Sleep medicine content of major medical textbooks continues to be underrepresented

Mihai C. Teodorescu, Alon Y. Avidan, Mihaela Teodorescu, John J. Harrington, Ali O. Artar, Charles R. Davies, Ronald D. Chervin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: Sleep-related material in medical textbooks may be the only method by which physicians educate themselves about sleep. In the last decade significant progress in sleep research has been made, but how textbooks in relevant fields reflect it has not been examined. Our purpose was to review and compare (2005 with 1998) sleep content in representative medical textbooks. Methods: Sleep content of the latest edition of textbooks in four specialties was evaluated. Present sleep content in seven textbooks was compared with that found in 1998. Numbers of pages devoted to sleep were counted and reported for the subjects covered and for the specialty of the textbook. Results: Thirty-one textbooks were examined for current content and seven textbooks for content comparison. Sleep coverage in medical textbooks uniformly received less than 2% of the text volume. Focus of topics covered varied with specialty. Compared with 1998, the proportion of pages devoted to sleep remained the same or decreased. Coverage of new topics remained minimal. Conclusions: Major medical textbooks present small amounts of sleep content and few provide a comprehensive overview of sleep medicine. In comparison to textbook editions from the 1990s, current editions still devote little attention to sleep, and the diversity of topics has not improved.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)271-276
Number of pages6
JournalSleep Medicine
Issue number3
StatePublished - Apr 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • Medical textbooks
  • Sleep content
  • Sleep education
  • Sleep knowledge

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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