Sleep in Ancient Egypt

  • Tarek AsaadEmail author


The ancient Egyptian civilization is one of the oldest and most fascinating in history. The contribution of ancient Egypt to the field of sleep medicine is quite evident. The concept of sleep had been linked to death, and the Egyptians were the first to describe similarity between dreams and awakenings. Dream interpretation and analysis had been extensively practiced for thousands of years before the modern psychoanalytic theories. Sleep was also used as a method of healing in special sleep temples, designed for dream incubation. Early mentioning of sleep disorders and their treatment could be found in the few survived papyri dealing with the ancient Egyptian medicine. The first hypnotic medication in history was prescribed by the Egyptians, who used poppy seeds (opium) to treat insomnia, headache, and as an anesthetic.


Sleep Sleep temple Sleep medicine Dream Dream incubation Dream analysis Dream book Ancient Egypt Egyptian medical papyri Insomnia 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Ain Shams University Hospital, Institute of Psychiatry-Psychophysiology & Sleep Research UnitNasr CityEgypt

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