Why do we sleep?

Why do we sleep? Ted talkI found this talk to be very entertaining and really made me rethink my own relationship with sleep. Recently, I’ve felt that I’ve got more important things to do than sleep, and I’ve been cutting down my sleeping hours. After seeing this video, I realize this is a dangerous direction to be heading. I’m going to try to sleep better from now on.

Check out the original graphics he uses during the talk. I really like them.

I love his quote “Take sleep seriously! It’s a pragmatic approach to good health.” He shows that modern living has much reduced sleep than we had in the 1950’s, for example, and that all mental illnesses have some link to sleep deprivation. Very interesting.

Why do we sleep?

My Notes from “Why do we sleep?”

  • The single most important behavioural experience we have – sleep!
  • A normal person spends 32 yrs asleep. It must be important.
  • The important thing about sleep is that the brain doesn’t shut down. In fact, some parts of it are more active than in the awake state!
  • Scientists can’t agree on why we sleep. Dozens of ideas.
  • “Our ability to come up with novel solutions to complex problems is enhanced by a night of sleep.”
  • We are desperately sleep deprived.
  • In the 50s the average was 8 hrs
  • Now it’s common to be less 5 hrs or less.
  • If you need an alarm clock to get you out of bed, you’re not getting enough sleep!
  • With severe mental illness there is always sleep disruption.
  • “Take sleep seriously!”  It’s a pragmatic approach to good health.
  • Jim Butcher, the fantasy writer, said – “sleep is god, go worship”

Russell Foster is a professor at the University of Oxford. He’s also quoted in this article I found on BBC News – ‘Arrogance’ of ignoring need for sleep. Also see the previous post on this website about sleep – Why do we need sleep? Perhaps to clear toxic buildup…

What do you think about sleep? Do you think Russell Foster is right?

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