The current state of knowledge about sleep and dreaming

Following Eleanor’s previous post about our new website, and to further highlight the need for up to date knowledge on sleep and dreaming: here are some almost unbelievable direct quotations from a ‘science’ programme on BBC Radio 4 called The Defeat of Sleep.

The programme was about the drug companies search for ‘smart drugs’.

“There is a theory going round that we’re failing our brains. Vast potential remains untapped. If we could just maximise the time we spend in deep thought and subtly alter the ways in which we think, then maybe mankind could make rapid advances.”

“If we are going to take advantage of the untapped potential of our brains the obvious first step is to remove the time we waste, those eight hours we spend each night in the land of nod.

“The part of the brain which really does require sleep more than any other are the higher centres, so what is very clear is that when we go to sleep at night the brain appears to go into what appears to be a deeper sleep and more profound, recovery sleep than the later part of the night and, as sleep progresses this depth of sleep decreases and we go into lighter sleep and more dreaming sleep it seems. So there is a certain element of sleep towards the end of the night that becomes redundant, more pleasure rather than anything else.”

“Infants evolved to sleep more, not because they need to, but simply in order to give their parents a rest.

The people saying these things work in University departments and are cited as ‘experts’. And the ironic thing is that the programme was supposed to be about making humanity smarter!

Posted by: Ivan


One response to “The current state of knowledge about sleep and dreaming

  1. Re: Radio 4 programme on “defeating” sleep. Doing something (sleep) for pleasure? Yeuk! I thought we were all supposed to be “aspiring” to produce and consume more, NOT fritter time on pleasure!

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