Placeholder Image

Subtitles section Play video

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

  • Neil: and I'm Neil.

  • Alice: So Neil, did you sleep well last night?

  • Neil: Um, yes, thanks. Why do you ask?

  • Alice: Today we're talking about how much sleep we need.

  • Neil: I like a good eight hours myselften at the weekend. How about you?

  • Alice: Six is enough for me. But did you know this? Humans sleep around three hours less

  • than other primates like chimps, who sleep for about ten hours.

  • So you're a chimp, Neil... at the weekends, at least! Are you ready for the quiz question?

  • Neil: [makes some chimp noises]

  • Alice: OK, I'll assume that means yes. Right. What's another word for sleepwalking? Is it...

  • a) narcolepsy? b) restless legs syndrome?

  • or c) somnambulism?

  • Neil: I will go for b) restless legs syndrome, since there's a connection there with the legs.

  • Alice: Well we'll find out whether you're right or wrong later on in the show.

  • So what keeps you awake at night, Neil?

  • Neil: Not much, to be honest. I usually sleep like a log

  • and that means very heavily indeed!

  • But sometimes my own snoring wakes me up, and then I can find it hard to get back to sleep.

  • Snoring, for those of you who don't know, means breathing in a noisy way

  • through your mouth or nose while you're asleep. [snores] ... like that... How about you, Alice?

  • Alice: Very good, yes. Well, that's quite ridiculous!

  • Anyway, for me, it's drinking too much coffee during the day.

  • It's the caffeine in coffee – a chemical that makes you feel more awake

  • which can stop you from sleeping at night.

  • But there are so many things that can keep us awake these days.

  • Neil: Oh yes. Radio, TV... techy stuff like 24-hour internet, computers, smart phones.

  • I love my phone and it's never far from me!

  • Alice: Well, let's hear what Professor Jerome Siegel, from the University of California,

  • found when he studied the sleep habits of three different hunter-gatherer communities

  • who have very little contact with modern society. They don't have artificial light, electricity,

  • batteries, or any of the gadgets that we rely on today.

  • Jerome Siegel: Their sleep was not that different from ours.

  • The range of sleep period was about 6.9 to 8.5 hours.

  • If you actually measure sleep in current populations in the United States or in Europe

  • they're definitely at the low end of what's been reported.

  • They certainly don't sleep a lot less than we do but they clearly don't sleep more.

  • Alice: Professor Jerome Siegel found that people in these communities don't go to bed

  • until several hours after sundownjust like us!

  • But one big difference is that very few of them suffer from insomnia

  • which means having difficulty falling asleep and staying asleep.

  • Neil: Now, I don't have a problem with insomnia. And hunter-gatherers

  • people who live by hunting animals and gathering plants to eatdon't either

  • probably because they take a lot of physical exercise during the day.

  • Alice: Yes, that's right.

  • Taking exercise is an important factor in sleeping soundlyor wellat night.

  • But these days our minds can be so active that it becomes very difficult to fall asleep.

  • Let's listen to Professor Kevin Morgan, from Loughborough University here in England,

  • talking about how cognitive behavioural therapy can be used to help people with insomnia.

  • Kevin Morgan: If you have a train of thoughts which would otherwise keep you awake one way

  • of dealing with this is to block those thoughts.

  • What I'd like you to do is repeat the word 'the' in your mind at irregular intervals

  • the the the the the the the the the

  • what you'll find (is) that the mind space required to do this blocks out almost everything else.

  • Neil: So Professor Kevin Morgan suggests saying one word over and over again at irregular intervals

  • irregular in this context means not spaced out evenly.

  • Doing it can help to block out the thoughts that are stopping you from getting to sleep.

  • It sounds like a very simple solution. I wonder if it works?

  • Alice: There's one way to find out, Neil. Try it yourself!

  • Neil: I will.

  • Alice: OK. And cognitive behavioural therapy by the way is a treatment for mental health

  • problems that tries to change the way you think.

  • Neil: Well, I usually count sheep if I can't get to sleep. Do you do that, Alice?

  • Alice: No, not usually. No. OK, I think it's time for the answer to our quiz question.

  • I asked: What's another word for sleepwalking? Is it... a) narcolepsy? b) restless legs syndrome?

  • or c) somnambulism?

  • Neil: And I said b) restless legs syndrome.

  • Alice: Sorry, Neil, it's actually c) somnambulismthe roots of this word come from Latin.

  • Somnus means 'sleep' and and ambulare means 'walk'.

  • Narcolepsy is a condition where you can't stop yourself falling asleep, especially during the day.

  • Neil: Narcolepsy... (says in a sleepy way)

  • Alice: And restless legs syndrome is a condition that makes you desperate to move your legs around,

  • especially when you're sitting quietly or trying to get to sleep.

  • Neil: ... get to sleep... (murmuring)

  • Alice: Neil! Wake up!

  • Neil: Oh, hello Alice! Sorry.

  • Alice: Hello! Can we hear today's words again, please?

  • Neil: OK, yeah:

  • sleep like a log

  • snoring

  • caffeine

  • insomnia

  • hunter-gatherers

  • soundly

  • irregular

  • cognitive behavioural therapy

  • Alice: Well, that just about brings us to the end of this edition of 6 Minute English.

  • We hope you've enjoyed this programme.

  • Please do join us again soon.

  • Both: Bye.

Alice: Hello and welcome to 6 Minute English. I'm Alice.

Subtitles and vocabulary

Operation of videos Adjust the video here to display the subtitles

B1 UK alice sleep narcolepsy restless syndrome insomnia

BBC 6 Minute English January 14, 2016 - Is modern life making us tired?

  • 4369 175
    Adam Huang posted on 2016/02/12
Video vocabulary