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LibraryThing ReviewUser Review - LibraryThing
If you are looking for a general overview of theories of insomnia and practical advice as to how to deal with it, this is a good place to start. But what makes "Wide Awake" really good is that it is a scream to read. I was not seeking it out because it was funny. But I finished the book, reading it like it was a novel, because it was funny. I checked this book out because I was interested in the subject of insomnia and wanted more information and ideas as to how to treat it. What I got was something which might actually be even better, a personal memoir about the author's struggles with insomnia. You get a quick tour of the major ideas and theories from a very personal point of view: that of an author who has been there and done that. Topics include sleeping pills, sleep clinics, cognitive behavioral therapy, sleep courses, hypnotherapy, wake-promoting drugs, shift-work disorder, sleep apnea, mattresses, power napping, searching for a quieter neighborhood, trying to sleep in an ice hotel north of the arctic circle, meditation, and the study of dreams. Morrisroe is on a mission, to get some sleep, and so it is a succession of stories as she tries one thing after another. None of them are completely without merit, but none of them give her satisfaction until a combination of factors at the end finally seems to get her back on track. I won't reveal the ending, but I am not convinced that what worked for her will work for everyone, and she doesn't seem to think so either, and certainly isn't promoting it. In fact, it's not even clear what it was, exactly, that helped. She leaves the impression that there is no real "science" of sleep. Even the best, brightest, and smartest of those in the field are still struggling to make sense of the whole thing. The really smart people understand that while we've got quite a bit of interesting research, there are just a whole bunch of things that we still don't really know -- like why we sleep at all, for example. Because it's a memoir, and because the author doesn't present herself as an expert, she isn't committed to defending or attacking this or that idea or set of ideas. In the end this is actually more helpful for us than it would be if she had just tried to write a more systematic treatise. Thanks for the book!