Book Review: ‘The Insomnia Workbook’ Puts You To Sleep

It’s frustrating not being able to sleep even when your mind and body are in desperate need of rest. If you suffer from insomnia, you’re not alone. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention calls insufficient sleep a “public health epidemic,” with 50 to 70 million people suffering from insomnia or other disorders that interrupt a night of rest.

Self-Help for Sleeplessness

When counting sheep doesn’t work, turn to your bookshelf for help in the form of The Insomnia Workbook, written by Stephanie Silberman and Charles Morin. As the name implies, it’s a book filled with activities and exercises to help you understand sleeplessness, examine your own situation, and implement strategies to take back the night for sleeping.

The book has a lot of expertise behind it. Morin is the director of the sleep disorder center at Universite Laval in Quebec, Canada, and Silberman is a licensed clinical psychologist and board-certified sleep medicine specialist, as well as a fellow of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine. As a team, they combine their practical knowledge and experience to share their strategies in an easy to understand way.

The workbook tackles the problem at its source, since sleepless nights often result from daytime stressors. Implementing a stress management plan and using relaxation techniques are part of the strategies offered to prepare you to get your insomnia under control.

Background and Activities

Of course, it always helps to know the background of the problem you’re trying to tackle. Before teaching you how to deal with insomnia, The Insomnia Workbook educates you on what sleep is and how it works, from the various cycles to the way it changes over the course of your lifespan. It also talks about sleep deprivation effects to reinforce the importance of doing something about your insomnia.

Activities in the workbook include self-assessments, questionnaires, checklists, and a sleep journal to personalize your experience. It would be nice if everyone could afford to see a therapist for sleep difficulties, but that’s often not possible. This book lets you use many of the same cognitive/behavioral methods used by counselors to work out the problem on your own.

The Insomnia Workbook also talks about sleep medications. Some prescription drugs are known for potentially hazardous side effects, so the authors give you tips if you’re currently using pills and want to wean yourself off of them and take a more natural approach.

You’ll even find a list of useful resources for further study. The book ends with a list of websites from organizations like the National Sleep Foundation and the American Insomnia Association, as well as sources for relaxation exercises on CD or in downloadable form.

Not an Instant Cure

While this workbook has everything you need to tackle your insomnia, don’t expect instant results. One appealing thing about sleep medication, despite the potential side effects and possible dependency, is that it works immediately and all you have to do is swallow it. Like therapy with a counselor, the plan in this book takes time and effort to implement. You’ll be disappointed if you expect an instant cure, as the workbook requires long-term lifestyle changes.

The CDC warns that the fatigue caused by disorders like insomnia is behind many car crashes, industrial accidents, and harmful errors at work or home. Reduce the chance of falling victim by using The Insomnia Workbook. While it won’t work for everyone, it will give you solid techniques that are well worth a try if you’re willing to put in some work.