Lois Maharg is a journalist with insomnia that began in her teens. Doctors dismissed the problem as trivial, so she turned for advice to self-help books. But the remedies proposed—relaxation exercises, hypnotic CDs, melatonin—didn’t help much. Sleeping pills brought temporary relief, but psychotherapy didn’t do a dime’s worth of good for her sleep. At 40 she was a chronic insomniac, grabbing what little sleep she could and striving to be productive while feeling exhausted.

So she took matters into her own hands, setting off on a quest to understand what ailed her and find relief. Talking to dozens of insomnia sufferers along the way, she traveled the country interviewing sleep specialists and attending conferences on sleep and sleep disorders. Eight years of legwork and immersion in medical journals became her passport to better sleep and daytime stamina.

Maharg began her career as a teacher, capped off when she authored a pair of ESL textbooks with her husband. She then became a journalist, working both freelance and as a staff reporter and features writer. She has written about Latino affairs, education, government, health, social issues, exercise, and food. While reporting in Pennsylvania, she won a Keystone Press Award and awards from the Pennsylvania Women’s Press Association. Her stories have been picked up by the Associated Press.

She now lives in Ann Arbor, Michigan, the perfect place, with its top-tier medical library, for in-depth research. Her intimate and wide-ranging exploration of sleep and insomnia is the basis for her new book.