Nathaniel Kleitman


Nathaniel Kleitman (April 26, 1895 Kishinev – August 13, 1999 Los Angeles) was Professor Emeritus in Physiology at the University of Chicago. Author of the seminal 1939 book Sleep and Wakefulness, he is recognized as the father of American sleep research. Kleitman, along with his student Eugene Aserinsky, was the first to discover rapid eye movement (REM) sleep and demonstrate that it was correlated with dreaming and brain activity. He made countless additional contributions to the field and was especially interested in "rest-activity" cycles, leading to many fundamental findings on circadian and ultradian rhythms. Renowned for his personal and experimental rigor, he conducted well-known sleep studies underground in Mammoth Cave, Kentucky and lesser-known studies underwater in submarines during WWII and above the Arctic Circle. Nathaniel Kleitman was born in Kishinev, Russia, in 1895 to a Jewish family. He was deeply interested in consciousness and reasoned that he could get insight in consciousness by studying the unconsciousness of sleep. Kleitman emigrated to the United States in 1915, obtained a PhD from the University of Chicago's Department of Physiology in 1923 (thesis  ( Wikipedia article )


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