Summary of “‘Sleep Should Be Prescribed’: What Those Late Nights Out Could Be Costing You”

“It sinks down into every possible nook and cranny. And yet no one is doing anything about it. Things have to change: in the workplace and our communities, our homes and families. But when did you ever see an NHS poster urging sleep on people? When did a doctor prescribe, not sleeping pills, but sleep itself? It needs to be prioritised, even incentivised. Sleep loss costs the UK economy over £30bn a year in lost revenue, or 2% of GDP. I could double the NHS budget if only they would institute policies to mandate or powerfully encourage sleep.”
“Light is a profound degrader of our sleep. Second, there is the issue of work: not only the porous borders between when you start and finish, but longer commuter times, too. No one wants to give up time with their family or entertainment, so they give up sleep instead. And anxiety plays a part. We’re a lonelier, more depressed society. Alcohol and caffeine are more widely available. All these are the enemies of sleep.”
It described which parts of the brain were being attacked by these different types of dementia: “Some were attacking parts of the brain that had to do with controlled sleep, while other types left those sleep centres unaffected. I realised my mistake. I had been measuring the brainwave activity of my patients while they were awake, when I should have been doing so while they were asleep.” Over the next six months, Walker taught himself how to set up a sleep laboratory and, sure enough, the recordings he made in it subsequently spoke loudly of a clear difference between patients.
Sleep has a powerful effect on the immune system, which is why, when we have flu, our first instinct is to go to bed: our body is trying to sleep itself well.
If we sleep to remember, then we also sleep to forget.
What is it, exactly? We sleep in 90-minute cycles, and it’s only towards the end of each one of these that we go into deep sleep.
“There are so many. I would still like to know where we go, psychologically and physiologically, when we dream. Dreaming is the second state of human consciousness, and we have only scratched the surface so far. But I would also like to find out when sleep emerged. I like to posit a ridiculous theory, which is: perhaps sleep did not evolve. Perhaps it was the thing from which wakefulness emerged.” He laughs.
To successfully initiate sleep, your core temperature needs to drop about 1C. The time taken to reach physical exhaustion by athletes who obtain anything less than eight hours of sleep, and especially less than six hours, drops by 10-30%. There are now more than 100 diagnosed sleep disorders, of which insomnia is the most common.

The orginal article.