The purpose of sleep | TED Talk by neuroscientist Russell Foster

This video on sleep has been very popular, so here it is again


Sleep is vital. Certainly performance is affected by fatigue but so is pain. Unfortunately, many people whom I see will describe disturbed sleep, perhaps due to their pain waking them through the night. The cycle of fatigue is a challenge to break.

During the night our blood pressure drops meaning that the perfusion of blood and hence oxgen through the nervous system reduces. The ensuing acidity is detected by the sensitised nerve endings and signals are sent to the brain via the spinal cord. The altered responsiveness of ON and OFF cells in the brain stem mean that this flow can be facilitated, in particular when we move to change position. This rouses us and we can feel pain.

Lying in bed at night, surrounded by darkness and silence, there can be little else to grab our attention except the pain. In these difficult moments, being proactive tends to deliver…

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