My new project is a book of short stories called Stories for Getting Back to Sleep. I started this project after my own sleep disturbances a few years ago. Since then getting enough sleep has become the focus of extensive research and concern. Arianna Huffington’s new book The Sleep Revolution makes the case that we have a national sleep crisis.
My work started by simply noticing what affected my ability to fall asleep when I was reading novels. Have you ever noticed that when you read a passage in a novel that refers to conditions that make the character drowsy, you as a reader get drowsy? Yet those passages are not usually extended. I thought to myself, "What might happen if an entire chapter was devoted to making the reader drowsy?" I decided to try my hand at such stories, both to help myself fall asleep but also help others who struggle with drifting off.
The stories in this collection include many strategies that researchers have recommended for falling asleep—relaxing the body and mind, imagining scenes far away from the real world and its worries. Each story is introduced with a brief overview, explaining how the story works to ease the reader into or back to sleep. Ideally, readers become so familiar with the sequence of the story that they can re-imagine it without reading through it again. That way, one doesn’t need to turn on the light and read because one has the story already in mind.
For a sample sleep story from the book, you can read "At The Beach".