If ones life is measured by ones passion then Dr. William Dement is one of the most successful people alive. His passion for increasing knowledge goes hand in hand with his desire to educate everyone about the need for adequate sleep.

Dr Dement has been teaching and researching for 57 years and has been with Stanford’s department of psychiatry since 1963. During this time he was the first person to document REM sleep, the stage of sleep where dreams occurred. He has also learned and brought to the public Narcolepsy, a condition that causes sudden loss of control of muscle tone and periods of spontaneous sleep. He continues to research and is currently publishing articles on sleep debt and vigilance. His discoveries and role in the study of sleep has created the standards of testing and care for patients with sleep apnea, daytime sleepiness, restless leg syndrome and many other sleep related disorders.

I have the luxury of meeting Dr. Dement and hearing him speak at the Focus Conference on Critical Care Medicine in Orlando last week. His desire to change how Americans look at sleep, especially our young people, and to increase the time we sleep is inspiring. He spoke on his current research, the fact that in order to learn optimally, function at peak performance and have a great memory we need to reduce our sleep debt on a regular basis. He does feel that we do not create strong enough routines for ourselves or our children.

His biggest crusade is his desire to end drowsy driving. According to the NSF it is difficult to track drowsy driving due to limited reporting. What is known is that 78% of all drowsy driving accidents end with a fatality. It is also known that there are very few laws to protect people from drowsy drivers. He feels that this is unacceptable and is encouraging people to be aware and treat your drowsy friends and coworkers like a person who is intoxicated and give them a ride.

Dr Dement closed his talks by informing his audience that he will continue to learn and teach until he simply can not anymore. His passion for the field he created and the joy he takes in teaching others is truly and inspiration to all.

Author's Bio: 

Amy Korn-Reavis, RRT, RPSGT has been in the respiratory field for over twenty years. She has worked in all areas and is currently focusing on sleep and how to help the community feel better by sleeping better. She is the manager of Emery Sleep Solutions an independent testing facility located in Apopka, Florida. She is also the coordinator of A.W.A.K.E. Orlando a support group for people with sleep disorders awakeorlando.ning.com. If you have any questions about sleep or are looking for someone to speak at your community function she can be reached at areavis@emerymedicalsolutions.com