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The Enchanted World of Sleep Paperback – February 17, 1998

ISBN-13: 978-0300074369 ISBN-10: 0300074360 Edition: Reprint

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 286 pages
  • Publisher: Yale University Press; Reprint edition (February 17, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0300074360
  • ISBN-13: 978-0300074369
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.6 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #273,478 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Most of us take sleep for granted, except of course on those long nights when it refuses to come. But for Peretz Lavie, head of the Sleep Laboratory at the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology in Haifa, sleep is every bit as important as wakefulness. Amidst the anecdotes, stories and literature can be found revealing sleep research such as the study of a group of students in Israel during the Gulf War, who, five weeks into the conflict, reported that half their dreams dealt with the war and that the most common recurring image was the gas mask. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

Unlike last year's Night by A. Alvarez, this analysis of the mechanics of sleep includes little literature or art and whatever history it contains is strictly about the people and events germane to the science of sleep. Readers will have to find their enchantment where Lavie does?in the research and facts themselves. In enthusiastic prose (even when discussing the decline of sleep research, he talks about "the golden era of earth-shaking discoveries" when "every night held the chance of a new and thrilling revelation, with researchers anxiously awaiting the morning so that they could report on the night's findings"), Lavie describes each phase of sleep, its rhythm and its disturbances; REM and dreams; sleep deprivation; jet lag; and sleep disorders such as insomnia, sleep apnea and narcolepsy. Lavie is the dean of the faculty of medicine and head of the sleep laboratory at the Technion in Haifa, and his most interesting discussions are often peculiar to circumstances in Israel: the observation that Holocaust survivors who adjusted well to life in Israel were less likely to remember dreams (any dreams) than those who had not; the situational insomnia that resulted from the threat of missile attack during the Gulf war; the mystery of the Jewish narcoleptics (after extensive research, Lavie recorded only a dozen or so, 100 times fewer than expected). There are some how-to tips that seem a little out of place, and only a scientist is going to find a molded mask and an air compressor worn to correct sleep apnea "so simple as to be pure genius." But for those who want to know what happens when the ability to "know" is suspended, this is a clear and earnest introduction.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By drew hempel on August 2, 2006
Format: Hardcover
This is a riveting read! What I found fascinating is that to determine if other animals sleep we look for the strong amplitude spikes of slower frequency wavelengths. Animals that need to sleep on the move or always be alert have high rates of "paradoxical sleep" (light REM sleep) while animals assured of protection (like bears) have deep dreamless sleep, with strong amplitude spikes.

The author's argument that REM was monophasic -- arising from the cerebellum connections as an evolutionary transition to more deep, restorative sleep, is fascinating. So infants have more REM sleep because they need to be able to wake up more often for fast growth and since they have little protection, the same for fish, birds. Until the book it's been thought that REM was necessary for long-term memory storage, which appears to be more of a combination of REM with other factors while the "monophasic" use of REM is primary. The author presents that amazing evidence of a patient who had next to no REM and had amazing long term memory capabilites.

The author's discovery that repression of traumatic memories was the key to restful sleep is amazing since it goes totally against Freudian psychology! So the practice is to never discuss the trauma! On the otherhand it presents an argument for the legitmacy of secrecy regarding experiences that are classified in "parasomnia" realms. The "silent channel" tactic to enable restful sleep during war is also fascinating.

How genetic factors tie into nacrolepsy and how the hypothalamus is tied to somnambulism is also very intriguing. That somnambulism usually disappears after puberty and that somanambulism is also associated with traumatic dreams of "night monsters" and bizarre deviance sex behavior is also intriguing.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 17, 1998
Format: Paperback
You will not want to stop reading this book. It tells all about the mechanism of sleep, about dreaming and biological clocks. It is easy to read, informative and very interesting. It is very important to read this book to learn about so many myths about sleeping. It will change your life forever! Ron.
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9 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Glen Engel Cox on August 28, 2002
Format: Paperback
We spend a full third of our life sleeping, but what do we really know about it. Why do we sleep? What causes us to sleep? What happens when we sleep? All these questions remain unanswered, but scientists are working--dare I say it? oh, why not--around the clock to explain why we can't work around the clock.
On the academic side, the latest report from the somnabulent world is Peretz Lavie's The Enchanted World of Sleep. Translated from the original Hebrew with aplomb by Anthony Berris, Lavie's book introduces us to the world of scientific sleep study through one of the original sleep institutes, the Sleep Laboratory at the Technion--the Israel Institute of Technology in Haifa. Prof. Lavie, who is dean of the Faculty of Medicine and head of the Laboratory, is uniquely qualified to give such a historical perspective, because he did his graduate work under Prof. Bernie Webb, one of the founders of sleep research.
It should be noted that what these scientists are studying is the mechanisms of sleep. While dream state is included in this, they are interested in only the fact that someone is dreaming, not about what the dream relates. Such dream studies are the province of psychologists. Prof. Lavie and his collegues are medical doctors who are interested in the physiology of sleep--what happens when people are deprived of sleep through natural (brain disorders, etc.) and unnatural (sleep deprivation experiments, etc.) events. One of the many myths exploded in this book is that a majority of people sleep poorly. Instead, Prof. Lavie proves, people only think they don't sleep well, whereas in comparison studies, their sleep is as even as the next persons.
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