“Insomnia is a 24-hour disorder. And the daytime component of insomnia is more than half the puzzle. To overcome insomnia, almost all the changes you will need to make will happen when you’re awake.” – Jade Wu, PH.D.
Dr. Jade Wu not only knows what’s keeping you awake, she is a doctor with over a decade’s-worth of experience in helping patients achieve an ever elusive goal: sleep. Hello Sleep is both a how-to book for insomniacs looking to end their misery and a layperson’s guide to the scientific studies that support rethinking our relationship with sleep. Dr. Wu is convinced that if we rethink the hours we are awake, that we will be able to get a good night’s sleep. Hello Sleep is a program that shows us how to get there, and without medications.
Hello Sleep is broken down into four sections:
Get to Know Your Sleep
The Big Reset
Going Deeper Into The Relationship
Changes and Challenges In Your Relationship with Sleep.
Each section is step-by-step orientated, sometimes with diagrams or checklists. The paragraphs are digestible, and the chapters have catchy sections throughout like “Myth Busters,” “Consensus Sleep Diary, The Best Thing Since Sliced Bread,” and every chapter ends with a “Bottom Line” takeaway.
Dr. Wu is a behavioral sleep medicine specialist and researcher who has helped hundreds of patients, and it shows. Each step is peppered with supporting studies, including a breakdown of what that means for the reader in this precise step of the book. The larger picture for Dr. Wu is constantly at hand, asking; how are we spending our time when we are awake, how does it impact our sleep, and what are the steps we can do with our own behavior patterns to help us sleep. I personally found many suggestions eye opening. For example, in Chapter 7, with my absolute favorite chapter title, “The Mental Litter Box,” Dr. Wu highlights the pitfalls of a lack of daytime rest.
“Don’t get me wrong– consuming media is not all bad. I’m personally a big fan of TV and movies. I’ve marathons of entire seasons – yes, plural – of Breaking Bad in one sitting. But this is not necessarily true rest.” – Jade Wu, PH.D.
With bullet points, Dr. Wu asks questions, and I found myself reading and being surprised by my own answers. Am I doing this because I’m tired and bored, and after too many episodes am I still tired and bored? Point taken, I am not. As I devour The Last of Us, decidedly not rest for me since I am so alarmed with zombies that I mute the screen when they come racing on, my own version of binge and chill behavior has since made room for some night time audiobooks. It’s just an hour, but it is by far the most relaxing hour of my day.
The book addresses many common treatments, including prescription drugs. The caution with side effects of prescription medicines is well supported with easy-to-understand research studies when relevant, including drug interactions and the possibilities of non-prescription alternatives.
In Chapter 10, “Trusting Sleep: How to Get Off Sleep Medications,” MedShadow readers will appreciate Dr. Wu’s “no pressure walk through some common questions people have about insomnia medications and whether or how to get off them.” With a risk-benefit assessment that resonates with MedShadow’s own mission, Dr. Wu answers four key questions:
- What are sleep medications, and do they work?
- Should I start or keep taking sleep medications?
- How do I get off of them?
- What is the psychology of taking sleep medications, and why is understanding this crucial for my relationship with sleep?
From FDA approved drugs for insomnia, off label insomnia drugs, safety warning box on quitting benzodiazepines cold turkey, OTC sleep aids, medicine chart for all medications used for sleep aid, and even tapering, this chapter is a wealth of knowledge that is a highlight of Hello Sleep program. It is a step by step, slow but thorough, walk through information, the science behind it, and a cost-benefit framework for readers to make their own decisions.
Dr. Wu is clear that there is no “one-size-fits-all” solution, and Hello Sleep is a program, which means the reader will have to read the book in its entirety to decide what is helpful for them. Insomnia is a well-covered topic both online and in print. There are over the counter medications, prescription medications, viral TikTok videos, playlists, and apps. Hello Sleep does not replace any of these resources, but it puts them into perspective. From a behavioral science framework, Dr. Wu helps you understand what your relationship to sleep is, and how you improve it.
If you are one of the millions of Americans up at night with insomnia, Hello Sleep could be an indispensable resource for those looking for a bigger picture solution.