Nice guys DON’T always come last; long naps are bad for health; What if we could live for a million years?

Broadcast on Talk of the Town with Pat Byrne on Dundalk FM – 2nd September 2020

Taking naps during the day of longer than 60 minutes has been linked with a greater risk of heart problems (Credit: BBC)


Weekend lie in might be bad for health; small nuclear reactors for Ireland; wonderful women in science

Listen below to the Cool Scientist slot on East Coast FM, 8th March 2019

Catching up on sleep at the weekend increases the risk of serious ill health according to new research (Source:

A weekend lie increases the risk of serious physical and mental health problems if a person does not get enough sleep during the week, according to new research.

On international women’s day, we discuss the achievements of Irish women scientists Jocelyn Bell Burnell, and Annie Maunder, as well as Polish woman Marie Curie.

We discuss calls for the Moneypoint fossil-fuel burning power plant to close and to be replaced by a carbon-free small, modular nuclear reactor.

We don’t sleep to rest; we sleep to remember and learn


There is growing evidence that we sleep in order to lay down new memories and to re-organise our brain throughout life (Credit: Wikipedia)

We have always thought that sleep was simply to allow the body to rest, but it appears that it has more to do with laying down new memories and learning.

The amount of energy that is saved during sleep is negligible it seems, so there must be another reason.

The real reason we sleep, scientists believe, is to allow the brain to learn new skills and insights as we experience life.

The proposed link between formation of new memories and sleep is supported by the fact that we need less sleep as we age.

Newborns, who are hit with an avalanche of new information, sleep up to 16 hours, while adults sleep for about 8 hours.

Newborns are learning a language, and trying to make sense of all the sensory input that is coming at them, so it makes sense that they need a lot of sleep to process all of this data, while closing the eyes and preventing new information from coming in.

it appears there is also a strong link between sleep and the need to ‘flush’ potentially harmful proteins out of the brain, such as amyloid b proteins that are linked with Alzheimer’s. Brain cells shrink during sleep allowing more space for protein flushing.

Interview here with Declan Meehan on the East Coast FM Morning Show (23/1/14)