The Sleepless Society

Charles Leadbetter presents a series on sleep.


0101Why Sleep?20060109

A body at rest uses about the same amount of energy as someone sleeping. So what does sleep add that rest does not?

0102The End Of Bedtime20060110

In all species, babies sleep longer than adults in part because of the prodigious amount of learning their brains are doing. Is modern culture with bedrooms packed full of entertainment technology creating a huge downside in poorly sleeping kids who as a result find it more difficult to learn?

We look into the sleeping patterns of work rich and workless households.

0103Day Sleepers20060111

More people than ever work at night and so sleep during the day. About 13m people are economically active at night as consumers or workers. In a 24-7 economy, how will these people, often in poorly paid jobs, get the kind of sleep they need? And if they don't get the sleep they need what are the costs?

0104In Defence Of The Nap20060112

Many animals sleep in short bursts, starlings for example sleep in bursts of nine minutes. Ellen MacArthur sailed single-handed around the world by mastering the art of napping - taking 36 naps a day.
Is the nap the future of better sleep? Some companies now believe it is. Will we soon be napping in Shut Eye Pods in airports and railway stations?

0105 LASTDrugs20060113

Science is set to invade our sleep in a big way. The US Defence Research Projects Agency (Darpa), which funded much of the early work on the Internet, recently commissioned a multi-million-dollar study into sleep with the aim of producing the 'metabolically dominant' soldier, one who can fight non-stop several days at a stretch.
Another team is examining how the brain works at a molecular level in response to neurotransmitters such as seratonin and dopamine.