About this event

  • Date and time Tue 4 Feb 2020 from 8:30am to 5:00pm
  • Location Royal Society of Medicine
  • Organised by Sleep Medicine

Join us as we explore the links between sleep, sleep disorders and all forms of art, literature, and music including modern digital media. 

We will look at the effect of music in the sleeping brain, the portrayal of sleep and sleep disorders within works of art, the perils and pleasures of sleep apps and their effect on the public perception of sleep and the literature of dreams.

You will learn to:

  • Understand public perception of sleep and sleep disorders and the role that the arts play
  • The effect of specific musical frequencies upon the sleeping brain
  • The impact of modern digital media upon sleep and circadian rhythm
  • The portrayal of sleep and dream within art, literature, and film

Watch the lectures that were recorded at this event.

Professor Meir Kryger keynote lecture: Sleep in art: A 7000 year odyssey


Salley Vickers lecture: The role of sleep and dreams in fiction


We would like to thank our exhibitor(s):

UCB Pharma

Please note that none of the companies listed have had any influence or involvement over the agenda, content or organisation of this meeting.


Key speakers

Meir Kryger M.D.

Author and Professor, Yale School of Medicine – Sleep Disorders & Effective Treatments

Speaker's biography

Meir Kryger M.D. has authored over 100 papers, book chapters and books, including one of the most influential sleep medicine textbooks "Principles and practices of sleep medicine".

His research was the first to show the feasibility of using noninvasive techniques to ventilate people with post-polio syndrome in their homes. His laboratory elucidated the interaction between heart failure and sleep respiration, publishing the first systematic study of oxygen in this condition.

Kryger reported the first use of computers in analysing sleep breathing patterns and validated techniques of monitoring in which diagnostic data, as well as therapeutic data on CPAP, is obtained during the same night. He is also a passionate art lover and has explored the depiction of sleep within the great works of art through the centuries and is uniquely placed to understand the interaction between sleep and art.

Salley Vickers

Best selling novelist whose first novel 'Miss Garnet's Angel' was a word of mouth bestseller. 

Speaker's biography

Salley's books explore themes of love and loss, often dovetailing past and present. She brings an understanding of human psychology and psychological interventions to many of her novels, giving her the perfect platform to explore the power of dreams throughout literature. Before writing, she trained as a psychoanalyst and worked within the NHS.

Milton Mermikides PhD BSc BMus

Composer, Guitarist, Producer, Writer, Lecturer

Speaker's biography

Milton Mermikides works within the University of Surrey.

'Sound Asleep' is a collaboration between Mermikides and sleep scientists Professor Debra Skene (University of Surrey), Professor Vladyslav Vyazovskiy (University of Oxford), Professor of Computing Paul Krause (University of Surrey) alongside video, audio and computer programmers. The project is developing techniques that allow the systematic translation of sleep data into musical compositions. Sound Asleep aims of the project are to reveal the nature of sleep and the hidden lives that we all share. Through the translation of data into sound, such phenomena as the disruption of sleep in the visually impaired, sleep apnoea and the transitions in brainwave activity between sleep states are captured and translated.

Henry Nicholls

Henry Nicholls is a successful science journalist, teacher and author

Speaker's biography

He was diagnosed with narcolepsy at the age of 21 and his most recent book Sleepyhead successfully brought the patient perspective of narcolepsy and sleep to the wider public. He has regularly appeared at a wide range of venues, including the British Library, the Royal Institution, the Edinburgh Science Festival, the Edinburgh Fringe and a sellout appearance at the world-famous Hay Festival in 2014. He will be exploring the role of film and it's portrayal of sleep and dreaming and applications to modern sleep science.


View the programme

Registration, tea and coffee
Welcome and introduction

Chair: Dr Kirstie Anderson, Consultant Neurologist and Honorary Senior Lecturer, Newcastle Regional Sleep Service, Freeman Hospital, President, Sleep Medicine Section, Royal Society of Medicine

Sound asleep: The hidden music of sleep patterns

Dr Milton Mermikides, Reader in Music (second affiliation Professor of Guitar), University of Surrey (second affiliation Royal College of Music)

Social media and sleep – do sleep apps cause or cure insomnia - part 1

Sachin Ananth
Mustafa Sultan

Tea and coffee break
Sleeptalkies: The portrayal of sleep disorders in film

Mr Henry Nicholls, Teacher, Woolwich Polytechnic School

Panel discussion
Sleep in art: A 7000 year odyssey

Professor Meir Kryger, Professro, Yale University

The role of sleep and dreams in fiction

Salley Vickers, Author

Social media and sleep – do sleep apps cause or cure insomnia - part 2

Jatinder Hayre

Tea and coffee break
Professor Meir Kryger - question and answer session
Close of the meeting


Royal Society of Medicine, 1 Wimpole St, Marylebone, London, W1G 0AE, United Kingdom

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