Secrets of Sleep Science: From Dreams to Disorders

Examine groundbreaking research on the enigmatic phenomenon of sleep all the way down to the cellular and molecular level, led by an award-winning scientist.
Secrets of Sleep Science: From Dreams to Disorders is rated 4.0 out of 5 by 63.
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Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent Course - ***** Excellent Course - I'm glad to see this here for sale. It's a great course with lots of quality technical content presented in a skilled way.
Date published: 2021-04-14
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Rigorous and Revealing There is no doubt that this is a tough course, probably pitched at the postgraduate level, but it enthralling and engaging. A knowledge of brain physiology is helpful to be able to follow some of the lessons. The Professor is rigorous in his teaching, and you must pay attention but it hangs together well and keeps you wanting more. I was a little uncomfortable with all the animal research but that is what academic research is about and you have to come to terms with it. A satisfying and enjoyable course.
Date published: 2021-04-06
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Very effective! I fell asleep 5 min into watching the course. I now us this class as a sleep aid and listen to it at a low volume until I doze of, works like a charm every time.
Date published: 2020-08-15
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Secrets of Sleep Science I wish you would ask me in a few weeks, after I have taken several of the lectures because I have only listened to two of them so that far. But I can say I am finding them fascinating to this point. I am finding the professor easy to listen to and his explanations are good. I am looking forward to viewing/listening to more of them.
Date published: 2020-07-30
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent course! This is a very interesting and informative course! It is comprehensive and packed with interesting information. I would caution that it is very technical, with a lot of references to brain structures and biological and chemical processes. It is dense with material, and I've gone back and replayed quite a few segments several times to be sure i was following. This is not a self-help or how-to book. It is a great survey of current understanding of why and how we sleep. As a mental health provider who treats a lot of clients with insomnia and apnea, I've been able to better understand the nature of my clients' sleep problems, and to integrate these insights into my approach to helping clients.
Date published: 2019-03-31
Rated 2 out of 5 by from 1st 20 chpts for MDs & scientists; last 4 useful This looks like a formal 4th year college course with [bookend chapts] added for those of us who are not medical doctors or chemistry scientists. Professor Heller was great and his delivery even greater. So how can I rate something like this? To illustrate my point: if I gave a Nobel prize winner - which took the gold medal on “WHY BRASS DOORKNOBS ARE BETTER THAN BRONZE DOORKNOBS” – most of you would say “so what?” (1-star). But if you were in the door business, you’d give me rave reviews (5-stars) for the same course. Obviously relevance is key. Perhaps TheGreatCourses needs a second category rating (1-5 stars) of “NEWS I CAN USE”.
Date published: 2018-11-02
Rated 5 out of 5 by from good overview and great detail I suffer from sleep apnea fortunately diagnosed by my very capable GP some years ago. I found the course very very informative. The lecturer has a rapid fire style setting forth the research and drawing his conclusion.It is up to the student to decide if Dr. Heller is being preachy or just enthusiastic in some areas. I sympathize with his zeal because had my OSA not been diagnosed I would likely not be here to write this review. A minor semi complaint Dr. Heller in his commanding view of the research sets forth in some detail the sometimes gruesome procedures on lab animals used to obtain the information needed by scientists in this area of science. I'm not a PETA member but I winced once or twice. In summary, this is a great course. The necessary travels into molecular biology is a little dense but well explained with some appreciated humor from Dr. Heller. His lectures are well documented and his conclusions sound. Well worth the cost and the time.
Date published: 2018-10-02
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Sleep is a mysterious subject. We have only viewed three of the lectures, but have found them to be informative. They seem authoritative. We have some Fitbit data on our sleep, so his comments are striking near to home. But these lectures on sleep could use some more graphics, especially when talking about Fourier transforms of brain waves. Some spectral density plots would have been nice. But the lecturer gets his info across effectively.
Date published: 2018-08-21
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Examine groundbreaking research on the enigmatic phenomenon of sleep, straight from a scientist at the forefront of the field. In these 24 engrossing lectures, award-winning Stanford University professor H. Craig Heller reveals what happens in the sleeping brain all the way down to the cellular and molecular level as you investigate coping mechanisms for jet lag, shift work, and insomnia; parasomnias such as sleepwalking and night terrors; and much more.


H. Craig Heller
H. Craig Heller

Keep those neurons busy!


Stanford University
Dr. H. Craig Heller is the Lorry I. Lokey/Business Wire Professor of Biological Sciences and Human Biology at Stanford University. He earned his Ph.D. in Biology from Yale University. Over the past three to four decades, virtually all biology undergraduates at Stanford have learned physiology from Professor Heller. In recognition of his outstanding performance, he received the Walter J. Gores Award for excellence in teaching and the Kenneth M. Cuthbertson Award for exceptional contributions to Stanford University. The coauthor of more than 200 peer-reviewed research papers, Professor Heller incorporates a wide range of topics into his research, including thermoregulation, hibernation, circadian rhythms, sleep, learning and memory, and human physical performance. His current focus is on the role of sleep and circadian rhythms in learning and memory as applied to the development of therapies for the learning disabilities associated with Down syndrome and Alzheimer's disease. Dr. Heller's laboratory is also dedicated to developing technologies for the efficient regulation of heat into and out of the body. Professor Heller is a coauthor of a leading college textbook, Life: The Science of Biology, now in its 10th edition, and the new biology textbook, Principles of Life.

By This Professor

Secrets of Sleep Science: From Dreams to Disorders
Secrets of Sleep Science: From Dreams to Disorders


Sweet Sleep-Essential for a Healthy Life

01: Sweet Sleep-Essential for a Healthy Life

Professor Heller introduces you to the many consequences of short or disrupted sleep, along with accounts of medical mistakes and large-scale disasters likely to have occurred due to sleep deprivation. Contemplate our "National Sleep Deficit" and learn the professor's hypothesis for the purpose of sleep, which science has yet to fully explain....

34 min
What Is Sleep?

02: What Is Sleep?

Given the long-standing interest in sleep, why is the science of sleep so relatively new? As you identify the defining features of sleep as a foundation for later lectures, you explore the tools researchers use to study sleep patterns and what experiments have taught us about the key characteristics of REM and non-REM sleep, including dreams....

29 min
Sleep across the Night

03: Sleep across the Night

Examine hypnograms that show how the various stages of REM and non-REM sleep cycle throughout the night. Then, find out how the REM and non-REM sleep states relate, how they change throughout the sleep phase, and why the brain may create changes in sleep intensity to help you "pay back" a sleep deficit....

29 min
Sleep across the Lifespan

04: Sleep across the Lifespan

Is there a biological basis for the sleep changes that commonly occur over a person's lifespan? Learn how your brain's circadian rhythms regulate sleep, then compare the sleep patterns of precocial and altricial species. Discover the disorders that can impair the restorative quality of sleep and problems associated with sleeping too much....

33 min
Who in the World Sleeps?

05: Who in the World Sleeps?

There are thousands of animal species in the world. Do they all have the same need to sleep as we do? Learn the three basic characteristics of sleep that can generally be applied to animals, then investigate the sleep patterns of various species, including migratory birds, arthropods, monotremes, and marine mammals that are able to sleep on only one side of their brains at a time....

29 min
The Timing of Sleep

06: The Timing of Sleep

In the first of two lectures on understanding the clock in your brain and how it controls virtually every aspect of physiology and behavior, you'll learn the essential characteristics of circadian rhythms and how working against your clock can result in health and performance problems. Investigate phase advances and delays related to jet lag and shift work....

30 min
The Wheels of the Circadian Clock

07: The Wheels of the Circadian Clock

As you turn to the cellular and molecular mechanisms responsible for the characteristics of circadian rhythms, the professor offers a basic lesson in molecular genetics before discussing "clock genes" and how they can constitute a negative feedback system with a delay in the feedback loop....

31 min
The Deep Sleep of Hibernators

08: The Deep Sleep of Hibernators

Hibernation is an adaptation that enables some warm-blooded animals to turn down their thermostats for spans of hours to months in an effort to conserve energy. In the first of two lectures that explore the neural systems that control sleep and wakefulness, investigate the evolutionary explanations for and mechanisms of hibernation in squirrels and bears, as well as daily torpor in birds....

32 min
The Neuroanatomy and Neurochemistry of Sleep

09: The Neuroanatomy and Neurochemistry of Sleep

Many discrete structures in the brain are involved in the control of sleep and wakefulness. Delve into neuroanatomy and neurochemistry, which are necessary to understand how and why we sleep, and how medications and other factors influence sleep. Grasp the significance of discoveries by Giuseppe Moruzzi, Constantin von Economo, and others through an in-depth examination of sleep pathologies....

31 min
The Neurophysiology of Sleep

10: The Neurophysiology of Sleep

Go a step further in discovering the cellular function of non-REM sleep by identifying the cellular changes produced by wakefulness and reversed during sleep, and investigating the processes underlying the generation of slow-wave activity on the EEG. Learn about the fundamental principles of electrical circuits as you explore how a neuron functions like a tiny battery....

32 min
Sleep Disorders-Narcolepsy

11: Sleep Disorders-Narcolepsy

Narcolepsy is an incurable neurological disorder characterized by excessive daytime sleepiness, disrupted nighttime sleep, bizarre hallucinations at sleep onset, and cataplexy. Analyze research exploring the possibility of a genetic component to this disorder in humans and canines, and learn what medications and other treatments are available to manage it....

31 min
The Strange World of Dreams

12: The Strange World of Dreams

What are dreams and what do they mean? Examine Freudian-Jungian psychoanalytic theory and methods relating to the unconscious as well as scientific hypotheses for the occurrence of dreams. Consider the therapeutic potential of "lucid dreaming" for treating nightmares in post-traumatic stress disorder sufferers and the possibility that dreaming may enhance our ability to be creative....

29 min
Functions of Sleep-Fueling the Brain

13: Functions of Sleep-Fueling the Brain

In the first of several lectures that explore hypotheses on the function of sleep, focus on the idea that sleep is for the restoration of brain energy reserves that are depleted during periods of wakefulness. Analyze the relationship between sleep and glycogen metabolism, as well as the molecule adenosine....

31 min
The Timing and Function of REM Sleep

14: The Timing and Function of REM Sleep

Why do non-REM and REM cycle, with non-REM always first? Why is non-REM sleep deeper early in the night? Delve into the fundamental relationship between non-REM and REM and question the common assumption that the need for sleep builds during wakefulness. Extend your analysis into a hypothesis about the basic function of REM sleep....

31 min
Sleep and Learning-Procedural Memory

15: Sleep and Learning-Procedural Memory

In studying the interactions between sleep and the stages of procedural memory-including encoding, consolidation, stabilization, reactivation, and reconsolidation-you'll focus on experiments that seek to identify which type of sleep contributes to the consolidation of procedural memories and whether this effect can be exploited to maximize learning....

33 min
Sleep and Declarative Memory

16: Sleep and Declarative Memory

Turn now to declarative memory and the ways that sleep impacts our capacity to form and integrate conscious memories and improves our ability to use the facts we remember. Explore hypotheses about memory consolidation, reactivation, and reconsolidation by analyzing a working model of two-step memory processes involving the hippocampus and cortex....

32 min
Sleep and Memory in Animals

17: Sleep and Memory in Animals

For both humans and animals, sleep plays an important role in memory consolidation and therefore, learning. Focus on evidence that sleep promotes structural changes in the nervous system, then move on to the neurophysiological processes of memory consolidation. Conclude by looking at factors that can disrupt the sleep-related functions required for learning and memory....

32 min
Sleep and Learning Disability

18: Sleep and Learning Disability

Using your understanding of how sleep is critically involved in learning and memory, explore whether an underlying cause for learning disabilities may be related to sleep systems or mechanisms, and whether they offer a route to a therapy. Consider the potential for improving learning and memory in individuals with Down syndrome, specifically....

28 min
When You Cannot Sleep-Insomnia

19: When You Cannot Sleep-Insomnia

Move on from lectures exploring how we "sleep to learn" to the first of several lectures concerned with "learning to sleep." Differentiate between primary and secondary insomnias as you identify some of the major causes of sleep disruption, and confront the consequences suffered by those who delay sleep-both intentionally and unintentionally....

28 min
Sleep Apnea

20: Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea is a major cause of insomnia, yet it's often misdiagnosed. First, touch on central sleep apnea in infants and sudden infant death syndrome, then delve into the causes, signs, consequences, and treatments associated with obstructive sleep apnea-the most common form of the disorder in adults....

30 min
Behavior during Sleep-Parasomnias

21: Behavior during Sleep-Parasomnias

Make sense of various types of parasomnias-undesirable behaviors or phenomena that occur predominantly or exclusively during sleep-including sleep walking, sleep-related eating disorder, night terrors, periodic limb movement, sleep paralysis, and sexsomnia. Then, consider how the legal principle of mens rea applies to sleepwalkers who have allegedly committed heinous crimes....

30 min
Sleep and the Rest of the Body

22: Sleep and the Rest of the Body

Return to a question posed in the lecture on sleep in the animal kingdom: Why take the brain off-line during sleep if the function of sleep is not for the brain? Look at experiments studying the effects of sleep loss on rats as you investigate sleep's role in a range of physiological processes. Then, see how shortened sleep contributes to obesity and immune system failure in humans....

31 min
Improving Sleep

23: Improving Sleep

How can you improve your quality of sleep? Start by delving into the efficacy and potential dangers of various pharmaceutical solutions to the problem of insomnia, including herbal remedies such as kava-kava and chamomile tea; barbiturates; benzodiazepines; caffeine; and amphetamines. Then, look at the nonpharmaceutical approaches of good sleep hygiene and cognitive behavioral therapy....

31 min
Sleep in the Future and the Future of Sleep

24: Sleep in the Future and the Future of Sleep

Will we ever fully comprehend the function of sleep? See how sleep and treatment for sleep problems might change in years to come, and consider how continuing progress in understanding sleep's role in learning and memory processes may enhance education and hold therapeutic potential for treating post-traumatic stress disorder....

33 min