90.9 WBUR - Boston's NPR news station
Top Stories:
PLEDGE NOW
Science Of Sleep

The science and mystery of sleep and dreams. It’s becoming more clear.

Sleeping on the subway. (MattHurst/Flickr)

Sleeping on the subway. (MattHurst/Flickr)

There’s something about contemporary life that can lean against sleep. Our screens are always on, or could be. The world is always awake somewhere. And if you’re nodding off at noon, there’s a shelf full of “five hour energy” at every checkout.

And yet, we need sleep. It’s a continent of its own. Sometimes blissful. Sometimes a wreck of insomnia, sleep apnea, sleepwalking, wild dreams.

My guest today started out sleepwalking, and dug in to find all the latest in the science of sleep. Including, is it murder if you’re sleepwalking when you do it?

This hour, On Point: the science and mystery of sleep.

- Tom Ashbrook

Guests

David K. Randall, senior reporter at Reuters and an adjunct professor at New York University. His new book is, “Dreamland: Adventures in the Strange Science of Sleep.”

Rosalind Cartwright, professor emerita at the Rush University Medical Center and professor of neuroscience at Rush University.

From Tom’s Reading List:

Salon “The opening scene of Marcel Proust’s “Swann’s Way” is one of the most famously difficult to get through in literature. That’s not because of its style, which is sublime, but because it describes the experience of falling asleep. Many susceptible readers nod off the first few times they attempt it. All writing about sleep has this problem; of the fundamental human appetites, it’s the least exciting.”

The Daily Beast “It was the oops that ended a presidential campaign. After struggling for almost a minute in a November debate to come up with the third federal agency he’d eliminate should he win the Oval Office, Texas Gov. Rick Perry finally admitted he couldn’t remember. While his campaign quickly tried to limit the damage, there had been earlier signs that Gov. Perry was in trouble that had little to do with his campaign war chest, his policies, or his personal charisma. Instead, they had everything to do with his pillow.”

Wall Street Journal “A growing number of Americans don’t get enough sleep, thanks to higher stress and other factors. David K. Randall, author of “Dreamland: Adventures in the Strange Science of Sleep,” talks about the problem and some steps to improve sleep.”

Excerpt: Dreamland: Adventures in the Strange Science of Sleep

Playlist

“Enter Sandman” by Metallica

“Sleep” by The Dandy Warhols

“Tossin’ & Turnin'” by Bobby Lewis

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
ONPOINT
TODAY
Nov 24, 2014
In this photo taken Wednesday, July 30, 2014, Silicon Valley pioneer and Silent Circle co-founder Jon Callas holds up Blackphone with encryption apps displayed on it at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, Calif.  (AP)

We’ll look at privacy, security, and the battle heating up between intelligence agencies and tech companies that are moving to encrypt your communication.

Nov 24, 2014
Homeless people stay with their belongings under the Pontchartrain Expressway overpass in New Orleans, Wednesday, Aug. 13, 2014. The city’s health department put up notices Monday giving the estimated 150 homeless people 72 hours to leave the area. (AP)

Smashing the assumptions about what it’s really like to live in poverty in America.

RECENT
SHOWS
Nov 21, 2014
Laura Ingalls Wilder, an American  writer and novelist, at age 27. Her "Little House" series is a beloved semi-autobiographical take on her childhood in the Western American plains. (South Dakota State Historical Society )

A big new look at the legacy of Laura Ingalls Wilder and the woman behind the Little House.

 
Nov 21, 2014
President Barack Obama announces executive actions on immigration during a nationally televised address from the White House in Washington, Thursday, Nov. 20, 2014.  (AP)

The president throws down the gauntlet on immigration. Bloodshed and new tensions in Israel. Keystone fails. Our weekly news roundtable goes behind the headlines.

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
The Explicast, Episode Six: What Does A White House Press Correspondent Do?
Friday, Nov 21, 2014

We turn to White House Press Correspondents all the time for news, but we’ve never really wondered how they gather their information. Fortunately, our guest host Jessica Yellin had time to sit down with The Explicast to explain.

More »
Comment
 
Our Week In The Web: November 21, 2014
Friday, Nov 21, 2014

We offer a panel of hand-drawn digital sheep, and wonder how to best lead the rest of you to programs that matter.

More »
2 Comments
 
The Explicast, Episode Five: What Is Net Neutrality?
Friday, Nov 14, 2014

The Explicast dives into tech policy territory with a quick look at the real meaning of a complicated bit of tech policy known as ‘Net Neutrality.’

More »
2 Comments