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30 minutes
First broadcast:
Sunday 09 May 2010

Mark Tully considers the role of sleep. We spend an average 27 years of our lives asleep, yet it's claimed we're experiencing an epidemic of insomnia, and that children are particularly badly affected. Why is sleep so important to our physical, mental and spiritual well-being?

The producer is Eley McAinsh, and this is a Unique production for BBC Radio 4.

  • Music

    Music 1: ‘Pavane De La Belle Au Bois Dormant’ composed by Maurice Ravel, performed by the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra. Released by Deutsche Grammophon.

    Music 2: ‘I Wake Up Slow’ by Dory Previn. Available on We’re Children of Coincidence and Harpo Marx. Released by WEA Records.

    Music 3: ‘Nocturne in D-flat Major’ composed by Claude Debussy, performed by Paul Crossley. Available on Debussy: Complete Works for Solo Piano Vol. 4, released by Sony Classics.

    Music 4: ‘Lullaby, My Sweet Little Baby’, composed by William Byrd. Available on “My Mind to Me a Kingdom is”, released by Hyperion.

    Music 5: ‘Op. 15 Kinderszenen – Child Falling Asleep’, composed by Robert Schumann, performed by Martha Argerich. Available on Martha Argerich, released by Deutsche Grammophon.

    Music 6: “Before the Ending of the Day”, arranged by Malcolm Archer, performed by the Choir of Chichester Cathedral. Available on Requiem and Other Works. Released by Kevin Mayhew Ltd.

  • Readings

    Reading 1: “A Long Long Sleep, A Famous Sleep” by Emily Dickinson.

    Reading 2: “Tossing and Turning” by John Updike. Available in the collection “Sleep” published by Alfred J Knopf.

    Reading 3: “Sleep” by Russell Edson.

    Reading 4: ‘Caesura’ by Kenneth MacKenzie. Available in “The Poems of Kenneth MacKenzie” published by Ayeson and Robertson.

    Reading 5: “Insomnia” by Howard Nemerov.

    Reading 6: ‘When She Sleeps’ by Kirsty Lee Vieira, from the collection “Sleep”. Published by Alfred J Knopf.

    Reading 7: ‘To Sleep’ by John Keats. Available in the “Complete Poetical Works”, published by Oxford University Press.


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