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I’ve always been interested in how to improve sleep…with a lifelong sleep problem, multiple overnight stays in the sleep clinic with electrodes EVERYWHERE, and a million suggestions including everything from improved sleep hygiene to serious drugs, I’m someone who knows quite a bit about sleep but yearns to learn more.

It seems like it’s a topic that is getting more coverage – for example, some major league baseball teams began using sleep rhythms to improve player performance (something that the Multiple-World Series winning SF Giants advocate) over the past few years, and even Arianna Huffington got into it last year with her book The Sleep Revolution (subtitle: Transforming Your Life, One Night at a Time)!! And she seemed to get it, so when I had the opportunity to receive an advance copy of the new book on sleep written by the man Arianna calls “The Sleep Whisperer,” (in exchange for my honest review), I leapt at the offer from NetGalley and Berkley Publishing Group / NAL to review The Sleep Solution: Why Your Sleep Is Broken And How to Fix It.

Dr. W. Chris Winter in an M.D. specializing in sleep disorders. A neurologist, one of the areas he has focused on is using sleep techniques as a way of improving athletes’ performance. In this new book, he presents both the background information to help people understand the problems that what I call “bad sleep” can bring as well as steps to take to address them. (NOTE: I don’t like to use the term “solve them” when discussing sleep problems, because I think that gives false hope – at least it did for me, for years, as I scoured popular books and articles as well as medical journals, looking for the answer)

The Sleep Solution is designed to help the reader design a specific program to address their individual issues and lifestyle. Among the topics:

* the ways in which food, light, and other activities might help or hurt our sleep
* why you may achieve your best sleep WITHOUT using sleeping pills
* how to Incorporate both “regular” sleep and napping into your life
*how to better a variety of sleep issues and conditions, including insomnia, sleep apnea, restless leg (aka Willis-Ekbom) syndrome and circadian sleep disorders

IMHO, this book is a good combination of fundamental information and current methods. I especially like the way he doesn’t advocate a “one-size-fits-all” approach and believes in giving people information to help them address their specific challenges. Because it is up-to-date, extremely readable, informative without being preachy, and provides hope for the sleep challenged among us, I give it 5 stars (although my sleep specialist advocates the use of the more current term Willis-Ekbom Disease, that than RLS — a minor point, and in truth RLS is probably more “user-friendly”).