The Awesome Power of Sleep by Nicola Morgan

The Awesome Power of Sleep – at a glance

The School Reading Lists’ five word review: Authoritative, accessible, organised, logical & fascinating.
YA book title: The Awesome Power of Sleep: How Sleep Supercharges Your Teenage Brain.
YA author: Nicola Morgan.
Genre: Non-fiction for teenagers.
Published by: Walker Books.
Recommended for children aged: 11-18.
ISBN: 9781406395402
First published: Paperback January 2021.
This YA book is ideal for: Key Stage 3, Key Stage 4, home-schooling parents and secondary teachers of PSHE.

The Awesome Power of Sleep by Nicola Morgan

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Our review:

To sleep: perchance to dream

– Hamlet, William Shakespeare, 1600

We will always follow the Science

– Boris Johnson, 2020

Shakespeare, as always, hits the mark and he refers to the importance of sleep and dreams in many of his plays and poems. Throughout 2020 politicians stressed the importance of “following the science” as they attempted to cope with the perils of a global pandemic.

Nicola Morgan is an expert on teenage wellbeing and has written books on The Amazing Teenage Brain, A Teenager’s Life online, A Teenager’s Guide to Friends and Teenage Stress and this, her latest excellent book, succeeds in giving teenagers practical advice on how to get a great night’s sleep.

Her advice is based upon the latest science and her formidable knowledge and understanding of what makes for a healthy and balanced teenager. She writes from the teenager’s perspective and engages in a straightforward and down to earth way. Her analysis and guidance is full of common sense and is never preachy in tone.

A great deal of information is packed into 190 pages and it is all organised logically. It starts with an introduction outlining the author’s approach to the importance of sleep and how poor sleep can be a major problem for teenagers. Then we learn about You and Sleep, Sleep Science, the Sleeping Brain, Sleep and the Teenage Brain, Learning and Exams, Sleep problems and disorders, Dreaming, How to sleep easily and Super Sleep Strategies.

Early on Nicola Morgan explains her reason for writing the book: “To arm you with strategies for a life of the best sleep you can get and to help you not to worry when you can’t.” This second point is emphasised throughout the book – don’t worry if you don’t conform to the models, tendencies and patterns described – “remember instead that every human is an individual, not just in biology but also in habit and lifestyle”. The style is authoritative but always accessible and chapter two – Introducing Sleep Science – is typical of how she presents her material.

  • What is sleep for? – Learning and memory, emotional health, physical health.
  • Housekeeping in your brain – functions of sleep, reassurances – don’t worry!
  • How much sleep do we need? – can some people really manage on very little sleep? Power naps, sleep pressure, body clocks, larks and owls quiz.

The Awesome Power of Sleep postcard

All of this is supplemented with supercharged sleep facts, which help to present the science in an entertaining way. The larks and owls quiz is great fun and may be applied to many areas of everyday life. I came out as an ‘early morning is best’ lark, but I gained useful insights into what it must be like to be a ‘don’t you dare talk to me before 11 am’ owl!

Finally, we have quiz answers, a glossary of terms, additional resources and endnotes with links to many additional sources of information.
The book is written for teenagers but is really for anyone who has a vested interest in understanding the teenage mind and everyone else who wants to know more about the mystery of what is actually happening to us for about one-third of our lives.

In particular, this book is a useful resource for secondary PSHE teachers and parents overseeing home learning with teenagers. Nicola Morgan has a wealth of additional resources, videos and teaching materials to accompany the book on her website.

I loved learning from this great value book. It’s full of fascinating facts and hugely enjoyable to read.

Let the final words belong to the Dalai Lama :

Sleep is the best meditation.

Many thanks to Walker Books for the review copy.

If you like The Awesome Power of Sleep by Nicola Morgan you might also like: our list of online courses and hole learning for children and teens, our list of magazines for teenagers, our list of GCSE English revision guides, Britannica’s All-New Encyclopedia by Christopher Lloyd and Happy Healthy Minds by the School of Life.

Browse more books for KS2 or magazines for children?

About Patrick Sanders

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Patrick is a former secondary English teacher and headteacher with over 35 years of experience. He is a husband, father and grandfather. Reviews by Patrick Sanders