Despite your best efforts it’s 2am and you’re still awake in bed, tossing and turning, too tired to get up but too awake to fall asleep. You’ve counted the sheep, sipped warm milk, but nothing seems to help.
Author and former Gadgeteer staff writer Cobin Rox might have some words to help you out – 76 pages of them. Words to Sleep By is a unique book and genre. It’s not a “how to sleep” guide, it’s more like a relaxation guide that uses insomnia as its backdrop. Each chapter is only about a page or two consisting of anecdotes, fables, and stream-of-conscious thoughts that are written in such a way that they cleverly relax the reader without that intention being obvious.
The book is meant to be read on a Kindle and a random chapter at a time. Some chapters the author intends for you to read in the cool of winter and some in the dog days of summer, as indicated with a W or S in the titles respectively.
It’s almost eery how effective these chapters are at relaxing the mind. During my very first experience with the book, I selected a random chapter and not even half way through, I felt my eyes drooping. Normally, a reaction like that would probably be anathema to an author, but it’s meant as a compliment to Cobin’s writing style.
The chapters that seemed to work best, for me at least, were those written in the second person, giving the reader visualization cues. One that was particularly effective included a description of being out by the pool on a warm summer day, laying on the concrete that has a baked-in warmth, and letting the sun just envelop your body. The descriptions are just spot-on and every scenario is easily relatable, even if the author is suggesting climbing mountains or running in the early morning. There is always at least a piece of every essay any reader could latch on and relate to.
Although in contrast, there’s one chapter in particular called “Pain” that just doesn’t seem to fit at all with the whole. It’s an entire chapter on just that, pain and its various types, which puzzled me a bit as to why exactly it was included. But other than that and maybe one other exception, the book truly works.
Words to Sleep By has the feel of a constantly-evolving medium, and in the preface, Cobin invites readers to share their own thoughts, journeys, and advice on grabbing a few more hours of that precious sleep. It’s currently in its third edition, and hopefully there will be several more. Words to Sleep By is available through Amazon for $0.99.
You are getting sleepy…veeeeery sleepy…