19 episodes

We spend a third of our lives sleeping, and this podcast is all about understanding sleep. We know a lot about what the brain does in sleep, but we are just starting to understand why it does some of these things, and even more excitingly, how we can take full advantage of sleep and also manipulate it for our own ends. In each episode, neuroscientist Penny Lewis interviews a different sleep researcher, talking about a various aspect of sleep science. Topics will include sleep physiology and medicine, circadian rhythm, how sleep impacts on our memories and creativity, Sleep Engineering for enhanced health and cognition, and the most recent technologies to promote sleep.©SleepSciencePodcast 2021. These materials may be downloaded for personal use only. They may not be shared, distributed or reproduced in any form or for any reason without express permission

Sleep Science Podcast Penny Lewis

    • Science
    • 5.0 • 8 Ratings

We spend a third of our lives sleeping, and this podcast is all about understanding sleep. We know a lot about what the brain does in sleep, but we are just starting to understand why it does some of these things, and even more excitingly, how we can take full advantage of sleep and also manipulate it for our own ends. In each episode, neuroscientist Penny Lewis interviews a different sleep researcher, talking about a various aspect of sleep science. Topics will include sleep physiology and medicine, circadian rhythm, how sleep impacts on our memories and creativity, Sleep Engineering for enhanced health and cognition, and the most recent technologies to promote sleep.©SleepSciencePodcast 2021. These materials may be downloaded for personal use only. They may not be shared, distributed or reproduced in any form or for any reason without express permission

    S2E9 - End of season Q&A Session

    S2E9 - End of season Q&A Session

    For our end of season special, we have the rest of the NaPS lab in to answer a number of exciting sleep-related questions from our listeners. These touch on a range of different subjects from sleeps involvement in weight gain to alcohol's effect on sleep. Thanks to those who sent in questions!

    List of Questions:

    1.     What is it in general anaesthetic that completely prevents a patient from waking up mid-surgery? Is this a similar state to being in a deep sleep or is this different entirely?  3:43

    2.    Can having daytime naps improve your memory?  5:24

    3.    Can a good sleep schedule help you lose weight?  6:40

    4.    Why do people tend to have a deeper sleep after drinking alcohol?   8:26

    5.   Can a lack of sleep really impact the way your brain works long term?  11:24

    6.   Why do children with ASD struggle to fall asleep and maintain sleep?  12:54

    7.   How does loud snoring or sleep talking wake up other people but not manage to wake up the person themselves?  16:13

    8.  How does drinking lots of caffeinated drinks affect our sleep wake cycle?  19:17

    9.   How does hibernation differ from a normal sleep in some animals?   21:05

    10.  When people say the term “just sleep on it” after a row or an emotional experience, is there any truth in this? Does sleep help you process emotions?   23:24

    11.  How much is sleep deprivation related to our immunity?  25:05


    This episode was produced by Bella Mills-Smith 

    This recording is property of the sleep science podcast and not for resale

    • 28 min
    S2E8 - Chiara Cirelli - Synaptic Homeostasis in Sleep

    S2E8 - Chiara Cirelli - Synaptic Homeostasis in Sleep

    In this episode, we talk with Professor Chiara Cirelli from the department of Psychiatry at the University of Wisconsin.

    We begin by hearing about how she first got interested in sleep research, and particularly about her time as a medical student at the University of Pisa where she worked on the noradrenergic system using cat models. We then look at the importance of using cross-species models in sleep research with flies, mice, rats and humans. We also discuss the different ways of using these animal models and the different advantages they offer for sleep research.

    We then move on to Chiara's Synaptic Homeostasis Hypothesis. This hypothesis has been supported by data from a wide range of species, and suggests that an important function of sleep is to downscale synapses. During the day, brain connections (or synapses) relating to information we have learned get strengthened.  This can result in a kind of neural saturation, whereby there is no space for more synapses. The Synaptic Homeostasis Hypothesis proposes that these synapses are downscaled during sleep, bringing about a form of homeostasis that allows us to repeatedly strengthen synapses during wake and downscale during sleep.

    We also take a look at different ways of measuring synaptic growth across species such as molecular studies, structural or electrophysiological studies and the current difficulties in following synapses over long periods of time.

    Finally, we look at Chiara's most recent finding which shows synapses associated with new learning are protected from downscaling during sleep.  Instead, her latest data show that it is the background noise that is reduced during sleep, allowing for an increase in signal to noise ratio.

    We hope you enjoy the episode and please find more information below. 

    Here are links to some of the studies mentioned in the podcast:


    Synaptic Homeostasis Hypothesis Synaptic Homeostasis Hypothesis in Memory Consolidation Downscaling If you would like to find more information of Chiara's work, you can find a link to her research page here.

    Glossary of terms
    Synaptic Homeostasis  - Renormalistion of overall synaptic strength to restore cellular homeostasis, preventing saturation and allowing further memory formation following a day of learning  

    ATP 'cost' - ATP is our source of energy for everything that we do. An ATP 'cost' would refer to how much cellular energy something would use.

    Declarative learning - Learning about knowledge which we can talk about e.g dates, facts, events.  

    Drosophila - a genus of flies, commonly referred to as fruit flies, which are used regularly in scientific research.

    Smart down selection - A process of selectively protecting synapses which need to be kept during downscaling.

    Phosphorylation - Process of adding a phosphoryl group to a molecule. Phosphorylation can help regulate cell signals or protein development often acting as a way of 'labeling' cells.

    Noradrenergic System - A neurotransmitter system within our nervous system that is often associated with alertness or arousal.

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    Episode produced by Sophie Smith

    Photo by Pixabay 
    This recording is property of the sleep science podcast and not for resale

    • 55 min
    S2E7 - Reto Huber - Local Sleep, Sleep Homeostasis, & Brain Plasticity

    S2E7 - Reto Huber - Local Sleep, Sleep Homeostasis, & Brain Plasticity

    In this episode, we interviewed Professor Reto Huber, who leads a research group at the University Children’s Hospital, Zurich. Reto’s interests encompass sleep disorders, development, synaptic plasticity and regeneration. 
    In this episode we discuss local sleep, a process whereby different parts of the brain express different depths of sleep or wake at different times. We consider the relationship of local sleep to phenomena such as sleep walking and sleep talking, and Reto explains a series of experiments exploring how local sleep relates to learning. 
    We then consider the use of drosophila as a model to study sleep and the sleep homeostasis hypothesis before switching topic to discuss the developing brain and sleep. Reto explains some important experiments linking sleep to plasticity. We discuss the differences in slow wave activity throughout development, and how the activity corresponds to experience dependent plasticity. We then consider a potential link to childhood conditions such as ADHD. 
    Finally, Reto explains closed loop auditory stimulation and some recent findings relating to local sleep and learning. We end the episode by exploring the potential use of the technique in clinical settings.

    If you would like to read more on Reto's work, you can find a link to his publications here.
    Glossary:
    Local Sleep - A phenomenon in which different parts of the brain experience different depths of sleep or wake at different times.
    Sleep Homeostasis- The optimal balancing of sleep and wake driven by sleep pressure and our circadian rhythms
    Synaptic Homeostasis- Renormalising of overall synaptic strength to restore cellular homeostasis, prevent saturation and allow further memory formation following a day of learning 
    ADHD- Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder
    Closed Loop Auditory Stimulation- A method designed to enhance slow wave activity during sleep through auditory stimuli
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    Episode produced by Vanessa Hyde & Sophie Smith

    This recording is property of the sleep science podcast and not for resale

    Photo by Ron Lach from Pexels

    • 53 min
    S2E5 - Manuel Schabus & Kerstin Hoedlmoser - How babies sleep and what this means for their cognitive function

    S2E5 - Manuel Schabus & Kerstin Hoedlmoser - How babies sleep and what this means for their cognitive function

    In this episode we talk to  Professor Manuel Schabus  and Professor Kerstin Hoedlmoser from the Centre for Cognitive Neuroscience at the University of Salzburg. 

    In this episode, we discuss their work on the development of sleep-in babies, first discussing what baby sleep is like and how it differs from older children and adults in regard to activity and sleep stages and specifically sleep spindles and why we think this is. We also look at the difficulties of recording sleep in babies and what other methods are used to analyse and assess baby sleep. 
    We then look in depth at the development on sleep spindles in babies and go on to discuss the difference between fast and slow spindles and their hypothesised importance in connection with memory consolidation and learning. 


    We also discuss the importance of coupling activity and synchrony in the brain, specifically sleep spindles and slow oscillations and how these synchronise as we grow and develop and why this synchrony is important for memory and cognitive function.

     
    If you'd like to find out more about Manuel's work you can find a link to his research page here and a link to Kerstin's research page here.

    Here are links to some of the studies mentioned in the podcast:


            o Fast and slow spindles and their connection to cognitive and memory function
            o  Coupling of slow oscillations and sleep spindles and motor learning
            o  Coupling of slow oscillations and sleep spindles and memory


    Glossary of terms

    Sleep Spindle  - These are a burst of neural activity which usually occur during stage 2 non-REM sleep.

    (Synaptic) Pruning  - The natural removal of extra synaptic connections between neurons which occurs between childhood and adulthood.

    Declarative learning - A type of learning about knowledge which we can talk about e.g dates, facts, events. Episodic memory and semantic memory are types of declarative learning.

    Alpha Activity - A pattern of electric actvity in the brain, alpha activity predominately occurs during rest with a frequency between 9-11Hz.   


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    Episode produced by Sophie Smith & Bianca Strete



    This recording is property of the sleep science podcast and not for resale


    Photo by Dominika Roseclay from Pexels 

    • 44 min
    S2E6 Wenbiao Gan - The role of sleep in synapse formation and elimination

    S2E6 Wenbiao Gan - The role of sleep in synapse formation and elimination

    In this episode, we talk to Professor Wenbiao Gan from the Neuroscience and Physiology and Skirball Institute at New York University School of Medicine.

    Professor Gan tells us about how he started to become interested in studying sleep and its impact on learning and memory.

    He talks about intriguing and hands-on ways to assess the formation and elimination of dendritic spines in  the mouse cortex, and how different experimental tasks like running backwards on a treadmill influence spine formation with or without sleep. Some counterintuitive results are presented and Professor Gan also shares his perspective on the synaptic homeostasis hypothesis.

    In the end, Professor Gan gives some thoughts about the future of sleep research and suggests new methods of improvement in the area.

    If you would like to find out more, here is a link to Professor Gan's full list of publications:

    Links to  the studies mentioned in the podcast:


    REM sleep promotes experience-dependent dendritic spine elimination in the mouse cortexFear extinction reverses dendritic spine formation induced by fear conditioning in the mouse auditory cortexREM sleep selectively prunes and maintains new synapses in development and learningExperience‐dependent plasticity of dendritic spines of layer 2/3 pyramidal neurons in the mouse cortexTwo-photon microscopy as a tool to investigate the therapeutic time window of methylprednisolone in a mouse spinal cord injury modelSleep contributes to dendritic spine formation and elimination in the developing mouse somatosensory cortexGlossary of terms 


    (synaptic) pruning = a natural phase in the development of the nervous system during which connections between neurons that are no longer needed die off dendrites = tree-like extensions of the neuron dendritic spines = extensions of a dendrite that help receive information from other neuronssynaptic homeostasis = the idea that neural synapses cannot keep strengthening forever.  Instead, they must also downscale at some point in order to make space for further strengthening.  Such downscaling can be done in a relative manner that preserves information coded by the synapses in question.  Episode produced by Bianca Strete and Sophie Smith 

    • 42 min
    S2E4 Colin Espie – What is insomnia and how can we treat it?

    S2E4 Colin Espie – What is insomnia and how can we treat it?

    In this episode, we interviewed Colin Espie, one of the world’s leading authorities on sleep and insomnia. Colin is Professor in Sleep Medicine at the University of Oxford, and  Clinical Director of the Experimental & Clinical Sleep Medicine Programme, Sleep & Circadian Neurosciences Institute, again at the University of Oxford.  
    Professor Espie talks about sleep problems, explains why actively focusing on getting more sleep is not the best way to combat these issues.  He also argues that behavioural approaches are much more effective even though clinicians tend to prescribe medicine by default. He has solid plans for changing the treatment of insomnia in the future and has already made a flying start eleven years ago by launching Sleepio, the online sleep clinic.  Find out more about how Sleepio works and how can you register today by listening to this episode.
    If you would like to have a look at the Sleepio website, you can do it by clicking here. You can also click here to find out more about Prof. Espie and read through recent publications mentioned in this podcast.

    A new edition of Prof. Espie's book Overcoming Insomnia: A self-help guide using cognitive behavioural techniques, published by Little Brown Book Group will be released in late September.
    This recording is property of the sleep science podcast and not for resale.
    Glossary 
    ·       Hypermetabolised (brain) = having an elevated energy expenditure 
    ·       Hyperarousal = abnormal state of increased responsiveness to stimuli
    ·       Chronotype = one’s natural inclination to sleep and be active at certain times of the day
    ·       CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) = form of therapy aimed to improve mental health mainly through emotional regulation and developing coping mechanisms
    ·       Sleep Restriction Therapy = a CBT therapy that works to decrease variability in the timing of sleep while increasing the depth of sleep
     


    Episode produced by Bianca Strete & Sophie Smith 

    • 50 min

Customer Reviews

5.0 out of 5
8 Ratings

8 Ratings

jose-perth ,

Great conversations about sleep

We have always heard about how important sleep is for us. But why?
Penny explores multiple topics related to sleep through conversations with other knowledgeable people.
From research on the biological role of sleep to how sleep has been viewed historically, this podcast has made me very interested in the topic and made me evaluate about my own sleeping habits!!

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