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Have We Always Felt This Tired?

Ever since fire was discovered, a desire to stay up has eroded our sleep time. But we may have pushed this too far as scientists are now warning of a global sleep epidemic.

“Humans are the only species that willingly deprive themselves from sleep”. Ever since fire was discovered, we have traded off sleep time for other activities - from creating stone tools to partying. As our technology progressed, the list of things to do rather than sleep just got longer. But with sleep deprivation now a growing health problem, could we be reaching our limits? Or is tiredness part of our condition? In this week’s programme, an evolutionary biologist, a historian and a neuroscientist give us their take on whether we are now any more tired than our ancestors. We hear what makes human sleep unique and how it has evolved in surprising ways. And finally we hear from a woman with a dream – that we may never have to sleep again.

Presenter: James Fletcher
Producer: Estelle Doyle and Sarah Shebbeare

This programme was first broadcast in July 2017.

(Photo: A woman shows signs of tiredness as she counts ballot cards. Credit: Leon Neal/Getty Images)

Available now

23 minutes

Broadcasts

  • Thu 22 Mar 2018 00:06GMT
  • Thu 22 Mar 2018 03:06GMT
  • Thu 22 Mar 2018 04:06GMT
  • Thu 22 Mar 2018 07:06GMT
  • Thu 22 Mar 2018 08:06GMT
  • Thu 22 Mar 2018 15:06GMT
  • Thu 22 Mar 2018 18:06GMT
  • Thu 22 Mar 2018 23:06GMT
  • Sun 25 Mar 2018 02:06GMT
  • Mon 26 Mar 2018 03:06GMT
  • Mon 26 Mar 2018 05:06GMT
  • Mon 26 Mar 2018 06:06GMT

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