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William C. Dement

William C. Dement (born 1928), is a pioneering sleep researcher, and founder of the world's first sleep laboratory at Stanford University. He is a leading authority on sleep, sleep deprivation, and the diagnosis and treatment of sleep disorders.

He earned both M.D., Ph.D. degrees.

First participating in sleep studies in 1950 with Drs. Nathaniel Kleitman and Eugene Aserinsky, together they discovered and described rapid eye movement (REM) sleep. He began his work in sleep deprivation at Mount Sinai Hospital in the late 1950s – the early 1960s.

Each year from 1971 until 2003 (when he retired) he taught the popular "Sleep and Dreams" course at Stanford University. He has come out of retirement for three of the four years from 2003 to 2007 to teach the class again. At the conclusion of the 2006 class he handed out t-shirts with his resemblance on the front and "drowsiness is Red Alert" on the back. In addition, the class was provided KFC meals[1]. Dement has been spending a great deal of time focusing on spreading information about the danger of driving when drowsy and Obstructive Sleep Apnea.

In 1975 he launched the American Sleep Disorders Association, now known as the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, and served as president for its first twelve years. In that same year he and Mary Carskadon invented the Multiple Sleep Latency Test used to measure sleepiness.

He was also chairman of the National Commission on Sleep Disorders Research, whose final report led directly to the creation of a new agency within the National Institutes of Health, the National Center on Sleep Disorders Research.

Dement is the author of numerous books, including The Promise of Sleep, "The Sleepwatchers", and has written the first undergraduate textbook in the field.

Before beginning his academic career, he was a jazz musician who played with Quincy Jones.

He lives with his family in northern California.


"Dreaming permits each and every one of us to be quietly and safely insane every night of our lives." - Newsweek 30 Nov 59

"...drowsiness is red alert." - Stanford Report 31 March, 2004

“Even when they are looking, people usually see only what they expect to find and they do not see what they assume for whatever reason could not exist.” - The Promise of Sleep (pg 34)

See also


  1. ^ Holt, Chris (May 1, 2006), " ", The Stanford Daily: 1
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "William_C._Dement". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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