Pavel Tsatsouline says that ‘strength is a skill.’ According to Nick Littlehales, English sleep coach to elite sportsmen and women, so is sleep.
To my mind, it’s a great relief to think of sleep as something that has properties that can be mastered through a combination of information and techniques. The reasons for getting the hang of it are profound and undeniable; better performance, better health, greater peace of mind and longer life.
Littlehales says that the eight hours of sleep a night prescription is a myth. In actuality, we all sleep in cycles of one and a half hours in length, and optimum health depends on getting between thirty and thirty-five of those cycles every week.
Sounds easier said than done and for many of us, it probably is. By understanding the nature of sleep as a ninety-minute phenomenon, Littlehales explains how to achieve this by evaluating the way you do it, starting with your bedroom and the bed itself (which he refers to as your ‘sleep kit’).
He also covers the best positions for sleeping effectively, the qualities of a good bed and pillow and how to get the best equipment without being deceived by a salesman. In addition, he analyses a lot of the problems that confront people in terms of their nightly rest and methods for combatting them.
If there is any drawback to the book, it is simply that you need to read it once and then approach it like a workbook to implement change. This is hardly the fault of the book or the author, however; it’s just a function of implementing change through education.
To Littlehales’ credit, the book is structured to help you do this: each chapter concludes with a summary of the salient information. However, if you can make any lasting improvement in your health that costs you twenty dollars, that’s a very valuable book, indeed.