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Women’s Book Club Discusses The Sleep Revolution by Arianna Huffington

On November 2, 2017, the Women’s Group at Lubin Olson & Niewiadomski LLP held a meeting of Read. Meet. Connect. to discuss The Sleep Revolution by Arianna Huffington.  Ellen Cirangle, Managing Partner, introduced the central thesis of the book: We have to start thinking that sleep is just as valuable as diet and exercise, and that getting enough sleep can help performance in all aspects of one’s life.  The current paradigm needs to change so that not sleeping is no longer viewed as a badge of honor.

While the premise of Huffington’s book is simple, it provoked much discussion amongst the attendees about the importance of getting enough sleep.  The attendees shared personal stories of the pros and cons of taking short naps during the day, the purpose of dreams and lucid dreaming, and different tools they have used to improve their sleep.  As one attendee noted, “You have to reset your brain and put yourself in a frame of mind to use the tools.”

Below includes a short list of various tools and techniques that were discussed to help our attendees go to sleep:

  • A lamp that gradually dims and turns out as one falls asleep.
  • Avoiding TV, smart phones, and tablets prior to settling down to sleep.
  • Avoiding eating too late, and recognizing that sometimes having a glass of wine works against relaxation and falling asleep. 
  • An hour before bedtime, drinking tart cherry juice, which has melatonin, a chemical that aids sleep.
  • Taking “sleep gummies,” although each person would have to determine how much melatonin they find helpful.
  • Sunlight deficiency lamp/natural sun lamp may help with adjusting to seasonal changes when the days become shorter.
  • Personalized meditation recordings can help you relax and to reduce anxiety.  (Check out Lord of the Rings Guided Meditation on YouTube)

The meeting ended with an insightful discussion on how to reset our own expectations surrounding sleep.  Huffington’s book points out the trade-offs: If you have high expectations for yourself and your career performance, you may decide to work extremely long hours, and not sleep very many hours at night.  Yet as the book reminds us with a quote from Steve Jobs, “Almost everything – all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure – these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important.”