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It’s very clear right now that the sleep-loss epidemic is
the greatest public health crisis in first world nations of the 21st century. Every disease that is killing us (in first world countries) can be linked to loss of sleep.
Sleep is one of the most important aspects of our life, health and longevity and yet it is increasingly neglected in twenty-first-century society, with devastating consequences: every major disease in the developed world - Alzheimer's, cancer, obesity, diabetes - has very strong causal links to deficient sleep. And yet we’re sleeping less than ever – four out of five of us complain about disturbed or inadequate sleep, and nearly half of us get six hours or less a night.
Until very recently, science had no answer to the question of why we sleep, or what good it served, or why its absence is so damaging to our health. Matthew Walker, director of the Centre for Human Sleep Science, has one defining ambition – to reunite humanity with its sleep. He visits the RSA to explain why we need a sleep revolution, and why we need it now.