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People have a love/hate relationship with sleep; they crave slumber even as they fight it off with caffeine, nicotine or alarm clocks. Circadian neuroscientist Russell Foster decrees that it’s time to view sleep as a necessity rather than an indulgence. He explains why sleep is an essential element of good physical and mental health and explores what happens if you don’t get enough. getAbstract sounds the alarm to wake up and watch his eye-opening lecture.


If you live to the age of 90, you will have slept for about 32 years of your life. In the past, humans understood the importance of sleep to well-being, but the advent of electricity allows people to operate 24/7. This trend impinges on the realm of slumber. Neuroscientists don’t agree on why humans need sleep, though several theories abound: Perhaps sleep is necessary because it has restorative powers. Certain genes associated with repair and renewal activate only during sleep. Or perhaps people sleep to conserve energy. However, an analysis of calories burned while sleeping reveals that sleep doesn’t offer tremendous savings. Or maybe individuals...

About the Speaker

Circadian neuroscientist Russell Foster researches the eye’s ability to perceive light and dark and to regulate sleep.

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