“Sleep is the single most effective thing we can do to reset our brain and body health each day -- Mother Nature's best effort yet at contra-death.”
― Matthew Walker
Most adults are not getting enough sleep these days, whether it’s due to stress, overwork, anxiety, sleep disorders, or other health conditions. In a 2020 Study, The National Sleep Foundation found that Americans experience daytime sleepiness an average of 3 times per week. Sleep deprivation is a full fledged pandemic, according to the CDC.
Whether you’re interested in learning about the fascinating science of sleep or just want to find out how to get better sleep each night, there is a wide selection of helpful resources to choose from. We’ve pulled together 8 of the best sleep books we’ve found to answer all your burning questions about how to finally get some shut-eye. While some of these books rely on similar research, they all have their own distinct flavor. Browse the descriptions to find a volume that speaks to you. Happy reading!
The Sleep Solution: Why Your Sleep is Broken and How to Fix It
Neurologist and sleep medicine specialist Chris Winter, MD, offers sleep advice that goes above and beyond basic sleep tips you’d find with a quick google search. Winter draws on his 24 years in the field and includes simple, actionable advice like ‘pick a wake up time and stick to it,’ whether or not you’re a night owl or an early riser.
This book includes plenty of other tips, tricks, exercises and illustrations meant to help you create your own custom interventions based on your unique sleep issues and lifestyle.
Arianna Huffington has referred to Winter as the ‘sleep whisperer’ and it’s clear why. Here he gives readers straightforward advice backed by neuroscience research on sleep habits, the circadian rhythm, sleeping pills, sleep disorders like sleep apnea, restless syndrome and much more.
Why We Sleep: Unlocking the Power of Sleep and Dreams
Neuroscientist and sleep expert Matthew Walker’s Why We Sleep seeks to demystify this age old question, which has stumped scientists for hundreds of years. As Walker writes, “No matter what vantage point you take, sleep would appear to be the most foolish of biological phenomena.” But recent research has shed light on the role of sleep, and the results are more complex and fascinating than we could have imagined.
This book is broken out into 4 categories; an analysis of sleep and why we do it, the complicated effects of sleep loss, an in depth look at the role of dreams, and finally an examination of sleep disorders and sleep medications.
Walker effectively explains why healthy sleep is so important for overall health and well-being, which will hopefully help readers prioritize it as the crucial function it is.
The Sleep Revolution: Transforming Your Life, One Night at a Time
In The Sleep Revolution, Ariana Huffington, cofounder and editor at the Huffington Post attacks the collective cultural practice of disregarding the importance of sleep in favor of ‘more important’ activities. She faces this public health crisis head on, urging readers to reevaluate their relationship with sleep to achieve more balance and improved mental health.
Pulling from both the latest scientific research and personal experience, Huffington has created an engaging manifesto that challenges the always-on, 24-7, technology addicted culture that threatens the health of individuals as well as communities. This book is a must-read for those of us who are looking for a way forward in the quest for a good night’s sleep.
Nothing Much Happens, Cozy and Calming Stories to Soothe Your Mind and Help You Sleep
No list of books about sleep would be complete without a book of bedtime stories. This meditative read is one where, exactly as promised, nothing much happens. There is no riveting plot or twists and turns that you don’t see coming. It’s filled with talk of taking long walks in nature, enjoying the simple pleasure of a morning cup of coffee or a brand new journal.
This book is an extension of Nicolai’s popular podcast, also called ‘Nothing Much Happens,’ which is a great option for those that prefer to be lulled to sleep by a soothing voice. As a yoga and meditation teacher, Nicolai brings her extensive knowledge of mindfulness into this cozy volume designed to help you reduce stress so you can sleep well.
The Sleep Fix: Practical, Proven, and Surprising Solutions for Insomnia, Snoring, Shift Work, and More
Diane Macedo struggled with sleep disturbances for years, often using sleeping pills to cope. When her sleep quality began to compromise her health, she tried standard sleep tips with no luck. Finally she set out to get to the bottom of her sleep problems.
A news anchor at ABC News, she was in an ideal position to seek out insight from sleep experts and everyday people around the world who could provide practical tips beyond the basics. Her resulting book is a wide ranging look at the biology of sleep, common sleep myths, and how to shift your mindset to try new methods. This volume scores big points for practical tips from real world people about how to get more shut-eye.
The Sleep Workbook: Easy Strategies to Break the Anxiety-Insomnia Cycle
As in ‘Say Goodnight to Insomnia’ this book uses cognitive behavioral therapy techniques to overcome insomnia but takes more of a self-help approach. This one is specifically focused on anxiety induced insomnia and offers exercises and assessments you can do from the comfort of your own home. Journal prompts encourage readers to examine the underlying issues that cause the anxiety keeping them up at night.
A certified nurse practitioner who holds a PhD in health and human performance, Alexandre provides insomniacs with a step-by-step approach to cultivate healthy sleep patterns to reduce stress and boost overall wellness.
Sleep Soundly Every Night, Feel Fantastic Every Day: A Doctor's Guide to Solving Your Sleep Problems
In Sleep Soundly, Dr. Robert Rosenberg begins with a thorough examination of the long-term negative effects of sleep deprivation. The bulk of the remainder of the book addresses common and not-so-common sleep disorders. These fascinating conditions include insomnia, sleep apnea, and restless leg syndrome, as well as parasomnias like sleepwalking, night eating disorders and others. The self assessment provided will help you identify your symptoms and determine with sections of the book may be helpful for you. But don’t skip over the sections on sleep hygiene and how to make it a consistent part of your daily life. These are tips we can all benefit from.
Say Goodnight to Insomnia, The Six-Week, Drug-Free Program Developed At Harvard Medical School
Dr. Gregg D. Jacobs uses cognitive behavioral therapy in his novel approach to combatting insomnia without the use of sleep aids like medications or melatonin. He presents us with scenarios that perfectly describe the realities of insomnia, the hopelessness and powerlessness people feel, the sense of frustration and anxiety that builds as the night wears on.
Jacobs’ approach is to attack the root causes of insomnia instead of medicating the symptoms, and in his experience, most of the underlying causes are thoughts and behaviors. Many people who suffer from sleeplessness will consult a doctor, but they are often prescribed sleeping pills, despite the drawbacks Dr. Jacobs lays out in the book. If you’re interested in a drug-free way to get a good night’s rest, this one is a winner.
Winter, W. C. (2018). The sleep solution: Why your sleep is broken and how to fix it. Berkley.
Huffington, A. S. (2017). The sleep revolution: Transforming your life, one night at a time. Harmony Books.
Nicolai, K. (2020). Nothing much happens: Cozy and calming stories to Soothe your mind and help you sleep. Penguin Canada, an imprint of Penguin Canada, a division of Penguin Random House Canada Limited
Macedo, D. (2022). The sleep fix: Practical, proven and surprising solutions for insomnia, snoring, shift work and more. Headline.
Walker, M. P. (2018). Why we sleep: Unlocking the power of sleep and dreams. Scribner, an imprint of Simon & Schuster, Inc.
Alexandre, R. (2020). The sleep workbook: Easy strategies to break the anxiety-insomnia cycle. Rockridge Press.
Rosenberg, R. S. (2014). Sleep soundly every night, feel fantastic every day: A doctor’s guide to solving your sleep problems. Read How You Want.
Jacobs, G. D. (2009). Say Goodnight to Insomnia, The Six-Week, Drug-Free Program Developed At Harvard Medical School. Macmillan Publishers.