The Enchanted World of Sleep


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Peretz Lavie; Translated by Anthony Berris

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Why do we sleep? How much sleep do we really need? What causes sleep apnea, narcolepsy, and insomnia—and what can be done about these sleep disorders? Why do older people have more trouble sleeping than young people? We have all puzzled over—or been plagued by—the mysteries of sleep. Now a leading researcher on sleep provides an engaging and informative introduction to the subject that answers many of our questions.

Peretz Lavie surveys the entire field of sleep research and sleep medicine—from the structure of sleep stages and the brain centers involved in sleep regulation to the reasons for and significance of dreams, the importance of sleep in maintaining good health, and the function of biological rhythms—interweaving facts with fascinating case histories, anecdotes, and personal reflections. We learn, for example, about:

•development of sleep patterns from infancy to adulthood and in the aged;

•the wide variety of sleep habits in animals;

•dreams of Holocaust survivors;

•sleep under the threat of Scud missile attacks;

•how melatonin influences sleep;

•the story of the "Acrobat's Leap" sleep-deprivation experiments in the Israeli army;

•how to treat insomnia;

•what to do with a baby who refuses to go to sleep;

and much more.

Originally published in Hebrew to great acclaim, this book will enlighten and entertain everyone interested in how and why we sleep.

Peretz Lavie is dean of the Faculty of Medicine, head of the Sleep Laboratory, and Andrea Ballard Professor of Biological Psychiatry at the Technion—Israel Institute of Technology in Haifa. A pioneer of modern sleep research, his studies have been covered extensively by newspapers, television, and radio, and he has been invited to consult on sleep research and sleep medicine throughout the world.

A selection of the Quality Paperback Book Club

"An outstanding contribution to the sleep literature and to the public's understanding and enjoyment of the enchanted world of sleep."—Wilse B. Webb, University of Florida

"An entertaining . . . discussion of what research has uncovered about the nature of sleep and sleep disorders. . . . An eye-opening trip through the land of sleep by a thoroughly professional guide."—Kirkus Reviews

"Wonderfully detailed and engrossing. . . . This excellent overview of the sleep process is both authoritative and elegantly written. Highly Recommended."—Library Journal

"[A] quirky, enjoyable book."—Kathleen Hughes, Booklist

"Lavie is wonderfully well informed about sleep disorders—how to diagnose them and how to cope with them—and his clear, authoritative book is an excellent introduction to a complex subject."—A. Alvarez, Guardian

"Dr. Lavie makes such an engaging raconteur (and Anthony Berris such an able translator) that we willingly follow him to the land of the alpha, theta and delta waves, where the spindles and K-complexes roam."—Dava Sobel, New York Times Book Review

"Peretz Lavie weaves a magical spell about sleep science through an often personal yet scientifically accurate vision in this very readable small book. . . . Lavie has produced a literate, informative and entertaining read for those who wish to delve into the mystic realms of sleep and dreams."—Mary A. Carskadon, Nature

"The book surveys the entire field of sleep including research and fascinating case histories, anecdotes etc. Perfect reading for those nights when sleep comes with difficulty."—Insight

"I began Lavie's book at Chapter 18: Children Who Refuse to Sleep. Here I found the same advice for encouraging children to go to bed that I have seen in parenthood books, and I realized that Lavie is among that rare groups of scientists whose work can change people's lives. This welcome blend of science with applications to real human problems pervades Lavie's interesting book."—Mark Pagel, Quarterly Review of Biology

"Lavie’s book is unique and well constructed in many ways. It deserves close scrutiny from those who want to learn more about the fascinating topic of sleep."—David G. McDonald, Contemporary Psychology

"The book does a thorough job of covering the most current an important aspects of sleep research in the relatively small space of just under 250 pages. . . . The text. . . is written in a style that could be easily comprehended by the average undergraduate or graduate student with little or no background in the area."—David G. McDonald, Contemporary Psychology

"Lavie's enthusiasm for the subject matter is obvious throughout the text and is quite contagious. The material is presented in a manner that is easy to read and understand and, as the author would have it, really quite fascinating! . . . This reviewer highly recommends The Enchanted World of Sleep to anyone interested in the nature of sleep. It is comprehensive and detailed, yet very easy to read. The case studies throughout the book add substance to the material and make the text even more interesting."—Caroline S. Counts, ANNA Journal

"Peretz Lavie is a pioneer of sleep research and, in this enlightening book, interweaves facts with case histories and anecdotes, to pass on all that is known about sleep, dreaming and sleep disorders."—Oxford Times

"Dr. Peretz Lavie. . . is also by way of being something of a poet, a dreamer, even. . . . this layman's guide to the hours of Morpheus and their associated pathologies is thoroughly rational and scientific where it needs to be."—Herald

"An engaging study of sleep. . . an entertaining, poetic journey into the mysterious realm of Lethe."—Independent On Sunday

"With extraordinary eloquence based upon a vast store of professional knowledge and innovative concepts of the physiology of sleep and dreams,...Peretz Lavie tells us the story of what is contained in a single night's sleep. . . . A wonderful book."—Michel Jouvet, from the Foreword

Chosen as one of the "Best Sci-Tech Books of 1996" by Library Journal

Received an Honorable Mention in the 1996 Association of American Publishers Professional/Scholarly Publishing Division (AAP/PSP) Annual Awards Competition in the Medical Science category
ISBN: 9780300074369
Publication Date: February 17, 1998
286 pages, 6 x 9
49 b/w illus.
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