Victoria University's internationally renowned sleep expert Dr Gerard Kennedy is the scientific consultant on a new two-part documentary Dead Tired, which will be shown on SBS. The first episode goes to air on Wednesday 27 May at 8.30pm and the second on Wednesday 3 June.
The documentary is the first to reveal the cutting-edge science behind why most of us are sleep deprived and the dramatic effect that it is having on our bodies and lives. It highlights the frightening reality that tiredness is now an unsuspecting killer that is spreading like a pandemic through today's 24/7 activity-driven society.
The American Sleep Foundation reports that sleep deprivation, not cancer or coronary illness, constitutes the number one killer in the western world. It is estimated that a third of the population are dangerously sleep deprived. Experts claim that sleepiness is "the smoking gun of the modern age" and fear that unless we radically shift our attitudes towards sleep we are heading towards a medical meltdown.
Dead Tired was shot in Australia, America, Canada and England and follows the stories of those affected by insomnia or sleep deprivation, and the medical discoveries of professionals who are trying to cure them and others of this potentially fatal disorder.
The director of Dead Tired, Paul Scott, said the doco involved 40 crew members and 50 scientists and took more than three years took to make.
"The soul of the mini-series is to inform in an entertaining way the importance of sleep in today's society," he said. "Sleep is the third pillar of health, like nutrition and exercise, yet this is not widely known yet. My hope is that this film gets people thinking about the importance of sleep and that it helps promote the issue more and strikes a chord with the viewer. Most people are exhausted and I am hoping this film helps people understand why and empowers them to do something about it."
Episode 1 - Awake is the New Sleep - Wednesday 27 May at 8.30pm on SBS
Episode 2 - Planet Insomnia - Wednesday 3 June at 8.30pm on SBS
You can add your voice to the discussion on the SBS blog about the program:
This is not the first time that Paul and Gerard have worked together. Previously Paul made a film called The Secret Lives of Sleep Walkers which covered the top sleep labs around the world and the treatment of parasomnias such as sleep walking - Gerard featured in the film treating a patient.