The Atlanta Lawyer April 2018 - Page 11

BOOK REVIEW Nothing to Lose Sleep Over: A Review of Say Goodnight to Insomnia by Gregg D. Jacobs Lisa K. Liang State Court of Fulton County, Hon. Susan Edlein lisa.liang@fultoncountyga.gov A 2014 study 1 found that home health aides and attorneys have the distinction of being the most sleep-deprived occupations. We are familiar with the significant and disproportionate rate of de- pression, anxiety, addictions, and stress-related disorders that affect nearly 20% of our colleagues 2 . Part and parcel of those disorders is insomnia. And whether insomnia precedes those conditions or is symptomatic of such depends on the individual. For me, insomnia is an old familiar haunt that has varied in its lengths and depths of stay. I have cycled through giv- ing in and staring frustrated into the night, using prescription or over-the-counter medications, being over-caffeinated, and vac- illating between sleep depriva- tion and oversleeping. Finally, my physician recommended I see a sleep therapist. After scoffing at the suggestion, I picked up a few self-study DIY books on insom- nia. By far, the one that worked best for me was Say Goodnight to Insomnia by Gregg Jacobs. It is a six-week program. While many of the progressions of the program seemed too simplistic and yet burdensome at the same time (e.g. journaling) and a little too ¬airy-fairy-new-age-y even for me, I committed to the process and around week 4 started to see some changes (even while failing to follow the weeks perfectly and skimming through some of the more long-winded and repetitive sections). The program goes beyond imple- menting the sleep hygiene mea- sures that we know: limiting blue light/screen time for a few hours before bed, moving your body, eating healthy, using relaxation techniques, reducing stress, or try- ing meditation. There were three main tenets to the program: (1) triggering the relaxation response; (2) sleep restriction/restructuring; and, (3) cognitive-based therapy (CBT) skills. Inducing the relax- ation responses was a difficult process for me–trying to quiet the deadlines, clients, opposing counsel, dueling case law, and my own perfectionism in my mind. The book provides concrete struc- ture and many experiences to try; I hope you’re able to find some- things you buy into that work for you. if I’m awake in the middle of the night now, I can fall back asleep in 15 minutes versus hours. Finally, the most nebulous yet most helpful part was the CBT module which helped to reduce my frustration, anxiety, and catastrophizing over insomnia and sleeplessness. It helped me to change what the author calls "negative sleep thoughts" of head- ing to bed or waking up with pure panic and dread: I’ll never get back to sleep, I’ll only get three hours of sleep and just be miserable tomor- row, and I’ll never get anything done. I gained sleep confidence and more hours of uninterrupted sleep. While certainly this book won’t work for everyone, there are some concrete more-than-lip-service techniques that hopefully will help have less to lose sleep over. Sweet dreams, lawyers! ▪ 1 www.today.com/money/health- aides-lawyers-are-most-sleep-de- Next was sleep restriction, which was horrible at first, but eventu- ally helped me from waking in the middle of the ni