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Dr. Manvir Bhatia, editor. Penguin Randomhouse: India. 212016. 224. Rs. 299/-.
In this information age, doctors, patients and lay public all have unlimited access to data; most of it unauthenticated. Therein lies the role of the expert; to provide the correct information in a language understandable to the target reader. In a world that is said to be moving towards a sleep deprivation crisis, what will be more useful than a wake-up call to “go to bed”.
When it comes to sleep medicine in India, Dr. Manvir Bhatia's is among the first names to strike anyone. Having devoted a great part of her professional life in understanding, practicing, propagating and teaching sleep medicine, Dr. Bhatia's book is aimed to “fill in the knowledge gaps …” and to be “used as a tool to help people live healthier happier and more productive lives”. She has without question met this goal by bringing out a remarkably broad yet concise and easy-to-understand book on sleep medicine for the lay reader.
To a society that is increasingly glorifying its 24 × 7 functioning and consists of professionals who take great pride in offering round-the-clock availability, Dr. Bhatia lays down the myriad benefits of a good restful sleep. Mostly backed by evidence and studies rather than opinions alone, she walks the reader through the garden of physical, psychological and spiritual well-being that is associated with a good sleep.
The book has been presented in a simplified easy-to-understand format taking care to avoid medical jargon. It comprehensively covers the scientific and practical aspects of sleep. In the first part, the author builds up for the reader a basic understanding of sleep. She follows it up with the relation of sleep to various aspects of living; health, beauty and Food. While discussing various sleep disorders in the third part, she takes care to provide the reader with a glimpse of various sleep related symptoms, a detail account of non-pharmacologic behavioral interventions but only a general outline of pharmacologic intervention lest the readers be tempted towards self-medication. The fourth part reiterates the behavioral modification for sleep problems and provides guidelines for maintenance of “sleep hygiene”.
There is an instance where the author has chosen to quote film stars for relation between skin beauty and sleep. This does strike a discordant note since the rest of the book is mainly evidence based rather than opinion based.
In conclusion, this text provides an excellent overview of sleep medicine to a lay person, emphasizing the need for a healthy sleep and the simple ways to achieve it.