Should the definition of "sleep hygiene" be antedated of a century? A historical note based on an old book by Paolo Mantegazza, rediscovered. To place in a new historical context the development of the concept of sleep hygiene.

Research paper by Gian Luigi GL Gigli, Mariarosaria M Valente

Indexed on: 04 Jul '12Published on: 04 Jul '12Published in: Neurological Sciences


The article contains a historical note on the concept of sleep hygiene, developed in 1977 by Peter Hauri, who developed a set of sleep-promoting rules, considered the fundament for sleep-hygiene techniques. Somnologists, unanimously ascribed to Hauri the fatherhood of the lucky term, while numerous books included at least a section on sleep hygiene. "Inadequate sleep hygiene" was included as a nosological entity in the International Classification of Sleep Disorders. This article intends to demonstrate that the concept of sleep hygiene was developed many years before, thanks to the pioneering work of Paolo Mantegazza, a scientist and a professor in the Medical School of the University of Pavia, Italy. After presenting briefly the history of the University of Pavia and illustrating the profile of Paolo Mantegazza, the article presents the original book published by Mantegazza in 1864 (second edition in 1865). The authors report extensive citations of Mantegazza's original book dealing with sleep hygiene. Mantegazza's indications, compared with Hauri's rules show important similarities. The authors support the view that the fatherhood of sleep hygiene should be acknowledged to Mantegazza and antedated to 1864. Hauri keeps the merit of giving more solid scientific roots to the concept of sleep hygiene and of inserting it in the frame of modern sleep medicine.