A sleep expert talks insomnia, dreams, and the neuroscience of slumber

Graphic by Michele Doying / The Verge

Sleep usually leaves people feeling rested and refreshed, but for the patients of clinical neurologist Guy Leschziner, their non-waking moments are generally anything but peaceful. One realizes that she’s been taking her motorcycle out for a ride while fast asleep only after her landlady asks her where she went. Another moves around in his sleep, acting out his dreams — and terrifying his partner in the process. Still others suffer from insomnia, sleep deprivation, and night terrors.

Leschziner describes their cases and how they inform the growing world of sleep research in his recent book, The Nocturnal Brain: Nightmares, Neuroscience, and the Secret World of Sleep. “These cases are interesting in two separate ways — the first is just…

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