Centre for Clinical Brain Sciences

Sleep medicine

The Sleep Research Unit, aligned with the Department of Sleep Medicine at the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh, sees and manages all sleep disorders including narcolepsy, parasomnias and circadian rhythm disorders.

Background

The Sleep Research Unit is aligned with the Department of Sleep Medicine in the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh, which has been diagnosing and treating sleep disorders in adults for 30 years. The Department sees about 2,500 new patients a year and has a seven-bed facility for performing polysomnography. We also use home diagnostics for limited sleep studies in the investigation of sleep disordered breathing.

Principal Investigator:

Polysomnography trace

Recognition

Our research into respiratory conditions and sleep began in the 1970s under the leadership of Professor David Flenley, followed by Professor Sir Neil Douglas. With increasing recognition of obstructive sleep apnoea/hypopnoea syndrome, the Department began to grow exponentially and now sees and manages all sleep disorders including narcolepsy, parasomnias and circadian rhythm disorders.

Collaborative working

In the mid-1990s, the NHS took over the running of the clinical side of the Department, with the Sleep Research Unit remaining part of the University of Edinburgh. The Sleep Research Unit has expanded to foster collaborative work with other departments and specialties within Scotland and the UK, as well as with European partners. We are the most highly cited centre in the world for sleep apnoea/hypopnoea syndrome and the second most highly cited centre for clinical sleep medicine. Our research is primarily clinically based and encompasses ALL areas of sleep medicine.

The Sleep Research Unit moved to CCBS in 2015 and remains a unit without walls, welcoming collaboration across centres and specialties.

Publications

Our strong focus on research and teaching has resulted in over 270 original publications. Many of these form the basis of best practice guidelines in the investigation and treatment of sleep disorders at an international level. We run several prestigious sleep courses annually.