The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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The only medicine for your comfort
Peretz Lavie
Yale University Press; $ 27.50

Sophocles wrote that sleep was the only medicine that 'gives ease.' But not everyone can follow the prescription. While some of us can fall easily into slumber, countless others, plagued by sleep disorders, cannot sleep a wink, or worse, struggle for breath throughout the night, only to face a day of sleepiness, fatigue and impaired judgement.

There's no statistics on the number of individuals suffering from acute sleep disturbance all over the world. But there is no doubt that sleep disorders are grossly under-diagnosed or misdiagnosed health problems.

The book offers a detailed discussion of sleep ailments, including restlessness, snoring and apnoea, and also of drugs and products that contribute to sleep disorders.

The author admits that there is no definitive explanation of why the human airway tends to collapse during sleep, except that it may have something to do with our anatomy, particularly a special structure that contorts and collapses at night.

Although the title may appear textbookish at some points, it may bring out several patients of sleep apnoea out of closets. Pretty useful read.

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