Sleepless: Unleashing the Subversive Power of the Night Self (Hardcover)

Sleepless: Unleashing the Subversive Power of the Night Self By Annabel Abbs-Streets Cover Image
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Description


Why women’s brains work differently at night—and how we can harness that altered state for greater creativity, insight, and courage.

In the winter of 2020, Annabel Abbs-Streets experienced a series of losses: her stepfather, then father, and finally her family’s puppy. Unmoored by grief, she couldn’t sleep. But she discovered something surprising: during her wakeful nights, the darkness became a place of sanctuary, filled with creativity, reflection, and wonder. And once she stopped fighting her insomnia, Annabel tapped into something mysterious and beguiling: her Night Self.

In the tradition of books like Breath and Wintering, Sleepless combines science, historical research, and personal experience to explore the complicated relationship women have with darkness. Her night journeys range from quiet country fields to brightly lit city streets to the darkest reaches of the Arctic Circle. And from women of the past—Lee Krasner, Virginia Woolf, Louise Bourgeois, and dozens more—who opened their minds on sleepless nights, to contemporary women who found a form of healing in darkness. From moth hunters to astronomers, from artists to photographers, Annabel found she wasn’t alone. Cut loose from the anxiety of insomnia, numerous women discovered strength, imagination, and inner knowledge at night. Many also learned to—finally—sleep.

About the Author


Annabel Abbs-Streets is the award-winning author of seven books, most recently Windswept: Walking the Paths of Trailblazing Women (voted a Top Ten 2021 Travel book) and 52 Ways to Walk (an Amazon bestseller). Her work has been translated into thirty languages. She is a Fellow of the Brown Foundation, writes regularly for a wide variety of media, and often appears on radio, TV, and podcasts. She lives in London and Sussex with her family.

Praise For…


“This book asks one of the most beautiful questions a Big Soul can ask herself: What if our insomnia was a wondrous, life-thriving thing? As a reader, we answer it together with weary but deeply fulfilled relief, yes, yes, it is!” Sarah Wilson, author of This One Wild and Precious Life
 
Sleepless is a multi-faceted book: part memoir, part cultural history, part popular science....If you, like me, have berated yourself for your inability to go back to sleep, this book will inspire you to get up, light a candle, and experience your own Night Self.” —Financial Times

“I have never read a writer who could turn the lemons of sleep deprivation into the lemonade of creative inspiration quite like Annabel Abbs-Streets…Weaving history, scientific research on brain chemistry and Abbs-Streets's own personal nocturnal explorations, Sleepless is uniquely engaging and hopeful account of a condition that is more typically a truly miserable experience. And while the author acknowledges that "a good night's sleep is still the most fantastic thing ever," she offers an upside—especially for women—to wakefulness." —Salon

“Annabel Abbs-Streets’ Sleepless doesn’t purport to cure insomnia. Quite the opposite. In it, the author urges us to stop fighting our 3 a.m. wide-awakenings and embrace the moment…The author might not have set out to write a post-pandemic prescriptive, but even with her subtle weaving of scientific data into the narrative, Sleepless is about much more than coping with the loss of slumber. It’s about confronting and working our way through all kinds of loss.” —Washington Independent Review of Books

“An exquisite blend of research, reflection, and whimsy. Sleepless will take you on a journey to know the most creative, present, and liberated parts of yourself, the same parts that awaken at night. In every chapter, Annabel Abbs-Streets convinces us that in our darkness, there is always an offering.” Marisa Franco, author of Platonic: How to Make – and Keep – Friends as an Adult
 
“A book to be read by candlelight, it transforms the dead of the night into a place alive with feminine creativity, curiosity and self-discovery. You’ll find yourself longing for the dark.” —Tabitha Carvan, author of This Is Not a Book About Benedict Cumberbatch: The Joy of Loving Something—Anything—Like Your Life Depends on It
 
“A rich and revelatory exploration of the creative and liberating potential of the night, and a paean to the life-enhancing power of the dark. My newborn Night Self was left longing for more.” —Dr. Sharon Blackie, author of If Women Rose Rooted: A Journey to Authenticity and Belonging

“A beautiful book that weaves together science, storytelling and self-discovery. Soft, soothing and soulful.” —Nicola Jane Hobbs, author of The Relaxed Woman

“It has changed how I feel about sleep….her vivid, rich, poetic exploration of a condition that is so often pathologized is compelling. I was captivated by the night-time world she explores. The book conjures up an ancient realm of black skies with glistening stars, fairytales, and magic. Her descriptions of nature are beautiful and evocative.” —Sunday Times (UK)

“Abbs' exploration of insomnia wins critics' favour.” —The Bookseller, January Book of the Month (UK)
 
“I have never read a writer who could turn the lemons of sleep deprivation into the lemonade of creative inspiration quite like Annabel Abbs-Streets…Weaving history, scientific research on brain chemistry and her own personal nocturnal explorations, Sleepless is uniquely engaging and hopeful… she offers an upside—especially for women—to wakefulness." —Salon (UK)
 
“Abbs’s descriptions of the pleasures of sleeping, waking and walking under the night sky are a tempting reminder of adventure and connection with the wild….This switching between culture and science makes for an easy read [but] where Abbs really succeeds is in subverting narratives about sleep…and in revealing a wondrous night world. Sleepless marks a special place to embrace and enjoy.” —New Scientist (UK)

“Abbs strikes a contrarian note by daring to extol and even ‘befriend’ sleep deprivation…as a pathway to self-discovery.” —The Tablet (UK)

“Abbs’ vivid, rich, poetic exploration of a condition that is so often pathologized is compelling. I was captivated by the night-time world she explores. The book conjures up an ancient realm of black skies with glistening stars, fairy tales and magic. Her descriptions of nature are beautiful and evocative... It has changed how I feel about sleep. I’m writing this at 3am, having woken in the middle of the night. Usually, I would put on a podcast and wait to go back to sleep, but this time I got up. I am curious about my Night Self too.” —The Times Book of the Week (UK)

“This book will inspire you to get up, light a candle, and explore your own Night Self.” —Financial Times (UK)

“Lyrical prose…and extensive research illustrate the value many women have found historically in embracing their Night Selves....Abbs invites the reader to lean right in.” —Irish Times (UK)
 
“Beautiful prose…skilfully merged research and personal experience….extremely readable…deeply relatable.” —The Lady (UK)
Product Details
ISBN: 9780593714157
ISBN-10: 0593714156
Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons
Publication Date: February 13th, 2024
Pages: 272
Language: English