Mariane Kohler & Jean Chapelle •
101 Recipes for Sound Sleep •
The authors hope you’ll fall asleep reading this book. They’d consider it a compliment.
French researchers Mariane Kohler and Jean Chapelle delve into the mechanism of sleep, the factors that can block it, and the various patterns of insomnia (at bedtime, during the night, in early morning). They discuss yawning, snoring, dreams, and hibernation.
But this isn’t a textbook on sleep; it’s a compendium of practical suggestions for those whom sleep eludes. Taking into account individual temperaments and needs, the authors have presented a spectrum of insomnia remedies culled from around the world and across several centuries. Hot baths, biofeedback, and herbal teas all have their partisans, as do eye masks and soft music. Some people go for a brisk walk before retiring; others tear up newspaper or list their worries. There’s the old standby of counting sheep, as well as a method of self-massage involving tennis balls.
The sources are as diverse as the solutions. Ben Franklin sat naked in a cold room until sleep overtook him. Madame de Sévigné played solitaire. Charles Dickens believed the head of your bed should point due north. Van Gogh sprinkled camphor on his mattress. Lewis Carroll invented mathematical puzzles.
But the prize for sheer ingenuity goes to Baron von Reichenbach, namesake of the falls that Sherlock Holmes famously plunged over. His advice? Lie with your head at the foot of the bed.
There’s finally an upside to insomnia: You can read this engrossing book while waiting for the sandman to pay you a visit.