3 Books To Check Out

Hi everyone,

As some of you may know, I have started to become a more frequent reader this year. Since January, I have completed 14 books, which is unheard of for me (I think on average, I read half a book a year in my twenties). It won’t shock you to hear that reading is a great exercise for you. It benefits not only your mind but your body as well. The act of reading can help calm your mind. This is because you have to focus on what you are doing and actively process the information you are decoding. So it is a great way to both start your day and end your night.

These are three of the books I am currently reading that are helping me to expand my perspective:

Why We Sleep: Unlocking the Power of Sleep and Dreams by Matthew Walker

This is a great book that explains the science behind sleep in a way that is easily approachable. We live in a society that is constant and full of stress. For many of us, we have to intentionally add “down time” to our lives be it meditation, exercise or reducing our screen time. One of the best ways to reduce stress is to get a good night of sleep. This book goes on to provide why sleep is so important and why many of us should consider rekindling our relationship with the most ancient form of self-care. I highly recommend giving this book a read, it makes for excellent night time reading.

The Choice: Embrace the Possible by Dr. Edith Eva Eger

When I was in university, I read a book that changed my life. It was called Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl. The book details the true story of a survivor who was imprisoned in the brutal concentration camps of Auschwitz during the Holocaust. One thing that is so incredible about this book is how the author describes his mentality behind his survival, he simply never gave up believing in a higher purpose, a deeper meaning. In Dr. Eger’s memoir, she provides a similar account of not only how she survived but why she survived. She also describes her life after surviving the camps and her process of healing. While reading this book, I could not help but draw connections to the late Frankl’s life affirming work (these connections are also mentioned throughout the book). While her experiences are unimaginable, she illustrates them in such a way that we can see ourselves in her, reminding us that no matter how difficult life is (or seems), we always have the power to choose how we see things. If we choose to feel powerless over our life’s circumstances, we will remain powerless; if we choose to heal ourselves and accept responsibility for our wellness, we will live our most full life.

Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race by Reni Eddo-Lodge

Contrary to what the title may suggest, this is a book that is very insightful to the aforementioned race mentioned. Yes, white people. If you have questions about what is going on (or if you have opinions about what is going on) in terms of race relations, then I highly encourage you to give this a read. While Eddo-Lodge is British and focuses on race relations within the UK, these are but examples to a larger narrative. She explains things like White Privilege, Anti-Racism, Educational Reform and the importance of talking about race in ways that challenge the post-colonial narrative. It is not about shaming you if you are white for being white, but about rethinking how the various systems of society (political and otherwise) have constructed asymmetrical opportunities based on race. The conversation around race is a difficult one and may even make you feel uncomfortable (it probably should); however, it is one that we need to be having.

Take A Nap

No seriously. Take a nap. It is good for you.

Lately I have started reading up on the circadian rhythm which is the cycle our bodies go through during the day. This also explains what times we feel sleepy and when we should be sleeping. Have you ever noticed about midday, usually after lunch that you start to feel a little drowsy? That is connected to the circadian rhythm and is suggesting to your body that you need a rest. The problem is that our industrious society and culture doesn’t like to take breaks. Many of us Nine-to-Fivers are left to “power through” these energy doldrums and not take the rest that we need.

Showing great Cat Nap form! Photo by Mike on Pexels.com

In the book Why We Sleep by Matthew Walker, he talks about monophasic (one concentrated bout of rest) and biphasic (a large rest with a small rest in the middle of the day) sleeping structures. He mentions how many human cultures engaged in biphasic sleep structures including the west until the early modern period (16th century onwards). Now in our industrialized societies that are constantly left alert and awake by technology, we struggle to get one good night of sleep let alone a midday rest. We need to correct this. Our very health depends on it!

As a new parent, I am quickly understanding why my father was always caught napping on the couch. He was likely exhausted by antics (I was a busy kid). I say this because I am often exhausted and my daughter isn’t even ten months old yet. Therefore, it really helps to boost my energy and my mood when I have a quick thirty minute nap. Not only do I feel refreshed but I feel happier. Sleep and hunger have a stronger connection to our well-being than we oft give credit (you’ve heard of hangry to denote someone who is irritable due to hunger, well how about tangry for tired and angry?). In our very busy lives, we need more quality rest. I believe that naps will help with this.

In conclusion, this article serves as a quick public service announcement to bring back the siesta! Doesn’t have to be long either, in fact thirty minutes is optimal (having more than this could affect the quality of your night time sleep). Not only will you feel the immediate health benefits of an improved mood and feeling refreshed but it can also help in reducing the risk of heart disease and premature death.[1] This is because sleep is the bodies way of repairing itself. So take my word for it, instead of having an afternoon latte to jolt you back up- try looking for a place to take a snooze.

Thanks for reading!

R.G.


[1] Based on a study done at Harvard University on communities that take afternoon naps versus ones that do not. Of the volunteers, those that participated in not taking naps were 37 percent more likely to develop heart disease and die than those that had naps. These numbers were even higher in individuals in labour intensive occupations. Matthew Walker, Why We Sleep, Pg.71.