(Chelsea Update would like to thank Lisa Carolin for this book review and photo.)
Scio Township resident Lois Maharg has spent most of her life battling insomnia. She has tried hypnotic CDs, relaxation exercises, melatonin, sleeping pills, self-help books and more with no long-term success.
Doctors and sleep experts couldn’t help Maharg, so the former teacher and journalist took matters into her own hands. For eight years, she talked to dozens of insomnia sufferers, interviewed numerous sleep specialists and attended many conferences on sleep and sleep disorders. All her research has come to fruition with her newly published book called “The Savvy Insomniac: A Personal Journey through Science to Better Sleep.”
“My overall aim was to look at insomnia not in the narrow sense it’s usually looked at in self-help books, but rather to explore it broadly: through personal experience, cultural attitudes, science, and treatments available now in the pipeline,” said Maharg, who adds that 30 million Americans have persistent insomnia.
“People who want to improve their sleep need to understand the body systems controlling sleep and waking,” said Maharg. “Only then can they get these systems to work in their favor.”
Maharg says that her research taught her that while normal sleepers’ brains are mostly quiet at night, key areas in insomniacs’ brains continue metabolizing glucose even as the rest of the brain sleeps.
“We’re not just ‘imagining’ that we’re awake; parts of the brain really are awake,” she said.
Maharg says that she decided to write the book as a way of doing her own investigation into insomnia.
“If there was a way to better sleep, I was going to find it and write a book about what I found,” she said. “I guess it boiled down to this: Where there’s a will, there’s a way.”
Maharg’s book is available here on her website, and will be available at the end of September in both print and e-book from online booksellers. You can learn more about the book and insomnia by visiting Maharg’s blog.