nine years (or that’s how it felt to her). Levy’s book leads readers through the insomnia struggles she experienced. Sleep hygiene techniques didn’t help. She became addicted to sleeping pills. Her mental and cognitive states deteriorated as time passed, and she became unable to work or leave the house. She half-heartedly attempted suicide a couple of times and describes horrifying experiences with the British mental health system. She was incorrectly diagnosed with a personality disorder and was referred to a 12-step program that was unprepared to manage benzodiazepine addiction. It took nine years before Levy’s insomnia began to gradually improve; she writes here that her biggest helps were diet and exercise, a weighted blanket, and insomnia-specific cognitive behavioral therapy. Levy’s memoiristic account includes sidebars with sleep advice from health experts as well as from the author herself, and a bibliography with print and web sources.
VERDICT More than a memoir, Levy’s book provides hope and resources for anyone who can’t sleep.
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