My favorite healthcare books and gifts for 2016

I’m spending the day online getting some gift shopping done, and I thought I’d post about some of the healthcare books and gifts I’m buying for friends and family this year.

I use Amazon a lot (Prime, so I get free 2-day shipping), and I have to include a disclosure here that the following links will take you to my Amazon Associates page. That said, I’m not trying to make any money with my blog, so if you can find these products for better prices elsewhere, great!

For the sleep deprived

As someone who has battled insomnia most of her life, I’ve read a lot of books about sleep. Some books focus on the mechanics of sleep, such as neurotransmitters and brain waves and sleep cycles, etc. Others offer lifestyle techniques to improve the quality and quantity of sleep.

But I think my favorite book about sleep, which combines both types of information, is Dreamland: Adventures in the Strange Science of Sleep by David K. Randall. Randall, a journalist, also suffers from insomnia. This book is the tale of his journey to getting a better night’s sleep, and it’s both funny and informative.

My favorite sleep aid is the Tempur-Pedic Sleep Mask. My husband gave me one for Christmas years ago, and I love it. It’s made from the same memory foam as the Tempur-Pedic mattress. It fits snugly and comfortably around my eyes and completely blocks out any light. It’s perfect for when I want to go to sleep but my husband wants to stay up reading.

For the new parents

Who might also be sleep deprived  😉

I just finished reading The Informed Parent: A Science-Based Resource for Your Child’s First Four Years by Tara Haelle and Emily Willingham. The authors are both science journalists and moms; they co-wrote this book knowing that many parents are overwhelmed by the amount of parenting advice—good and bad—available through Dr. Google.  I wish I’d had this book when my son was a baby!

Another book I wish I’d had is Taking Care of Your Child: A Parent’s Illustrated Guide to Complete Medical Care. It covers all the common childhood problems, such as colic, colds, fevers, coughs, bumps, bruises, ear aches, teething, rashes and lots more. What makes this book special is that it uses decision-making charts to help parents know when symptoms are OK to watch and treat at home, or when they warrant a call to the physician. This book could save parents from a lot of middle-of-the-night trips to the ER.

For the first aid provider

Every family should have a designated first aid provider! I would recommend a basic first aid manual, such as The American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) First Aid Manual. A first aid kit makes a great gift, as well. I always suggest having several first aid kits—one in the bathroom or kitchen, one in the car, and one in the family emergency supply box (you know, that box of emergency stuff in case of an earthquake or other natural disaster).

For anyone who spends a lot of time hiking, sailing, skiing or otherwise away from emergency help, consider getting a copy of The Survival Medicine Handbook: A Guide for When Help is Not on the Way. It’s written by the husband-wife emergency medicine team, Joseph Alton, MD, and Amy Alton, ARNP. I’m getting a copy for my son, who is an avid backpacker. (I hope he’s not reading this.)

For the aging relatives

I recently watched on PBS a program based on the book Aging Backwards: Reverse the Aging Process and Look 10 Years Younger in 30 Minutes a Day by Miranda Esmonde-White. I couldn’t help but agree with her assessment that although we can’t stop the aging process, we can slow it down by maintaining strength, flexibility and good posture. We have to keep moving as we age, and she offers several workout programs in her book and several DVDs.

We have to exercise our brains, as well. Luckily, I love a good puzzle and I just might buy this book for myself this year: 399 Games, Puzzles & Trivia Challenges Specially Designed to Keep Your Brain Young by Nancy Linde.

And I’ve already bought myself a stocking stuffer: Eye Exercises: Daily Routine to Improve Vision and Release Tension by Lily King. I’ve been nearsighted my entire life and am now dealing with the effects of aging eyes or presbyopia. Plus I spend too much time at the computer and end up with eye strain. I’m hoping King’s exercises (she’s an ophthalmologist) will help. If they do, I’ll post about it at a later date!

For the future nurse

Lastly, do you have a friend or family member interested in a nursing career?

Here are a few of my favorite books about nurses.


Frugal Nurse



My favorite healthcare books and gifts for 2016 — 3 Comments

  1. I know I won’t be able to read it, haha, but my brother reads all the time. And he reads heavy stuff as well. Dreamland seems interesting enough though, I might give it a try myself.
    Yeah you’re right, even though he works at a very reputable hospital but I guess some thing remain the same everywhere.
    Shared this post on my Facebook so that everyone can take advantage of the awesome list, keep more of these coming (thumbs up emoji)!

  2. Not that anyone wants to know but my favorite books are the Harry Potter series. NOTHING compares! But I’m not buying gifts for myself am I.
    This is a very eclectic list that you have provided us with, thank you.
    I think I’ll get the “Dreamland: Adventures in the Strange Science of Sleep” for my brother who is an insomniac.
    And I’ll get “I Wasn’t Strong Like This When I Started Out: True Stories of Becoming a Nurse” for my nurse friend who is getting his BSN. I think it would really help him since lately he’s been a bit despondent with the profession. It’s just a phase which I’m sure he will snap out of. I have never seen a person more excited to become a nurse than he is, haha.
    Good day!

    • Hi Shizza! I loved “Dreamland”; the social history of sleep is fascinating, especially learning how Edison and his lightbulb ruined our sleep habits forever more 🙂

      I got the nurse book for my niece, who is also studying to be a nurse. I think a lot of the burnout factor is from the bureaucratic overlords, who are making life difficult for nurses and physicians both. Luckily, a nursing profession allows for a lot of diversity and being able to move into different types of nursing care. I hope your friend finds what works best for him! Best, FN