Northampton author takes holistic approach to good sleep

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For The Recorder
Wednesday, February 07, 2018


by Tzivia Gover

Storey Publishing


It’s no secret that many Americans — many people across the western world, in fact — have trouble sleeping. As just one example, a survey by Consumer Reports last year found 27 percent of U.S. adults had trouble falling asleep or staying asleep most nights, while 68 percent had problems at least once a week, contributing to an array of problems such as obesity, depression and poor work performance.

And, the magazine reported, Americans are spending over $42 billion annually for sleep aids, from medication to white-noise machines to sleeping coaches — often with indifferent results.

Northampton writer Tzivia Gover suggests there’s another way to get some shut-eye. From doing simple yoga exercises, short meditations, and keeping a journal about your dreams, Gover offers what she calls a holistic approach for making the night a truly restful time.

Gover, a former journalist and teacher, now works as a dream therapist. In her new book, “The Mindful Way to a Good Night’s Sleep,” she says sleeping well is closely connected to our waking lives and needs to be treated as such: “Sleep, dreams and waking [are] a continuous process, in which each state of consciousness flows naturally into the next.”

She offers plenty of practical steps for spending time before getting ready for bed: light stretching, reading something pleasurable (no crime novels or thrillers), avoiding eating, and keeping electronic devices far away.

There are also several chapters dedicated to recording your dreams, even in the middle of the night when you wake up from one. As Gover sees it, looking seriously at your dreams can help you become aware of unresolved issues that may be affecting your waking life, which in turn can cause you to lose sleep.

“As in mindfulness meditation, the act of turning toward dreams with curiosity and an attitude of openness helps us become self-aware and awake in daily life,” she writes. “As a result, we can reflect on — rather than react to — situations and events, and experience greater mental flexibility and more equanimity.”