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Sleep talks and workshops


Starting with the history of modern sleep research and sleep medicine ..

Sleep disorders

Broadly there are five types of sleep disorder: 1) insomnia (not being able to sleep), 2) hypersomnia (not being able to stay awake, e,g, narcolepsy), 3) parasomnia (unwanted behaviours during sleep, e.g. sleepwalking), 4) biological clock disorders (e.g. jet lag) and 5) sleep-related breathing disorders (e.g. Obstructive Sleep Apnoea). This session will explore what happens in a sleep clinic and how these disorders are diagnosed and treated.

Jekyll & Hyde, insanity, sleep and the law.

The law, in most jurisdictions, provides a defence against a crime if the ‘criminal’ behaviour was in some way involuntary. A murder committed whilst sleepwalking would be an example. Sleep medicine has categorised many sleep disorders amongst them the parasomnias - unwanted behaviours during sleep.  This workshop will explore both how the defence arose, and how our modern brain-based scientific view of the workings of the brain and mind attempt to absolve an individual from criminality. Robert Louis Stevenson’s novella Jekyll & Hyde provides a curious template.

How does the brain accommodate the mind? Thinking about sleep and drugs

This workshop will attempt to answer the question by considering how sleep and drugs affect our mind/mental state. Sleep is a time when our normal perceptions, thinking and reactions to the 'real' world are altered. Similarly, though through quite different mechanisms, drugs or psychiatric medicines also affect our minds. Whilst this workshop is unlikely to answer what is fundamentally a philosophical question it will try (and at least explore the state of the science).

Sleep and mental disorder

Most mental disorders are associated with disturbed sleep. It is know that suffering from poor sleep for an extended period can increase the risk of developing a disorder like depression. Sleep deprivation can trigger mania. It is not know what the relationships are, whether poor sleep leads to a mental disorder or a poor sleep is a symptom of a developing mental disorder. This workshop explores the relationships.

The above are usually two hour sessions. Contact for more information.

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