Discover something mind-boggling about sleep from TED Talks brought to you by the experts…
Neuroscientists, Buddhists, businesswomen, behaviour experts – everyone wants to throw their two pence in when it comes to sleep. And TED Talks were their chosen way of going about it, making their ideas easier and more fun to digest.
From thoughts on why we dream to excuses you can use for an early night or lie in, and tips for a better night's kip, you have plenty to delve into. Apparently it’s never been more important to have the perfect bed and mattress to get as much sleep as you can.
The One about Why we Sleep
Neuroscientist Russel Foster studies sleep cycles and for the next 20-minutes he's tackling a conundrum that’s plagued humanity for centuries - why do we sleep? You’ll explore three popular ideas, before he drops the bombshell that, while sleep seems to help us hold onto our memories, scientists still can’t pinpoint the main reason why we do it.
Not that it matters; it's still an interesting TED Talk. He busts myths, defends ‘lazy’ teenagers and gives you a slew of ideas about how to fall asleep quicker along the way, making for an interesting use of your time. At the end of the day, we know for certain that sleep improves your mental and physical health, which is a good enough reason to do it longer and more often.
The One about How Sleep Prevents Alzheimer’s
Take 11-minutes out of your day to learn something remarkable - how your brain ‘cleans’ itself when you’re asleep. Over 3 million people have watched Jeff Lliff’s TED Talk on ‘One More Reason to Get a Good Night’s Sleep’ already, and although he’s a neuroscientist, he makes the latest sleep science simple for us mere mortals to understand.
One of the enlightening little nuggets he says is: “While our body is still and our mind is off walking in dreams somewhere, the elegant machinery of the brain is quietly hard at work, cleaning and maintaining this unimaginably complex machine… it’s important… when it comes to the cleaning of the brain, it’s the mind and the body that’s at stake… it may be critical to preventing and treating diseases of the mind tomorrow.” There's more where that came from, take a look...
The One about What Would Happen if You Didn’t Sleep
Hint: Bad things, nothing fantastic. Through this fully animated 5-minute video, Claudia Aguirre paints a bleak picture of chronic sleep deprivation and of the life you'd lead if you keep missing those forty winks.
From losing the ability to focus your eyes to hallucinating, struggling to retain your short-term memories and becoming paranoid, it seems that a horrid lack of sleep can cause you some damage. But don't fret, a new bed or mattress can get your sleep routine back on track.
The One about Why We Dream
You can’t pretend that you’ve never given this a second thought. As you’d expect, it makes for an interesting 5-minutes. This TED Talk offers a whistle stop tour through the history of dream journals while covering all the possible explanations for why we dream. From helping us to solve problems, to remembering and forgetting experiences, acting as a random screen saver for our brain or expressing our subconscious desires, and more.
Give it a watch; you can literally pick your own answer because it appears neuroscientists aren’t exactly sure - which makes this aspect of sleep all the more interesting.
The One about Sleeping for Success
That’s right, this TED Talk tells you to, quite literally, sleep your way to the top. It’s a 5-minute cautious tale hammering home the importance and power of sleep. Media mogul Arianna Huffington burnt the candle at both ends to the point of exhaustion, until sleep deprivation caused her to pass out, smash her cheekbone and get five stitches in her eye. Which is a high price to pay for sleeping less than you ought to be.
Speaking at a women’s conference, everyone should follow her lead as she argues that sleeping as little as you can isn’t a badge of honour. Don't be the person who brags about only getting 5-hours kip last night, Instead of spending an extra hour on work, sleep. You'll improve your productivity, happiness and decision-making abilities the longer you sleep. What are you waiting for?
The One about Your Natural Sleep Cycle
Jess Gamble’s TED Talk is small but mighty. It’s the shortest of the bunch, making it especially easy to squeeze a little lesson on body clocks into your day. She explains that the body clock you're running on isn't your natural cycle.
Without the pressures of modern life, you'd sleep quite differently - and those who've experienced our ideal sleeping pattern have experienced alertness and wakefulness like they’ve never done in their lives. It involves two separate snoozes every single night. Go find out more about it...
The One about Lucid Dreaming
A lucid dream is one when you know you’re dreaming, and it’s Charlie Morely’s favourite thing about sleeping. His TED Talk leans more towards the spiritual than the scientific, unlike the rest you’ve enjoyed so far, but that doesn’t make watching it any less interesting or worthwhile.
You see, you’d have slept for 32-years by the time you’re 90, and Morely believes that lucid dreaming is a great way to harness that time and put it to good use. By keeping a dream journal, making an effort to understand and eventually control your dreams, you’ll get to know yourself better and unlock a goldmine of insights about your waking life. Allow him to fill you in on how it works it's only 10-minutes. Have a go yourself!
And there you have it, the very best TED Talks on everything sleep, which highlight the importance of having your perfect bed and mattress, again and again. How else do you expect to sleep more? Remember, the Bed Guru is also something of an expert, so do ask any burning questions you may have.