How are you sleeping these days?

If you’re not sleeping well lately, you’re not alone. Insomnia, broken sleep and weird dreams have all surged during recent months, according to both scientists and a spike in google searches.

I’ve been interested in sleep for a few years now because up until COVID I was hopscotching timezones every few weeks due to work travel, and it took its toll on my body clock. Then, like so many, my sleep quality took a hit after lockdown, so, as a completely non-medical, non-scientific layman, I began circling back to what I’d already learnt and exploring even more of the science and advice around how to nurture sleep. 

If you’ve struggled with sleep in recent days, here’s why you should treat it as more than a little annoyance, and what you can do about. 

Are you letting your brain breathe?

How many voices have you let into your head in the last 24 hours? Most of us couldn’t even begin to count. The ‘voices’ driving the various pieces of stimulus we encounter in any given day are legion – think of every post; every headline; every caption, photo and podcast.

‘Solitude Deprivation’ is the brilliant phrase from Cal Newport to describe “A state in which you spend close to zero time alone with your own thoughts and free from input from other minds.”

When I read that, I asked myself – If I am constantly receiving stimulus, what chance am I giving my mind and heart to reflect meaningfully?

The idea that I may sacrifice my best thoughts on the altar of shallow stimuli is genuinely frightening.

Bonus: My Top 10 Reads of the 2010s

You may have seen my latest ‘annual top reads’ post, but I decided I wanted to do an extra Top 10 post that was a bit special – the books that have been most compelling for me over the last 10 years.

Each of these books has become one that I often refer to or recommend; has fundamentally shifted the way I think about something; or has introduced a critical new concept to the ‘furniture of my mind’.

I will say it was very difficult to narrow down the list, but each of these books has made a significant impact on me during the 2010s, and I would highly recommend all of them.

So without further ado, and in no particular order…