Eyes Wide Open: Part 2 | Hidden Brain The average American adult gets about six hours of sleep a night. Neuroscientist Matthew Walker is on a mission to bring that number up to eight.
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The "Swiss Army Knife" Of Health: A Good Night's Sleep

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The "Swiss Army Knife" Of Health: A Good Night's Sleep

The "Swiss Army Knife" Of Health: A Good Night's Sleep

The "Swiss Army Knife" Of Health: A Good Night's Sleep

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  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/563831137/563902649" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Think you can get away with fewer than eight hours of sleep per night? Neuroscientist Matthew Walker says — think again. Sophie Blackall/Getty Images/Ikon Images hide caption

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Sophie Blackall/Getty Images/Ikon Images

Think you can get away with fewer than eight hours of sleep per night? Neuroscientist Matthew Walker says — think again.

Sophie Blackall/Getty Images/Ikon Images

What does the song "Satisfaction" by The Rolling Stones have in common with the periodic table of elements? Both are the product of dreams.

Creative reawakening is just one of many boons provided by a full nights rest, argues neuroscientist Matthew Walker.

"Sleep is the Swiss army knife of health. When sleep is deficient, there is sickness and disease. And when sleep is abundant, there is vitality and health."

On this week's episode of Hidden Brain, the mind and body benefits of eight full hours of sleep — and yes, Matthew Walker says that's how many hours of rest you should be getting.

"If we didn't need eight hours of sleep and could survive on six, Mother Nature would have done away with 25 percent of our sleep time millions of years ago. Because when you think about it, sleep is an idiotic thing to do. If sleep does not provide a remarkable set of benefits, then it's the biggest mistake the evolutionary process has ever made."

Hidden Brain is hosted by Shankar Vedantam and produced by Maggie Penman, Jennifer Schmidt, Rhaina Cohen, Parth Shah, and Renee Klahr. Our supervising producer is Tara Boyle. You can also follow us on Twitter @hiddenbrain, and listen for Hidden Brain stories each week on your local public radio station.