Dr Neil Stanley Independent Sleep Expert
© Dr. Neil Stanley 2013-2017
Sleep books Sleep self help books have a long history, the oldest one in my collection was published in 1880, and essentially the basic advice contained in them has not really changed very much over the years.  Many sleep self-help books are written by people with little or no expertise in sleep, usually health journalists or freelance writers, and therefore they are pretty generic as they are drawing from the same source material. Thus because there is little that is new, authors have had to use various strategies to make you think you are getting something new and substantial. There are  6 main strategies 1. Give the book an eye catching, clever or witty title, perhaps with a play on words- e.g. I can’t make you sleep, but this book may provide some information that you may find useful in achieving better sleep, as long as you follow the advice given’. 2. Use arty/cute photographs or art to pad out the text 3.Use a much larger than normal font size with very large margins to make the book appear longer. 4. Get a real Sleep Expert to write an introduction so you can put their name and qualifications on the cover and add a veneer of scientific or academic creditability to the book. 5. Dress up the rules of sleep hygiene and passing it off their own sleep toolkit/golden rules/help plan or some such thing. 6. Attach some hint of mysticism to the advice to somehow lend it some credence (eastern mysticism, especially Buddhism or its inspiration, is always a good epithet to attach to an idea). For example the simple advice to help you to sleep of concentrating on your breathing to help you relax, isn’t going to make the ‘sleep expert’ rich but just think how much you could charge if it was called something like ‘Mi'kmaq breath awareness therapy’ However none of this can should disguise the fact that it is essentially the same information rehashed. So my advice is if you have to buy a book by someone then at least make sure they are a real Sleep Expert. Be aware that there has been very little new in the field of sleep self help in the last decades, so I struggle to understand how any one author can find enough information to write more than one general sleep self-help book. A different title and different art/pictures does not change the fact that the information contained in each book is very much the same. Many modern books also include a CD, however in order to glean the information from the CD you have to actively listen to it, however listening to a CD whilst in bed will actually cause cognitive arousal and thus make it difficult for you to fall asleep. However it may just be that the CD is so soporific that it puts you to sleep, but then the content is irrelevant or that you do not actively listen to it and so again the content is irrelevant. o