Welcome to the Pathways to Sleep project. As part of this project, I have identified four components of an individualized strategy for you to achieve successful sleep. I know that this is a big order and that many other people (and many advertisements) are telling you that they can help you achieve successful sleep. Many voices are to be heard because this is a very important domain of health—and for many of us, a good night of sleep is hard to achieve. I can’t personally promise you successful sleep, but I can identify the four components that you need to keep in mind when planning for your own sleep.
Most importantly, I have identified more than 70 pathways to sleep which cluster around these four components. Furthermore, I can provide you with a Pathway to Sleep Inventory that not only lists these pathways, but also tells you something about what experts say about each pathway, how your fellow sleepers judge the efficacy of each pathway, and how much each pathway costs and how accessible is it to you. That is quite a bit of information that you will be able to use in making your own decision about the pathways to follow or at least try out (I am inviting you to become your own personal sleep researcher).
I am offering this inventory and this set of essays because I (and my colleagues) at the Professional School of Psychology and the Institute for Professional Psychological Studies are fully committed to advancing an interdisciplinary field called health psychology—with the study of high quality sleep being a very important domain of health. There are also a couple of reasons why I am personally interested in this topic. Many years ago, when I was a doctoral student at the University of Oregon, I had the opportunity to help set up and work in one of the first dream laboratories in the Unites States.
Working with two young (but soon to be prominent) psychologists, Lou Breger and Les Davidson, I pasted electrodes on the scalp and around the eyes of volunteers (to record EEG patterns and eye movements) and then monitoring the sleep of these volunteers as they fell asleep and later had dreams (which we recorded after waking up the volunteer). This research project produced several books and journal articles and wetted my interest in dreams.