The Best Books on Sleep for Adults

We just aren’t getting enough sleep for a variety of different reasons. If you’d like to know why, check out our selection of the best books on sleep for adults.

By Sherly Grassie

As we work more, we place little value on sleep. We have lots of happenings that interfere with getting enough shut eye; in short, we have a problem. Many books now address the topic of sleep: from sleeping pills to sleep patterns, information can be found in a number of really good books.

If you are having difficulty and want to improve the quality of your sleep, if you would like to better understand the science behind sleep, or if you have an interest in the culture and history of sleep itself there is a book for that. If you would like to know more, here are our recommendations for the best books on sleep.


Our Top Picks for the Best Books on Sleep

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The Sleep Solution: Why Your Sleep Is Broken and How to Fix It by W Chris Winter, MD

Dr. Winter does a deep dive into what is causing your sleep problems and what you can do to eliminate them. His goal is to relieve patients of the need for sleeping pills, get rid of pain, and remove the endless fatigue that comes from being sleep deprived. He writes from his own experience with patients.

  • Price: $9.99-$17.31
  • Forms: Kindle, Hardcover, Paperback,
  • Rating: 4.2 out of 5 stars, 107 reviews

Sleep Smarter: 21 Essential Strategies to Sleep Your Way to a Better Body, Better Health, and Bigger Success by Shawn Stevenson 

This book ranks among the highest rated and most reviewed books on sleep. The author, Shawn Stevenson, has undergone a very personal journey of biohacking around sleep and nutrition to transform his body and his life. The book details a 14-day sleep makeover.

  • Price: $9.99-$14.99
  • Forms: MP3 CD, Hardcover, Paperback, Kindle
  • Rating: 4.6 out of 5 stars, 513 reviews

Say Goodnight to Insomnia: The Six-Week Program by Gregg D. Jacobs 

Gregg D. Jacobs profiles this six-week cognitive program that was developed at Harvard Medical School. Considered the gold standard in sleep programs, it boasts an 80% success rate using behavioral techniques and lifestyle changes to relax, de-stress, and think differently about your sleep.

  • Price: $5.74-$24.99
  • Forms: Hardcover, Kindle, Paperback, Audio Book
  • Rating: 4.1 out of 5 stars, 336 reviews

Why We Sleep: Unlocking the Power of Sleep and Dreams by Matthew Walker, Ph.D. 

The highest rated and most reviewed of all the books we looked at, Why We Sleep answers any of the questions you have and all the ones you didn’t know to ask. Director of UC Berkeley’s Sleep Lab, Matthew Walker addresses all the reasons we need to sleep and how sleep affects our bodies with things like immune function, metabolism, and our minds in terms of cognition.

  • Price: $13.20-$28.99
  • Forms: Paperback, Kindle, Hardcover, Audio Book
  • Rating: 4.7 out of 5 stars, 620 reviews

The Promise of Sleep: A Pioneer in Sleep Medicine Explores the Vital Connection Between Health, Happiness, and a Good Night’s Sleep by William C Dement, MD, Ph.D. 

Dr. Dement has written a fact-filled, well researched book on the science behind sleep. Based on decades of studies at the Stanford University Sleep Research Center, he explains what we go through when we sleep and what we go through if we don’t get enough sleep.

  • Price: $9.00-$428.00
  • Forms: Hardcover, Paperback,  Audio Cassette
  • Rating: 4.1 out of 5 stars, 106 reviews

The Sleep Revolution: Transforming Your Life, One Night at a Time by Arianna Huffington 

Arianna Huffington writes about the importance of sleep and how we live in a culture that dismisses that importance. Having grown up in a family that prized sleep, she looks at the big picture of what is happening now. She writes personally and covers history, science, and the change in social norms that has happened and needs to happen.

  • Price: $10.48-$30.82
  • Forms: Hardcover, Paperback, Kindle, Audio Book
  • Rating: 3.6 out of 5 stars, 237 reviews

The Secret Life of Sleep by Kat Duff 

Described as a “dwindling resource,” Kat Duff approaches sleep from a narrative and experiential perspective. How do we, as humans, experience this complex world of sleep? The book is full of important questions and relevant insights.

  • Price: $11.99-$17.98
  • Forms: Kindle, Paperback, Hardcover
  • Rating: 4.4 out of 5 stars, 37 reviews

Why So Much Interest in Sleep?

Sleep habits have changed dramatically over the last half a century resulting in a sleep crisis. Sleep is a natural aspect of our lives that we once took for granted. Now, lack of sleep and problems with sleep are so pervasive they have been declared a public health epidemic.

One in five Americans suffer from insomnia, and 1 in 4 have some type of sleep disorder. One in fourteen have experienced sleep apnea, and according to the American Sleep Association, almost 50% have an issue with snoring that affects quality of sleep. We have turned into a nation, if not a world, of sleep deprived individuals, and our health is suffering. Henry Emmons, MD calls sleep, “the non-negotiable pillar of wellbeing.” If we want to be truly healthy, we have to get enough sleep.

In light of all this, it is easy to see why there is so much interest in sleep.

Types of Books About Sleep

  • Books on Improving Your Sleep: Most people who have an interest in sleep are experiencing some kind of challenge with getting enough sleep or getting good quality sleep. The books in this category address the “how to improve” aspect of sleep with great tips and programs.
  • Books on the Science of Sleep: Sleep is a complicated topic that involves brain chemistry, hormones, and whole body functioning. Enough quality sleep improves health; lack of quality sleep compromises health. In these books, doctors and academics explain in depth the functional science behind sleep.
  • Books on Society and Sleep: When the same thing happens to a large group of people, we look to society, instead of to the individual, to understand the cause. These types of books contextualize sleep in relation to what is happening in our 21 century culture. All the changes that affect sleep: from lack of sunlight, to diet, to screen time, to the way we talk about and think about the need to sleep.

Summary

What better to read at bedtime than a book on sleep? There are lots of options that detail ways to improve sleep, academic works on the science of sleep, and interesting commentaries on why we as a society are experiencing such difficulty with sleep. Pick up one today, and let it help you get a better night’s rest.


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