Personal Growth Series: Dr. William Dement on Healthy Sleep and Optimal Performance

Posted in Conferences, Companies, Science on October 08, 2008



Under ordinary circumstances, healthy sleep is by far the most powerful determination of high-level performance and productivity. Three major characteristics must be present to define healthy sleep. They are (1) a sufficient amount and continuity to avoid sleep indebtedness, (2) absence or near absence of pathological sleep-related events and (3) reasonable synchronizing of desired time in bed with circadian predisposition. The nature of each of these three characteristics will be elaborated as well as their relation to performance.

Speaker: Dr. William Dement
William C. Dement, M.D., Ph.D., is the world's leading authority on sleep, sleep disorders, and the dangers of sleep deprivation. He is Chief of the newly created Division of Sleep at Stanford University School of Medicine, which is also the home of the world's first sleep disorders center founded by Dr. Dement.

Born and raised in the state of Washington, Dr. Dement remained in his home state for his undergraduate years at the University of Washington. He then pursued his graduate studies at the University of Chicago, receiving his M.D. in 1955 and Ph.D. in Neurophysiology in 1957. For more than half a century, Dr. Dement has conducted basic sleep research, investigated sleep disorders and treatments, and has launched a myriad of public education programs. From 1953 to 1957, he conducted the first studies leading to the characterization of rapid eye movement (REM) sleep, the basic REM/NREM sleep cycle, and all night sleep patterns.

In 1975, Dr. Dement founded the American Academy of Sleep Medicine serving as its President for twelve years. Dr. Dement was also a founder of the American Board of Sleep Medicine. From 1990-1993, he served as Chairman of the U.S. Congress's National Commission on Sleep Disorders Research. In 2001, he received the largest National Institute of Health research grant in sleep medicine history to establish the effectiveness and benefits of continuous positive air pressure (CPAP) treatment for large populations of patients with obstructive sleep apnea.

As the author or co-author of over 500 scientific publications, Dr. Dement's research, findings, and advice can be found amongst several texts including his own, The Sleepwatchers, and most recently, The Promise of Sleep. He is also co-editor of the definitive textbook, Principles and Practice of Sleep Medicine, now in it's 4th edition.

Dr. Dement's strong desire to educate students about sleep and the dangers of sleep deprivation led to the creation of his very popular course, "Sleep & Dreams," at Stanford University, which he has been presenting regularly for over 35 years. He will continue his efforts to educate the public and increase sleep awareness as long as he lives.

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