Lots and lots of places to pre-order. PLEASE DO! #InsomniaDiaries
Quite a week, this one. I have’t been out for a year – and then I spend four days in a studio.
Three days were recording my audiobook, and yesterday was a photoshoot to accompany my article/ extract which will run in the Telegraph Saturday Magazine.
Piece is out in 29th May issue: book is out on 10th June.
Get them before they go!
There were three main things that helped me come out of my eight-and-a-half-year Insomnia Crash.
If I had to name a ‘product’, it would be a weighted blanket. I had a fantastic winter one from @melacomfort. And the lovely people there have just sent me their newest summer model. Look how silky it is!
For the other two things that really helped… well, you’ll just have to buy the book when it’s out on 10th June (pre-order it now, to have it fresh on your doorstep – or in your ears). 🙂
Thanks to lovely producer Lydia Thompson at Strathmore Publishing.
I started recording my audiobook today!
Sore throat, but very happy.
The Insomnia Diaries: How I Learned to Sleep Again, is out on June 10th and available for pre-order here: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Insomnia-Diaries-Miranda-Levy/dp/1783254181, and here https://www.waterstones.com/book/the-insomnia-diaries/miranda-levy/9781783254187 – and other places!
The last time my publisher looked, I think I had sold 19 copies, so please try and make me feel better.
I’ve got lots of lovely publicity coming up, including the Telegraph Magazine, GLAMOUR, Readers’ Digest, The Lady (really!), the Stylist literary festival and another one, a few podcasts, Fisherman’s Blues on talkSPORT (don’t ask)….
Ps) I’ve now joined the Instagram generation @mirandalevyinsta, God help us all.
Here is a piece I wrote today on a year of Covid-19: having it, writing about it for a living, and helping to kick it the f*ck out of town.
YOU CAN ACCESS ALL THE PAYWALLED DAILY TELEGRAPH LINKS FOR FREE TIL 8AM ON 24TH MARCH.
RECOMMEND! Not just for my bits and pieces.
Eighteen months ago, I started a little blog, here. It became an online column for the Daily Telegraph: now it’s a Proper, Grown Up, Actual book.
Sadly, they still have to print it, design it and send it out to the shops and warehouses etc, so it won’t be out til 3rd June. But here’s what lovely Octopus Books had to say this morning.
You can pre-order here!
Aster acquires insomnia memoir by journalist Miranda Levy
Aster (part of Octopus Publishing Group) has acquired The Insomnia Diaries: How I Learned to Sleep Again by journalist Miranda Levy. Stephanie Jackson, Octopus Books publishing director, acquired UK Commonwealth excluding Canada from Charlotte Seymour at Andrew Nurnberg Associates. The book will be published on 3 June 2021 at £9.99.
After a single, catastrophic event, journalist Miranda Levy had one sleepless night, then another, and then another. She sought help from anyone she could: doctors, an acupuncturist, a reiki practitioner, a hypnotist, a therapist, a personal trainer – but nothing seemed to work.
Sleep, wellbeing and mental health are intrinsically linked. Yet sleeplessness is surprisingly common: 16 million of us suffer from insomnia, and the sleep industry is worth £100 billion (Daily Mail). Insomnia affects about a third of adults at least once a week (National Institute for Health and Care Excellence). Lack of sleep costs the UK economy £40 billion each year (Rand Corporation). And rates of sleep disturbance have skyrocketed during the
pandemic – with worry-related sleep loss rising by 34% overall, and more than doubling in some groups (Public Health England – Every Mind Matters).
In The Insomnia Diaries, Miranda Levy tells the story of her experience of severe, crippling insomnia that affected every aspect of her life for years, and how she ultimately recovered. Part memoir, part reportage, this book will help anyone who struggles to get a good night’s sleep – whether occasionally or all of the time – appreciate the issues and understand the options as they find their best way to get the rest they need.
Dr Sophie Bostock, scientist, sleep expert and member of the team who developed the award- winning digital programme Sleepio, contributes a foreword. She and a host of expert contributors have advised on the medical elements within the text throughout.
Miranda Levy commented; ‘Insomnia – or even a few nights’ missed sleep – can be incredibly debilitating. It’s also the loneliest condition one can imagine. I hope this book can be of solace and support when it’s just you, at 3.52, and only the numbers on your alarm clock for company.’
Publishing Director Stephanie Jackson said of the acquisition: ‘Who among us – especially these days – hasn’t encountered a sleepless night or two? Add the daily grind, parenthood (perhaps) or the challenges of midlife, and the notion of refreshing nights of deep sleep on the regular might feel out of reach. What Miranda Levy’s extraordinary story shows us is the extremes it’s possible to reach, the potential impact on every aspect of life and why it’s incredibly important to seek help when normal function is interrupted.
Shocking – yet warm, relatable and optimistic too, The Insomnia Diaries will resonate with anyone who’s ever struggled to sleep.’
The Insomnia Diaries by Miranda Levy will be published by Aster on the 3rd of June 2021 at
health – for titles including the Telegraph platforms, the Mail on Sunday and the i. Miranda hascontributed to the Spectator, the Jewish Chronicle
What started as a one-off article, then a blog, then an online newspaper column has become an Actual Book. Yes sirree.
Last night I hefted off SIXTY THOUSAND WORDS off to my editor. For reasons around sales and marketing, I’m not ‘allowed’ to say what it’s called, or who is publishing it (though Google could possibly be your friend here).
Anyway. It’s out on June 3rd 2021, and I’m going for a lie-down.
Thanks for all your support!
First it was fear about a brand new lethal virus. Six months later, it’s concerns about a ‘second wave’, which will probably hit us in some form this winter.
But equally worrying – if not more so – is the economic uncertainty many of us now face, as we lose our jobs, our businesses struggle, or our freelance work dries up.
Therefore, it is not surprising that ‘mental health conditions’ have skyrocketed since March 2020. Earlier this week, the Office for National statistics said that incidences of depression had doubled, from one in ten people showing signs of it, to one in five.
All of which begs some questions. Is it really surprising that people are more stressed – or more sad – during a period in which their parents are at risk of dying, and they are about to lose their jobs? That they are nervous of getting on public transport because that hand-rail might be covered in coronaviruses? That all those masked-up faces make us feel jittery and uncomfortable?
I’d say this is pretty normal, and pretty understandable. So why then are we having all these medical diagnoses slapped on us?
Prescriptions of antidepressants have gone up by at least 15 per cent, and anti-anxiety prescriptions by a third.
Earlier this summer, I interviewed a psychologist about all this. ’There is no pill for grief or loneliness’, he said.
But, go to your GP complaining of low mood, or anxiety, and the chances are they will whip out their little green prescription pad.
Now, some people don’t mind taking tablets. They are lucky in that medications make them feel better, they simply finish the packet, and carry on with their lives. But many others do not have this experience.
Some find that even while taking psychotropic medications, they feel groggy, tearful, emotionally numb, fat. Suicidal, even.
So they try to stop.
And they find they can’t. The withdrawal symptoms are so severe.
From 2010 to 2019, I suffered with terrible insomnia triggered by the end of my marriage. But after my heartache had faded, my sleeplessness continued, taking on a life of its own.
I went to the doctor, and was put on a Psychiatric Safari, as consultants threw pill after pill at my condition.
Most of them made me feel worse. Valium, in particular, was a horror. But most people know about Valium.
So when, in 2016, I was offered a newish medication called Pregabalin – my doctor told me he would treat my ‘anxiety’ with no side-effects whatsoever – I thought I would give it a shot.
Four years later, I am well and happy (no thanks to the drugs). I am sleeping again. How I got ‘better’ is a long story, to be told elsewhere. But I am still trying to get off the pregabalin. The withdrawals are pretty bad.
Here’s my story about it in today’s Mail on Sunday.
I’m a chronic insomniac – but unlike others, I’m sleeping just fine through coronavirus
After years of anxiety-related sleep problems, our writer learned the power of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy – and you can tooByMiranda Levy5 April 2020 • 4:00pmPremium
For several years I suffered from insomnia so severe, it derailed my career, sent me spiralling into depression, and separated me from family and friends. Time healed me: I’ve been okay for a year now. So, on 24 March, when Boris made that solemn red-eyed speech announcing ‘lockdown’, I went cold all over. Yup, the Covid situation was serious now. But my immediate selfish thought was: I do not want to go ‘back there’ again.
My last bout of sleeplessness was triggered by a domestic crisis – the end of my marriage – so what chance would I have with a world calamity? But you know what? Despite the odd anxiety spike, I am doing okay. Most importantly, I’m sleeping just fine, which for me is a solid six hours.
At the worst point of my insomnia, nothing seemed to help – but when I was well enough to seek more psychological advice, I took it. And the key to this was Cognitive Behavioural Therapy for insomnia – or CBTi. According to the prestigious US Mayo clinic: “Cognitive behavioural therapy for insomnia is a structured program that helps you identify and replace thoughts and behaviours that cause or worsen sleep problems with habits that promote sound sleep.”
Sophie Bostock has a PhD in behavioural psychology and is a self-described ‘sleep evangelist’. She is a firm believer in the benefits of CBTi. “CBTi aims to give you a set of ‘tools’ with which to tackle your sleep problem. One set are physical (behavioural), and the other set psychological (cognitive).”
My most important ‘take away’ from CBTi is how your daylight hours set you up for the night. A routine gives you structure and purpose. As a self-employed writer, I’ve had practice at this, but in Corona-times I’m trying to stick to it more than ever. Broadly speaking: I wake up to the Today programme, look at social media, have a bath, do some work, eat meals at regular times, and make sure I do my allowed ‘one a day’ exercise: a 20-minute walk at least around some local fields. “Fresh air is really important,” says Bostock. “Because we have less exposure to light this time of year, we have a shorter ‘photo period’. Our circadian rhythm is affected and our body clock doesn’t wake up properly. This means we are less likely to sleep well the following night.”
Late afternoon, I start my evening routine. “Think back to when you were a child or had a baby of your own,” says Deborah Forsythe, a consultant who runs clinics advising menopausal women. “The routine was early tea, slow play, a bath, hot drink, and bedtime story. Adults needs their own version.” Mine includes a glass of wine, some TV, and social media or phone chats, a second warm bath with Epsom salts and a scented candle and NO NEWS AT TEN. “Upsetting news fires up anxiety and puts us into a hyper-vigilant state – the opposite of what we need to sleep,`’ says Bostock. The latest I will go is the Six O’Clock news, but I’m starting to avoid that as well.
CBT therapists encourage their clients to go to bed only when they are sleepy, advice I keenly follow. Bostock talks about the ‘quarter hour rule’ where, if you are in bed for 15 minutes and still wide awake or feeling anxious, you should get up, stop stewing and go and read a book (TV is not recommended because the ‘blue light’ it emits affects the hormones in your brain that promote sleep).
I have also started practising ‘sleep contraction’, which, despite its name, is not to restrict the amount of time spent asleep, but the time in bed doing other things which can interfere. So, I go to bed at around midnight and awake naturally at about 6am. I wake up at least once during the night and check my phone – bad! – but am fortunate enough to drop off back to sleep.
Things aren’t perfect – on ‘just’ six hours I am often tired – but compared with 18 months ago, it’s a revelation. One which means that, come the morning, I can thanks the Gods of Sleep. And, instead of cursing the sun, I salute it.
Miranda Levy is a columnist who wrote The Insomnia Diaries about her battle with insomnia. You can read them here.