361: Fear of Sleep

361: Fear of Sleep

Aug 8, 2008
Mike Birbiglia got used to strange things happening to him when he slept—until something happened that almost killed him (Mike's story is now a feature film, Sleepwalk With Me). This and other reasons to fear sleep, including bedbugs, "The Shining," and mild-mannered husbands who turn into maniacs while asleep.
  • Host Ira Glass talks about his fear of sleep, and reports on other people who have very strong reasons of their own to fear bedtime. We also hear the sounds of troubled sleepers from a DVD put together by Doctors Carlos Schenck and Mark Mahowald of the Minnesota Regional Sleep Disorders Center. Dr. Schenck's books include Sleep and Paradox Lost. (8 minutes) Health Care/Medicine

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  • Mike Birbiglia talks about the sleepwalking that nearly killed him. It's an excerpt of his one-man show "Sleepwalk with Me," which is now also a feature film, produced and co-written by Ira Glass. Check out Mike's website for his tour dates and other work. He also has two comedy albums available for download at the iTunes store. Mike's story was recorded at The Moth, which features other stories like this on their free podcast and at their website themoth.org. The poem Ira reads in this act is called "The Scratch." It's in Raymond Carver's collection All Of Us. (13 minutes) FunnyHealth Care/MedicineLive Performance

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  • This American Life producers Nancy Updike and Robyn Semien report on critters that can kill sleep: cockroaches and bedbugs. (11 minutes) AnimalsHealth Care/Medicine

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  • Joel Lovell explains why, as an 11-year-old, he trained himself not to fall asleep, and how that had some unintended consequences. Note that the Internet version of this story has slightly different language than the version broadcast on the radio. (10 minutes) Health Care/Medicine

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  • This American Life production manager Seth Lind explains how he ended up watching Stanley Kubrick's The Shining when he was six years old, and how it led to two years where every night he had trouble falling asleep and nightmares. Seth is a member of the improv comedy group Thank You, Robot and hosts a live storytelling show in New York called Told. (7 minutes) ChildhoodEducationFilm/Film Making

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  • For some people, the fear of sleep is linked to the fear of death. We hear from some of them. In the radio broadcast version of this act, Ira Glass also read from the poem "Aubade" by Philip Larkin. (5 minutes) DeathHealth Care/MedicinePoetry

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Residents of this Brooklyn apartment warn against getting too close to their infested furniture.

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