Sleep Why We Need It and What Happens Without It
If you're looking for someone with a normal human sleep schedule, I'm probably not your guy. Night time is when I do all of my best working, a lot of my best playing. Being awake at 8 AM, not my thing. And while part of me wishes I didn't have to sleep at all, I definitely do enjoy it. The need to sleep is one of the strongest biological urges we have. One of the few that we really can't control. And the fact is, you can die faster from sleep deprivation than food deprivation. So it is time to investigate the science behind this thing that we do for a third of our lives.
Just try and stay awake for it. (Intro song) Even though the average person will spend 25 years of their life asleep, There's no scientific consensus as to why exactly we do it. One thing we know for sure, our brains definitely think that sleep is important. Deep in your hypothalamus, the tiny nut sized region at the base of your brain, you have a little cluster of cells that acts like a timer called the suprachiasmatic nucleus. When you're exposed to light, this little cluster busily releases awake hormones like cortisol
and suppresses the release of sleepy hormones like melatonin. When it's dark, it does the opposite. A second trigger for sleep is believed to be the build up of the compound adenosine in the brain. Adenosine is a byproduct of your neurons and other cells when they burn up adenosine triphosphate, the main molecule that our bodies use to store energy. Research suggests that when a bunch of leftover adenosine accumulates in your brain, you get sleepy. We talked about adenosine before when we went into the science of caffeine, because caffeine works by bonding to the same receptors as adenosine tricking the body into thinking it's not tired.
But when you do sleep, those adenosine levels drop as it's gradually reabsorbed by your neurons. This is partly what makes you feel rested when you wake up. So, we sleep when our brains tell us to sleep But that doesn't answer the larger question quot;Why are we wired to sleepéquot; It seems like a kind of terribly inconvenient thing to have to do. Also, super dangerous if you're surrounded by jaguars. or something There are lots of theories out there, and it's unlikely that
any of them alone is THE single answer. Instead, they may all contribute to this weird urge that we have to lapse out of consciousness. For starters, all mammals and birds sleep and other critters like reptiles, insects and fish exhibit some kind of sleeplike behavior. That even includes the millimeterlong nematode worm which experiences stress when denied rest.
Some scientists suggest that inactivity at night is an evolutionary adaptation that boosts an animal's survival rate by keeping it out of danger when it would be most vulnerable. Basically, sleep could be a way to keep still so you attract less attention. And yet, lions sleep a whopping 15 hours a day while Mr Giraffe, arguably a tasty meal for sad lion, gets less than 2 hours a day.
Sleep deprivation disparities in health economic and social wellbeing Lauren Hale at TEDxSBU
Good morning! OK. Raise your hand if you did not get enough sleep last night. There are many possible reasons for this. Maybe you were up late at night because you had a toddler screaming for you in the middle of the night. I know I did! Or maybe you were cranking away
on that final document for work or for school. Or maybe you just got sucked in to watching another episode of the Daily Show. OK. So now, raise your hand if you are regularly not functioning at your top game because of how you slept. OK. So as sleep deprived as we are, we are among the lucky ones.
I say that because to be here today you need to be affiliated with Stony Brook University. That tells me that you've had the opportunity to pursue higher education. Further, to be here you have to have the ability to make choices about how you spend your time, control over your life.
Imagine how much harder it would be for you to sleep and to function, if you didn't have that control over your own time. I know it's hard to put yourself in someone else's shoes, but imagine, for example, if you didn't have enough money to feed your children. How hard would it be for you to sleepé Or imagine if your crowded urban apartment
was too noisy, or too cold, or too unsafe for you to comfortably fall asleep at night. My goal today is to get you thinking about the social patterning of sleep, why some of us are sleeping worse than others and what the consequences are for society. In my research, I investigate the underlying causes and consequences of sleep deprivation
and sleep disorders. Today I'll share with you some of the results of my research and that of my colleagues. And I hope to convey to you why we, as individuals and as a society, should be deeply concerned about how we sleep and what we can do about it. So, for everybody, whether you're rich or poor,