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Arts & Culture

They Say The City Never Sleeps. Neither Do We.

Erich Ferdinand
Creative Commons

Did you get enough sleep last night? If you're like most Americans, probably not. You might feel pretty good after six hours of sleep and a strong cup of coffee, but the physical and mental toll of sleep deprivation is high.

We become more impulsive and less mentally agile, and we make more mistakes. Long term, lack of sleep (six hours or less per night) can mess with mood, hormones, and immune systems, and it can increase our risk for diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

There are lots of things we can't control that keep us up too late, such as crying babies and shift work. But there are lots of things we can control, like how much caffeine we consume and whether we take our phone to bed.

But somewhere along the way, our culture made less sleep a matter of personal virtue and moral judgement. Even naps are frowned upon for all but the youngest and the oldest among us.


  • Maria Konnikova - A journalist, professional poker player, and the author of The Confidence Game and Mastermind: How To Think Like Sherlock Holmes
  • Dan McNally - A doctor with the Sleep Disorders Center at UConn Health
  • Todd Pitock - Journalist

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Colin McEnroe, Cat Pastor, and Catie Talarski contributed to this show.

Betsy started as an intern at WNPR in 2011 after earning a Master's Degree in American and Museum Studies from Trinity College. She served as the Senior Producer for 'The Colin McEnroe Show' for several years before stepping down in 2021 and returning to her previous career as a registered nurse. She still produces shows with Colin and the team when her schedule allows.

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