Sommeil et médecine générale

"Dormir peu, dormir mieux, vivre mieux."

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Information and tools
to understand sleep better and stay in a good shape.

Saturday 14 July 2007

All the versions of this article: [English] [français] [svenska]

The site est aticulated around two big parts:

The nap and the management of sleep in insomnia deserve special entries on the homepage in order to make the access to the pratical advices easier.

Besides, there exist three interactive entrances;

    Do the tests and follow the links:
  • An interactive test for screening of most sleep pathologies : "Talk to your doctor."
  • A true-false quizz to drive out the misunderstandings about sleep;
  • Questionnaires of sleep typology : what sleep type are you? Take the tests and follow the links...

General detailed map.
Ethical code of the website.

    While insomnia, fatigue and sleepiness worry mankind since its beginning, medical research has been interrested in sleep since only more or less fifty years.
    While we spend a third (or a quarter) of our life sleeping, this medical specialty still remains neglected by medicine or pharmacy faculties where it only fills a very small amount of lessons.

    Nowadays, sleep specialists are surprised to notice how little is the radiance of rudiments of sleep hygiene in managing modern lifestyle rythms.

    We hope to make the results of scientific research in sleep medicine accessible to most people.

    The interrested reader can refer to the external links which are suggested on the introduction page.
    Our experience in general medicine yet gives a particular lighting to that knowledge.

    Some theories of general medicine presented on this website are the result of a more personal work of research.

    They bring us to try to redefine, in the light of recent knowledge in sleep medicine, some pathologies situated on the borders of psychology and physiology, and which often lead to unsatisfying diagnosis. [1]

    • Are functional disorders (headache, digestive disorders, dizzy spells, lumbago,...) signs of hidden depression, of burn-out, of fibromyalgia, or chronic fatigue ? ... how far must complementary examinations be taken?;
    • Is a spasmophilia attack (or tetany), so frequently encountered in emergency, an outward sign of generalized anxiety disorder, of an obsessive-compulsive disorder, of "conversion neurosis" (hysteria) ?.
    • Are all those patients, who face hours of line in emergency room and "who fail nothing" at the issue of expensive check-ups, simply too worried or hypocondriac ? ...
    • Does one have to mention stress to explain the so-called "psycho-somatic diseases" ?
    • What can be said to this young man suffering of lumbalgy, who cannot even move, when his scan is normal? ...
    • And that patient with headache : her lumbar puncture eliminates meningitis, but how can one relieve her pain (while she has already consulted all the area’s specialists) ? ...

    The advances of sleep medicine regarding fatigue and sleepiness problems allow to put forward an hypothesis able to give a meaning to these medical charts that often harm the doctor-patient relationship.
    A qualitative approach of sleep, defining the "hypo-sleep syndrome" is indispensable to the understanding, prevention and treatment of those pathologies.

    The definition of unefficient sleep, not restful, is very different from that of insomnia and poses a problem of terminology that witnesses for the young age of sleep study.
    We suggest to use the neologism of "hypo-sleep", to underline the difference between that problem and insomnia.
    The insomniac subject suffers of not being able to initiate or maintain sleep, while the tired subject suffers of an unefficient sleep and is no more able to rest.

    Other concepts about sleep deserve, too, to be better defined : siesta, fatigue, sleeping pill ...

    • What is the accurate definition of the word "nap" ? :
      It doesn’t discriminate a few minutes’ sleep (à la S. Dali) from spending the day in bed (like the French writer Colette).
      How shall the difference be translated between a period of sleep, occuring in the start or the end of the night, the morning, or at the "siesta hour" ?
    • There exists a mix-up between the definition of fatigue and that of sleepiness:
      Pathologic snorers really suffer of excessive sleepiness but rate themselves as good sleepers because they sleep a lot and easily ;
      The insomniacs are very tired and wish they were able to do that, too. They go to sleep early to try to sleep without the need of it, they are not able to...
    • These ambiguities are exploited by the labs who sell sleeping pills and who pretend to help the consumer "thanks to" their products (Cf. Risks of the new sleeping pills .

      "Without a pill : an insomniac is sleepy and uncompetent"
      "With a pill : an insomniac is successful et dynamic"... [2]

      Meanwhile, the sleep doctors know that there exists, at the present hour, no medication really able to induce a normal and efficient sleep, presenting no residual effects the next day, nor tolerance that forces to increase the dosis.

    A few neologisms:

    That lack of vocabulary leads us to suggest, in this website, some new definitions around the concept of functional insufficiency of sleep :

JPEG - 4.8 kb
"SLOWLI" ...
We cordially thank Karine for the orthographical corrections

[1The "IDEK" Syndrome (French) is very well described, with humour, by Doctor H. Raybaud on :"You suffer of "I don’t Exactly Know Syndrome". (One patient in four, according to him, receives no precise diagnosis.)

[2This is alluding to an almost unveiled advert (seen on TV), for a well known sleeping pill (which recently got the speaker JL Delarue into trouble), and was broadcasted at 8.00 PM on the French TV channels.
In these pages, we describe the risk of the vicious circle of insomnia and the role played by that type of overwhelming advertising, overwhelming to sleep doctors.