Speaking Volumes: Looking for a good night's sleep?

Research shows that continually "burning the midnight oil" is detrimental to our health. Sleep deprivation increases stress and decreases memory, performance and alertness. If left unchecked, it can even contribute to serious medical conditions, such as obesity, heart failure, and stroke.

On the other hand, continual good quality sleep is of great benefit to our health and quality of life. Consistent sleep leads to improved memory, higher performance, healthy weight, lower stress and a longer life.

The Manatee County Public Library System has books and other materials that will help you understand sleep -- its importance and how to get it.

Many suffer from insomnia. There are books in the library that offer natural ways to conquer this sleep disorder. Dr. Dian Buchman's "The Complete Guide to Natural Sleep" de-mystifies the body's sleep process, catalogues the conditions that interfere with sleep, lists positive sleep strategies, and offers sleep remedies that use herbs, physical and mental exercises, and even water.

"Get a Good Night's Sleep" by Dr. Katherine Albert, delves into the sleep disorder of insomnia, helping the sufferer identify possible causes that are specific to him or her. It offers food strategies, natural remedies, and lists the best ways to fall asleep.

Deepak Chopra's "Restful Sleep" offers practical and spiritual approaches to sleep, with help for racing thoughts and restlessness of mind and words of wisdom on the importance of getting in tune with nature's rhythms. The very practical "I Can Make You Sleep" by Paul McKenna is packed with mental exercises and includes a guided hypnosis CD.

The library also has books on other sleep disorders such as snoring, sleep apnea, restless leg syndrome, narcolepsy and more. "The Cleveland Clinic Guide to Sleep Disorders" by Dr. Nancy Foldvary-Schaefer helps the reader learn about different types of sleep disorders, determine if they may have one, and know when to consult a doctor on the matter. Dr. Laurence Smolley's "The Snoring Cure" covers sleep apnea and snoring, with a discussion on natural and surgical ways to conquer the problem.

Finally, "Overcoming Sleep Disorders: a Natural Approach," by Brenda O'Hanlon, is a concise, practical guide on common sleep disorders, including snoring, insomnia, nightmares, apnea, narcolepsy, sleepwalking, teeth-grinding, anxiety, depression and more. O'Hanlon offers 38 steps to get a better night's sleep and information on how to get further help.

Speaking Volumes, written by Manatee County Public Library System staff members, is published each Sunday. Jyna Scheeren is a reference librarian and Program Coordinator in the Manatee County Public Library System.