Researchers have found that sleep helps you learn and that when you don't have it, you get cranky. But fundamental questions about this complex function go unanswered. For starters, why do we sleep to begin with?
Why can some people sleep through a jackhammer at the window, while others waken with the lightest whisper? Host Rachel Martin speaks to Johns Hopkins Sleep Disorders Center researcher Jeffrey Ellenbogen about his new study on how noises interrupt sleep.
How we describe our dreams can be more important than what they contain. Host Rachel Martin talks with Stephen Grosz, a practicing psychoanalyst and the author of The Examined Life: How We Lose and Find Ourselves. Grosz uses dreams to better understand his patients' motivations and feelings.
Before he was a journalist, NPR science correspondent Joe Palca studied psychology, and focused on sleep research. He found it frustrating to study sleep: Though there are many questions about why and how we sleep, scientists have very few answers.
Snowshoe hares rely on camouflage, turning white in the winter to match the snow, and then turning brown for the summer. But a changing climate could mean fewer days with snow on the ground, and more days when they're visible to prey.
An experiment to test the value of e-cigarettes as a quitting aid found them as good as the nicotine patch, but there weren't enough people in the study to say they're a good bet for quitting. Public health officials worry that e-cigarettes will encourage tobacco use.
The LADEE spacecraft, which began its trip to the moon last night in a launch on Virginia's coast, ran into some mechanical problems, NASA says. But officials say the robotic probe remains on track to reach the moon next month.
About 160 years ago, Europe's glaciers began melting, centuries before the temperatures started rising. Now NASA scientists offer a possible explanation for this apparent paradox: Soot from the Industrial Revolution could have heated up the ice. (This piece initially aired Sept. 3 on Morning Edition.)
Summer's winding down, but it's still hot and muggy enough for a canoe trek to one of the wildest places in New York state. North Country Public Radio's Brian Mann sends an audio postcard from Ausable Marsh, in the Champlain Valley.
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