The best best books on insomnia

1 authors have picked their favorite books about insomnia and why they recommend each book.

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By J. R. Johansson,

Book cover of Insomnia

Every once in a while, when I’m under a lot of stress or experiencing emotional turmoil, I struggle to sleep. At one point a few years back. I went more than a week where I was only able to sleep around an hour or two per night. Needless to say, I was not myself. I love how this story explores the importance of sleep, the long-term effects of not getting a solid amount of it, and what it’s like to lose large chunks of time that you can’t account for. Plus, stalking. There’s a lot of fascinating psychology in this story, along with a best friend whose sense of humor brings valuable comic relief to the situation. Yeah. Another must-read!

Who am I?

I’m an author of Young Adult Fantasy fiction. When my oldest was six, I started reading Harry Potter to him. It was such a bonding experience that we both cherish. We still talk about the stories, even though he's all grown up and lives away from me most of the time. The thing about fantasy is that stories set in worlds or with people that don’t actually exist make it easier for us to swallow deep meanings, storylines with which we can identify, and that crawl deep down into our souls and nest there. It’s not just about escaping into a fantasy world, but about finding human experience in otherworldly situations and characters. 

I wrote...

Water So Deep

By Nichole Giles,

Book cover of Water So Deep

What is my book about?

Seventeen-year-old Emma Harris is drowning on dry land. No one knows what’s happening to her, and she’d like to keep her evolution from human to mermaid a secret, but the truth is getting harder and harder to hide. From her adoptive family, from her friends, and especially from the irresistible James Phelps.

When Emma’s brother disappears on her watch, James is the only person she trusts to help her save him. But even if they can save her brother, nothing can prevent her return to the sea. Whether she likes it or not, Emma is changing—unable to breathe without yielding to the tide—and it's only a matter of time before she's forced to surrender forever.

Time for Bed, Fred!

By Yasmeen Ismail,

Book cover of Time for Bed, Fred!

When bedtime arrives, where is Fred? A big, fluffy dog, he’s busying himself with everything else, except getting ready for bed. He runs through flower beds and mud, needs a bath, plays hide-and-seek, and finally ask for one more story. Mirroring behavior of any toddler avoiding bedtime, Fred finally gets ready for a good night sleep. Drawn loosely in ink and watercolor, Fred will run away with your heart as well.

Who am I?

I am a librarian and a picture book author/illustrator – it’s a perfect combination as I get to spend lots of time around books. I’m also a huge animal lover, with a special fondness for dogs. I can’t resist a picture book about dogs, and it’s no surprise that my first picture book was based on a true story about one very brave little dog. It is not easy to recommend only 5 books, but these are certainly my top favorites both in text and art. Happy reading!

I wrote...

Little Dog Lost: The True Story of a Brave Dog Named Baltic

By Mônica Carnesi,

Book cover of Little Dog Lost: The True Story of a Brave Dog Named Baltic

What is my book about?

On a cold winter day, a curious dog wandered onto a frozen river, and before he knew it he was traveling fast on a sheet of ice. Many people tried to help, but the dog could not be reached. Finally, after two nights and seventy-five miles, the little dog was saved by a ship out in the Baltic Sea.

The gallant rescue of the little dog nicknamed Baltic made international news. Mônica Carnesi's simple text and charming watercolor illustrations convey all the drama of Baltic's journey. His story, with its happy ending, will warm readers' hearts. An author's note and map are included.

Dashing Through the Snow, the Story of the Jr. Iditarod

By Sherry Shahan,

Book cover of Dashing Through the Snow, the Story of the Jr. Iditarod

Dashing Through the Snow tells readers what it’s like to compete in the Jr. Iditarod. This nonfiction book was a great resource when I was doing research for my book. Not only was the text great, but there were photos showing various aspects of the race, including what it’s like to sleep on the side of a sled-dog trail. Anyone who’s interested in the sport and hasn’t heard of a “gangline” or a “dropped dog” will find the definitions in the glossary useful. 

Who am I?

Sled dog racing? I knew nothing about it most of my life. I became interested after writing a nonfiction book on the history of sled dog racing. So interested, I wrote a novel on it—Cookie Cutters & Sled Runners. I attended local sprint races and even traveled to Alaska to see the start of the Iditarod. I learned so much watching the mushers prepare and the excitement of the dogs. I still enjoy watching the Iditarod, the Yukon Quest, and local sprint races. I’m excited to share a list of great sled-dog books. What I like about my list is that all the books are so different! 

I wrote...

Cookie Cutters & Sled Runners

By Natalie Rompella,

Book cover of Cookie Cutters & Sled Runners

What is my book about?

For years, Ana and Lily have been looking forward to writing and selling their own cookbook for their middle school project. So when her teacher assigns her to a different partner, Ana is devasted.

Worse, Ana’s partner, the new girl from Alaska, wants to do their project on sled dog racing in the Midwest. There’s no way Ana can tell Dasher about her obsessive-compulsive disorder, or why even watching Dasher work with drooly, germy dogs makes Ana want to wash her hands. Then Dasher sprains her ankle, and the only way to avoid getting an F on their project is for Ana to take her spot in the race. Can Ana learn to mush—and overcome her anxiety—in time to save her friendships, finish her project, and compete in the sled dog race?

I Will Fight Monsters for You

By Santi Balmes, Lyona (illustrator),

Book cover of I Will Fight Monsters for You

Books teaching kids not to be afraid of the dark can be cliched and a bit preachy. I stay away from books that “talk” to kids. However, while this book does deal with fear and bravery, it does so in a subtle way and feels genuine. The lessons come from the characters and not the writer. This is a sweet story and you will find yourself rooting for Martina.

Who am I?

I’m fascinated with monsters. Always have been. But in a weird way. I was never a scare seeker. I sought out the unique monsters, not the traditional werewolves and vampires. I related to the creatures who were more human than the humans. The ones that struggled to fit in, but if you took the time to get to know them, they were more interesting than anyone you had ever encountered before. And I think that’s a theme I use in my stories. Overcoming your fear of things that are strange or different can open wondrous new worlds.

I wrote...

Monster Chefs

By Brian Anderson,

Book cover of Monster Chefs

What is my book about?

The horribly horrible monster king summoned his four equally horrible chefs. "I am tired of eating only eyeballs and ketchup," roared the king. "Find me something new to eat or you will find yourselves on my menu!" Trembling with fear, they each set off in a different direction to look for something truly scrumptious. But what, besides eyeballs and ketchup, could a monster king possibly want to eat? A rabbit? A fish? A snake? What one finally brings back may change dinnertime in the kingdom forever.

“Little monsters following along at home will also likely clamor to try out their baking skills.” ―BCCB

A Minute to Think

By Juliet Funt,

Book cover of A Minute to Think: Reclaim Creativity, Conquer Busyness, and Do Your Best Work

The title says it all! We are so busy doing in our day, we aren’t stopping to reflect on what choices we should be making in support of our authentic selves. In the book she talks about the four “thieves of time.” The one I most resonated with was “Drive.” Not too much… but too little. Because I was in a season where I hadn’t created clear professional goals for myself, I was letting too much time be used for things that didn’t really contribute to my success.

Who am I?

Way back in 1994 I decided to build my career on the mission of helping people make better choices with their time. And my goal has always been to keep the solutions simple. I believe we have way too much in our lives that is complex and hard. While my primary work is as a keynote speaker, I have chosen to devote a significant amount of my professional hours to being a coach. I love helping people develop a plan for improvement that is aligned with their values and goals, and then walking with them through their season of change.

I wrote...

Juggling Elephants: An Easier Way to Get Your Most Important Things Done—Now!

By Jones Loflin, Todd Musig,

Book cover of Juggling Elephants: An Easier Way to Get Your Most Important Things Done—Now!

What is my book about?

Juggling Elephants tells a simple but profound story about one man with a universal problem. Mark has too much to do, too many priorities, too much stress, and too little time.

As he struggles to balance his many responsibilities without cracking under the pressure, Mark takes a break to attend the circus with his family. There he has a surprising conversation with a wise ringmaster. He leaves with a simple but powerful lesson: Trying to get everything done is like juggling elephants—impossible. So Mark begins to think about his work, family, and personal life the way a ringmaster thinks about the many acts in a three-ring circus. He discovers that managing his various acts can be fun and easy once he changes his attitude and follows his new friend's ongoing guidance. 

The Mindful Child

By Susan Kaiser Greenland,

Book cover of The Mindful Child: How to Help Your Kid Manage Stress and Become Happier, Kinder, and More Compassionate

Mindfulness has become a more popular concept in the realm of relaxation training, wellness, spirituality, and health, but many books are focused on adults. Children can also practice mindfulness which is having a reflective stance in daily life including appreciating experiences in the moment, being mindful of how you speak to people and of your relationships, incorporating a meditative element to daily life, and reflecting deeply on experiences and learning from those experiences. The author was involved in developing a mindfulness curriculum for school children which has been deemed quite effective in increasing focus and calm and decreasing discord and behavioral problems among children in the toughest classrooms. Check out this book, then try a book on mindful parenting!

Who am I?

Childhood is a special time but can also be wrought with severe challenges for some children. Children vary in emotional health and resilience, so we must provide extra support to those who struggle. I learned so much from the parents and therapists I interviewed for my book, about their experiences building resilience and emotional health in adopted children. I have a PhD in social work and have worked on federally funded child welfare and child trauma grants. Currently, I am a freelance writer and researcher and teach social policy and research courses at several graduate schools of social work, but my most demanding and rewarding job is being a mom!

I wrote...

Adopting Older Children: A Practical Guide to Adopting and Parenting Children Over Age Four

By Stephanie Bosco-Ruggiero, Gloria Russo Wassell, Victor Groza

Book cover of Adopting Older Children: A Practical Guide to Adopting and Parenting Children Over Age Four

What is my book about?

Adopting Older Children addresses the most significant challenges surrounding older-child adoption (both domestically and internationally), including mental health, behavioral, and educational concerns. This thorough guide enumerates the issues an older adopted child faces and provides a comprehensive overview of problems and how adopting parents can successfully deal with them, including critical information about developmental issues; problems related to the adoptee's emerging sense of self, including sexual orientation and cultural identity; and other special needs that children may have.

The Promise of Sleep

By William C. Dement,

Book cover of The Promise of Sleep: A Pioneer in Sleep Medicine Explores the Vital Connection Between Health, Happiness, and a Good Night's Sleep

This is the definitive book on sleep!  It is loaded with gems: Your sleep drive keeps an exact tally of accumulated waking hours. Like bricks in a backpack, accumulated sleep drive is a burden that weighs down on you. Every hour that you are awake adds another brick to the pack. The brain's sleep load increases until you go to sleep when the load starts to lighten.

The author emphasizes that your brain keeps an exact accounting of how much sleep it is owed.  Each successive night of partial sleep loss is carried over and the end effect appears to accumulate in a precisely additive fashion. Accumulated lost sleep is like a monetary debt: "It must be paid back." 

Who am I?

I hold the registered trademark as "The Work-Life Balance Expert®," and work with organizations that seek to enhance their productivity by improving the effectiveness of their people. I've spoken to Fortune 50 companies such as IBM, Cardinal Health Group, Lockheed, American Express, the IRS, Wells Fargo, and Westinghouse. My books have been published in 19 languages and have been featured in 68 of the top 75 American newspapers, as well as Time Magazine and the Wall Street Journal. At heart, I'm a simpler living advocate. I believe in giving back to his community and am an active volunteer for Art Space in downtown Raleigh, the North Carolina Museum of Arts, and numerous other civic, social, and charitable groups.

I wrote...

Simpler Living: A Back to Basics Guide to Cleaning, Furnishing, Storing, Decluttering, Streamlining, Organizing, and More

By Jeff Davidson,

Book cover of Simpler Living: A Back to Basics Guide to Cleaning, Furnishing, Storing, Decluttering, Streamlining, Organizing, and More

What is my book about?

It is about regaining control over your days, and moments. For example, are you finding yourself stressed over the clutter in your kitchen or the mass of paper near your computer? Life moves too quickly these days, as technology, work, and personal commitments make it almost impossible to slow down and enjoy life. Filled with tips on how to un-complicate your daily routine, eliminate stress at home and work, and more, Simpler Living will help you free up your time so you can once again enjoy doing the things you love. 

Divided into sections for easy reference, Simpler Living will show you ways to eliminate or at least reduce stress in your home, your personal life, and in your professional life. This book is the guide you’ve been seeking to lead the peaceful, productive life you’ve always wanted.

The Relaxation and Stress Reduction Workbook

By Martha Davis, Elizabeth Robbins Eshelman, Matthew McKay

Book cover of The Relaxation and Stress Reduction Workbook

My copy is the sixth edition, but this groundbreaking workbook now offers a seventh edition and is based on the authors’ decades of clinical experience working with clients suffering from varied symptoms of stress including insomnia, worry, hypertension, poor digestion, depression, and anger. This hefty book offers a comprehensive compilation of stress-reduction strategies—including techniques for relaxation, managing time, dealing with stressful thoughts and feelings, and effective communication. The workbook format provides helpful guidance to create a personal action plan for stress reduction.  

Who am I?

I'm a yoga therapist, health journalist, and author, and my passion is helping people harness the powerful medicine of movement. In my work with hundreds of yoga students and yoga therapy clients, and in my own life—facing some serious health challenges—I’ve found that taking yoga off the mat and into daily life with these simple practices is a powerful way to relieve stress and find ease in body and mind. In our busy, hectic lives, Yoga Sparks offers a welcome chance to pause, breathe, and connect to our inner wisdom. They will help you pay attention and move mindfully through your own precious life. 

I wrote...

Yoga Sparks: 108 Easy Practices for Stress Relief in a Minute or Less

By Carol Krucoff,

Book cover of Yoga Sparks: 108 Easy Practices for Stress Relief in a Minute or Less

What is my book about?

You only need a minute—or even less—to get the stress-relieving and health-enhancing benefits of yoga. This book is a collection of simple yoga “micro-practices” you can weave into your day to create transformative moments that turn ordinary activities—like answering the phone or waiting in line—into opportunities to stretch and strengthen your body, quiet your mind, and lift your spirits. 

Yoga Sparks arose through my 45 years of yoga practice and two decades of teaching, and they focus on four main aspects of yoga: postures, breathing, meditation, and principles (such as gratitude). No need for a yoga mat or special clothing, they’re designed for anyone, regardless of age or fitness level.  If you can breathe, you can do Yoga Sparks

Abbott Awaits

By Chris Bachelder,

Book cover of Abbott Awaits

Abbott Awaits follows the spectacularly ordinary life of a father with a two-year-old; husband to an insomniac, pregnant wife; and university teacher. Bachelder evokes beauty in the mundane, dazzling splendor in domestic tedium, and in the middle of cleaning up his daughter’s vomited-up raspberries, a revelation that gets to the heart of Abbot’s heart-crushing yet devastatingly funny tour of his wildly imaginative inner life: “The following propositions are both true: A) Abbott would not, given the opportunity, change one significant element of his life, but B) Abbot cannot stand his life.”

Who am I?

Much laughter is born out of sadness. Humor can be a way to cope or even reinvent our realities in ways that bring relief—and release. There's a misconception that “serious literature” should be humorless; crack a smile and you’re a fraud. However, the worlds and characters that emerge from this way of thinking do not ring true to me. Who among us hasn’t joked to help deal with sorrow? Or to satirize the outrageous? Or simply because life--however brutal—is also sometimes funny? The more a writer allows laughter to intermingle with tears, the more I believe in the story, and the more I enjoy it. That is why I wrote a “funny-sad” novel, The Australian.

I wrote...

The Australian

By Emma Smith-Stevens,

Book cover of The Australian

What is my book about?

In her humorous and emotionally resonant debut, Emma Smith-Stevens follows the exploits and evolution of a young man - known only as “the Australian” - over the course of a dozen years, from his time posing for tourist photos as Superman to his life in New York, chasing fame and fortune. Married to a woman he barely knows and struggling to forge a relationship with his son, the Australian travels between the U.S. and Melbourne, seeking to reconnect with his deceased parents through his father’s Australian Outdoor Geographic magazines and the Dreaming Tracks, sacred landmarks his mother longed to explore.

The Australian examines the human tendency to fall in love with the idea of another person and the importance of knowing one’s essential nature.

Die Noon

By Elise Sax,

Book cover of Die Noon

Matilda moves to the small New Mexico town of Goodnight after inheriting a house, a small newspaper, and two dogs. She learns just how odd the town is when she starts investigating the murder of a reporter. The town of Goodnight is pretty bizarre, but speaking as someone who lives in a small town in New Mexico, Goodnight is more believable than it might seem to an outsider. I prefer books where weirdness is something to celebrate, and here the characters embrace their crazy with enthusiastic joy. This story is part screwball comedy and part mystery, and both work.

Who am I?

When I make a snarky remark during a party, chances are one person will catch my eye with the amused look that says, “I saw what you did there.” Everyone else will keep right on talking. But in a book, the reader is right there in the character’s head, which lets your audience catch those subtle humorous comments. In my mystery series, The Accidental Detective, Kate shares witty observations about life with the reader – making Kate funnier than I am. I don’t do as much slapstick and joking (in life or in fiction), but I enjoy writers who pull off those forms of humor well. Humor makes life’s challenges bearable

I wrote...

Something Shady at Sunshine Haven

By Kris Bock,

Book cover of Something Shady at Sunshine Haven

What is my book about?

In the humorous Accidental Detective series, a witty journalist solves mysteries in Arizona and tackles the challenges of turning fifty. When patients are dying at an Alzheimer's unit, a former war correspondent must use her journalism skills to uncover the killer and save her mother. Kate has followed the most dangerous news stories around the world, but can she survive going home? 

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