Russell Foster: Why do we sleep?
http://www. ted. com/talks/russell_foster_why_do_we_sleep. html
What I'd like to do today is talk about one of my favorite subjects. and that is the neuroscience of sleep.
Now. there is a sound --(Alarm clock) --aah. it worked --a sound that is desperately. desperately familiar to most of us. and of course it's the sound of the alarm clock. And what that truly ghastly. awful sound does is stop the single most important behavioral experience that we have. and that's sleep. If you're an average sort of person. 36 percent of your life will be spent asleep. which means that if you live to 90. then 32 years will have been spent entirely asleep.
Now what that 32 years is telling us is that sleep at some level is important. And yet. for most of us. we don't give sleep a second thought. We throw it away. We really just don't think about sleep. And so what I'd like to do today is change your views change your ideas and your thoughts about sleep. And the journey that I want to take you on. we need to start by going back in time. . .
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What do we do in the 20th century about sleep? Well. of course. we use Thomas Edison's light bulb to invade the night. and we occupied the dark. and in the process of this occupation. we've treated sleep as an illness. almost. We've treated it as an enemy. At most now. I suppose. we tolerate the need for sleep. and at worst perhaps many of us think of sleep as an illness that needs some sort of a cure. And our ignorance about sleep is really quite profound.
Why is it? Why do we abandon sleep in our thoughts? Well. it's because you don't do anything much while you're asleep. it seems. You don't eat. You don't drink. And you don't have sex. Well. most of us anyway. And so therefore it's --Sorry. It's a complete waste of time. right? Wrong. Actually. sleep is an incredibly important part of our biology. and neuroscientists are...