by Arianna Huffington
Review by Paul S. Grieve
Years ago, one of my friends needed my shoulder to cry on. A technician who drove a company truck, he’d been caught by his supervisor taking a cat nap in a parking garage and was fired on the spot. The reason he was napping, he explained, was that he felt drowsy and wanted to recharge for a few minutes rather than potentially fall asleep on the road. I advised him to argue his case to senior management, but his pleas fell on deaf ears. Weeks later, he informed me that the supervisor who’d fired him had been involved in a serious collision… after falling asleep at the wheel.
Death on the roads is only one potential consequence of the chronic lack of sleep endemic to industrial society, a phenomenon which Arianna Huffington, in her book “The Sleep Revolution: Transforming Your Life One Night at a Time,” claims is nothing less than a societal crisis. Health problems such as obesity, diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease and cancer are all made worse by sleep deprivation, as are cognitive impairments like ADD. This has been understood by medical researchers for some time and on some level, we all know it to be true, yet we insist on sleepwalking through our day-to-day lives pretending it isn’t so. And we pay a terrible price.
Huffington acknowledges that for many people, such as working mothers juggling three jobs to support a family, the simple admonishment to “get more sleep” rings hollow. Yet, pointing out that people at the lower end of the socioeconomic spectrum are at greater risk of sleep-related health and mental problems, she implores people in all walks of life to make quality sleep a top priority.
If, like most people in our wired, harried world, you think you can’t afford to take Huffington’s advice, please read her book and you’ll see why you must.