Sleep in the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries

  • Michael ThorpyEmail author


The seventeenth century was regarded as the Age of Scientific Revolution and included the major medical developments that impacted upon the understanding of sleep disorders. It was the time of Descartes who formulated theories of sleep based upon mechanisms and also the time of William Shakespeare who extensively wrote about sleep and sleep disorders in his novels. The vascular theories of the cause of sleep were paramount in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, and it was the time of the first descriptions of obstructive sleep apnea and the age of chronobiology with De Mairan’s studies of the circadian effects of plant behavior that was independent of light exposure.


Descartes Shakespeare Vascular theories Mechanisms 


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The Saul R. Korey Department of Neurology, Albert Einstein College of MedicineYeshiva UniversityBronxUSA

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