How To Get A Good Night’s Sleep?
How to get a good night’s sleep? Recline in bed, pick up a cookery book, read a few pages and voila!, you will sleep like a baby! Really? I kid you not! This has been my go-to sleeping pill this past couple of months. It has been so effective that I can no longer keep it to myself. Judging by the way this year is going I feel I must share it for the benefit of humanity.
Let me start by telling you how I stumbled on this discovery. I occasionally enjoy browsing the Kindle store even if it is a very poor substitute to a real bookshop. I like to check out the Kindle daily deals and books going for 99p. I’m more inclined to take a risk on a book at that price. A couple of months ago, I came across a deal on The Chickpea Book. I was both bemused and amused that an entire book of recipes has been created about chickpeas, described on the cover as “the little superfood”, so I bought it. Later on that day, unable to sleep and delaying doing the night time yoga that would normally help me sleep, I decided to check out my latest book purchase. First of all, I couldn’t believe there were 50 recipes with chickpeas as the main ingredient. You can even make pavlova and chocolate fudge cake from chickpeas! I was so taken by the book that I read a quarter of it and I felt ready to sleep, there was no need for yoga on that night. I went to sleep and I had the best good night’s sleep I had had in days, no weird dreams or waking up in the middle of the night mulling over the imminent end of the world. Woke up feeling like I had spent the majority of time sleeping in the deep NREM stage of the sleep cycle, the most restorative part. I woke up completely refreshed and went the whole day without want of a nap.
Next couple of days that followed I went back to my somewhat disturbed sleep routine. I bought a couple more discount cookery books on Malaysian food and Keto-tarian (Keto and vegetarian combined) food. Again I got to peruse my new books late at night in bed to put off doing yoga. I started with the Keto book and slept blissfully. I put it down to the shock of finding out there is such a thing as Keto-tarian, as if being either on keto or a vegetarian diet wasn’t hard enough. Next night, I read the Malaysian recipe book as my bedtime story. I revelled in the deliciousness of roti canai and beef rendang, and for desert, a deep, deep sweet sleep. I bought more books on baking, Indian and Mexican food, etc. I found myself reading them all at night to the same effect. I noticed that even during the day when I wanted to quiet my mind, dipping into one of these books is effective.
I’ve asked myself why reading cookery books has this effect on me. The only answer I could come up with is that I find reading the mostly short sentences without characters and stories to be meditative. I’ve noticed that when I’m reading them I think of nothing else but what I’m reading. This for me is incredible because not even the practice of meditation that I do every day has managed to get me to completely switch off from thinking about all sorts of stuff.
Here is the irony of reading these cookery books. I can’t actually make the vast majority of these recipes as they contain ingredients that go against my paleolithic diet ( or lifestyle depending on who you are talking to). Nope! No corn or habanero peppers or bean curd or self-rising flour for me! I don’t feel bad because I’ve been ‘paleo’ for years now. I take pleasure in thinking about how I would paleo-fy these recipes if I were to make them. Also, I figure it is good for getting my creative juices flowing.
Since I made this new discovery I have bought nine cookery books (not all at 99p I might add). While I think the type of cookery book is probably irrelevant, I will nevertheless share with you my favorite bedtime reading of the lot. I also want to stress that I don’t know if reading hardcopy cookery books would have the same effect as I haven’t tried it.
The Chickpea Book: before I read this book, I only used chickpeas to make three things: hummus, curry and falafel. After reading this book, I make hummus, curry and falafel with a handful of flat parsley.
The Joy Of Cooking, 9th Edition: At 99p this for me is the bargain of the year! If you haven’t heard of this book, let me tell you, this is the bible of home cooking. Julia Child learnt to cook from this book! For 99p I got zillions of recipes that span from cocktails to sauces to barbecuing. This book is so comprehensive, it has sections on keeping and storing foods and on canning. I loved reading the part on fermentation as I’m partial to store bought sauerkraut and kombucha.
101 Asian Dishes You Need To Cook Before You Die: I feared so much that there could be many dishes that I haven’t cooked yet that I may never get to unless I buy this book that I paid FULL price! Having read the recipes a few times, I feel I may die before I ever try any of them. Unless, of course, I change my current ‘lifestyle’.
Malaysia: Recipes From A Family Kitchen: This book makes up for the huge disappointment of not including a banana fritters (best dessert ever!) recipe with a whisky and green tea recipe!
My Kitchen Table: 100 Essential Curries: This is a perfect example of how you should never judge a book by its title. I’m still trying to figure out what scrambled eggs Indian style or cauliflower soup has to do with curries. I’ve counted about 10 recipes that are actually curries. I think perhaps the author, Madhur Jaffrey, considered by many as the world’s authority on Indian food, is playing with a common misconception that Indian food is just curries.
There you have it, my secret to getting a good night’s sleep! Give it a go. I hope it brings you many good night’s sleep.