The Crossing

The Sleep Diaries Episode 1 of 5
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Why do we sleep, and why do many of us find crossing the threshold of sleep so difficult?

Sleep is our shadow life: if it were a place we'd spend about a third of our life there. We are as varied and eccentric in sleep as we are in our waking lives. And we still understand very little about why we sleep, how it works and what sleep and dreams actually mean. In this series mixing science with art, myth and poetry, award winning poet and broadcaster Paul Farley goes on the long journey through a night's sleep.

We hear from Armond Aserinsky, whose father discovered REM sleep in the 1950s and poetry from across the centuries capturing the enduring mysteries of sleep. Paul also spends the night wired up at a sleep clinic to find out what happens to the brain as we cross the threshold into sleep.

This series blends theories of treatment and cause with the surreal, the supernatural and fantastic; the eerie recording of sleep talkers and testimony of sleep walkers with poetry from Sylvia Plath, WH Auden, Philip Larkin and Jane Kenyon.

Presenter: Paul Farley
Producer: Jo Wheeler
A Brook Lapping Production for BBC Radio 4.

Available now

15 minutes

Last on

Wed 2 May 2012 21:45

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