Monday, March 3, 2008

Writing a Book About Sleep

For years Robert has hesitated to tell people (especially on airplanes) what business he's in. He always said that when you told somebody you worked in a sleep lab, they wanted to talk in grand detail about sleep. They asked lots of questions ... about their own sleep, their kids', their spouse's. They wanted interpretations of their dreams and especially enjoyed discussing snoring and insomnia.

Since we've been working on our book, I've learned that he is right. (Don't all husbands want to hear their wives say that about something? At least once?) Whenever we mention that we're writing a book about couples sleeping together, whoever we're chatting with starts talking, and asking questions, and telling us about their time in bed. We've heard about the usual problems -- especially snoring. (Do you snorers have any idea how miserable you can make your spouse's night?) We've also heard about unique issues -- terrifying hallucinations of spiders before going to sleep, the feeling of being paralyzed upon awakening, and spouses who freak out when being touched during sleep. We've heard a lot about insomnia and fatigue.

We are thoroughly enjoying talking with people. And we want to talk to more folks. We've heard from some of you on our Pillow Talk blog at the National Sleep Foundation's website - (a great website, by the way) - and we'd love to hear from you on this blog. This is your chance to share your stories, complaints, and thoughts. To ask questions and raise issues. We'll do our best to search out answers.

Sleep is something we all do, yet it still holds an air of mystery. Scientists are just cracking the code on what makes us tick when we sleep. Join in the conversation and let's figure out how to make those eight hours in bed even better than they are.


Devon said...

I did a summer internship in sleep research and boy did I find this to be true too. People are interested in sleep, but I also find it to be somewhat neglected. I think sleep exists in this strange mental state in people's minds as being something almost completely unimportant and dull, and then when something interesting happens in connection to sleep it's unbelievable. What I learned at this internship though, it that it's a lot more complicated than that.

Lisa Ray Turner & Robert Turner said...

You're right, Devon. Sleep is incredibly complex. Most people think when you go to sleep, you brain turns off, but in truth, your brain is more electronically active than it is at other times. That's why it's so important to get good sleep. And that can be hard to do when there's another person, animal, or whatever in bed with you!

Richard said...

When you consider how many years of our lives we spend in bed - sleeping or trying to sleep - it is amazing how little we know about it.

Your book will address an issue that is relevant to all couples. We look forward to seeing it in print. Thanks for your efforts, and may they be tremendously successful.

Lisa Ray Turner & Robert Turner said...

Thanks, Richard. You're correct that we're pretty clueless about sleep, yet it has a huge impact on our awake hours. Not to mention on our relationships and our health.

Ted Zeppelin said...

Sleep never was a problem for me until I reached my late 40s. I don't have a problem getting to sleep, but invariably wake up a couple hours later. I usually lie awake 2 hours in a given night.

I think it's part of growning older. I find warm milk works as well as anything. But nothing works great!

Lisa Ray Turner & Robert Turner said...

Sounds frustrating Ted. Insomnia can increase with age but it isn't a requirement! Glad that warm milk helps. You might want to consider seeing a sleep specialist for it. Insomnia responds quite well to Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBTi). Check either the NSF website ( or the AASM website ( for listings of local sleep centers. One of those will likely have someone who works with insomnia or can refer you to someone.
If it's not too bad, then just keep doing those things that you are doing.