The Sleep of Others and the Transformation of Sleep Research

The Sleep of Others and the Transformation of Sleep Research

by Kenton Kroker



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The Sleep of Others and the Transformation of Sleep Research by Kenton Kroker

We tend to think of sleep as a private concern, a night-time retreat from the physical world into the realm of the subconscious. Yet sleep also has a public side; it has been the focal point of religious ritual, philosophic speculation, political debate, psychological research, and more recently, neuroscientific investigation and medical practice.

In this first ever history of sleep research, Kenton Kroker draws on a wide range of material to present the story of how an investigative field — at one time dominated by the study of dreams — slowly morphed into a laboratory-based discipline. The result of this transformation, Kroker argues, has changed the very meaning of sleep from its earlier conception to an issue for public health and biomedical intervention.

Examining a vast historical period of 2500 years, Kroker separates the problems associated with the history of dreaming from those associated with sleep itself and charts sleep-related diseases such as narcolepsy, insomnia, and sleep apnea. He describes the discovery of rapid eye movement — REM — during the 1950s, and shows how this discovery initiated the creation of 'dream laboratories' that later emerged as centres for sleep research during the 1960s and 1970s. Kroker's work is unique in subject and scope and will be enormously useful for both sleep researchers, medical historians, and anybody who's ever lost a night's sleep.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781487520021
Publisher: University of Toronto Press, Scholarly Publishing Division
Publication date: 12/18/2015
Series: Heritage Series
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 544
Product dimensions: 6.05(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.15(d)

About the Author

Kenton Kroker is an assistant professor in the Science and Technology Studies Program at York University.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments vii

Introduction 3

1 The Persistence of Privacy 18

2 Analogize and Experiment 71

3 The Ends of Darkness 121

4 Inhibition and Disease 178

5 Performing Sleep 205

6 Sleep Finds a Groove 255

7 Begin the Begin 325

8 Insomnia Returns 349

9 Breathe 395

Epilogue 429

Notes 433

Bibliography 503

Index 525

What People are Saying About This

Ian Hacking

‘Kenton Kroker offers a deep analysis of how measuring devices, crude electrodes placed on the head, and a new institution, the sleep laboratory, completely changed what had been the most private, solitary, and perhaps non-existent time in our lives – when we are asleep.’

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