A fourth-generation insomniac, Patricia Morrisroe decided that the only way she'd ever conquer her lifelong sleep disorder was by becoming an expert on the subject. So, armed with half a century of personal experience and a journalist's curiosity, she set off to explore one of life's greatest mysteries: sleep. Wide Awake is the eye-opening account of Morrisroe's quest - a compelling memoir that blends science, culture, and business to tell the story of why she - and millions of others - can't sleep at night.
Over the course of three years of research and reporting, Morrisroe talks to sleep doctors, drug makers, psychiatrists, anthropologists, hypnotherapists, 'wake experts', mattress salesmen, a magician, an astronaut, and even a reindeer herder.
A mesmerising mix of personal insight, science and social observation, Wide Awake is for the millions who suffer from sleepless nights and hazy caffeine-filled days. A humorous, thought-provoking and ultimately hopeful book is an essential bedtime companion. It does, however, come with a warning: reading it may promote wakefulness.
Patricia Morrisroe lives and sleeps in New York. She was a contributing editor at New York Magazine for ten years in addition to writing for many publications including Vanity Fair, Vogue, The Sunday Times Magazine, and Travel & Leisure. She is also the author of the photographer Robert Mapplethorpe's biography.
Your essential bedtime story — Mail on Sunday
provocative and witty — Scotland on Sunday
'a curious mixture of memoir, anecdote, popular science and social commentary. . . . [Morrisroe] gives an accelerated social and scientific history of each subject before talking to its practitioners and assessing its effect.' — Times Literary Supplement
A weird, wonderful journey in search of a good night's sleep. — Kirkus
... witty and informative, an absolute must-read for anyone looking to get to the bottom of why Americans spend $20 billion a year trying to get a better night's sleep. Morrisroe's hard-won conclusion might just change your life. — Alexandra Fuller, author of Don't Let's Go to the Dogs Tonight
By writing about sleep Morrisroe tells an important story, providing a sepcific example of a profound social and political question: the relationship between medicine and money. — New York Times Book Review
Cheerfully anecdotal...a journalistic stunt-a-thon full of deadpan funny adventures..a fine firsthand look at insomniac eccentricities. — New York Times
Reading Wide Awake it's clear Morrisroe is well-versed in the scientific background of sleep. She intelligently breaks down jargon-filled research articles found in academic journals to educate readers about various sleep disorders and treatments. — Sleep Education Review/American Academy of Sleep Medicine
Morrisroe's sparkling writing carries her through. That her journey ends happily, with her discovery of Qigong, means readers will be encouraged as well as informed, with as much on overcoming insomnia as avoiding snake-oil salesmen. — Publishers Weekly
As someone who cherishes sleep almost as much as my kids, I found Wide Awake a fascinating romp through all aspects of insomnia. Stumbling onto this underground nation of sleep deprived people was like discovering a whole new sector of the population. I never quite understood the magnitude of the desperation until I read Morrisroe's personal, humorous, and well-researched memoir about the one thing we can never seem to get enough of. — Lee Woodruff, author of In an Instant: A Family's Journey of Love and Healing
Patricia Morrisroe tosses and turns her way through the landscape of insomnia, taking us along on a guided tour so rich in literary allusion, sleep lore, and uniquely personal insight that I stayed up all night reading it. At once poetic, intimate, and surprisingly informative, Wide Awake is a self-portrait of the insomniac as author - a story full of nuance, revelation and surprise that might just as easily be subtitled, Alice's Adventures in Slumberland. As for the title itself - I'm proud to share it! — Alan Berliner, director of the HBO documentary film, Wide Awake