- Hardcover: 520 pages
- Publisher: University of California Press; 1 edition (March 10, 2008)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0520246306
- ISBN-13: 978-0520246300
- Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 1.5 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 80 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,177,699 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Insomniac 1st Edition
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From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. No one can describe a journey better than someone who's made the trip, and insomniac Greene's exploration of the disorder is both fascinating and disturbing. Many people, including doctors and insomniacs themselves, believe that sleeplessness is the patient's fault: too much caffeine and stress, irregular bedtimes, lack of exercise. In fact, no one knows what causes it, but the effects of insomnia are clear: as Greene, a professor of literature and women's studies at Scripps College, shows, sleep deprivation kills creativity, reduces levels of the hormones needed to repair cells and is directly linked to weight gain and memory loss, high blood pressure and diabetes. Insomniacs are usually referred to mental health practitioners or the growing number of sleep labs offering behavior modification or drugs (which, for Greene, have always buil[t] tolerance, and rapidly, necessitating ever-larger doses). This is a somewhat cranky book, Greene admits, and rightly so. You can't live with this problem as long as I have, you can't be blown off and written off as many times as I have, and not get cross. Supplementing her own experience with that of other chronic insomniacs and a look at the science of sleep, Greene offers an enjoyable and informative account that will provoke even readers who get their full eight hours a night. (Mar.)
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Top customer reviews
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The book acted as a pretty good overview of all the various treatment options. I had to ask my doctor for a prescription for very low dosage antidepressents (trazadone) after reading this book, which i probably would not have heard about otherwise. He tried to do the whole life management thing (no caffeine, force yourself to stick a schedule) which has never really made more than marginal improvement for me. The prescription has helped quite a bit in my case (thankfully).
Moreover, it confirmed my feeling that doctors and therapists had been blaming me for my insomnia. When, for example, I approached a doctor at my college's student health center, sincerely concerned because I'd been awake for 5 days straight and thought I was going to die, she explained to me with a straight face that "if you have trouble falling asleep, it's anxiety. If you wake up early in the morning, it's depression. And if both happen, you're bipolar." Some internet research revealed that the "sleep aids" she finally agreed to give me were, in fact, antidepressants. This kind of treatment, Greene affirms, is typical for insomniacs, who still seek medical advice for their physical condition only to find themselves butting heads with a healthcare professional who has never received training in sleep medicine and who, knowing nothing about insomnia, shuffles them off onto a mental health professional who, not having received any training in sleep medicine either, assumes they're just being depressed and whiny.
I heartily recommend this book to any insomniacs, people who love and want to understand the insomniacs in their lives, healthcare professionals and medical students in every field, and literature lovers looking to read some groundbreaking and well written pop science.
Trigger warning: if you're an insomniac, I wouldn't recommend reading this in bed...you'll be up all night fantasizing about sleep.
Most recent customer reviews
Great writing style.