The Science of Sleep: How to Sleep Better

The Science of Sleep: How to Sleep Better

Series 1 - Episode 2



Many sleep issues can be remedied by stress reduction and a healthy, active lifestyle. But, for poor Carla, more complex factors are at play. She’s at the end of her tether with restless legs syndrome – could her dopamine levels be the cause?

The “super sleepers”, meanwhile, are cranky and forgetful – not unusual when you’ve not slept for 40 hours. They’re bundled, bleary-eyed, into a roulette experiment to show how a lack of kip can elevate risk-taking behaviour. Neurologically, it’s down to depleted glucose in the prefrontal cortex, a brain area that controls impulsiveness. This must also account for the tendency to snatch a doughnut when you’re drowsy.


Part two of two. Amir Khan and Gaby Roslin look at the cases of a woman who has restless leg syndrome, and a man who has had chronic insomnia for 20 years. Elsewhere, the sleep deprivation experiment continues, setting up a mini casino to test for risky behaviour, pain resistance and emotional control. Finally, as the subjects reach the final hours of the challenge, the experiment begins to take its toll as the participants' emotions go into overdrive, with one threatening to quit altogether.

Cast & Crew

Presenter Amir Khan
Presenter Gaby Roslin
Executive Producer Paul Overton
Series Director Lyndon Bruce
Series Producer Lyndon Bruce