The world's largest sleep experiment was
launched last week by Adrian Owen, a neuroscientist and part-time
wannabe rock star. Despite his extravagant dreams of headlining
rock festivals, Owen may be on the verge of cracking the secrets of
sleep! He recruited over 50,000 people to conduct an online test
answering the pressing question: if I am not getting enough sleep,
is it making me dumber?


Sleep has been proven to be as vital as water for life but still
people debate why we give so much time to sleep. However, many
people believe our sleeping hours are the most important in the
day, since sleep allows us to recover from our busy lifestyles.
Owen believes sleep is not all it seems: he states, "we think we
are cut off from the world, but the brain stays very responsive,"
hence the phenomenon of dreams.


Sleep deprivation can impair driving abilities as much as
alcohol: this leads us to asks the question if our tiredness is
affecting our intelligence and motivation? Owen believes
productivity is lost from lack of sleep - and we can all probably
relate to this in some way. How many times have you needed that
extra hour in bed on a Monday morning or caught your colleague
yawning?


People often believe that you must sleep for eight hours a night
to function. Despite this being a healthy amount of shut eye, it
differs from person to person. Some people would appear to cope
better with sleep deprivation, such as Margaret Thatcher, who
reportedly thrived on four hours a night as prime minister.
Silentnight sleep expert, Dr. Nerina Ramlakhan, says: there is far
too much significance placed on the holy grail of eight hours.
Everyone's sleep requirements are different and it's up to you how
you feel when you wake up."


Sleep is often a matter of opinion, everyone is clearly
different. If you feel your amount of sleep is affecting your
productivity, perhaps try to get that extra hour in on a night.
Alternatively, having a good routine on a morning always helps. If
you are still unsure whether your sleep is affecting your
intelligence, Owen will lay bare the findings of his study later
this year at the Manchester Science Festival.