Trust Me, I’m An Expert: the science of sleep and the economics of sleeplessness

This podcast was produced by me during my internship for The Conversation

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: Does everyone need eight hours of sleep? We asked five experts

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.

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.


Additional audio and credits

Kindergarten by Unkle Ho, from Elefant Traks

Morning Two by David Szesztay, Free Music Archive


What happened when #metoo broke the internet

Last year, around the same time as it published the damning expose that would bring disgrace to Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein, the New York Times launched its ‘Gender Initiative‘. It’s mission is to lift coverage of gender issues around the world, and its director, Francesca Donner, was in Melbourne recently talking to the CAJ’s Dr Gael Jennings.

Captured, produced & edited by Dilpreet Kaur Taggar & Silvi Vann-Wall

Brown & Happy

This podcast won the national Ossie award (2018) for Best Audio Story

“You have dark skin and a fat nose,” said the old woman to the 12-year-old girl growing up in Punjab. A decade later, that girl is still fighting the stereotype of being a woman of colour, and the hard-sold lack of privilege of not being white. Does she give in?

Eurocentric standards of beauty have changed how women of colour look at themselves. From skin whitening procedures or hair treatments to photo editing apps – there is a constant effort to look as less as themselves and as close to white as possible.

I stitch together incidents from my own life and share this intimate story.

Lights, Camera, Patriarchy

In conversation with former film student at the University of Melbourne, and lover of feminism at the University of Obviously, Silvi Vann-Wall.

Silvi Vann-Wall is an aspiring audio-video journalist herself.

We talk about sexism and the old fashion of not giving women strong characters in films.

Click play to giggle at male ego with us.

Dilpreet Kaur:Hello and welcome to Lights, Camera and Patriarchy! We talk about patriarchy in films,  TV, pop culture – but, we are specifically going to talk about patriarchy in films.

And that’s why we have Silvi Vann-Wall who is a film buff and a feminist in the studio sharing her precious thoughts!

Hey Silvi!

Silvi Vann-Wall: Hey Dilpreet!

DK: Let’s start with romcoms, shall we?

SVW: It’s funny that you bring up romcoms because I did watch one recently. It’s failry old, I think it is from 2011. You know, in the grand scheme of cinema it is actually quite new. It’s called What’s Your Number and it stars the lovely Chirs Havens and Anna Farris. It is quite sexist for 2011.

I found it really strange that the whole concept of the film is that you have a woman who is worried that she won’t be able to find the one because she has had sex with too many men. I think the number is 20.

So, she is worried about that in women’s magazine and that if your number is past this you’re bit of a floozy. And well, that’s the whole plot! So she has to go back to all her ex-boyfriends and she see if anyone is marriage material because she doesn’t want her number to go higher.

*cricket sound*


DK: That’s pretty f***ing sexist. Because, if I had to reverse the roles, if a guy had slept with 20 women, he would be a playboy. He would be someone to sleep with because he is so sexy.

SVW: And that’s the role Chri Havens plays in the film.

DK: Is it? Surprising.

SVW: Patriarchy is just there. It permeates everything. We have just decided things are how they are – you know men to be protective and women to be protected. We just decided that one day and reinforced it until the end of time.

The fact that we even classify films starring women as chick flicks should be enough of an indication that there is a problem. You don’t have dick flicksfor example.

We are treated as objects, not people. It’s like racism has evolved. It’s not so direct anymore. It’s like under the surface, whch can be even worse. Because it grows like a mould and then everything starts crumbling. You’re like “why is everything is so bad”, and “Oh, look at this mould here. It’s been here all along.”

DK: Have you seen Love Actually?

SVW: I have not!

DK: Oh.

SVW: People kept saying “you gotta see it, you gotta see it!”. People have started to realise it’s not a good film. It is kinda sexist.

DK: But you know about that scene where Andrew Lincoln is standing outside Keira Knightly’s house with giant love cards?

SVW: I have seen that scene, actually.

DK: So creepy! why is this guy outside this woman’s front door? She is married, her husband is inside! There is something called personal space.

SVW: It’s not cute anymore.

DK: It’s not! And we reverse the roles and if she was the one outside his door, she would be a housebreaker.

SVW: Hmm, crazy!

DK: Like what is up with her? Get your shit together.

My favourite thing from this podcast is – why do we have chick flicks but not dick flicks?

Thank you so much, Silvi.

SVW: No problem at all.

DK: Hope you guys enjoyed it. Comment below if you have any suggestions and sayonara!