Nature of Sleep and its Disorders

Sleep disorders still often remain unrecognized and untreated despite the rapid advances in the understanding of their nature over the last few years.

Sleep medicine as a specialty is only beginning to evolve and communication is often lacking between sleep specialists and other doctors who are developing an interest in sleep problems. I hope this book will bridge this gap by providing an up-to-date account of views on sleep and its disorders.

Sleep medicine crosses the conventional medical specialties and this has made it difficult for any one person to remain informed about the whole field. It has, however, opened up interesting interfaces between the specialties that have generated new ideas and treatments. The study of sleep disorders is one of the fastest developing areas of medicine with a rapidly growing scientific basis for clinical practice. The aim of this book is to provide an integrated view of clinical problems that fall within each of the medical subspecialties and to illustrate how their assessment and treatment are based on an understanding of the abnormal processes occurring during sleep.

The initial chapter deals with the individual’s need for sleep and the biological and social influences on this. This is followed by a detailed discussion of the physiology of sleep and its control. The assessment of sleep disorders and the increasingly important topic of drug-related sleep problems are covered. The remainder of the book concentrates on clinical presentations. The approach is primarily symptom-based, but there are two important chapters on respiratory complications and the final chapter deals with sleep problems in other medical disorders. I hope that this book will be of interest to sleep specialists, respiratory physicians, neurologists, psy-chiatrists and general internal physicians involved with patients with sleep problems. The influence of age is emphasized and both paediatricians and those caring for the elderly will find topics of importance. The underlying mechanisms of sleep and its disorders should appeal to sleep researchers and those with a technical training. The integrated approach should prove helpful to nurses and other healthcare professionals involved in sleep problems.

I would like to thank Blackwell Publishing for their help with the preparation of this book, and especially Jill Dellar who has invariably coped without any fuss, met almost impossible deadlines and helped in many other ways with the preparation of the manuscript. Finally, my wife Anne has been a source of encouragement throughout and has been patient and understanding at every stage of the preparation of this book. Without her help it would not have been completed.

by John M. Shneers

Provided by ArmMed Media