Growth in technology has changed our world incredibly in a myriad of different ways, sometimes, although not always, for best. The author himself in India was brought up in a totally different world, where sleep patterns were dictated by nature (as they are for most creatures.) However, living in the United States created in itself automatic lifestyle changes, and in his late forties he discovered that he needed to review his lifestyle and make small changes in order to bring his home/work life back into balance. When making these changes he wanted to find natural and practical methods to improve his sleep, and enable him to live a happier and healthier life. It is these findings, and his years of working with patients from all walks of life, experiencing first-hand the health consequences the uptrend in sleep disorders have caused, that led to his decision to publish this, his first book, a easy to understand guide for both personal and professional use.
I just loved this Thomas Merton quote from the book “Happiness is not a matter of intensity, but of balance and order and rhythm and harmony.” Why? Because this is the ethos the author goes by. He has, throughout this book emphasised that sleep is not a separate entity, but an essential part of our whole wellbeing, both mentally and physically. He begins with ‘Sleep Basics’ and clarifies the different types of sleep, and their functions. He then goes on to explain how the modern world is full of stress, worry, and responsibilities not just to ourselves and our loved ones, but also to the people we work for, and the environment we live in. These resulting pressures cause detrimental upsets to our sleeping patterns.
The author admits to not being keen on the use of medication for this problem, and so this books emphasis is on natural ways we can improve our life. He suggests seven simple, yet practical, natural methods to improve not only our sleep but our health and wellbeing, as he believes they are intrinsically linked. Depending on our particular reason for sleep deprivation, the author recommends solutions to our problem, from diet, lifestyle changes, meditation, music and exercise, there are options for everyone, and sometimes combinations, in this incredible self-help book.
In Summary: We only have one life, it is precious, and sleep is an essential component in it. Readers, I urge you to take advantage of the life and experiences of this knowledgeable expert in this field, and embrace this essential guide. Not only will it improve your sleep, but also you can utilize the information it contains and take stock of your own personal journey, evaluate what is important to you as an individual, and then using the tools given in this book, go forward with the rest of your life in a balanced and healthy way. Highly recommended!
One thing I really liked about the book was the holistic approach. He didn't view sleep as its own issue, but rather as something that affects and is affected by other areas of life. Some of his suggestions were ones that I've heard before, but the calm and wisdom with which he writes makes this book enjoyable to read - even if it's restating things I know.
“It’s not about how much time we spend in bed, it’s about how much time we are actually in deep, continuous and uninterrupted sleep,” says Dr. Buddha. “Sleep is a key component of happy life…and these tips can help you find the rest and refreshments in the midst of your busy life.”
This is a good book for anyone who is looking for ways to sleep better or who just needs more confirmation that it is ok to step back and slow down in order to preserve sleep.
Pillows aren’t just poofy mounds of fluff that make your bed look cozy. A pillow actually has a few very important jobs. The first? “Keeping the spine alignment in different sleeping positions to prevent neck, shoulder or back pain,” says Dr. Venkata Buddharaju, sleep specialist, board certified sleep physician and author of Better Sleep, Happier Life. When you are lying on a flat surface, a pillow (or two) can help support the natural curve of your neck and keep it supported. And as you move positions throughout the night, a pillow will help you stay comfortable and prevent you from waking up as you readjust.
Pillows make sense if you think about it: “If you look at a person laying down, the shoulders are far wider than the head,” says sleep medicine expert Dr. Alex Dimitriu. “What this implies is that for anyone sleeping on their side, essentially, their shoulder gets in the way, and they need a place to rest their head so it doesn't ‘hang’ in the air.”
Another benefit of sleeping with a pillow? It can help you breathe more easily. “An advantage of pillows, besides comfort, is elevating the head above the body, so blood pools away from the head, and the airway can remain less congested,” adds Dr. Dimitriu.
Both of the experts we spoke to were very pro-pillow (although it might take a bit of experimentation before finding a supportive pillow that provides the right alignment for you). But if you’ve tried a bunch of pillows and are still experiencing back and neck pain, it might be tempting to ditch it for a night to see if you feel better. Does a pillow-free existence make sense for you? Well, that all depends on how you sleep.
Both of our sleep specialists agree: If you sleep on your side, it probably isn’t going to help much to sleep without a pillow, because of the amount of empty, unsupported space between your neck and shoulders while you snooze. Without a place to rest your head and neck, you’re likely to experience misalignment and soreness. In fact, Dr. Buddharaju recommends trying an even thicker pillow (either firm or soft, depending on your preference) if you sleep exclusively on your side.
People who sleep only on the back could try sleeping without a pillow, Dr. Dimitriu says (In this position, there’s less unsupported space between your neck and shoulders than if you sleep on your side.) But in addition to going completely pillow-free, it might also be worth trying a thinner pillow to fine-tune your alignment. “It helps to have someone take a look at your sleeping position to help identify the right set up,” he adds. So grab a partner, roommate or friend and have them scrutinize your sleeping position.
Sleep on your stomach? You’re in luck, friend, because sleeping without a pillow might definitely do you some good. Although Dr. Buddharaju argues that stomach sleeping is the “least preferred” sleeping position due to the way the neck is turned to the side, it is possible that a pillow-free mattress might provide a somewhat better alignment. “In the case of stomach sleepers, sometimes a pillow can cause them to uncomfortably flex their neck backwards during sleep, resulting in pain and muscle cramps in the back and the neck,” Dr. Dimitriu explains. Stomach sleepers might also benefit from a soft, slim pillow that keeps the head and neck in a lower position that’s closer to the mattress.