There are two ways people handle not being able to sleep––lie in bed staring up at your dark ceiling in an attempt to Pavlov your body into unconsciousness, or accept your fate and scroll through your phone in the hopes that its light will burn out your retinas. Maybe that second one’s just me. But we’ve all had our fair share of sleepless nights. This list ranges from the day-to-day experience of insomnia to imagined countries where no one can sleep, and from garden-variety sleeplessness to the world of dreams or sleep walking. Will these books cure you of insomnia? No. But they will distract you from something even worse: late night existential dread.
Insomnia by Marina Benjamin
More than a third of all adults experience insomnia and the number rises in those over sixty-five. Marina Benjamin writes on her personal experience with the condition and adds new dimensions to both our understanding of sleep, the night, and how we perceive darkness. In her usage of literature, art, philosophy, psychology, pop culture, and more, Benjamin pays close attention in her musings to the relationship between women and sleep detailed throughout history.
Sleep Donation by Karen Russell
Russell’s novella imagines a near future where hundreds of thousands of Americans have lost the ability to sleep. Trish Edgewater recruits for the non-profit Slumber Corp, which connects sleep donors to the needy afflicted. However, the discovery of the first universal donor, Baby A, lands Trish in a moral dilemma as the disease takes a terrifying turn and she discovers the secrets her employers have been keeping.