Tired of being tired? ‘Sleep’ suggests a paradigm shift (Biz & Books review)

It’s 3 a.m., and you’re still awake.

Bedbugs are the least of your worries; the TV’s off, the lights are off, but your brain isn’t. What did that client mean when he said …? Do your managers really understand your mission? How can you boost profits? And without the new book, “Sleep” by Nick Littlehales, how can you finally get some shut-eye?

So you missed a few zzz’s last night. No big deal, you’ll make it up, right?

Wrong, says sleep coach Nick Littlehales. Lost sleep is lost forever, and research now indicates that poor sleep habits can lead to type 2 diabetes, obesity, burn-out, and family issues. Ugh.

Part of the problem, some say, is with cell phones and “blue light,” which affects us, biologically. Littlehales avers that light from electronic devices can disrupt sleep and it’s true that we’re sleeping less than our forebears did 60 years ago, but blue light isn’t entirely to blame. Instead, we’re losing sleep because we’re more stressed, and focused on hours, rather than cycles.

In the past, we referred to people as “larks” and “owls,” depending on their natural wake-sleep patterns, but Littlehales says your chronotype is what matters today. Whether you’re an “AMer” or a “PMer” depends on your personal 24-hour body clock; AMers, for instance, get their deepest sleep between 2 and 3 a.m., while PMers run a few hours behind. Knowing your chronotype will help you get your best sleep by determining when to start your bedtime slow-down process and when you should rise. And by the way, that up-shower-brush-donut-out-the-door routine isn’t good for you.

Furthermore, every adult should know how to nap, surreptitiously and quickly; how to lie in bed for optimal sleep; what to do if you wake in the middle of the night; how to snooze without a pillow; and how to make a “sleep kit.”

And buying a bed? Eh, you’ve been doing it all wrong …

No one should be surprised that science has entered your bedroom, laid on your mattress, and looked at your blankies. And yet, there are some surprises inside “Sleep.”

First, you may scoff at the idea of a “sleep coach,” but author (and sleep coach) Nick Littlehales has spent much of his life on mattresses, in sales and sports. What he espouses for elite athletes he works with, he says, can extend to the enhancement of performance in business — which is good news, but there are things missing here. Littlehales advises parents and comforts sleep-til-noon teens. He offers do-able changes and make-sense fixes, but he does not adequately touch upon issues related to aging. Older readers may, therefore, feel left out; those who are over business books with sports focus should also take note.

Even so, managers may find that this book’s advice is worth a try, despite that it may mean a major paradigm shift in thinking and protocol and it might feel weird, at first. If you’re still tired of being tired, get your jammies and try getting some “Sleep.”

Don’t let the bedbugs bite.

Terri Schlichenmeyer is the reviewer behind “The Bookworm Sez,” a self-syndicated book review column published in more than 260 newspapers and magazines in the U.S., Canada and the Caribbean. She can be reached for feedback at www.bookwormsez.com.


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