Source: The Conversation (Au and NZ) – By Sunanda Creagh, Head of Digital Storytelling

How did you sleep last night? If you had anything other than eight interrupted hours of peaceful, restful sleep then guess what? It’s not that bad – it’s actually pretty normal.

We recently asked five sleep researchers if everyone needs eight hours of sleep a night and they all said no, you don’t.


Read more: We asked five experts: does everyone need eight hours of sleep?


In fact, only about one quarter of us report getting eight or more hours of sleep. That’s according to the huge annual Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) survey which now tracks more than 17,500 people in 9500 households.

We’ll hear today from Roger Wilkins, who runs the HILDA survey at University of Melbourne, on what exactly the survey found about how much and how well Australians sleep.

But first, you’ll hear from sleep expert Melinda Jackson, Senior Research Fellow in the School of Health and Biomedical Sciences, RMIT University, about what the evidence shows about how we used to sleep in pre-industrial times, and what promising research is on the horizon. Here’s a taste:

Trust Me, I’m An Expert is a podcast where we ask academics to surprise, delight and inform us with their research. You can download previous episodes here.

And please, do check out other podcasts from The Conversation – including The Conversation US’ Heat and Light, about 1968 in the US, and The Anthill from The Conversation UK, as well as Media Files, a podcast all about the media. You can find all our podcasts over here.

The two segments in today’s podcast were recorded and edited by Dilpreet Kaur Taggar. Additional editing by Sunanda Creagh.


Read more: I can’t sleep. What drugs can I (safely) take?


Additional audio and credits

Kindergarten by Unkle Ho, from Elefant Traks

Morning Two by David Szesztay, Free Music Archive.

ref. Trust Me, I’m An Expert: the science of sleep and the economics of sleeplessness – http://theconversation.com/trust-me-im-an-expert-the-science-of-sleep-and-the-economics-of-sleeplessness-107278

The Conversation is a media resource, a source of ideas, media-ready experts. Trusted content: Our authors are academics and researchers with deep expertise. Our editors are professional journalists so you can rely on high quality content that’s also easy to read. For more, see www.theconversation.com/au/