Why Sleep Matters

Benefits of Sleep

Driving on road

Why Sleep Matters (6:13)

Sleep researchers are discovering how sleep is vital for learning and memory, and how lack of sleep impacts our health, safety, and longevity. watch video

Sleep, Learning and Memory

Dr. Stickgold

Sleep, Learning, and Memory (1:52)

Dr. Robert Stickgold discusses how sleep plays a role in memory, both before and after a new learning situation. watch video

Dr. Stickgold

Persistent Effect of Sleep on Learning (0:43)

Dr. Robert Stickgold describes studies that show the importance of sleep in memory consolidation after learning a new task. watch video

Consequences of Sleep Deficiency

Sleep and Disease Risk

Dr. Buxton

Sleep and Health (0:36)

Dr. Orfeu Buxton describes how animal and human studies suggest that adequate sleep is crucial for a long and healthy life. watch video

Dr. Mullington

Sleep Deprivation and Cardiovascular Risk (0:31)

Dr. Janet Mullington discusses how studies suggest a link between sleep deprivation and increased risk for cardiovascular disease. watch video

Sleep, Performance and Public Safety

Dr. Stickgold

Sleep Loss & Perception of Performance (1:06)

Dr. Robert Stickgold discusses a study that suggests a link between sleep loss and increased impairment in judgment. watch video

Dr. Czeisler

Drowsy Driving (0:42)

Dr. Charles Czeisler discusses the link between motor vehicle accidents and tired drivers. watch video

Dr. Czeisler
Factors That Affect Performance (1:43)

Dr. Charles Czeisler describes four factors that affect alertness and performance. watch video

Historical and Cultural Perspectives of Sleep

Milestones in Sleep

Dr. Stickgold

Discovery of Brain Activity During Sleep (0:55)

Dr. Robert Stickgold describes the discovery of electrical brain activity during sleep, a milestone in sleep research in the 1950s. watch video

Dennis Dean

Invention of the Light Bulb (1:15)

Dr. Dennis Dean discusses how the light bulb has exposed the human system to light at times that would normally be dark, and the impact this has had on how long people sleep. watch video

Dr. Czeisler

Discovery of Sleep Inertia (1:06)

Dr. Charles Czeisler describes the discovery of the phenomenon of sleep inertia by the U.S. Air Force in the 1950s. watch video


The Science of Sleep

What is Sleep?

The Characteristics of Sleep


Brain Activity During REM Sleep (0:29)

Dr. Steven Shea describes the brain’s activity during REM sleep. watch video


Changes in the Body During Sleep (0:43)

Dr. Thomas Scammell describes the changes that the body goes through during a typical night of sleep. watch video

Dr. Stickgold

Sleep and Dreams (1:11)

Dr. Robert Stickgold describes the physiological underpinnings for why we might dream about the things we do. watch video

Natural Patterns of Sleep


REM and NREM Sleep (1:21)

Dr. Thomas Scammell describes the different stages of sleep and their characteristics. watch video


Sleep Patterns Across the Night (0:46)

Dr. Thomas Scammell describes the cycles of REM and NREM sleep that occur throughout the night. watch video

How is Sleep Regulated?

Under the Brain's Control


The Brain and Sleep (2:04)

Dr. Thomas Scammell discusses how structures and chemicals in the brain are responsible for producing both wakefulness and sleep. watch video

The Drive to Sleep and Our Internal Clock

Dr. Czeisler

The Biological Clock and Sleep Homeostat (1:25)

Dr. Charles Czeisler describes the interaction between the internal biological clock and the sleep homeostat. watch video

External Factors that Influence Sleep

Dr. Epstein

Smoking and Sleep (0:56)

Dr. Lawrence Epstein describes how nicotine in cigarettes can prevent or disrupt sleep. watch video

Dr. Epstein

Caffeine and Sleep (0:43)

Dr. Lawrence Epstein describes how caffeine works to promote alertness, but can also inhibit restful sleep. watch video

Dr. Amira

Alcohol and Sleep (0:26)

Dr. Stephen Amira describes how alcohol consumption can lead to disrupted sleep. watch video


Genetics, Aging and Sleep

Sleep and Aging


Sleep Changes in Children (1:05)

Dr. Richard Ferber describes the typical changes in sleep from early childhood through adolescence. watch video


Sleep Problems in Older Adults (1:17)

Dr. Jean Duffy describes some of the underlying causes of sleep problems in older adults. watch video

Profiles of Changes with Age


Kirsten’s Story: Developing Sleep Routines in Children (4:49)

Balancing the demands of work and parenthood, Kirsten explores how developing sleep routines in her children can help ensure a lifetime of healthy sleep habits. watch video


Matt’s Story: Rethinking School Start Times (4:12)

Because their body rhythms drift in a later direction, many teens struggle to wake up for school. Matt decides that it is time to address this problem at his school. watch video


Sleep Strategies Later in Life (4:22)

Sleep problems are not inevitable as we age, though individuals need to pay attention to healthy sleep habits. watch video

Genetics of Sleep


Larks, Owls, and Genetics (1:19)

Dr. Anne-Marie Chang describes how certain genes can affect whether an individual feels more alert and active in the morning or in the evening. watch video


Getting the Sleep You Need

Overcoming Factors that Interfere with Sleep

Dr. Epstein

Ways to Ensure Good Sleep (0:55)

Dr. Lawrence Epstein describes the importance of maintaining a healthy lifestyle to ensure good sleep. watch video

Behavioral Sleep Consultation


The Problem (1:27)

Margaret describes her lifelong struggle with insomnia. watch video

Dr. Amira

The Consultation (4:18)

Margaret meets with Dr. Stephen Amira, a behavioral sleep specialist, to identify the possible causes of her insomnia. watch video


The Strategies (3:14)

Dr. Amira presents Margaret with a program of strategies designed to help her get better sleep. watch video


The Results (2:10)

Margaret talks about the challenges and successes she has had after six weeks of implementing the behavioral sleep strategies. watch video

Twelve Simple Tips to Improve Your Sleep

Dr. Epstein

Caffeine and Sleep (0:43)

Dr. Lawrence Epstein describes how caffeine works to promote alertness, but can also inhibit restful sleep. watch video

Dr. Amira

Maintaining a Consistent Wake Time (1:13)

Dr. Stephen Amira describes the importance of waking up at the same time each day. watch video

Dr. Amira

To Nap or Not? (0:35)

Dr. Stephen Amira discusses the benefits of short naps. watch video

Jet Lag and Shift Work

Dennis Dean
Jet Lag and How to Mitigate its Effects (1:11)

Dr. Dennis Dean describes how jet lag affects the body and suggests ways to minimize the negative effects. watch video

Dr. Czeisler

Shift Work and Sleep Problems (1:14)

Dr. Charles Czeisler describes some of the sleep problems that are typical to shift workers. watch video

Dennis Dean

The Social Challenges of Daytime Sleep (0:44)

Dr. Dennis Dean describes how social factors and family obligations make sleeping during the day difficult for those working at night. watch video

Dr. Czeisler

Advice for Shift Workers (1:29)

Dr. Charles Czeisler suggests some healthy sleep strategies for night shift workers. watch video

When to Seek Treatment

Dr. Epstein

What to Expect from a Sleep Evaluation (1:39)

Dr. Lawrence Epstein discusses what to expect from a sleep evaluation and sleep study. watch video

An Overview of Sleep Disorders

Dr. Epstein

Discussing Sleep With Your Doctor (0:42)

Dr. Larry Epstein describes the types of questions that doctors should be asking patients about their sleep. watch video


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