"We are brought up from infancy," writes R.M. Vaughan, in a piece on Restless Leg Syndrome, "to appreciate our beds and bedrooms as spaces that provide quiet, rest, solace and pleasure." But the ordeal of uncontrollably restless legs -- a phenomenon poorly understood by doctors and all too easily mocked by those who've never experienced it -- makes the bedroom "a space one associates with a betrayal by one's own body."
The latest on the mysterious sleeping sickness that has been affecting villagers in Kalachi, northern Kazakhstan, for the past two years.
Ian Parker’s fascinating article in the December 9th issue of The New Yorker focuses on Merck’s efforts to secure FDA approval for suvorexant, an innovatory sleeping pill that has yet to reach the market. Although the FDA has signed off on suvorexant, it has prescribed a dosage level that, while proven in clinical trials to increase sleep time, has failed to convince insomnia sufferers they are being helped: “In the Phase II trial, this dose of suvorexant had helped to turn off the orexin system in the brains of insomniacs, and it had extended sleep, but its impact didn’t register with users. It worked, but who would notice?”
As Parker puts it elsewhere in the article, “insomnia is a condition not just of losing sleep but of being disturbed by sleeplessness. … This emphasis on the subjective also makes the amnesiac effect of sleep drugs oddly advantageous to those who manufacture them: the drugs inhibit people from creating memories of waking during the night.”