Image credit: Beads by Albert Joseph Moore, Henry Nicholls

Sleepyhead was never meant to be a self-help book. I certainly never imagined it would help me as it has done.

When I first began to think about this project, I considered writing a book solely about narcolepsy, a seriously disabling neurological condition that I have lived with now for more than half my life. My agent and publisher encouraged me to write a bigger book, one that covered the whole of sleep and many sleep disorders. I understood their thinking. The bigger, broader book might have bigger, broader appeal. It’s probably safe to say that nobody was thinking that embarking on a more wide-ranging project would improve my sleep. But it has – immeasurably.

By surveying a wide range of sleep pathologies, I have come to see narcolepsy in a very different light, not as an isolated sleep disorder but one with real and important connections to just about every other sleep problem out there. As I’ve learned about bad sleep in all its many forms, so I’ve come to appreciate what good sleep means and how to achieve it. This revelation, I believe, has important implications, not just for those with narcolepsy but for everyone who wants to improve their relationship with sleep.

At one level, this book should appeal to all those in search of a greater understanding of the narcoleptic condition. But there is also plenty here for those with other forms of sleep disorder, including circadian sleep disorders, sleep apnea, parasomnias and insomnias. In fact, this book is really for anyone who wants to know more about sleep and why it’s so very important.

Sleepyhead was published in the UK on 1 March 2018 (#WorldBookDay) and is coming to the US in the fall. There will also be foreign-language translations, including (to date) Spanish, Italian, Polish and Taiwanese.