Sleep-Engineering: Improve Your Life By Manipulating Your Sleep | Penny Lewis | TEDxGrandRapids

  • Published on Jul 3, 2015
  • We spend 1/3rd of our life asleep, which suggests it is doing something very important. But, what is all of this for? And why does every animal species appear to need sleep? Based on the latest neuroscientific research Penny Lewis shows why sleep is thought to be critical for combining and restructuring memories, and thus to form the basis of creativity.
    Penny (Penelope) Lewis is a neuroscientist at the University of Manchester, where she runs the Neuroscience and Psychology of Sleep (NaPS) lab. Her research investigates the role of sleep in strengthening and altering memories and the ways people can use this to their advantage. She is the author of The Secret World of Sleep, which has sold around 10,000 copies, and has written for a variety of popular science publications, including New Scientist, Scientific American and BBC Focus.
    This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community. Learn more at

Comments • 666

  • Dina Zikopoulos
    Dina Zikopoulos 4 days ago


  • Семен Кузнецов

    her voice is good against insomnia, u can listen and fall asleep easy.

  • Tk
    Tk 6 days ago

    Quit criticizing the way she walks across the stage.
    I would like to see YOU stand in front of all these people and talk for 15 minutes about anything.

  • Mario Marasco
    Mario Marasco 6 days ago

    The title is a lie, there is no scientific method presented as to improve sleep. Typical professor, she flashes her knowledge to us little people and that's it, thats all. Oh yes, with a lame "professor joke" to close her talk.
    And now she can proudly add being a Ted talker to her résumé

  • Syaiful Garyadi
    Syaiful Garyadi 9 days ago

    I take a pillow at work now

  • Trym Hammerstrøm Gisiger

    This indicates that we don't are ment to age over 60 years, I think

  • Samyukth Rathod
    Samyukth Rathod 14 days ago

    A sleep scientist who doesn't sleep well? How ironic

  • Mahadev Survase
    Mahadev Survase 15 days ago

    I have a method of falling asleep.

  • ono48
    ono48 15 days ago

    Couldn’t focus on the speech. Legs are too distracting 🦵

    DAILY UFC HIGHLIGHTS 15 days ago +1

    "Don't let the fear of losing be greater than the excitement of winning."

    -- Robert Kiyosaki

  • satrio jogja
    satrio jogja 15 days ago +1

    what is the conclusion?
    and what we have to hear while sleeping?

  • camerrill
    camerrill 19 days ago

    I understand that improvement of traumatic memories. It seems that if you go or the moment of trauma by writing down the memory of it's triggers it is much easier to overcome than if you squelch or try to suppress the memories, which just come back in some tortured, altered form.

  • john adams
    john adams 21 day ago

    Wardrobe courtesy of the Salvation Army.

  • DevRa Rossi
    DevRa Rossi 22 days ago

    I don't know why a recording hasn't been made with clicking? It sounds very simple.... She said it works so why not do it then or why just make everybody wait...

  • Robertos Vrahimis
    Robertos Vrahimis Month ago

    She must have been a ballerina when she was young: She keeps stepping on her toes and then spins on them.

  • popo
    popo Month ago

    Awesome TedTalk, thanks!

  • Bruce Rulz
    Bruce Rulz Month ago

    Screw this. I’ll sleep when Im dead.

  • Leslie70McA
    Leslie70McA Month ago

    Dr. Lewis, I would love to suggest that a subject for study could be the cognitive/memory impairment experienced post cancer treatment and wondering if either chemo is affecting REM sleep (long term) or the subsequent aromatase inhibitor therapy for certain cancers has an effect on sleep cycles. can't find anything on my (limited) google search.

  • Yann Toole
    Yann Toole Month ago

    So, if I study to a classical music playlist, then sleep with the playlist on loop softly in the background, this may strengthen my memories??

  • THA P.
    THA P. Month ago

    Making this simple for my dummies -
    If we were cars. Sleep will be our three month monthly servicing (tire rotation, oil change, tune up, liquid flush/topoff). 1
    If we were phones. Sleep will be daily maintenance (charging, system cleanse, software updates).

  • Jessie Dizon
    Jessie Dizon Month ago

    When will people be able to record and see the dreams? 😇 🌏 🎭

  • Dahlsyar Storm
    Dahlsyar Storm Month ago

    So what do you do if you get almost no slow wave sleep ever?

  • Dhinesh S
    Dhinesh S Month ago

    She's cool

  • Jeevan Gopal
    Jeevan Gopal Month ago +1

    Okay!! So..... what do I do??

  • sickid41
    sickid41 Month ago

    I smoke weed to help me sleep but when I get high. I try to stay up to enjoy the high instead of sleeping.

  • Gommerman
    Gommerman 2 months ago

    Replace the head picture with someone meditating and leave the benefits... Almost the exact same. I would suggest reading up on Sam Harris's work if anyone is interested in something that can actually be applied to your life right now.

  • Chiko Perez
    Chiko Perez 2 months ago

    Didn't have the time to learn how to pronounce but yet I listen to it all.

  • Cordelia Storm
    Cordelia Storm 2 months ago

    Would having a clock in the bedroom work for the ticking noise during sleep?

  • Endo
    Endo 2 months ago


  • Sh E
    Sh E 2 months ago

    For me it's the opposite, I suffer from hypersomnia. And it's really awful. There are people who suffer from hypersomnia who are much worse than me, but I can sleep on vacation for 17 hours and still feel tired. I also get a horrible headache from it and can't concentrate or think properly. And I've lost the ability to wake up on my own despite having multiple alarms, I can just walk to the other side of the room turn it down and go back to sleep. Often times, I don't want to sleep but still feel sleepy. I wish I could get rid of this condition.

  • Malvin Ooi
    Malvin Ooi 2 months ago

    She has restless legs syndrome and sleep talking and sleep walking.

  • Clark Henson
    Clark Henson 3 months ago

    I fell asleep while watching this

  • Or ar
    Or ar 3 months ago

    it's sound like snake oil. how can u make bad memory sound :). sounds of cat, dog or any thing may wake u up.

  • Igor Ekishev
    Igor Ekishev 3 months ago

    Quite engaging talk. Love the idea to level up our sleep quality.
    I will go ahead and will test this idea. So, I want to complete design of my notes system in Google Keep, picking right labels and colors in a way it fits best, so I can always keep and find my ideas with maximum eaze. And I'm writing about this problem and listening to "rain with occasional thunderstorm" sounds and going to turn it sound again at night.
    Questions I have: how can we practically define the time when the associative sounds should be played?

  • Just A Greek Internet user

    Very interesting. Keep up the good work

  • Jonathan Plaß
    Jonathan Plaß 3 months ago

    Looks like she has to go the lav.

  • Otmsfk Nreornndk
    Otmsfk Nreornndk 3 months ago

    Wasted 16 minutes to learn nothing

  • GraveyardTricks
    GraveyardTricks 3 months ago

    Did she used to be a man? She looks like Steve Carell

  • juntjoo nunya
    juntjoo nunya 4 months ago

    I'm 42.have not found anything to improve my sleep. I've found it's a side effect of the tumultuous path my life has taken. One minute in this vid I can almost guarantee this video won't enlighten me to anything helpful. I'm actually optimistically being pessimistic hoping I'm wrong. Let's see....

  • juntjoo nunya
    juntjoo nunya 4 months ago

    What do Chinese have to do with this?

  • Alexander Jost
    Alexander Jost 4 months ago

    Here I am watching this at midnight and my work start at 5:30...

  • mohamed rafrafi
    mohamed rafrafi 4 months ago

    Stop complaining about it her legs and start listening to her .what is wrong with people for god name.

  • D Rextor
    D Rextor 4 months ago

    Could people who are born-blind dream of something? What if they could dream of something which they never saw in real life?

  • the anime guy
    the anime guy 4 months ago

    Don't scroll down all comments are abt her legs

  • Austyn Negrete
    Austyn Negrete 4 months ago

    we sleep and work 8 hours a day, yayyy I get to enjoy a third of my life

  • addi wei
    addi wei 4 months ago

    She is doing some tai chi foot movement. That right foot pointing the ground is called “white crane spreads its wings”

  • TheUrbanEpicure
    TheUrbanEpicure 4 months ago

    Oh, sure, I'll wear tights with a run for the most important and most widely publicized presentation of my career!

  • Pintuxo
    Pintuxo 4 months ago

    I am laughing reading some of the comments. But unfortunately Penny does not give solutions.

    • soldier2006
      soldier2006 3 months ago +1

      Agree. Most TED Talks lack actionable solutions. These speaking engagements lack "call to action", which is taught in persuasive speaking.

  • MoiNokaOi
    MoiNokaOi 4 months ago

    I did see the descriptions of the recorded brain waves of a person at sleep very interesting. I do replay difficult situations in my dreams, I suppose trying to resolve the problems.

  • Darshan Shah
    Darshan Shah 5 months ago +1

    I wish she'd talk more about how to go about actually improving your sleep rather than sharing results of previous studies.

  • Supersonic
    Supersonic 5 months ago

    1:10 so you say we spend more time sleeping than doing anything else... how about being awake? 1/3 > 2/3 confirmed.

  • Aaron Wright
    Aaron Wright 5 months ago

    That ending

  • Andros Kai
    Andros Kai 5 months ago

    I noticed several years ago that I would make significant improvements overnight. I'd practice and practice something and not get much better during the day. Like juggling or playing piano. I could practice for several hours and slowly get a little bit better, but once awakening the next day I would be far better and make similarly small improvement that day, and then be much better after sleeping. I noticed this as a teenager. I'm sure I'm not the only one.

  • HeyYouPiKACHU
    HeyYouPiKACHU 5 months ago

    I fell asleepe watchign this zzzz

  • Shubhda Vishwal
    Shubhda Vishwal 5 months ago +1

    How do we make clicking sounds when we're asleep?

  • Marc Thibodeau
    Marc Thibodeau 6 months ago

    This was really an eyes opening speech. I simply enjoy sleeping as when I wake up I always feel refresh and usually my problems are simpler when I wake up. It is nice to ear that I am considered normal according to here standard. My secret is no medications and no attempts to try improving artificially what is going on for me. It is nice to see how far the research on sleeps has advanced. I strongly believe that helping people having sleeping disorders regaining the pleasure to sleep should be the focus for now. This is already plenty which can do so much good. The cleanup of toxines occurring only while sleeping seem so important as there is so much toxins created by the addictive processed food that we keep eating. Thank you for sharing. Next time I sleep I will filter out some of my negative attitude on that topic which make me believe that some companies will try to prematurely sell products based on pseudo science on the topic. Thank you for sharing and have a pleasant day.

  • Pola B.
    Pola B. 6 months ago

    Why this video didn't show Singn Language Translator present on this talk, at least in corner of vid?

  • Eugenio Jimenez
    Eugenio Jimenez 6 months ago

    Excellent video! Dr. Lewis clearly explains how learning can occur during the evening. The video helps me understand from a scientific standpoint how a musician can somehow play an instrument without constantly looking at the piano keyboard or the guitar neck. The brain needs time to learn, and it will..... as long as we allow our brains to be connected with content knowledge during the day and to "make progress" during our sleep. When acquiring knowledge, progress is a sequential process of days and nights. Therefore, time is a crucial factor in learning processes. Dr. Lewis, thank you for an excellent video. Thank you, TED.

  • Ty
    Ty 6 months ago +1


  • Al Ts
    Al Ts 6 months ago

    It's curious that most comments are really negative.
    Well, I personally loved the talk.
    It might not appear very practical, but I still enjoyed it and definitely came across some new details about how sleep works.

  • Gerhardus Invictus Maximus

    Does anybody know what the Fourier transform of those sleep patterns looks like?

  • jamotide Strategie und so

    Is she wearing one of Percys brooches of real green?

  • Kimmie Lame
    Kimmie Lame 6 months ago


  • Mehdi El Attar
    Mehdi El Attar 6 months ago

    this video put me right to sleep

  • Corey Heinlein
    Corey Heinlein 6 months ago +1

    Now that apple watches hold the capability to track sleep, we can build an app that would facilitate that metronome or sound (whatever it may be) using the watch or an IoT device.
    Could be a fairly simple API if someone built it out. I could def use that

  • Albert John Murmu
    Albert John Murmu 6 months ago

    I just wasted 16 minutes.

  • Chrispy Bacon
    Chrispy Bacon 7 months ago


  • Ashwini Vaishnaw
    Ashwini Vaishnaw 7 months ago

    Try Yog Nidra. It rejuvenates brain in a short period.

  • Kevin Challinor
    Kevin Challinor 7 months ago

    The video is about emerging new ideas stop expecting all the answers

  • GlobalAwakening1111
    GlobalAwakening1111 7 months ago

    Purple boys sleep solutions

  • GlobalAwakening1111
    GlobalAwakening1111 7 months ago

    Purple boys

  • Muhammed Imran
    Muhammed Imran 7 months ago

    I thought this talk was about how to get better sleep.

  • Jaideep Singh
    Jaideep Singh 7 months ago

    Just science no helpful tips

  • Seeema Agarwal
    Seeema Agarwal 7 months ago

    Is anyone helped by this

  • Steven Wang
    Steven Wang 7 months ago

    looks like she's the one who needs sleep the most LOL

  • chris papa
    chris papa 8 months ago

    I liked her. She is smart.

  • chris papa
    chris papa 8 months ago

    Then my dear researcher perhaps you can explain how rapid eye movement disensiyization andcreprocessing really works on the brain.

    • Pang404
      Pang404 7 months ago

      I think there's something wrong with your auto correct

  • zoyeb Zia
    zoyeb Zia 8 months ago

    Why is she moving her legs like that??? Weird

  • 3TE
    3TE 8 months ago

    Nice joke

  • Angad Naik
    Angad Naik 8 months ago +5

    Y r her legs not synchronizing with her?

  • Dok No See
    Dok No See 8 months ago

    everything and anything affects sleep so manipulating it is really a herculean task.. thanks, this gives me an idea before hitting the sack.

    • Dok No See
      Dok No See 8 months ago

      anything new after three years???

    PLANET X 8 months ago +3

    I don't know why some people on here were disturbed by her leg movements. I enjoyed it and thought it added to the presentation.

  • 3.141592653589793238462643383279502884197169399370

    So basically school kills our brain while it also makes it stronger and sharper...

  • #MarkAnthonyGiven Given

    DOES MY SMART BED interpret my dreams?

  • आस A hope
    आस A hope 8 months ago

    Ad in ted talk..... >-

  • mariyu Unique
    mariyu Unique 8 months ago

    So boring

  • Anthony J.
    Anthony J. 8 months ago

    Is it just me or are her legs really long compared to the rest of her body ?

    ABCDE 8 months ago

    The first Nobel Prize in chemistry was given in 1901. Kekule died in 1896 and he never received a Nobel prize because the prize was not operational yet. Good presentation anyway.

  • musician
    musician 8 months ago

    Interesting talk but it didn’t teach me anything about how to actually manipulate sleep only that it’s possible

  • yennam naveen Reddy
    yennam naveen Reddy 9 months ago

    “I need to sleep on this..” is Awesome!

  • goldleafboy
    goldleafboy 9 months ago

    Thanks for this information!

  • Susan Harbison
    Susan Harbison 9 months ago

    I wasn't going to comment but then the more I thought about it the more annoyed I was. Spoiler: If you are watching this video hoping it will tell you how you can manipulate your sleep to improve your wont' tell you that. The information is interesting but it ultimately leads to nothing that can help you now, today. I listened to this while I was working on very spotty wifi. It kept stopping and starting so it took much longer than 16 minutes to get though it. But I though, hey if it can help then its worth it. With about 1 minute left I realized there was not enough time for her to tell us the solution. So we end with problems and information but not much else.

  • Kea Michelle
    Kea Michelle 9 months ago

    Why is she always hunching forward like an old lady and standing weirdly on one foot? And why didn't she tell us HOW to improve our sleep? waste of time.

    CRYSTAL K 9 months ago


  • Alma Galicia
    Alma Galicia 9 months ago

    well-sleeping is the MOST important life practice....and one of the hardest to be achieved! thanx for the ideas here.

  • W. Todd Clark
    W. Todd Clark 9 months ago +1

    I can't decide whether to use UPS or TEDx?

  • J Donovan
    J Donovan 9 months ago

    Ps- poor girl also has a run in her tights (upper right thigh) I wonder where her mother is to tell her these things.

  • raj randhawa
    raj randhawa 9 months ago

    I wish she was handicap.

  • vikram singh chauhan
    vikram singh chauhan 9 months ago

    Legs 🧐🤨

  • addipoom
    addipoom 9 months ago

    thank god im not sleeping with ehr