I wanted to be as cliche as possible this year, so I set the goal to read one book a month. I’m kidding, but I did set that goal.
I honestly love reading, but I consider it something I associate with vacations. When I go to my cottage, I blast through books but I can never justify reading in my day-to-day life because I just have so much work to be done.
But then I realized I somehow have time for Netflix. I really enjoy reading, and building multiple businesses online means my screen is my ride or die. Bringing reading into my day-to-day life is a nice way to still feel productive since I’m working towards a goal, but learn new things while spending some time saving my eyeballs from blue light.
My first book of the year was The Sleep Revolution: Transforming Your Life, One Night at a Time by Arianna Huffington. I won’t go into heavy details, but I wanted to share a brief review of each book I read this year with you guys here on my blog.
If you don’t read the whole thing, overall I think this book is helpful for anyone who feels guilty catching Zs or constantly justifies late nights and early mornings. This book gave me permission to value sleep on a new level.
A DEEP DIVE INTO THE CURRENT SLEEP CRISIS
Like, seriously deep.
The first section of the book goes into the current sleep crisis and essentially justifies we have a sleep problem in our culture. It gives you all the ammunition you need if you’re trying to convince a boss, peer, or spouse that sleep is a problem that affects how we do our jobs and live our lives.
Personally, I found this section too long. I think most people who are interested in picking up this book have already realized there’s a cultural issue around sleep and that most of us aren’t getting enough of it. Trying to power through it made me a little anxious because I was just waiting to learn more about how I can change my life with sleep, not how others have a sleep problem.
To be fair, I’m not totally sure what I expected from the book when I started reading, but I know it wasn’t that much information on the sleep crisis.
THE SUBCONSCIOUS WORLD OF DREAMS
Okay, this is where things got interesting.
This book is filled with a LOT of stats, facts, and quick numbers. They’re all super interesting, but not easy to remember months after you’ve finished the book.
I loved all the information on dreams because it left me with so much easily consumable information that I can remember, apply, and share with others.
Dreams blow my mind because you can choose to totally ignore your dreams, and you still carry on. But if you choose to actively engage around your dreaming experiences, you can do so much for yourself.
According to Huffington, dreams can often be about what’s stressing us in our lives, even if it takes a more symbolic approach. Dreams are where we rehearse things we fear. This explains why a lot of us dream about being late to something important, failing a test, or being unprepared for a big meeting. By dreaming about them, we actually become more prepared.
Even if you fail your test in your dream, you are more prepared and more likely to do well on the test over someone who didn’t dream about the test at all. Wild, right? [You can learn about the specific studies around this in the book!]
When our dreams on a given scenario stop, it often means we’ve addressed internally what’s making us anxious.
Dreams can also teach us a lot about our conscious life. Before going to sleep, write down a question you want to guidance on at night, and take time in the morning to process your dreams before grabbing your phone. If possible, try writing down your dreams for a while.
APPRECIATING THE VALUE OF SLEEP & CHANGING HABITS
I’ve had a long battle with sleep considering I’ve always been someone who believes there are always enough hours to take on everything you’ve ever wanted.
Reading this book gave me permission to value sleep. Sleep is not a luxury, a sign of laziness, or anything along those lines. Sleep is one of the most powerful tools we have at our disposal to improve efficiencies, come up with brilliance, and genuinely enjoy the time we spend on this earth. The most successful people in the world value eight hours of sleep at night, and the number of people who have had to crash and burn to figure that out is insane.
I tried so hard this past year to get up early for those extra hours, and some days it was really nice. Others, it was so painful. I’m not sure if I’ll adjust my ways come summertime when early mornings are more glorious than the winter, but for now I’m sticking to my eight hours of sleep and not feeling an inch of guilt about it. In fact, by sleeping at 11:30 PM and not pushing myself to wake up at 5 AM, my body naturally woke up at 7:30 AM this morning without an alarm. I felt great, I was ready to get to my day, and I actually had energy to tackle it all.
By the end of the day, I’ve actually been more productive because I’m well rested to keep going, and I don’t find myself making excuses to take breaks from my work. I try to read my book at the end of the day instead of the morning now, so I can jump into my day when I wake up and end with less screen time before I sleep.
Overall, I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who was like me and felt guilty for stealing an extra hour of sleep in the morning or a midday nap. I would suggest skimming the first section unless you’re really into learning about the history of sleep and how it’s affecting us now. It was cool to learn about and I did retain knowledge from it, but it’s long when you just want to get to the goodies.