Most people are in frequent search for a good night’s sleep. Even though scientific studies have shown repeatedly how important sleep is for humans, it is often sacrificed in attempts to fit in everything that must be done in a day. Sometimes, even when an individual makes a sleep priority, it is still elusive. It feels impossible for the brain to “turn off” and give into sleep. In “The Mindful Way to a Good Night’s Sleep,” Tzivia Gover, the director of the Institute for Dream Studies, offers practical advice on how to achieve a restful night’s sleep more frequently, through studying dreams, meditation, and journaling.
The Mindful Way to a Good Night’s Sleep is divided into three sections: “A Good Night’s Sleep,” “Sweet Dreams,” and “Good Morning.” In the introduction to “A Good Night’s Sleep,” Gover tells the reader that this book will not provide a tidy to-do list for solving sleep problems. Before the reader can hope to wake up refreshed and ready to face the day, they must understand the many different factors that go into achieving that goal. Throughout each section of the book, Gover offers practical advice to help aid in achieving a good night’s rest. Whether it is practicing yoga, minimizing or eliminating technology from the bedroom, or using herbs with a calming scent, each reader can choose what works best for them. There is no pressure to prepare a bedroom a certain way or do a prescribed list of activities for sleep. Each section merely offers suggestions; it is up to the individual to decide what works best for them.
Gover’s biggest focus is on dreams, and providing some insights into how to better understand them, as they can often be very elusive. She provides techniques for improving dream recall, by keeping a dream journal or working on past dreams that have remained memorable. One of the most interesting activities is the skeletal dream where a dream is broken down to the barest elements. This takes away the details and emotions that can distract from the dream’s true meaning. For example, a dream about being chased by a monster when stripped of its context might reveal that the dreamer feels like they are being chased by some force in their waking life.
The most valuable information in “The Mindful Way to a Good Night’s Sleep” are the exercises. Mindfulness as a practice focuses on tuning in to the present moment, and noticing how the body feels in the moment. Some mindfulness exercises focus on noticing areas of tension in the body, while others focus on breathing. Gover also encourages journaling, both for recording dreams, and as a way to process the day and prepare the brain for sleep. This book is a practical tool for anyone who would like to improve their quality of sleep or would like insights into their dreams.
Elizabeth Weislak is the Youth Services Coordinator for Alamance County Public Libraries. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org