Epidemiology of Sleep: Age, Gender, and Ethnicity

Epidemiology of Sleep: Age, Gender, and Ethnicity

Epidemiology of Sleep: Age, Gender, and Ethnicity

Epidemiology of Sleep: Age, Gender, and Ethnicity

Synopsis

This book reviews existing epidemiological knowledge of sleep and provides a detailed analysis of a 3-year study completed by the author team. It offers a comprehensive examination of the relationship between sleep and daytime functioning.

Excerpt

How shall we know sleep? Since the broad adoption of polysomnography (PSG), this question is not asked often enough, and is too often answered with buoyant self-assuredness.

The scientific journey of Werner Heisenberg (Cassidy, 1992) provides some perspective on how to answer this question. Like Pavlov before him, Heisenberg was a Nobel laureate, but were that his main accomplishment, he would be lost in the oblivion of history. Pavlov achieved fame not by winning the Nobel prize for his studies of the digestive processes of dogs, but as an afterthought of that research: deriving principles of conditioning that explained the behavior of dogs and others (Windholz, 1997). Heisenberg was a German physicist, and his prize was for contributions to the theory of quantum mechanics. As part of that research program, he was frustrated in his attempts to study atomic particles because the light needed to illuminate the subject altered the path of the electrons. Thus was born Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle: The act of measurement alters what one wishes to measure, rendering specific knowledge indeterminate.

Sleep scientists in the main are probably not very sympathetic to Heisenberg's complaint. How much error could light particles have introduced to the study of electrons compared to our routine procedures? Our standard protocol is to remove individuals from their accustomed surroundings, mount a dozen or more sets of electrodes with glue, tape, straps, clips, and the like from head to foot, and then put them to rest in an uncomfortable hospital bed. It is well established that the sleep labo-

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