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Guy Leschziner
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The Nocturnal Brain: Nightmares, Neuroscience, and the Secret World of Sleep

4.03  ·  Rating details ·  317 ratings  ·  56 reviews
A renowned neurologist shares the true stories of people unable to get a good night’s rest in The Nocturnal Brain: Nightmares, Neuroscience, and the Secret World of Sleep, a fascinating exploration of the symptoms and syndromes behind sleep disorders.

For Dr. Guy Leschziner’s patients, there is no rest for the weary in mind and body. Insomnia, narcolepsy, night terrors, apne
ebook, 288 pages
Published July 23rd 2019 by St. Martin's Press
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Average rating 4.03  · 
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 ·  317 ratings  ·  56 reviews

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Like Oliver Sacks the author is both a neurologist and talented writer. Also like Oliver Sacks, but unlike most doctors and doctor-books, he does not regard the person who suffers from a disorder as being primarily the disorder. Neither of them would ever think of someone as autistic, but as a person with autism. And both of them, again quite unlike other doctors, treat the person as an equal partner in sorting out the neurological problem.

Perhaps the most interesting of all the weirdness that the a
Diane S ☔
Sep 29, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: lor-2019, 5000-2019
An interesting and thought provoking look into many sleep related disorders. I was interested in reading this because I have been having trouble sleeping, off and on, and was curious to see what would be offered in the way of information. I found it wasn't until the last chapter that this was discussed, but the actual stories presented before that chapter, were fascinating.

Sleep eating, sleep driving, sleep eating and even sleep sex. Seems like some mammals, these people are the vict
K.J. Charles
An interesting read in the vein of the Man Who Mistook His Wife For a Hat about the outer shores of sleep weirdness (people who sleep-ride motorbikes, or act out incredibly bizarre dreams, or have constantly shifting body clocks for no reason). The author writes with a lot of compassion and humanity about his patients, for whom it's impossible not to feel sorry--there are some utter hells on earth being lived through, and the effects of not enough sleep are utterly horrible. (Do yourself a favou ...more
Rating: 3.5

Most of us are aware of sleep apnea and restless legs syndrome. Some of us have family members who sleepwalk or sleep talk, and most of us have probably had episodes of insomnia. In this book, Dr. Leschziner covers all of these conditions and more. He also presents a number of very unusual sleep disorders that I had never heard of, providing an overview of the relevant neuroanatomy and neurophysiology in language that is accessible to the lay reader. Some of the concepts a
Mar 09, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019
Thankfully I have never had any issues in sleeping. I put my head on the pillow and almost always I am asleep within a few minutes. I sleep deeply too, I missed the entire Great Storm in 1987 and was totally oblivious to a massive lightning storm that struck an oak tree opposite where I lived. My father has always called it a short course in death…

Sleep is essential to our health, but no one can say with any conviction exactly why we need it. If we are sleep deprived then there is a
Karen Ng
For those who misses Oliver Sack's knowledge about neuroscience and his ability to convey his knowledge into words... read this book. I haven't seen a medical doctor that is also proficient in written words in present time since When Breath Becomes Air.
Thanks to NetGalley for a Kindle ARC of The Nocturnal Brain.

This is a fascinating book about some of the most popular sleep disorders (and not so popular) most people experience at least once in their lives, such as insomnia.

The author, an expert in his field, uses case studies culled from his patients, who were kind enough to share their troubling sleep disorders.

For each patient, Dr. Leschziner offers a brief profile and character study, how he came to his diagnosis, treatm
Aug 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A look at sleep disorders from the perspective of a neurologist, when most of my previous knowledge about sleep, being a respiratory therapist, came from the perspective of pulmonologists. This was interesting as the author told stories of people he had as patient with unusual sleep disorders and how the problem was addressed. If you are interested in sleep or have any sleep issues you might find this fascinating. Also it is not technical so you probably with find it was reading.
Sep 05, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: arc
I love this book in concept, and it definitely wasn't lacking in the data or factual basis departments. However, Leschziner crafts his work in a non-popular science manner in that readability of the concepts and case studies isn't necessarily tailored to an average knowledge base.

While I did enjoy reading some of the case studies and the bizarre symptoms of the patients, as well as theories of what was causing these symptoms on a neurological level, the organization of the information was confu
May 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

The way in which the human brain functions during sleep still remains largely a mystery. But the things we already know are quite fascinating. In The Nocturnal Brain, Dr. Guy Leschziner, neurologist, describes some real-life instances of sleep gone wrong - and by that, we mean everything from a disrupted circadian rhythm to people whose brain can be simultaneously asleep and awake.

Aug 03, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science
Details on rare diseases (disorders), maybe essential to construct the core concept of the book, go beyond my curiosity, appear tedious to me, whom Chapter 13 Inception is the most relevant with.
Hypothesis, insufficient evidence, temporary “don’t know” answer and shape the understandings.
Oct 15, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: des, 2010s, dewey600s
Not recommended.
When I saw the title listed in the regional library's list of on order books, I placed a reserve ...
There were a few people ahead of me on the waiting list. The book moved overly slowly from person to person ... a warning sign ...
After reading the first half of the book quickly, with much skimming, I had no desire to return to its pages. Only the chapter about sleep apnea caught my interest. Did skim to end before returning to library.
Each chapter focuses on an
Jul 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites, netgalley
The Nocturnal Brain: Nightmares, Neuroscience, and the Secret World of Sleep

Thank you to the author, to netgalley and to @stmartinspress for the #arc of an ebook

AUTHOR: Guy Leschziner

GENRE: Non-Fiction, Science


The books describes stories of Dr. Guy Leschziner’s patients with sleep disorders. He tells stories on his experiences with patients who have had insomnia (difficulty sleeping), narcolepsy (daytime sleepiness), night terrors, sleepwalkin
Annette Jordan
An excelling and fascinating book , The Nocturnal Brain by Dr Guy Leschziner is perfect for anyone curious to know more about one of the most mysterious of human activities - sleeping. Using examples and anecdotes from his clinical practice Dr. Leshziner first tries to explain the process and function of sleep, what happens to the brain and why sleep is so important for our overall physical and mental health. While many of the cases he describes are almost unbelievable, such as a woman who rode ...more
Robert Federline
A foray into an unfamiliar field is always filled with excitement and an opportunity to learn and grow. Neurology is of itself a fascinating field with largely unexplored areas of knowledge to give us insight into how our minds and bodies work and coordinate.

The sub-field of sleep studies has its own attractions. There is no one who has not either personally experienced, or knows someone who has experienced, sleep difficulties or wondered about the sources and purposes of dreams and
Sep 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Another random nonfiction title picked up at the library, but when I saw the title I knew I had to read it to see if I could learn more about my sleep issues, which don’t necessarily warrant a trip to a specialist... difficulty staying asleep, exhaustion during the day, intense and vivid dreams, many more nightmares than not when dreaming, sleep paralysis (though I rarely find it scary anymore, just a nuisance), occasional lucid dreaming, and sometimes my arms move in accordance with my dreams. ...more
Francesca Rodi
Aug 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
5 STARS! This book was so interesting. I couldn’t stop reading. I really loved the style of writing, it was clear and informative without too much jargon or technical complexity that might make you loose interest. The combination of information then story which then linked back to previous info really enforced the people and their situations. I thoroughly enjoyed learning about the importance of sleep and the sometimes bizarre conditions people’s bodies are faced with. It’s seriously amazing.
The Nocturnal Brain by Guy Leschziner is a free NetGalley ebook that I read in late July.

I read this book about two nights after I was told that talked in my sleep, fretting over a cellphone app I downloaded in real life, but otherwise didn’t pay too much attention to. So, as I read stories about sleep-wake delays, sleepwalking/talking/eating, violence during night terrors, sleep apnea, narcolepsy, sleep paralysis, insomnia, and restless leg syndrome, I have a small incident to call back ont
Ameya Warde
This was SUPER fascinating and I def recommend this book to others. Though, I remember a couple bits made me side-eye the author, including him referencing Freud multiple times without evven mentioning that freud was a fraudulent POS human which is :\. But, i found this book overall really fascinating, especially as I'd been waiting on it from the library for weeeeeks and I happened to get it right after my first sleep doctor appointment. I wish I had read it before so I knew to mention a few th ...more
I read this book in preparation for seeing Guy Leschziner at the Edinburgh Book Festival in a week's time. I'm looking forward to that session.

Guy is a London-based Neurologist and Sleep Physician who has seen many many patients present with a huge variety of sleep disorders over his career. In this book he outlines fourteen of them in the style of Oliver Sacks. In doing so he lays out the rainbow of people and disorders he sees without judgement, and with deep curiosity and compassi
Deb Lancaster
Jun 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Saw this guy on a whim at Hay this year. Fascinated by his talk, which described a few case studies in this book. Having finally read it I'm delighted it was just as fascinating. Very reminiscent of the books Oliver Sacks wrote, detailing case studies. In fact, he references Sacks a few times. Complex information delivered at just the right level of dumbing down for the layman, and a really lovely way of describing his patients and bringing their stories to life. Would that we all had consultant ...more
Jul 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An insight into the world of Sleep, science made into digestible portions. This neurologist gives a very human approach into sleep disorders and how they affect lives of ordinary people.
I was intrigued, as some of the conditions were mentioned in my textbooks as one liners. It also makes me think that in my country many of the patients would have attached some spiritual significance to their symptoms and sought traditional or spiritual healing. There is often the belief that the patient has bee
Aug 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Written with clear love and curious about his field, "The Nocturnal Brain" as questions and takes you on a ride. We readers witness the life-changing benefits of a proper diagnosis, and walk away with a greater understanding how why sleep is so important, and what a blessing it is if you sleep fine! A read full of humanity.

I fully acknowledge the irony of reading this while up late with insomnia. Sorry, doc.
Oct 12, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019, non-fiction
Fascinating read on sleep. More than secret, there is just lot of pop culture influence on how we understand sleep and older theories that hamper someone from getting help or get the wrong kind of assumptions on sleep related problems.

Interestingly, I have had only 3 hours of sleep and woke up at 1:30 AM only to read this book in one sitting on Kindle device. I pretty much tick everything the author says not to do. But insomnia.
EbookWitched Diane
Well written and very interesting subject (in my opinion). The author recounts compelling stories, which were handled very well, and explains what science knows and doesn't about each experience.
The ebook version was difficult to read due to the formatting, so I would recommend the hardcopy version. Plus, you could highlight more easily - and you will want to, trust me!
Tania Bonora
This is a fascinating insight into all sleep disorders from both a doctor’s perspective and a patient’s experience. I enjoyed reading the case studies about real patients and then the research and history behind each of the nocturnal conditions. As I often have difficulty getting a decent night sleep I now realise I don’t really have a problem, after this book 😀
Ana Antunes
Jul 09, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A very nice reading for those who have problems sleeping or for those who just want to know a bit more about how the brain works, particularly at night. I really did enjoy it, and I think although it's not very detailed it gives you a very nice introduction to how the brain works, and the role that some hormones we produce are so important and how they correlate with each other.
Sep 17, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
This was a DNF for me. The interesting subject matter and my own experiences with sleep paralysis and sleep talking carried me through about 100 pages. That's also what got me up to 2 stars. However, the author's ableist and classist language grated on me, and after he referenced the results of a fully debunked sleep apnea study as if they were factual I had to put the book down.
Aug 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was a great read after re-reading Matthew Walker's Why We Sleep recently and the different perspective offered here complements MW's detailed analyses well. Many will compare this to Sacks' The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat which is fair but I found Guy's book to be more engaging and approachable from an amateur's perspective.
Alan Lehto
Sep 25, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Entertaining and informative

Really good whether you have a particular interest in sleep or not and there is a very nice mix of illustrative case study with neurological and physiological function to help explain it. All written in a comfortable voice at a comfortable level for the layperson.
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Guy Leschziner is a consultant neurologist at Guy’s and St Thomas’ Hospitals in London, where he leads the Sleep Disorders Centre, one of the largest sleep services in Europe, and a reader in neurology at King’s College London. He also works at London Bridge and Cromwell Hospitals. Alongside his clinical work, he is the presenter of the Mysteries of Sleep series on BBC Radio 4, is editor of the fo ...more