A century ago, sleep was considered a state of nothingness — a primitive habit that we could learn to overcome. Then, a Jewish immigrant scientist spent a month in the depths of a Kentucky cave. In the 1920s, Nathaniel Kleitman founded the world’s first sleep lab at the University of Chicago, where he subjected research participants (including himself) to a dizzying array of tests and tortures. But the turning point came in 1938 when his headline-grabbing cave experiment awakened the public to the unknown — and vital — world of sleep. Kleitman went on to mentor the talented but troubled Eugene Aserinsky, whose discovery of REM sleep revealed the astonishing activity of the dreaming brain, and William Dement, a jazz-bass-playing revolutionary who became known as the father of sleep medicine. Dement, in turn, mentored the brilliant outsider Mary Carskadon, who uncovered an epidemic of sleep deprivation among teenagers and launched a global movement to fight it. Weaving science and history, award-winning journalist Kenneth Miller shows how these researchers changed our lives — and why it matters.
Mapping The Darkness: The Visionary Scientists Who Unlocked the Mysteries of Sleep
- From the Publisher
September 1, 2021
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