If only I could sleep through the night. So many people have said that their sleep patterns have changed since the pandemic. On Aug. 29, the radio show To the Best of Our Knowledge, aired a segment that I listened to with fascination, called "Up All Night." In it, the host interviewed several authors that examine sleep and dreaming from different angles. As it happens, these books are all available at the Alachua County Library District.
The first author, neurologist Guy Leschziner, wrote a book called The Nocturnal Brain: Nightmares, Neuroscience and the Secret World of Sleep. Dr. Leschziner works at a sleep clinic and shares the facinating sleep disorders he encounters. Insomnia, narcolepsy, night terrors, apnea, sleep eating, nighttime hallucinations, sexomnia, and sleepwalking are explored in his book.
Insomnia by Marina Benjamin explores the concept of nocturnal literacy; the sounds and feel of night wakefulness. She elaborates on how sleep provides freedom from the mind and the tyranny of thoughts. She explores the symbology of sleep including enchanted sleep, sleep of the dead, and the Rest Cure. My favorite observation is her argument that an eight-hour sleep is a postindustrial construct insisting that when left to our own devices, natural sleep occurs in shorter stints separated by a period of nighttime wakefulness.
Daniel Pink, in his book When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing addresses the Nappuccino. I have never heard of this either. Apparently the ideal length of a nap to avoid grogginess is 10-20 minutes. He adds that the best time for a nap is 7 hours after waking. The nappuccino involves coffee taken before the nap which takes effect 25 minutes after ingestion. Remind me to try this.
Ada Calhoun, author of Why We Can't Sleep: Women's New Midlife Crisis speaks to a generation of women who have been raised with high expectations which cannot be fullfilled. She defines this as the major midlife crisis facing Generation X women today.
Artwork by John Simmons (British, 1823-1876), Titania Sleeping in the Moonlight Protected by her Fairies