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Sleep Deprivation

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Ahhhh, babies. We get in bed with producer Hannah Palin, and her husband, and her baby Dominic, as they all try to go to sleep. An intimate portrait of the effects of sleep deprivation. And then we try to understand what sleep is for by looking at what happens when you don't get it. The tired, cranky feeling of exhaustion, what’s that really about? What thing are you missing by not getting sleep? Dr. Allan Pack describes what an exhausted brain looks like (hint: a 14 year-old boy's room). And Dr. Giulio Tononi gives us insight into why a good night of sleep is good for the brain and, as the Sisterhood of Convoluted Thinkers and opera singer Brad Cresswell tell us, good for learning how to play music.

Interactive Game! "Tononi. You decide:" Football Player or Sensitive-Type?

Guests:

Dr. Allan Pack, Hannah Palin and Dr. Giulio Tononi

Comments [16]

Kelly from NYC

Where is her husband Steve? Why can't he watch the baby while she gets some rest? He better be out of the country because that's not fair.

May. 28 2014 05:21 PM
cherie from CT

When I heard Hannah's voice -- and even more, the baby crying in the background -- I started crying. I remembered how much it hurt, HURT, to want to sleep sleep sleep and to have to take care of a crying baby instead. My daughter (who was the main source of this memory) was standing next to me, and she didn't notice my reaction.

For the last couple of years, she has finally slept through the night on her own, and also goes to bed on her own. She just turned 10. (10 YEARS old -- that means I went only about 7 years with interrupted sleep.)

So lastly, for Hannah -- Sleep sleep sleep. Some kids can do it. Some kids just can't. Don't blame yourself. It's not your fault.

Mar. 16 2013 07:31 PM
Bernhard

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lpy5QO8Z67g

Mar. 06 2011 10:06 AM
Carey

Yea! Please Please Please post the name/artist of the song starting up between these two segments. Please (did I say please?)

Feb. 27 2011 03:25 PM
Diana

Clearly I'm way behind (just discovered the awesomeness that is Radiolab podcasts), but I just heard this story and I wanted to hug Hannah. I've been there myself and know exactly how she was feeling. Not sure if you read these comments, Hannah, but I was feeling your pain! Here's hoping you've been getting more sleep in the last couple of years.

Dec. 29 2010 05:58 PM

i, too, am dying to know what song that was! even though i'm 3 years late in listening.

Nov. 18 2010 03:36 PM
cbj from Venice, CA

Whats the song just before the Dream segment? Please, there should be an hour on why music affects people like this. Many have asked. I'll buy it, I promise. If it was a one off for the show by an intern, then I need to email that intern.

Sep. 22 2010 02:46 PM
Daniele from Texas

What is the song playing between this segment and the one after??

Jul. 26 2010 09:04 PM
PB from LA

Yes, please tell us what the song is that comes in at 40:00 It's great. It sounds a bit like Luminous Beings

Mar. 12 2010 09:03 AM
caro from MN

This is so perfect I almost couldn't listen to it. I'm so glad my kids sleep these days, and hope Dominic does, too, by now.

Feb. 20 2010 07:01 PM
Silas Grae

What is the song between this segment and the next?

Sep. 23 2009 08:35 PM
jesse

what is the song that plays between segments?

Apr. 20 2009 01:39 AM
Denise Dennis from Seattle, WA

I have a two year old who mostly sleeps through the night these days. The first year was hellish--I can completely connect with what Hanna Palin is going through.
She mentioned that she becomes angry when she is sleep deprived. I too have had a great deal of anger, really intense homicidal anger, in the periods of sleep deprivation. I'm normally a pretty well adjusted, calm person. I'd be interested to learn more about why being tired leads to such intense anger. What is anger, and why do we feel it so intensely when we are profoundly tired?

Sep. 13 2007 07:11 PM
JasonJ from Sugar Hill, Georgia

I enjoyed this piece but it left several unanswered questions.

For instance, one hypothesis presented was that "tiredness" was due to the brain not being able to sort everything out (and jumbled proteins...).

But yesterday I worked out 2 hours a the gym, got 7 hours of sleep, and am exhausted today. (I didn't dream about working out either). Couldn't sleep just be a more efficient way of resting the physical body? People get tired doing hard physical activity. Obviously the body needs to recuperate. This can't be associated with the brain working things out... why wasn't this purpose of sleep examined.

Aug. 02 2007 03:54 AM
Kyla

As a student, I've observed that, when I get just one or two hours less than what I should, I am unbelievably sleepy the next day. However, when I get somewhere around four to five hours, I feel chipper and not as groggy. Of course I just feel terrible if I keep the latter up, but is there a reason for this?
And also, what is the song that plays during the break between deprivation and dreams?

Jul. 18 2007 09:38 PM
Vanna Ortiz from Albuquerque New Mexico

Great stuff. Its been awhile since I've been sleep deprived by a toddler, but worrying and waiting for a teenager to come home very late at night has a similar effect. How do we get the little housekeepers in our brains to become more efficient, cleaning up more quickly so we can feel refreshed on even a couple of hours of sleep?

Good luck to Hannah and family!

May. 31 2007 04:26 PM

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