The Nocturnal Brain: Nightmares, Neuroscience, and the Secret World of Sleep

St. Martin’s. Jul. 2019. 368p. index. ISBN 9781250202703. $28.99; ebk. ISBN 9781250202710. HEALTH
London-based neurologist and sleep physician Leschziner, voice of the BBC radio series Mysteries of Sleep, offers a highly readable collection of case studies on the various types of sleep disorders and the state of current medicine in treating the conditions. After an introduction to the world of sleep, explaining the way normal sleep occurs, and suggesting some of the psychological and biological factors both affecting and being affected by sleep and its disorders, the author turns over the remainder of the book to individual case studies. Each patient’s case richly illustrates a different type of sleep disorder—e.g., narcolepsy, restless leg syndrome, nocturnal epilepsy—and its consequences, concluding with a discussion of the author’s treatment plan and the current state of sleep science in that arena. The glossary of sleep-related medical terms is welcome. While not a self-help book to solve one’s sleep issues, this fascinating collection of individuals’ stories helps to peel back the curtain that shrouds the world of sleep.
VERDICT Leschziner’s engaging style strikes just the right balance between storytelling and popular science and will appeal to a broad audience.

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