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In Search of Sleep

An Insomniac’s Quest to Understand the Science, Psychology, and Culture of Sleeplessness

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  • ISBN: 9781778400162
  • Tags: All Books, Biography & Memoir, Bregje Hofstede, Health & Wellness, Science,
  • Dimensions: 5.5 x 8.5
  • Published On: 03/14/2023
  • 248 Pages

Jenny Odell's How to Do Nothing meets Matthew Walker's Why We Sleep in this fascinating deep-dive into the science and history of sleep.

In Search of Sleep is both a self-help manual for insomniacs, and a sweeping critique of the hustle culture that blinds us to the real reasons we lie awake at night: from politics to pandemics to poverty.

Amsterdam-based writer Bregje Hofstede struggled with insomnia for 10 years, but advice from doctors and books always felt lacking in perspective. Wasn 't insomnia more than just an individual struggle? Might it also be a rational reaction to our increasingly turbulent world?

Unlike the vast majority of books about sleep, In Search of Sleep examines insomnia as both a physical and psychological condition and an early warning sign that something is off in society. As Hofstede points out, studies show that insomnia increased during the pandemic and that people with less money sleep the worst. She also shows that sleeplessness is tied inextricably to loneliness, while meaningful relationships can provide the security we need to slumber.

Interweaving neuroscience, cultural anthropology, history, and interviews with experts, In Search of Sleep invites us to see insomniacs as oracles, not oddballs, and offers a unique way forward for the sleep-deprived and the dreamless. If we are aware of both the small and large forces that keep us awake, then we can begin to take political action, reimagine the role of sleep in our own lives, and rid ourselves of insomnia for good.

Bregje Hofstede is a journalist and author whose books have been nominated for international prizes and translated into multiple languages. She lived with insomnia for over a decade before putting her research on sleep into practice and moving to a small village in France, where she lives frugally, connects with neighbors and the natural world, and sleeps.