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

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

For Dr. Guy Leschziner's patients, there is no rest for the weary in mind and body. Insomnia, narcolepsy, night terrors, sleep apnea, and sleepwalking are just a sampling of conditions afflicting sufferers who cannot sleep--and their experiences in trying are the stuff of nightmares. Demoniac hallucinations frighten people into paralysis. Restless legs rock both the sleepl...

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Title:The Nocturnal Brain: Nightmares, Neuroscience, and the Secret World of Sleep
Author:Guy Leschziner
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The Nocturnal Brain: Nightmares, Neuroscience, and the Secret World of Sleep Reviews

  • Gianna

    I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

    The way in which the human brain functions during sleep still remains largely a mystery. But the things we already know are quite fascinating. In The Nocturnal Brain, Dr. Guy Leschziner, neurologist, describes some real-life instances of sleep gone wrong - and by that, we mean everything from a disrupted circadian rhythm to people whose brain can be simultaneously asleep and awake.

    During every fa

    I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

    The way in which the human brain functions during sleep still remains largely a mystery. But the things we already know are quite fascinating. In The Nocturnal Brain, Dr. Guy Leschziner, neurologist, describes some real-life instances of sleep gone wrong - and by that, we mean everything from a disrupted circadian rhythm to people whose brain can be simultaneously asleep and awake.

    During every fascinating example, we are also told about what science knows around these issues, and we get to learn many interesting things that most people are unaware of.

    The Nocturnal Brain is a fascinating read simply narrated so that all readers can fully understand everything that's described. If you're even a little interested in what happens to our brain (and our whole body, for that matter) when we're asleep, I definitely recommend you this book!

  • Best Eggs

    Like

    the author is both a neurologist and talented writer. Also like Oliver Sacks, but unlike most doctors and doctor-books, he does not regard the person who suffers from a disorder as being primarily the disorder. Neither of them would ever think of someone as autistic, but as a person with autism. And both of them, again quite unlike other doctors, treat the person as an equal partner in sorting out the neurological problem.

    Perhaps the most interesting of all the weirdness that

    Like

    the author is both a neurologist and talented writer. Also like Oliver Sacks, but unlike most doctors and doctor-books, he does not regard the person who suffers from a disorder as being primarily the disorder. Neither of them would ever think of someone as autistic, but as a person with autism. And both of them, again quite unlike other doctors, treat the person as an equal partner in sorting out the neurological problem.

    Perhaps the most interesting of all the weirdness that the author describes as going on when we are asleep and quite unconscious of it was a man who cursed, swore and made terrible threats against his partner and her family and his ex-girlfriend, going so far as to even tell his partner his ex-girlfriend's phone number.

    His partner would wake him telling him he was shouting threats of violence and naturally this worried them both until he ended up in the author's consulting rooms. He had been to a sleep clinic but they had picked up nothing, this is quite common apparently. He underwent all sorts of tests and suggestions and did everything the author suggested except bring his girlfriend in. She didn't want to participate.

    Imagine the state the poor man was in?

    Until one day he bought a noise-activated voice recorder and fell asleep on the sofa one afternoon. He was awoken by his girlfriend shaking him and shouting herself saying he was screaming and cursing and threatening again in his sleep. Later he played back the tape. The only screaming on it was his girlfriend's. He had slept peacefully.

    Years later this totally psychotic woman was committed to a mental home!

    Great book. I hope the author writes more books. It is a rare talent to be a consultant neurologist at the top of their game in an unusual speciality and to be an equally good writer.

  • Nursebookie

    Thank you to the author, to netgalley and to @stmartinspress for the #arc of an ebook

    AUTHOR: Guy Leschziner

    GENRE: Non-Fiction, Science

    SYNOPSIS:

    The books describes stories of Dr. Guy Leschziner’s patients with sleep disorders. He tells stories on his experiences with patients who have had insomnia (difficulty sleeping), narcolepsy (daytime sleepiness), night terrors, sleepwalking, demonic hallucinations that frighten peo

    Thank you to the author, to netgalley and to @stmartinspress for the #arc of an ebook

    AUTHOR: Guy Leschziner

    GENRE: Non-Fiction, Science

    SYNOPSIS:

    The books describes stories of Dr. Guy Leschziner’s patients with sleep disorders. He tells stories on his experiences with patients who have had insomnia (difficulty sleeping), narcolepsy (daytime sleepiness), night terrors, sleepwalking, demonic hallucinations that frighten people into paralysis, restless legs and problems with circadian rhythms whose own body clock confuses days and nights.

    Additionally, extreme cases were presented in this book through stories. 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.

    THOUGHTS:

    The book is very well written. The book talks about sleep, but not one where we associate as quiet and blissful, but instead sleep that is punctuated by shouts, jerks, snores, twitches and the torture of poor or no sleep at all. I work in the healthcare field and particularly in the neurosciences, as a specialty, and found this book to be especially accurate, and interesting learning, for both professionals and non-health care professionals alike. It is almost certain, that more people than we think we know, suffer from some sort of sleep disorder. This book recounts well to know, how our bodies are affected with the lack of sleep.

    5⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

  • Annette Jordan

    An excelling and fascinating book , The Nocturnal Brain by Dr Guy Leschziner is perfect for anyone curious to know more about one of the most mysterious of human activities - sleeping. Using examples and anecdotes from his clinical practice Dr. Leshziner first tries to explain the process and function of sleep, what happens to the brain and why sleep is so important for our overall physical and mental health. While many of the cases he describes are almost unbelievable, such as a woman who rode

    An excelling and fascinating book , The Nocturnal Brain by Dr Guy Leschziner is perfect for anyone curious to know more about one of the most mysterious of human activities - sleeping. Using examples and anecdotes from his clinical practice Dr. Leshziner first tries to explain the process and function of sleep, what happens to the brain and why sleep is so important for our overall physical and mental health. While many of the cases he describes are almost unbelievable, such as a woman who rode her motorcycle in her sleep, or humorous like the young man who mistook his shoe for a phone to hold a sleeping conversation, the truth is that a lack of sleep or poor sleep quality is no laughing matter and can have very serious consequences, as some of his other case studies demonstrate only too clearly. . Over the course of the book, the author explains, as much as current scientific knowledge allows, a variety of sleep disorders from sleep apnoea to sleepwalking, night terrors , insomnia and even rare conditions such as Kleine- Levin syndrome which can cause prolonged periods of sleeping in teens along with other symptoms. His explanations are matter of fact and designed for the lay reader, and his warm almost conversational style makes for enjoyable and illuminating reading. Over the course of the book I developed a real sympathy for those who struggle to sleep for any prolonged period of time, having thankfully never had any problems myself in that department, I think I did not really realise the devastating impact it could have . I would highly recommend this book, not just to anyone struggling with a sleep disorder but to anyone fascinated by the workings of that most fascinating of human organs, the brain.

    I read and reviewed an ARC courtesy of NetGalley and the publisher, all opinions are my own.

  • Hải

    Cuốn sách thứ 3 mình đọc về giấc ngủ gần đây (sau Why We Sleep - highly recommended và Why We Dream). Cuốn này được viết bởi Guy Leschziner - bác sĩ chuyên điều trị những căn bệnh liên quan đến giấc ngủ nổi tiếng trên thế giới.

    Đọc xong sách mới cảm thấy mình may mắn vì không bị vấn đề gì liên quan đến giấc ngủ. Đôi ba buổi mải game thức khuya nên sáng mệt, hay dăm bữa nằm trên giường trằn trọc hoài không ngủ được, chỉ là muỗi so với nỗi khổ mà những bệnh nhân được nêu trong sách phải chịu đựng.

    -

    Cuốn sách thứ 3 mình đọc về giấc ngủ gần đây (sau Why We Sleep - highly recommended và Why We Dream). Cuốn này được viết bởi Guy Leschziner - bác sĩ chuyên điều trị những căn bệnh liên quan đến giấc ngủ nổi tiếng trên thế giới.

    Đọc xong sách mới cảm thấy mình may mắn vì không bị vấn đề gì liên quan đến giấc ngủ. Đôi ba buổi mải game thức khuya nên sáng mệt, hay dăm bữa nằm trên giường trằn trọc hoài không ngủ được, chỉ là muỗi so với nỗi khổ mà những bệnh nhân được nêu trong sách phải chịu đựng.

    - Có cậu bị rối loại chu kì giấc ngủ, thay vì 24 giờ thì thành 25 giờ. Tối hôm nay ngủ lúc 10h, thì ngày mai phải 11h mới ngủ, ngày mốt nửa đêm mới ngủ. Thành ra cứ xoay vòng 24 ngày thì mới có 2, 3 ngày cậu ấy được sống như giờ người bình thường. Điều này ảnh hưởng tới cuộc sống, học tập và công việc.

    - Có trường hợp bị nacrolepsy (chứng ngủ rũ), ban ngày cứ đùng một cái là lăn ra ngủ, bất kể là đang ở đâu. Và đi thẳng từ trạng thái thức tỉnh sang trạng thái ngủ sâu, kiểu ngay trong vài giây luôn íh.

    - Có trường hợp cực kì bạo lực, la hét, đấm đá người khác trong giấc ngủ mà không ý thức được. Như là bị ma quỷ nhập vào, sức mạnh đột nhiên tăng mạnh và như điên như cuồng.

    - Có trường hợp bị Restless legs syndrome. Vừa nằm rơi vào giấc ngủ là cảm thấy chân tay ngứa ngáy không yên nổi, buộc phải thức dậy để đi vòng vòng. Cứ một đêm thế vài lần là tới ngày hôm sau mệt mỏi không thể làm được gì

    .....

    Bằng sự hợp tác của người bệnh (gắn chip vào da đầu để theo dõi sóng não phát ra khi ngủ), các chuyên gia đã lí giải được nguyên nhân của những căn bệnh thường gặp, và cả phỏng đoán cho những bệnh hiếm gặp đã nêu trên.

    Đại loại là khi chúng ta rơi vào REM (Rapid eye movement) sleep, bộ não chúng ta sẽ tiết ra chất để làm vô hiệu hoá chức năng của chân tay, cơ thể (chỉ chừa lại các cơ để thở và cơ mắt nhấp nháy), tránh trường hợp làm cơ thể tổn thương. Ở những người bị rối loạn giấc ngủ REM (gọi là RBD), não đã rơi vào trạng thái ngủ say rồi, nhưng chức năng vô-hiệu-hoá đó bị hỏng, thành ra họ ngủ nhưng tay chân vẫn đấm đá, gào thét liên hồi tuỳ vào giấc mơ của mình.

    NREM (Non-REM) thì ngược lại, khi đi vào deep sleep thì bị đánh thức, thành ra bộ não sẽ chia làm 2 nửa (được đo đàng hoàng dưới dạng sóng), 1 nửa chìm vào giấc ngủ vô ý thức, 1 nửa điều khiển tay chân này nọ vẫn hoạt động, thành ra mới có nhiều trường hợp mộng du, ngủ mà vẫn dậy mặc quần áo, lái xe... như thường.

    -----------------

    Nói chung cuốn này đọc hay mà khó, do có quá nhiều từ chuyên môn. Đây là một trong những cuốn mình vừa đọc vừa phải hì hục note lại, thậm chí tra cứu thêm trên mạng. Mình nghĩ là dù có thể chúng ta không có các bệnh ở trên, có thời gian vẫn nên đọc để hiểu thêm về giấc ngủ - và sự quý giá biết bao khi mình vẫn có được giấc ngủ như thường :)

  • Paul

    Thankfully I have never had any issues in sleeping. I put my head on the pillow and almost always I am asleep within a few minutes. I sleep deeply too, I missed the entire Great Storm in 1987 and was totally oblivious to a massive lightning storm that struck an oak tree opposite where I lived. My father has always called it a short course in death…

    Sleep is essential to our health, but no one can say with any conviction exactly why we need it. If we are sleep deprived then there is a finite time

    Thankfully I have never had any issues in sleeping. I put my head on the pillow and almost always I am asleep within a few minutes. I sleep deeply too, I missed the entire Great Storm in 1987 and was totally oblivious to a massive lightning storm that struck an oak tree opposite where I lived. My father has always called it a short course in death…

    Sleep is essential to our health, but no one can say with any conviction exactly why we need it. If we are sleep deprived then there is a finite time that we can survive, hence why it is used as a form of torture. So what happens to our brain at night? A lot of what we can learn about the brain when it is resting is by studying those that struggle with all manner of sleep-related issues.

    Guy Leschzineris well placed to explain these sleep issues as he is the head of the Sleep Disorders Centre at Guy's and St. Thomas's Hospitals. In this book, he explains the various types of disorders that he has come across, such as sleepwalking, apnoea, night terrors and narcolepsy through the stories of the people that he has met and treated. Some of the things that these people have to suffer sound horrendous, paralysis, tremors and hallucinations for example. The story of a lady who would wake in the middle of the night and drive around whilst asleep and be utterly unaware what she was doing is terrifying.

    This book by Leschziner is a fine addition to the discussion and understanding of this little understood habit that we have to undertake every day for our health. His compassionate writing about the people that he is treating will help those that have been suffering from insomnia and other sleeping disorders to understand that they are not alone. There are several books out there now about sleeping. Why We Sleep by Matthew Walker is a really good explanation of why we need sleep and this accessible book is a fine addition to the knowledge of sleep.

  • Elaine

    Thanks to NetGalley for a Kindle ARC of

    This is a fascinating book about some of the most popular sleep disorders (and not so popular) most people experience at least once in their lives, such as insomnia.

    The author, an expert in his field, uses case studies culled from his patients, who were kind enough to share their troubling sleep disorders.

    For each patient, Dr. Leschziner offers a brief profile and character study, how he came to his diagnosis, treatment and what part

    Thanks to NetGalley for a Kindle ARC of

    This is a fascinating book about some of the most popular sleep disorders (and not so popular) most people experience at least once in their lives, such as insomnia.

    The author, an expert in his field, uses case studies culled from his patients, who were kind enough to share their troubling sleep disorders.

    For each patient, Dr. Leschziner offers a brief profile and character study, how he came to his diagnosis, treatment and what part of the brain the disorder originates from.

    There's no doubt how vital sleep is, for our mental, emotional and psychological health.

    The narrative does tend to get very

  • June

    Details on rare diseases (disorders), maybe essential to construct the core concept of the book, go beyond my curiosity, appear tedious to me, whom Chapter 13 Inception is the most relevant with.

    Hypothesis, insufficient evidence, temporary “don’t know” answer and shape the understandings.

  • Becca | Pages & Postcards

    I've been fascinated with the human brain during sleep ever since my freshman year Intro to Psych class with my crazy professor. I've been trying to read more non-fiction lately, so I can't wait to give this one a try!

  • K.J. Charles

    An interesting read in the vein of the Man Who Mistook His Wife For a Hat about the outer shores of sleep weirdness (people who sleep-ride motorbikes, or act out incredibly bizarre dreams, or have constantly shifting body clocks for no reason). The author writes with a lot of compassion and humanity about his patients, for whom it's impossible not to feel sorry--there are some utter hells on earth being lived through, and the effects of not enough sleep are utterly horrible. (Do yourself a favou

    An interesting read in the vein of the Man Who Mistook His Wife For a Hat about the outer shores of sleep weirdness (people who sleep-ride motorbikes, or act out incredibly bizarre dreams, or have constantly shifting body clocks for no reason). The author writes with a lot of compassion and humanity about his patients, for whom it's impossible not to feel sorry--there are some utter hells on earth being lived through, and the effects of not enough sleep are utterly horrible. (Do yourself a favour: get to bed earlier and *no screens*, for heaven's sake.)

    It was a tad heavy on the neuroscience for me (which it says on the tin, so this is a feature not a bug), but not overwhelmingly, and the author sensibly doesn't burden the storytelling parts with the bits about receptors. Overall an enjoyable and interesting read, with one story in here so good that I actually shouted "You WHAT?!" while reading, in an empty room. I won't spoil it here, but I will be recounting it in the pub a *lot*.

    I had an ARC from the publisher.

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