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Publisher's Summary

Sleep is the subject of intense scientific debate among biologists and neuroscientists. Why must we spend about one-third of our lives asleep? What exactly is sleep? Why does a lack of sleep impair our cognitive abilities and leave us vulnerable to a host of medical issues ranging from obesity to reduced resistance to infectious disease?
These 24 engrossing lectures take you to the forefront of the field to reveal what happens in the sleeping brain right down to the cellular and molecular level. You'll investigate what biological changes occur during wakefulness that are reversed during sleep - and why your brain forces you to fall asleep to repay an accumulated sleep deficit, no matter how dangerous the circumstances.
The science of sleep encompasses basic concepts of electricity, neuroanatomy, and neurochemistry, which are responsible for the "architecture of sleep." Professor Heller explains the science behind our circadian rhythms, REM and non-REM sleep, the physiology of dreaming, and more.
Sleep pathologies and disorders are among the most fascinating topics of the course. From disorders such as sleep apnea, narcolepsy, and restless leg syndrome to parasomnias such as sleepwalking and night terrors, the most up-to-date findings in the science of sleep are truly riveting.
©2013 The Teaching Company, LLC (P)2013 The Great Courses
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Customer Reviews

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By DaemonZeiro on 06-03-15

This is what to listen to BEFORE you see a doctor!

(or after) ;)

The very first lecture had me hesitant, it seems a bit fluffy- but the later lectures were deliciously efficient with communicating the many details of sleep and what is actually going on in your brain.

The speaker does an excellent job keeping the listener engaged and interested along with having a voice that has the personality and excitement of a Ph.D talking about his own field/dedication (which he is!). I suddenly started suffering from a sleep disorder after meningitis which was later exacerbated by a major concussion. Medical doctors have a tendency to try to diagnose you as quickly as possible, but not as 'well' as possible. If you go to a doctor with the knowledge you obtain here - your suggestions and ideas will hold substantial weight and you may be able to more accurately relay your symptoms (if you are having sleep issues).

Prof. Heller goes over all the possibilities/sources of sleep pathologies from the level of protein signalling to the macromolecular results. He does an excellent job relaying how sleep is structured and what the different parts of sleep may be doing. He even touches on how to optimize sleep for enhanced learning. Occasionally, I've had to re-listen to lectures that were information-dense or take notes but he explains how/why all the ingredients in common (and less common) sleep aids work. I was inspired to delve deeper, still, because of these lectures- looking up more information on the parts of the brain involved in sleep and memory as well as how sleep differs in those with learning disabilities.

I've researched sleep due to my issues with it and even with my biological background (current phd student in molecular biology- proteomics) I've taken notes and learned plenty of things I didn't know before!

I HIGHLY recommend this audiobook, whether or not you have sleep problems. You may find yourself sleeping better, learning better and coping better in addition to understanding your own body better.

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15 of 15 people found this review helpful

By Francois on 08-18-14

Wow! I wish I had this courses when I was 20 years

I have listened to dozens of very interesting audiobooks, but I never had a more engaging experience. This basically comes from from the quality of the narration by professor Heller and by the detailed content regarding the processes in the sleep research.

If I had heard such lectures at 20, I would certainly have had a better sleep hygiene.

This courses reminded me of the enthusiasm that I felt from the best science teachers that I got.

This was my first 'Great Course'. I am really looking for more now.

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14 of 14 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

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By Daniel on 08-07-15

Ok but feels like could be condensed into 3h

It's a series of great lectures but more about sleep research than sleep itself. I find myself listening to 30min bits that explain a specific research method where the final observation is explained in just few seconds at the end of the 30min. If this was just about 'what we know about sleep' it could easily be condensed into a few hour lecture not 12h as it currently is. (I do care about research, but in this case I wanted to learn about sleep not how to setup cameras and lure a bear)

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

By Joanne on 04-02-17

Fascinating, I highly recommend

Any additional comments?

This is the best of the 'Great Courses' I've listened to. It's fascinating and presented in a way that makes it easy to follow. I already knew quite a bit about this area and I learned so much more from this course.

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Customer Reviews

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By Dr on 04-09-17

Very good

A little research and technical oriented in parts but overall some fascinating insights into sleep

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By uta nachkebia on 04-06-17

good into into the subject

good examples and explanations of everything. would recommend as a good starting point. easy to follow. however, close attention should be paid and I would not recommend listening while trying to concentrate on other tasks as a lot of detail will be missed!

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