Episode 7: Sweet Dreams

Here is the transcript for this week’s episode: Sweet Dreams TranscriptNote: Conversational pieces of transcripts may deviate slightly from the spoken podcast, but all facts and science are preserved. 

This week’s episode is all about one of the many joys in teenage life: sleep. Today, we investigate what it is that makes sleep so important to human life, and why teenagers seem to get so little of it. We explore the teenage circadian rhythm, and why high school start times are out of sync with teenage biological realities. We also discuss how sleep can boost academic performance and memory, and how to study and sleep to maximize memorization. Finally, we talk about different choices that harm our ability to fall asleep, and how to ensure the best night’s sleep on our adolescent biological schedules.

Here are some highlights from my research, and further reading resources:

  • If you were interested on the cutting-edge research investigating how sleep cleans up toxins from the brain, check out this article from the NY Times. The scientists working on the brain clean-up system, called the “glymphatic” system, is truly remarkable. Highly recommended for anyone interested in biology or neurological diseases.
  • Here is an article from Slate discussing school start times, and how our country is shifting towards delayed times in favor of teenage mental health. I highly recommend doing some research in this area, and bringing that information to your own high school. Administrations aren’t always open to change, but the more that the word gets out about the adolescent biological clock, the better.

Here are the sources used in this podcast:

What Happens in the Brain During Sleep?

Brain Basics: Understanding Sleep

Neurotransmitters that Paralyze Body During REM Sleep

Sleep to Clean the Brain

Sleep-Dependent Memory Consolidation (Research Paper)

About Sleep’s Role in Memory (Research Paper)

Sleep Deprivation: Impact on Cognitive Performance (Research Paper)

Blue Light Has a Dark Side

Screen Time At Night

Hard Lesson in Sleep For Teenagers

Adolescents and Sleep

Sleep and the Teenage Brain

Caffeine Effects on Sleep (Research Paper)

Caffeine Half-Life

Sleeping After Processing New Info is Most Effective

Sleep Helps Learning and Memory

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