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  • Hello and welcome to 6 Minute English. I'm Neil.

  • And I'm Rob.

  • You look tired, Rob.

  • Well, I didn't sleep well last night.  I was tossing and turning all night,  

  • but I couldn't get to sleep.

  • Well, that's a coincidence, as our topic today  is insomnia - the condition some people suffer  

  • from when they find it difficult to  get to sleep when they go to bed.

  • Thankfully I don't really have insomnia,  

  • but every now and again, I find  it difficult to get to sleep.

  • Well, keep listening and we might  have some advice to help with that,  

  • but first, a question: What is the record for the  longest a human has gone without sleep? Is it:

  • A) about seven days?

  • B) about nine days? Or

  • C) about 11 days?

  • What do you think, Rob?

  • All of those seem impossible! So I've got  to go with the shortest - about seven days.

  • Well, if you can stay awake long enough, I'll  let you know at the end of the programme. Dr  

  • Michael Grandner is an expert in all things to  do with sleep. He was interviewed recently on  

  • the BBC radio programme Business DailyHe was asked what his best tip was to  

  • help you get to sleep if you are finding  it difficult. What was his suggestion?

  • And it sounds counter-intuitive,  

  • but trust me I've got decades of data behind this  statement: If you cannot sleep, get out of bed.

  • So Rob, how does he suggest you  help yourself to get to sleep?

  • Well actually, he says that the best  thing to do is to get out of bed!

  • That sounds exactly the opposite  of what you should do, doesn't it?

  • Well, he does say that his  advice is counter-intuitive,  

  • which means exactly that. That it is  the opposite of what you might expect.

  • And he says that this advice is  backed up by decades of research.  

  • A decade is a period of 10  years and when we say decades,  

  • it's a general term for many years, at least 20.  Let's hear that advice again from Dr Grandner.

  • And it sounds counter-intuitive, but trust me  I've got decades of data behind this statement:  

  • If you cannot sleep, get out of bed.

  • So why is getting out of bed good adviceHere's the explanation from Dr Grandner.

  • When you're in bed and you're not asleep and  you do that over, and over, and over again for  

  • extended periods of time, the ability of the bed  to put you to sleep starts getting diluted. Not  

  • only that, it starts getting replaced by thinkingand tossing and turning, and worrying, and doing  

  • all these things. When you're not asleep, get  out of bed. This is probably one of the most  

  • effective ways to prevent chronic insomniaIt's also one of the really effective ways to  

  • treat it. It won't work 100% of the time, but it  will actually work more than most people think.

  • We normally sleep in beds. Beds are  designed to make it easy to sleep,  

  • but if we can't sleep, that makes the bed's impact  

  • weaker. As Dr Grandner says, 'it dilutes  the power of the bed to help us sleep'.

  • When you dilute something, you  make it weaker. For example,  

  • you can dilute the strength of a strong  fruit juice by adding water to it.

  • So if we stay in bed, tossing and turningwhich is the expression we use to describe  

  • moving around in the bed trying to get to sleepwe begin to think of the bed as place where we  

  • don't sleep rather than as a place where we do  sleep. So, get out of bed to break the connection.

  • This he says is a positive way to approach  chronic insomnia. Chronic is an adjective  

  • that is used to describe conditions that are  long-lasting. So we're not talking here about  

  • occasionally not being able to get to sleepbut a condition where it happens every night.

  • Let's hear Dr Grandner again.

  • When you're in bed and you're not asleep and  you do that over, and over, and over again for  

  • extended periods of time, the ability of the bed  to put you to sleep starts getting diluted. Not  

  • only that, it starts getting replaced by thinkingand tossing and turning, and worrying, and doing  

  • all these things. When you're not asleep, get  out of bed. This is probably one of the most  

  • effective ways to prevent chronic insomniaIt's also one of the really effective ways to  

  • treat it. It won't work 100% of the time, but it  will actually work more than most people think.

  • Time to review today's vocabulary, but firstlet's have the answer to the quiz question.  

  • What is the record for the longesthuman has gone without sleep? Is it:

  • A) about seven days?

  • B) about nine days?

  • C) about 11 days?

  • What did you think, Rob?

  • I thought it must be about seven days.

  • Well, I'm afraid you're not right. The answerrather amazingly, is actually just over 11 days.  

  • Extra bonus points for anyone who knew that that  was done in 1964 by someone called Randy Gardner.

  • That's extraordinary. It's difficult to imagine  even going a couple of days without sleep,  

  • but 11! I wonder how long he slept for after that!

  • 14 hours and 40 minutes.

  • You've got all the answers, haven't you?

  • Well when I can't sleep, I get up and read trivia!  

  • And now it's time for the vocabularyToday our topic has been insomnia.

  • This is the word for the condition  of not being able to sleep.  

  • And something that people do when they are  trying to sleep is toss and turn in bed.

  • The opposite of what seems logical  or obvious is counter-intuitive.  

  • It goes against what you might expectSo if you can't sleep, get out of bed.

  • Our next word is diluted.  

  • This is from the verb to dilute which  means 'to make something less strong'.

  • And finally, there was the adjective chronic. This  is an expression for a medical condition that is  

  • long-lasting. So someone who has chronic insomnia  regularly has difficulty getting enough sleep.  

  • It's not just something  that happens now and again.

  • Well, we hope that 6 Minute  English isn't a cure for insomnia,  

  • but I do find listening to podcasts  and spoken radio helps me get to sleep.

  • Well, before we all drop off to sleep from  the comforting tone of your voice, Rob,  

  • it's time for us to say goodbyeThat's it for this programme. For more,  

  • find us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and  our Youtube pages, and of course our website:  

  • bbclearningenglish.com, where you can find  all kinds of other programmes and videos  

  • and activities to help you improve your  English. Thank you for joining us, and goodbye.

  • Bye!

  • Hello and welcome to 6 Minute English, I'm  Neil. This is the programme where in just  

  • six minutes we discuss an interesting  topic and teach some related English  

  • vocabulary. And joining me to do this is Rob.

  • Helloerr sorry Neil, how long  did you say this programme is?

  • Six minutesit's 6 Minute English, Rob.

  • Right. OK. Sorry, what's your name again?

  • Neil! My name is Neil. Rob, what  has happened to your memory?!

  • Sorry, Neiltoo many things on my mindit's affecting my short-term memory,  

  • but what I can remember is that in this programme  we're talking about improving our memory.

  • We are and I think you might find it  quite useful! Storing information is  

  • an important function of our brains  and scientists are always looking  

  • at ways to improve it but also to stop  it deterioratingor becoming worse.

  • Yes, and we all know that memories  – that's the noun word for things we  

  • remember from the pastare nice to have but  also important for remembering who people are,  

  • where things are kept and how things look.

  • Soon we'll be discussing a new idea for improving  your memory but not before I've set today's quiz  

  • question. There are many ways we can improve  our memory but one way is through the type of  

  • food we eat. According to the BBC Food websitewhich type of food supports good memory function?  

  • Is it… a) eggs 

  • b) spinach, or c) bananas?

  • Well, as a kid I was always told that spinach was  

  • good for mePopeye ate it to make  him strongso I'll say b) spinach.

  • Well, I'll have the answer later on. Nowlet's talk more about improving our memory.  

  • Memory is the ability to encode, store and  recall information but a number of factors  

  • can affect people's memory processes including  health, anxiety, mood, stress and tiredness.

  • That's why, for example, if you're taking an exam  it's important to get a good night's sleep and to  

  • keep healthy. But Neil, when you're revising  for an exam, what helps you to remember facts?

  • I tend to write things down again  and again and again and again.

  • Well, that's one way. But people have different  styles to help them remember. According to the  

  • BBC's iWonder guide, there are three different  styles - visual, auditory and kinaesthetic, that's  

  • learning by 'doing' and practising something  over and over again. That sounds like me.

  • But recently, a new study has  come up with a method that  

  • could possibly be the best way to improve  your memory and that's by drawing.  

  • Daryl O'Connor, who's Professor of Psychology  at the University of Leeds, has been speaking  

  • about it on the BBC Radio 4 programme, All  In The Mind. See if you can work out why

  • The authors certainly argue that one  of the things that happens by drawing  

  • these particular objects, that it leads to  this increased contextual representation  

  • of the object in one's mindIt makeslot of intuitive sensethe idea that if  

  • you have encoded something in a greater level  of detail, you're more likely to remember it…  

  • It's much stronger than just  remembering writing down the words.

  • OK, so let's try to explain  that. Drawing something  

  • leads to increased contextual  representation of the object.  

  • When something is contextual, it is in  the situation where it usually exists.

  • So as you draw something you are creating  a picture in your mind about what it is,  

  • how you use it and where it is used. I wonder  if this means artists have good memories

  • Maybe. Daryl O'Connor says that  when you draw you are encoding  

  • something in a greater level of detail, more  than you would by just writing things down.  

  • Encoding is changing information intoform that can be stored and later recalled.

  • That's because as you draw, you're  thinking about different aspects  

  • of the object. He says it makes intuitive  senseintuitive means it is 'based on  

  • feelings rather than facts or proof' - soyou just feel it is the best thing to do.

  • Of course, this is just one more way to  improve your memory. I have also heard  

  • that doing crossword puzzles and Sudoku  can help, especially when you're older.

  • Yes, as we get older we can often have more  difficulty retrieving information from our  

  • memory - and people with Alzheimer's find it  very difficult to encode informationso any  

  • way to keep our memory working is a good  thing. Basically we need brain training!

  • Brain training and eating the right food RobYou might remember that earlier I asked you,  

  • according to the BBC Food website, which type  of food supports good memory function? Is it… 

  • a) eggs b) spinach, or 

  • c) bananas? And Rob, you said

  • I do remember and I said b) spinach.

  • And that is sort of the wrong answer. In fact  they were all correctthey are all examples  

  • of food that can help support good memoryApparently, foods rich in B vitamins are important  

  • as they provide protection for the brain as we  age and support good memory function. I think  

  • it's time to change my diet! Now on to the  vocabulary we looked at in this programme.

  • So today we've been talking about our memory  – we use our memory to remember things  

  • and memories is the noun for  things we remember from the past.

  • Then we discussed a learning  style known as kinaesthetic,  

  • that is learning by 'doing' and  practising something over and over again.

  • We heard from Professor Daryl O'Connor, who  talked about contextual representation - when  

  • something is contextual, you see it in  the situation where it usually exists.

  • Next, we talked about encoding. Thatis  changing information into a form  

  • that can be stored and later recalled.

  • And we mentioned intuitive sensehaving  an intuitive sense means doing something  

  • 'based on feelings rather than facts or proof'  - so, you just feel it is the best thing to do.

  • And finally, we mentioned Alzheimer's  – a disease affecting the brain  

  • that makes it difficult to remember  things and it gets worse as you get older.

  • Well, there are lots of new words to remember  therebut that's all for this programme.

  • Don't forget to visit us on Facebook, Twitter,  

  • Instagram and YouTube and our website  bbclearningenglish.com. Bye for now.

  • Goodbye!

  • Hello. This is 6 Minute English. I'm Rob.

  • And I'm Sam.

  • In this programme, we're talking about biscuits.

  • Really? That's not what I was  toldoh hold on, you're lying.

  • Yes, you're right, Sam. I am  lying simply to demonstrate  

  • our topiclying and how to detect itYou detected my lie very easily, Sam!

  • I could tell by the smirk on your face that  

  • you were telling a fibthat's the  word for a small, inoffensive lie.

  • To be honest, talking about lie  detecting will be much more interesting  

  • than biscuits. But first, let's start  with a question for you to answer.  

  • A competition is held in Cumbria in the UK  every year to find and award the title of  

  • "The Biggest Liar in the World". But which  type of people are not allowed to take part?

  • a) Farmers

  • b) Lawyers

  • c) Estate agents

  • What do you think, Sam?

  • I'd be lying if I said I knewbut  

  • based on personal experience I'd say  estate agentsthey'd find it too easy!

  • Hawell that's your opinion but I'll let you  know if you're right at the end of the programme.  

  • So, lying is something I'm sure a lot of us do  – sometimes to avoid trouble, sometimes to cheat  

  • people, or sometimes just to impress someone –  did you know I can speak seven languages, Sam?

  • That's just a barefaced lie, Rob!  

  • But I can see how easy lying can be, and  that's what neuroscientist Sophie Scott thinks.  

  • Here she is on BBC Radio 4's 'Seriously' podcastexplaining how we sometimes lie just to be nice!

  • Often what we mean by lying is someone setting out  to deceive us with their words or their actions  

  • but actually normal conversation probably can  only happen because we don't actually say all  

  • the time exactly what we really think and what  we really mean. And that kind of cooperation  

  • is at the heart, I think, of a lot of social  interactions for humans and I think that's one  

  • of the strong pushes to make conversation polite  and therefore frequently not actually truthful.

  • So Sophie mentions two types of lyingThere's the one when we try to deceive  

  • someoneso that's trying to hide something  by tricking someone to gain an advantage.

  • Hmm, that's like you getting me to pay £10 for  a cinema ticket when actually they were only £5.  

  • That's just dishonest, but there are also what  I like to call white liessmall lies we tell  

  • to avoid upsetting someone. Those are lies  that aren't intended to give you an advantage.

  • Yes, Sophie Scott says we use them in  

  • normal conversationwhen we  don't say what we really mean.

  • So, we want to make conversation polite because  we want to cooperate with each othershe says  

  • cooperation is at the heart. Something that's at  the heart is the most important or essential part.

  • Now telling lies is one thing but how do you  know if we're being lied to? Sometimes there  

  • are telltale signs, such as someone's face  turning red or someone shuffling their feet.

  • But if you really want to know if someone is  lying, maybe we should listen to Richard Wiseman,  

  • a psychologist at the University of HertfordshireHere he is speaking on the 'Seriously' podcast

  • Liars in general say less. They tend to have  a longer what's called response latency,  

  • which is the time between the end of the question  and the beginning of the answer. And there also  

  • tends to be an emotional distance in the lie  – so the words 'me', 'my', 'I' – all those  

  • things tend to drop away in lies and it's much  much harder for liars to control what they're  

  • saying and how they're saying it, so focus your  attention there, you become a better lie detector.

  • Some good advice from Richard Wiseman. So to  detect lies we need to listen out for the response  

  • latency – a term used in psychology to describe  the time taken between a stimulus or question  

  • and a response to it. The bigger the gap,