sleep

If you're reading this after a night of inadequate sleep, or disrupted sleep, you have company. The National Sleep Foundation reports that over half the people in their survey experienced at least one symptom of insomnia "at least a few nights per week" over a year's period.

"The lion and calf shall lie down together," Woody Allen once wrote, "but the calf won't get much sleep."

"It was a great time for storytellers," says Matthew Biggs, the central character in Kenneth Calhoun's haunting debut novel, Black Moon. The irony of his comment comes with a horrific aftertaste: The world is suffering from a sudden, unexplainable pandemic that's made everyone a perpetual insomniac. Biggs is one of the few who can still sleep. Humanity's state of chronic wakefulness has caused mass insanity — in the noonday sun, dreams overflow and chaos reigns.

Flickr Photo/Rico San (CC-BY-NC-ND)

It’s 6:35 a.m. on a recent school day: time for Wendy VanKoevering to do the rounds. Anyone who’s had to wake up a teenager in the morning knows it can be a struggle.

About one-third of American adults say they have problems falling asleep. And prescriptions for sleeping medications are on the rise, with about 4 percent of people using the drugs, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

But sleep specialists say people should exercise caution before deciding to take medication to help them sleep.

Cristina Sevin knows the drill. Her 15-year-old son Isaac's first alarm goes off at 6:05 a.m.

When he sleeps right through it, Mom starts the nudging. But she also has to wake up 16-year-old Lily. She flips on the bedroom lights. "Lily, you gotta get up!"

They have to be out the door before 6:35 a.m. in their Annapolis, Md., neighborhood in order to catch the bus for a 7:17 school start. "I wish I didn't have to be awake right now," says Lily.

The Conversation Goes Mental: Interviews On Psychology And Human Behavior

Aug 19, 2013

This hour on The Conversation we explore the strange and confusing behavior of humans. Why do we act the way we do? And can we change? Psychologists and science writers take us inside the brain to explain our peculiar actions. 

How To Get A Good Night’s Sleep

Jun 18, 2013
Flickr Photo/D. Sharon Pruitt

  Birds do it, Bees do it, comic characters use ZZZZs to do it – it's sleep. Some of us get more sleep than others. Some of us are new parents, and we wonder if we will ever catch up on the sleep we missed. Students are some of the most sleep deprived as well. Will we ever get enough sleep? David Hyde gets the answers from Dr. Sarah Stolz, director of the Swedish Sleep Medicine Program.

Arne Coomans / Flickr

According to the National Institute of Health, approximately 40 million Americans suffer from sleep disorders including sleep apnea, insomnia, narcolepsy and restless legs syndrome. Ross Reynolds interviewed Dr. Sarah Stolz, the medical director of the Sleep Medicine Program at Swedish Medical Center.

Is that 6 a.m. workout getting in the way of good sleep? Don't think your fat cells won't notice.

A new study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine finds that inadequate shut-eye has a harmful response on fat cells, reducing their ability to respond to insulin by about 30 percent. Over the long-term, this decreased response could set the stage for Type 2 diabetes, fatty liver disease and weight gain.

David K. Randall never gave much thought to his sleep – until he began sleep walking. That first midnight crash into a hallway wall went him on an investigation into the strange science of sleep. Ross Reynolds speaks with the author about his new book, “Dreamland: Adventures in the Strange Science of Sleep.”