Cookie policy notice

By continuing to use this site you agree to our cookies policy below:
Since 26 May 2011, the law now states that cookies on websites can ony be used with your specific consent. Cookies allow us to ensure that you enjoy the best browsing experience.

This site is intended for health professionals only

At the heart of general practice since 1960

Book review: 'Sleepiness: Causes, Consequences and Treatment' edited by Michael J. Thorpy and Michel Billiard

A surefire cure for insomnia when read cover-to-cover, writes Dr Bridget Osborne

This is a book written by experts in sleep disorders for neurologists, psychiatrists and sleep specialists, covering the causes, consequences and treatment of all known disorders of excessive sleepiness.

Much of the research into what constitutes excessive daytime sleepiness (EDS)  is recent and is covered in depth, although there is no definitive description for making a diagnosis. EDS affect up to 9.5% of the general population and 16.3% of young adults. Unsurprisingly, perhaps, the most common cause is "behaviourally induced insufficient sleep syndrome" - staying up too late in GP-speak.

The neuro-chemistry is covered in detail, including the role of hypocretin (also known as orexin) and other neuro-transmitters, and the role histamine plays in alert mechanisms, explaining neatly why anti-histamines cause drowsiness.

As a GP, I hoped to learn more about chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS). Although there is an excellent section on taking a sleep history and explanations of the real differences between fatigue and sleepiness, CFS is considered amongst the psychiatric causes of sleep disorder.

There are chapters on narcolepsy (which affects 0.03%), breathing disorders, Alzheimers and Parkinson's diseases, as well as restless leg syndrome and many other more esoteric disorders.

This is a fascinating book to dip into for specific topics and for those with a real interest in sleep disorders, but as a cover to cover read is a certain cure for insomnia.

Dr Bridget Osborne is a GP in Conwy, North Wales

Rate this article 

Click to rate

  • 1 star out of 5
  • 2 stars out of 5
  • 3 stars out of 5
  • 4 stars out of 5
  • 5 stars out of 5

0 out of 5 stars

Have your say