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Hardcover / ISBN-13: 9781529366471

Price: £16.99

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Sleepless has changed how I feel about sleep . . . I was captivated’ The Times, Book of the Week

‘This book will inspire you to get up, light a candle, and experience your own Night Self’ Financial Times


In the winter of 2020, Annabel Abbs experienced a series of bereavements. As she grieved, she kept busy by day, but at night sleep eluded her. And yet her sleeplessness led to a profound and unexpected discovery: her Night Self.

As the night transformed into a place of creativity and liberation, Annabel found she wasn’t alone. From the radical fifteenth-century philosopher Laura Cereta and subversive artist Louise Bourgeois, to Virginia Woolf and the activist Peace Pilgrim, women have long found sanctuary, inspiration and courage in darkness.

Drawing on the latest science, which shows we are more imaginative, open-minded and reflective at night, Annabel set out to discover the potential of her Night Self. Sleepless follows her journey, from midnight hikes to starlit swims, from Singapore, the brightest city on Earth, to the darkest corner of the Arctic Circle, and finally to that most elusive of places – sleep.

A moving, revelatory voyage into the dark, Sleepless invites us to feel less anxious about our sleep, and to embrace the possibilities of the night.


This book asks one of the most beautiful questions a Big Soul can ask herself: What if our insomnia was a wondrous, life-thriving thing? As a reader, we answer it together with weary but deeply fulfilled relief, yes, yes, it is!
Sarah Wilson, New York Times bestselling author of This One Wild and Precious Life
Transforms the dead of the night into a place alive with feminine creativity, curiosity and self-discovery. You'll find yourself longing for the dark
Tabitha Carvan
A beautiful book that weaves together science, storytelling and self-discovery. Soft, soothing and soulful
Nicola Jane Hobbs, author of The Relaxed Woman
A rich and revelatory exploration of the creative and liberating potential of the night, and a paean to the life-enhancing power of the dark. My newborn Night Self was left longing for more
Sharon Blackie, author of The Enchanted Life
I adore all of Annabel's vibrant and insightful writing, but this walk in the dark was an utter revelation. Beautifully written in engaging first-person narrative, I now have an idea of the beauty of this side of our lives
Kathryn Aalto
Fascinating . . . seeking to avoid what she later comes to value, Annnabel's relationship with the dark shows us the night can become a time of creative potential and healing
Nina Edwards, author of Darkness
This book will inspire you to get up, light a candle, and experience your own Night Self
ERICA WAGNER, Financial Times
Award-winning author Annabel Abbs strikes a contrarian note by daring to extol and even "befriend" the sleep deprivation she experienced after a series of bereavements, seeing it as a pathway to self-discovery.
Reveals a wondrous night world . . . Sleepless is more than an antidote to sleep zealotry; it marks a special place to embrace and enjoy
Abbs strikes a contrarian note by daring to extol and even 'befriend' the sleep deprivation she experienced after a series of bereavements . . . Abbs is right to push back against the current sleep cult, as one thing is clear: anxiety about sleep will only make it more elusive
The beautiful prose in this book is otherworldly and an ode to insomnia . . . Having skilfully merged her research and personal experiences, Abbs takes us on a journey through her own psyche. Not only is this book extremely readable, it is also deeply relatable
The Lady
[Full of] numerous examples of creative women whose greatest, most avant-garde works were conceived and produced at night . . . Abbs urges us to mine our night brains for creative profit . . . to stop catastrophising about how you'll cope the following day
Sunday Times Magazine
Abbs invites the reader to lean right in . . . lyrical prose . . . and extensive research illustrate the value many women have found historically in embracing their Night Selves
Irish Times
I have never read a writer who could turn the lemons of sleep deprivation into the lemonade of creative inspiration quite like Annabel Abbs . . . Weaving history, scientific research on brain chemistry and Abbs's own personal nocturnal explorations, Sleepless is uniquely engaging and hopeful account of a condition that is more typically a truly miserable experience
An absolute gem. One to read and re-read
Charlotte Peacock