Book Review: Night School by Richard Wiseman

The book Night School by Richard Wiseman

Night School by Richard WisemanThis month’s Business BookCLUB was a bit different: it was the first one of  lockdown, so held on Zoom – giving us an insight into our home life. The book was also a bit different as it was more to do with lifestyle than business life, but as you read the book you will realise the sleep is vital to a good business life too.

For me, there wasn’t much new in the book – I am not a particularly good sleeper, so I have watched programmes and read up about how to get a good night’s sleep. I think I have tried everything in chapter 3 to get a good night’s sleep, particularly actually going to sleep. Interestingly my current best technique combines two of them: 1) thinking of a category (in my case flowers) and coming up with a flower for each letter of the alphabet; and 2) imagening something pleasant and relaxing – by thinking of a flower e.g. b for bluebell I am also thinking about a lovely bluebell wood.

For the others in the group, however, they found plenty that was new. We were all shocked by the fact that “only” having 7 hours of sleep had such an adverse effect on life – leading to reduced reaction time and potential accidents.

We had a general discussion in the group about our own experiences of night terrors, sleep-walking and sleep paralysis. We also talked about dreams. I had started a dream diary as suggested in the book, but with the upheaval of the last couple of weeks have not continued. Since reading the book I have dreamt about Ros, who runs the Business BookCLUB and I also shared some of my recurring dreams about Scotland and houses. Ros said that she rarely remembered her dreams, but re-counted one she has had recently where she had lost her shoes and was walking barefoot. I then consulted my very brief dream diary where I had written down the following: “I was encouraging Ros to walk as her feet were killing her….” We worked out that it might even have been the same night!

The book provided us with a very interesting overview of the scientific studies into sleep and dreaming – although at a very superficial level and certainly provides some useful tips on getting a good night’s sleep. Some of the things I learned from the book: you need at least 7 hours sleep, napping in the afternoon is good for you and your dreams are a way of helping you solve your problems.

We all felt that this was probably quite a good book to have read at this time as “lockdown” may give us the time to look at our sleeping and dreaming patterns and adjust our lifestyle to find out what works best for us. We all get tied into the 9 to 5 working day idea and even as self-employed people it is quite difficult to ignore that structure, with meetings and socialising all conforming to this Northern European norm. Interestingly I feel that I have been sleeping much better since we are all staying at home – so perhaps not rushing around, exercising earlier and eating my evening meal earlier than usual is helping me.

I would recommend this book as an interesting over-view, but I think it provides interesting food for thought, rather than life-changing information.

The next Business BookCLUB is on 29th April and will be on-line – so you can join us from anywhere in the world. I have just received the book for next month and look forward to how it is going to transform me!