Author(s): Guy Leschziner
What happens to our brain at night? Are we really fully asleep and if so how is it that some individuals end up doing what they do? Or can it be the case that perhaps the brain never fully goes to sleep and that in some individuals there is a disconnect between the sleeping part of their brain and the active part of their brain so that the two become confused? Does this happen to all of us in varying degrees and can the reverse be the case too - so that some individuals are actually asleep during the day while appearing to be awake?!
In this ground-breaking book, Dr Guy Leschziner takes us on a fascinating journey through the nocturnal brain to illustrate the neuroscience behind nightmares, night terrors and sleep walking.
For Guy Leschziner's patients, there is no rest for the weary in mind and body. Insomnia, narcolepsy, night terrors, apnoea and sleepwalking are just a sample of the conditions afflicting sufferers who cannot sleep - and their experiences in trying to are the stuff of nightmares. Demonaic hallucinations frighten people into paralysis. Restless legs rock both the sleepless and their sleeping partners with unpredictable and uncontrollable kicking. Out-of-sync circadian rhythms confuse the natural body clock's days and nights. Then there are the extreme cases. A woman in a state of deep sleep who gets dressed, unlocks her car and drives for several miles before returning to bed. The man who has spent decades cleaning out kitchens while 'sleep-eating'. The teenager prone to the serious, yet unfortunately nicknamed, Sleeping Beauty Syndrome, stuck in a cycle of excessive unconsciousness, binge eating and uncharacteristic displays of aggression and hypersexuality while awake.
With compassionate stories of his patients and their conditions, Leschziner illustrates the neuroscience behind our sleeping minds, revealing the many biological and psychological factors necessary in getting the rest that will not only maintain our physical and mental health, but also improve our cognitive abilities and overall happiness.
'The Nocturnal Brain will not promise to cure your insomnia, but it does make for an entertaining and thought-provoking bedtime read.' --The Guardian
'Casebooks of neurological disorders are often strange and wonderful, but this one is special. Guy Leschziner is a consultant neurologist at Guy's and St Thomas's who specialises in sleep problems. And his patients experience the most extraordinary things...' --Sunday Times Culture
'The Nocturnal Brain combines two of my favorite things - humanity and medical science. Dr Leschziner weaves wonderful stories that highlight how sleep disorders affect the lives and health of patients and their families. Along the way we are guided into the fantastic science of sleep. What a wonderful journey!' -- Meir Kryger MD FRCPC, Professor, Yale University, author of Mystery of Sleep
'With my job on Today, I have become obsessed with sleep. The Nocturnal Brain interweaves bizarre real life stories with cutting edge neurological science in the true tradition of Oliver Sacks. A fascinating read.' -- Martha Kearney, BBC Radio 4
Doctor Guy Leschziner is a world-renowned neurologist at London Bridge Hospital, The Cromwell Hospital and within the Dept of Neurology and Sleep Disorders Centre at Guy's and St Thomas' Hospitals.