Chuck Czeisler on sleep, performance and health in a 24/7 culture

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by Stacie Slotnick

Oct. 29, 2014

Charles A. Czeisler
Charles A. Czeisler


Sleep deficiency and circadian disruption are endemic in our 24/7 society. Both are particularly prevalent on college campuses, where caffeine-laced energy drinks and amphetamine-based prescription pharmaceuticals are routinely used as performance-enhancing study drugs. Artificial light exposure plays a central role in precipitating sleep deficiency and circadian disruption. Energy efficient solid-state LED lighting, which is typically rich in short-wavelength blue light, will likely be even more disruptive to sleep and circadian rhythmicity than incandescent lighting. Technological innovations that increase nightly sleep duration and reduce circadian disruption are needed to improve cognitive performance, safety and health.

This talk is part of the Advancing Wellbeing seminar series at the MIT Media Lab. For information about future talks, please join our mailing list by sending an email to wellness-seminars-join [at] media [dot] mit [dot] edu


Charles A. Czeisler, PhD, MD is the Baldino Professor of Sleep Medicine, director of the Division of Sleep Medicine at Harvard Medical School and chief of the Division of Sleep Medicine in the Department of Medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts. Dr. Czeisler has more than 40 years’ experience in the field of basic and applied research on the physiology of the human circadian timing system and its relationship to the sleep-wake cycle including the application of sleep science and sleep medicine to occupational medicine/health policy. He is interested in the physiology of the hypothalamic circadian pacemaker in humans, photic and non-photic synchronizers of the human circadian pacemaker, temporal dynamics in neuroendocrine systems, homeostatic and circadian factors in the regulation of sleep and alertness, and the application of circadian physiology to occupational medicine/health policy, particularly as it relates to the extended duration work shifts and long work weeks.

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