Friday, August 2, 2013

Goodnight Mind: Turn Off Your Noisy Thoughts & Get a Good Night's Sleep

If you are embarking on a new journey of self-help in regards to difficulty sleeping, Goodnight Mind: Turn Off Your Noisy Thoughts & Get a Good Night’s Sleep by Colleen E. Carney, PhD and Rachel Manber, PhD is a good place to start.

The small (4.5"x 5.75") and succinct (only 181 pages) tome offers solid, basic knowledge to readers who may not have studied or read anything from a scientific point of view about sleep. If you have read anything else in regards to sleep patterns and how to make sure you are getting good, healthy sleep, you likely will find this book repetitive and lacking in the way of new insight.

The authors offer readers several “introductory” chapters about what makes for a good night’s sleep physically. The first five chapters of the book provide a good refresher of quite basic information. Since I believe there is a connection between the body and the mind, I was not quite as frustrated with this as some other reviewers who wondered whether the title of the book (which implies help with the specific problem of racing thoughts/busy mind in preventing sleep) was misleading. One would hope with the body relaxed and tuned for sleep, the mind would follow. Chapter Six offers advice for relaxing the body. I was disappointed that there was nothing in the suggestions that I had not heard or read before. (Perhaps there is simply nothing new to add and a review of the standard advice (PMR, guided imagery, focused breathing, yoga, massage, meditation, etc.) was all there is to offer readers.

As far as specific advice regarding worrying and rumination as the problems of the mind that prevent sleep, I did not find anything new: schedule a time to worry well before bedtime; write it out; practice mindfulness; be in the now; occupy your mind with other thoughts; rethink how you think about having gotten less sleep (it’s not the end of the world); don’t watch the clock; get out of bed when you can’t sleep. All of this is stuff I would consider to be standard advice. It’s good advice; I’ve simply heard it all before.

In the end I’m thankful to GoodReads’ First Reads for the free copy of Goodnight Mind. I would recommend it as a good place to start for people who are wanting to learn some strategies for overcoming sleep difficulties. It’s not for those who are already well-read on the topic.

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