I've written before about how little research has been done on sleep and chronic insomnia. While in Anchorage I found a real winner (as the review below claims, "an instant classic") at the Title Wave used book store, Jeff Warren's The Head Trip Adventures on the Wheel of Conciousness.
I'm only part way into it, but already, I highly recommend this book for anyone with sleep issues, as well as Gayle Greene's Insomniac.
From Amazon, "A world at once familiar and unimaginably strange exists all around us–and within us. It is the world of consciousness, a protean mental landscape that each of us knows intimately in bits and pieces yet understands in its totality scarcely at all. Tied to the body and the brain, consciousness is nonetheless beyond our ability to measure or quantify. Despite the attempts of scientists and mystics, poets and dreamers, crackpots and geniuses, to map its contours and explain its secret workings, the mind remains mysterious. And the more we learn about it, the more mysterious it becomes.
But that is not to say that we know nothing about consciousness. In fact, as gonzo science journalist Jeff Warren demonstrates in this A provocative, often hilarious, and always fascinating synthesis of cutting-edge research and personal experience, just how much we do know is little short of astonishing. And when Warren fits the pieces together, the implications of that knowledge are, well, mind-blowing.
Warren begins with the insight that consciousness is not a simple on-off proposition, with rigid demarcations separating waking awareness from the murky depths of sleep, but rather a round-the-clock continuum regulated by natural biorhythms. He then sets out to explore, and to experience for himself, the seemingly miraculous, all-but-untapped potential of the human mind.
From the full-immersion virtual realities of lucid dreaming to the esoteric disciplines of Eastern meditative practices that have reached outposts of consciousness far beyond the grasp of Western science, from techniques of hypnosis and neurofeedback to such exotic states of awareness as the Watch and the Pure Conscious Event, Warren takes us on an incredible journey through our own heads–a journey conducted with the adventurous spirit and intellectual curiosity of a Darwin coupled with the sensibility of a stand-up comedian.
Part user’s manual and part travel guide, The Head Trip is an instant classic, a brilliant summation of consciousness studies that is also a practical guide to enhancing creativity, mental health, and the experience of what it means to be human. Many books claim that they will change you. This one gives you the tools to change yourself.