Dr. William C. Dement, a professor at the Stanford Center for Sleep Sciences and Medicine, is considered the father of sleep medicine. In answer to my questions, he spoke about his early interest in sleep studies, the scientists who inspired him and how the study of sleep has evolved over half a century. Here is a transcript of our conversation.
There is now good evidence that parts of the brain may be awake while other parts are asleep. Sleepwalking is a premiere example: The portion of the brain capable of generating complex behaviors is awake while those portions which normally monitor our activity and lay down memory of our behaviors are asleep.