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University of York Open Lecture: Secrets of Sleep

Posted on 12 October 2017

Scott Cairney will give an open lecture on the Secrets of Sleep on Thursday 26th October

Details of the lecture are provided below. You can register via this link:

Sleep is universal, at every step along the evolutionary pathway. Why do we spend so much of our lives asleep, in a highly vulnerable state? Scott will aim to convince you in this seminar that we do not give sleep the respect that it deserves. In fact, we do as much work when we’re asleep as when we’re awake.

Your parents probably told you about the importance of a good night’s sleep before a big exam and they were absolutely right! As Scott will show you, our ability to strengthen newly learned information is at its very best during sleep. The sleeping brain provides an optimal biological environment for memory processing, enabling memories to transfer from short-term to long-term storage centres with remarkable fluency.

Sleep deprivation is a major risk factor for diabetes and obesity; and not just because there’s more time to eat! As well as being important for physical health, not getting enough sleep leaves you at serious risk of mental health problems. Chronic sleep disturbances are a formal symptom of most psychiatric conditions, affecting 9 out of 10 patients with depression. The brain’s machinery for regulating emotions is ‘reset’ during sleep, leaving us more balanced the next morning.

During this seminar, Scott will tell you about the various roles of sleep and how you can get more of it to promote your physical and mental health, as well as optimise your academic potential.