The book Mastering Sleep occupies a slot that triangulates three categories – science, medicine and self-help. This mix of categories is intentional. As we all know despite decades of intensifying advice and warning from physicians and other experts about our diet and exercise we are confronted with the most rapid expansion of the obese and type 2 diabetic populations in recent human history. Why do we find it so difficult to follow well-tested advice from respected sources? Part of the reason is that as rational beings we all seek the reason for whatever we do. We are reluctant to switch to a new behaviour just because someone says so. We want to be told why?
If I had written a book containing all the latest recommendations on how we should modify/adapt/improve our sleep behaviour I can bet most readers would not have been convinced enough to make the effort required to change behaviour. But by telling stories (even science stories) that provide context for the advice, readers can be reasoned into making the effort required to change their behaviour. Knowledge is change!
While speaking recently to senior students at a school in Bengaluru, this is how I characterized my book – a science storybook. I was saying so in the hope that they would all be encouraged to pick up the book and give it a dekko. But I think this positioning is relevant even for adults who need convincing to read the book, and by reading the book I hope they will convince themselves at the deepest level of the need for a change in how they manage their sleep. “Mastering Sleep” is at its heart a Science Story Book.