Wallace B. Mendelson

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Wallace B. Mendelson
Wallance D Mendelson Lecture 2018.jpg
Wallace B. Mendelson giving a lecture in New York, 2018
Born (1945-03-22) March 22, 1945 (age 74)
EducationMD from Washington University in St. Louis
Medical career

Wallace B. Mendelson (born March 22, 1945) is an American psychiatrist and author, working primarily in the fields of sleep research and psychopharmacology. He most recently worked at the University of Chicago as a professor of psychiatry and clinical pharmacology and the director of the school's Sleep Research Laboratory. He is the author of seven books and numerous papers in the fields of sleep science and pharmacology.


Mendelson earned his Bachelor of Arts in 1965 from the University of Texas at Austin. He then went on to Washington University in St. Louis where he earned his Doctor of Medicine in 1969.[1] He completed his residency in psychiatry and taught at Washington University, as well.[2]


After completing his residency at Washington University in St. Louis in 1975, Mendelson took a position at the Intramural Program of the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) in Bethesda, Maryland where he was the Chief, Section on Sleep Studies until 1987.[3][4] While with the NIMH, Mendelson published two books: Human Sleep and Its Disorders (1977)[5] and The Use and Misuse of Sleeping Pills (1980).[6] After the NIMH, Mendelson became the director[7] of the Center for the Study of Sleep and Waking at the State University of New York at Stony Brook[8] and held a professorship there.[2] He also published his third book while at Stony Brook called Human Sleep: Research and Clinical Care in 1987.[9] In 1994, he was named the director of the Sleep Disorders Center at the Cleveland Clinic in Cleveland, Ohio.[10]

From 1997 to 1998, Mendelson served as the President of the Sleep Research Society.[11] He began working at the University of Chicago[12] as a professor of psychiatry and clinical pharmacology and the director of the Sleep Research Laboratory.[2] He retired from full-time university work in the early 2000s and has subsequently been writing, consulting, and in the part-time practice of general psychiatry.[13][14] During his tenures at Stony Brook, the Cleveland Clinic, and The University of Chicago, he set up three accredited fellowship training programs in sleep medicine.[15] During the period of 2017 to 2019, Mendelson published several new books, including The Science of Sleep,[14] Understanding Antidepressants,[16] Understanding Sleeping Pills,[17] and Understanding Medicines for Anxiety.[18]


Mendelson is best known for basic science studies elucidating the effects of inverse agonists of the benzodiazepine receptor,[19] the actions of endogenous ligands for benzodiazepine receptors,[20] and the role of the medial preoptic area in pharmacologic sleep induction.[21] At a human research level he characterized differences in regulation of growth hormone secretion during sleep and waking,[22] effects of drugs on the perception of being awake or asleep,[23] the interaction of sleep and depression,[24] and the clinical properties of sleep-inducing medicines.[25]


Year Title Original publisher ISBN Notes
1977 Human Sleep and Its Disorders Plenum Press ISBN 978-1468422917 Co-written with J. Christian Gillin and Richard Jed Wyatt
1980 The Use and Misuse of Sleeping Pills Plenum Medical Book Company ISBN 978-0306403705
1987 Human Sleep: Research and Clinical Care ISBN 978-0306426278
2017 The Science of Sleep: What It Is, How It Works, and Why It Matters University of Chicago Press ISBN 978-0226387161
2018 Understanding Antidepressants Independent ISBN 978-1980438298
Understanding Sleeping Pills ISBN 978-1718039988
2019 Understanding Medicines for Anxiety ISBN 978-1075931802


  1. ^ "Alumni". The Alcalde. September 1969. Retrieved 9 November 2019.
  2. ^ a b c "What Leads to Anxiety Disorders?". The Daily Mind. 26 July 2019. Retrieved 9 November 2019.
  3. ^ "Drugs and Insomnia: The Use of Medications to Promote Sleep". National Institutes of Health. 15 November 1983. Retrieved 9 November 2019.
  4. ^ Mendelson, Wallace B.; Sack, David A.; James, Steven P.; Martin, Joseph V.; Wagner, Richard; Garnett, Debra; Milton, John; Wehr, Thomas A. (June 1987). "Frequency analysis of the sleep EEG in depression". Psychiatry Research. 21 (2): 89–94. doi:10.1016/0165-1781(87)90067-9. PMID 3615694.
  5. ^ Mendelson, Wallace B.; Gillin, J. Christian; Wyatt, Richard Jed (1977). Human Sleep and Its Disorders. New York: Plenum Press. ISBN 9781468422894.
  6. ^ Mendelson, Wallace B. (1980). The Use and Misuse of Sleeping Pills. New York: Plenum Medical Book Company. ISBN 978-0306403705.
  7. ^ Mendelson, Wallace B. (17 April 1990). "The Stony Brook 600 the Experience of a Sleep Disorder Center". Annals of Clinical Psychiatry. 2 (4): 277–283. doi:10.3109/10401239009147957.
  8. ^ Mendelson, Wallace B. (1993). "Pharmacologic Alteration of the Perception of Being Awake or Asleep". Sleep. 16 (7): 641–646. Retrieved 9 November 2019.
  9. ^ Mendelson, Wallace B. (1987). Human Sleep: Research and Clinical Care. New York: Plenum Medical Book Company. ISBN 978-0306426278.
  10. ^ "Class Notes" (PDF). Outlook Magazine. October 1994. Retrieved 9 November 2019.
  11. ^ "Past Presidents". Sleep Research Society. Retrieved 9 November 2019.
  12. ^ Mendelson, Wallace B. (March 1998). "Effects of time of night and sleep stage on perception of sleep in subjects with sleep state misperception" (PDF). Psychobiology. 26 (1): 73–78. doi:10.3758/BF03330594 (inactive 2019-12-03). Retrieved 9 November 2019.
  13. ^ Saul, Stephanie (23 October 2007). "Sleep Drugs Found Only Mildly Effective, but Wildly Popular". The New York Times. Retrieved 9 November 2019.
  14. ^ a b Neubauer, David N. (8 May 2018). "The Science of Sleep: What it is, How it Works, and Why it Matters by Wallace B. Mendelson, M.D.". Sleep and Vigilance. 2 (1): 95. doi:10.1007/s41782-018-0039-8.
  15. ^ Wills, Chloe C A; Grandner, Michael A (10 June 2019). "Review of The Science of Sleep: What It Is, How It Works, and Why It Matters". Sleep. 42 (8). doi:10.1093/sleep/zsz104. ISSN 0161-8105.
  16. ^ Swatowski, Natalie (3 August 2018). ""Understanding Antidepressants" – A Book Review". Natalie Swatowski. Retrieved 15 October 2019.
  17. ^ "Understanding Sleeping Pills". Sleep Review. 9 August 2018. Retrieved 9 November 2019.
  18. ^ "(Review) Understanding Medicines For Anxiety by Wallace B. Mendelson MD". Impressions in Ink. 22 July 2019. Retrieved 9 November 2019.
  19. ^ Mendelson, W.B.; Cain, M.; Cook, J.M.; Paul, S.M.; Skolnick, P. (1 January 1982). "Do benzodiazepine receptors play a role in sleep regulation? Studies with the benzodiazepine antagonist 3 hydroxymethy lBcarboline (3-HMC)". Progress in Clinical and Biological Research. 90: 253–261. PMID 6287492.
  20. ^ Mullen, K.D.; Maftin, J.V.; Mendelson, W.B.; Jones, E.A. (1988). "Further evidence that hepatic encephalopathy in the galactosamine rabbit model may be mediated by an endogenous benzodiazepine compound". Excerpta Medica: 333–337.
  21. ^ Mendelson, W.B. (16 February 2001). "The sleep-inducing effect of ethanol microinjection into the medial preoptic area is blocked by flumazenil". Brain Research. 892 (1): 118–121. doi:10.1016/s0006-8993(00)03243-1. PMID 11172756.
  22. ^ Mendelson, W.B.; Jacobs, L.S.; Gillin, J.C.; Wyatt, R.J. (October 1979). "The regulation of insulin induced and sleep related human growth hormone secretion". Psychoneuroendocrinology. 4 (4): 341–349. doi:10.1016/0306-4530(79)90017-9. PMID 42940.
  23. ^ Mendelson, W.B. (October 1993). "Pharmacologic alteration of the perception of being awake or asleep". Sleep. 16 (7): 641–646. PMID 8290858.
  24. ^ Gillin, J.C.; Mendelson, W.B.; Kupfer, D.J. (1988). "The sleep disturbance of depression: clues to pathophysiology with special reference to the circadian REM rhythm". Biological Rhythms and Mental Disorders: 27–54.
  25. ^ Mendelson, W.B. (November 1995). "Subjective vs. objective tolerance during chronic administration of triazolam". Clinical Drug Investigation. 10 (5): 276–279. doi:10.2165/00044011-199510050-00004.

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