Labrador puppy stolen by thieves returned to ‘devastated’ little girl

Eight-week-old labrador puppy, Sasha, was stolen from a family.
Image: victoria police

An eight-week-old puppy that was stolen from a house in Melbourne, Australia, has been returned to a “devastated” family after local police launched a public appeal.

A number of items including a laptop, an iPad and jewellery were also stolen from the home on Monday. 

Yet it was the missing labrador, Sasha, that distressed the family most — especially the daughter of the dog’s owner, four-year-old Maia.

“We’ve only had her a week, but she’s part of the family. She was my daughter’s best friend, and those two spent each night falling asleep together in the dog bed,” Sasha’s owner, Ryan Hood, told Today.

Police failed to find the dog anywhere in the home or in the neighbourhood, and a investigation was launched. But on Thursday, Sasha mysteriously returned to the family’s home. 

Hood’s wife woke up to make a coffee, when she noticed a moving figure by the kennel. It turned out to be their missing dog.

“We think that whoever took her had either a conscience, or got scared and dropped her over the fence … we don’t care to be honest. We’re happy to have her back,” Hood told Today on Thursday.

Hood said his daughter, Maia, was “ecstatic” as was the dog. The dog appeared to be unharmed and in good health, although has a fascination with shoes now.

None of the other stolen items were returned, and Victoria Police said it’ll still be investigating the burglary. 

Through all the bad, fortunately there’s still a little bit of good left in this world.

Read more: http://mashable.com/2017/11/09/puppy-stolen-little-girl/

Making Chester Bennington proud: Linkin Park tribute concert showed the healing power of music

Musicians from Linkin Park; Dave Farrell, Joe Hahn, Brad Delsen, Rob Bourdon and Mike Shinoda perform during the "Linkin Park And Friends Celebrate Life In Honor Of Chester Bennington" event at the Hollywood Bowl on October 27, 2017 in Hollywood, California.
Image: Getty Images

“I don’t have the words and I don’t think any of us do,” Linkin Park’s pianist and vocalist Mike Shinoda told the sold out crowd at the Hollywood Bowl on Friday night. 

He didn’t need them. The band, joined by a laundry list of famous friends, orchestrated a truly beautiful and cathartic tribute concert that was much more powerful than words. They celebrated the life of the band’s singer, Chester Bennington, who died by suicide in July.

Helping fill the stage were members of popular bands who had their heyday around the turn of the century like Blink182, Sum 41, Yellowcard, Bush, System of a Down, Avenged Sevenfold, No Doubt, and many, many more. Limited by no specific genre or style, it felt like the entire industry came together to support the band and honor the life of their friend. The musicians helped sing some of Bennington’s parts or filled in on guitar in Linkin Park’s songs, while others performed their own tributes. 

Fans’ countless crying faces were projected onto screens surrounding the stage, but the event didn’t feel like a funeral — this was a celebration. Linkin Park’s songs are dark and emotionally driven, adding a deep layer of intimacy between the band and its fans. It was hard not to choke up hearing the crowd sing powerful lyrics like “In the end, it doesn’t even matter,” and “Who cares if one more light goes out in the sky of a million stars?” 

Every song, in some way, felt related to Bennington’s tragic death and that much more meaningful.

HOLLYWOOD, CA – OCTOBER 27: Musicians from Linkin Park; Mike Shinoda and Joe Hahn perform with Steve Aoki during the “Linkin Park And Friends Celebrate Life In Honor Of Chester Bennington” concert at the Hollywood Bowl.

Image: Christopher Polk/Getty Images

Shinoda had once shared the role of band frontman with Bennington — on this night the responsibility was his alone. He proved he was up to the task, acting with professionalism and genuine love for both the music and Linkin Park’s fans. A band performing without a lead singer may sound impossible — Shinoda called the concert one of the “hardest things I think we’ve ever decided to do.” In honor of Bennington, though, Linkin Park made it work. 

After a few songs to kick things off, the stage went dark and a single microphone stand covered in greenery was illuminated at the center of the stage. No one sang into the mic as the band performed “Numb,” one of Linkin Park’s most popular songs off the band’s 2003 album Meteora

After a few bars, the crowd came to the realization that nobody was going to step out from the back of the stage to sing this one for Bennington. It was on the fans to fill the void. The audience became a little closer with that knowledge, tension eased. Those who knew the words sang a little bit louder. The emotional moment appears in the video below, complete with chants of “Chester! Chester! Chester!” to close out the song.

While the music alone spoke volumes, musicians also used the stage to advocate for mental health awareness, which received praise and cheers from the crowd of over 18,000. 

“There’s been a lot of vilification of people with depression, and addiction, and being troubled, and being in the public eye, and being made fun of for the challenges that we as a huge community of people with notoriety have gone through. And it’s an extremely, isolating, challenging journey to go through,” Alanis Morissette said to the crowd as she introduced the song “Rest” off her upcoming album. “And so, for me, I just want to offer empathy to all people in the public eye. To all of you here tonight, to everyone around the planet who’s grieving.”

The crowd roared for Morissette, who’s probably one of the last people you’d expect to perform at a Linkin Park concert. There was no ego that night. Nobody scoffed at the mix of genres or musical backgrounds the diverse lineup presented. The crowd may have been filled with rockers, but none of that seemed to matter.

Later in the evening, Bennington’s microphone made another appearance as Talinda Ann Bentley, Chester’s wife, took the stage to thank the Linkin Park family, the performers, and crowd. She  introduced a new mental health resource, called 320 in collaboration with Change Direction, in honor of her husband. 

Talinda Ann Bentley speaks during the Linkin Park and Friends Celebrate Life in Honor of Chester Bennington at the Hollywood Bowl, in Los Angeles, California.

Image: Invision/AP/REX/Shutterstock

“It is time to recognize that mental health is as important as our physical health,” Bentley said to the crowd. “It is my mission to make it easier to have access to mental health resources … Together we will build a recourse, not only for those suffering emotionally, but also for friends, and family members, and medical practitioners, who are seeking answers to questions about mental health, illness, and addiction, so they can best support people in their lives.”

Bentley announced there were mental health professionals from Change Direction available at the show for anyone seeking help.

“Fuck depression, let’s make Chester proud,” Bentley said before exiting the stage. 

“Fuck depression, let’s make Chester proud.”

While the show could have been somber, it was packed with energetic and uplifting performances, including one from Bennington himself. Using footage and audio from a performance from Linkin Park at the Hollywood Bowl in September 2014, the band played “New Divide” with Bennington at the helm. If I closed my eyes, it felt like Bennington was on stage, singing along with the crowd packed with devoted fans. The song, for a brief moment, brought Bennington back to life to perform one last time. 

As the masses exited the venue they were greeted with a memorial wall, where they wrote tributes and messages to Bennington. The vibe was positive and people were in good spirits despite being stuck in an endless line of people slowly trying to exit the massive venue. 

Fans write messages on memorial wall for Chester Bennington of Linkin Park, located outside the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles, California.

Image: Mashable/Brian Koerber

“I thought it was wonderful. I thought it was beautiful,” longtime fan Angela Schippers, 35, of Moreno Valley, California, said about the concert after signing the wall.

“I just thanked Chester for all the beautiful music that inspired everyone,” she said.

Longtime Linkin Park fan Angela Schippers signs a memorial for Chester Bennington.

Image: Mashable/Brian Koerber

“It was so good, so fun. I go to a lot of concerts [and this was] one of the best concerts I’ve ever been to. And the thing is, I don’t know all their music,” Jason Wisch, a Los Angeles native, admitted. “It was poetic.”

Before ending the show, Shinoda touched on a topic that was on every fan’s mind: What will happen to the beloved band now that its lead singer is gone?

“You guys, we don’t know where we’re going from here, we certainly appreciate your support as we get there … most importantly, keep Chester in your hearts and make Chester proud,” he said.

This was so much more than a concert, or a memorial for a dear friend — it was proof that music can heal and bring people together for good. There’s no doubt: Bennington would have been proud of what he saw on stage on Friday. Proud of his friends, proud of his bandmates, proud of his family, and most importantly, proud of his fans.

Read more: http://mashable.com/2017/10/28/linkin-park-and-friends-chester-bennington-concert-hollywood-bowl/

Get Rid of Capitalism? Millennials Are Ready to Talk About It

One of the hottest tickets in New York City this weekend was a discussion on whether to overthrow capitalism.

The first run of tickets to “Capitalism: A Debate” sold out in a day. So the organizers, a pair of magazines with clear ideological affiliations, socialist and libertarian , found a larger venue: Cooper Union’s 960-capacity Great Hall, the site of an 1860 antislavery speech by Abraham Lincoln. The event sold out once again, this time in eight hours.

The crowd waiting in a long line to get inside on Friday night was mostly young and mostly male. Asher Kaplan and Gabriel Gutierrez, both 24, hoped the event would be a real-life version of the humorous, anarchic political debates on social media. “So much of this stuff is a battle that’s waged online,” said Gutierrez, who identifies, along with Kaplan, as a “leftist,” if not quite a socialist.

These days, among young people, socialism is “both a political identity and a culture,” Kaplan said. And it looks increasingly attractive.

Young Americans have soured on capitalism. In a Harvard University poll conducted last year, 51 percent of 18-to-29 year-olds in the U.S. said they opposed capitalism; only 42 percent expressed support. Among Americans of all ages, by contrast, a Gallup survey last year found that 60 percent held positive views of capitalism.

A poll released last month found American millennials closely split on the question of what type of society they would prefer to live in: 44 percent picked a socialist country, 42 percent a capitalist one. The poll, conducted by YouGov and the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation, found that 59 percent of Americans across all age groups preferred to live under capitalism.

“I’ve seen the failings of modern-day capitalism,” said Grayson SussmanSquires, an 18-year-old student at Wesleyan University who had turned up for the capitalism debate. To him and many of his peers, he said, the notion of well-functioning capitalist order is something recounted only by older people. He was 10 when the financial crisis hit, old to enough to watch his older siblings struggle to get jobs out of college. In high school, SussmanSquires said, he volunteered for the presidential campaign of Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, a self-described socialist. “It spoke to me in a way nothing had before,” he said.

Although debate attendees leaned left, several expressed the desire to have their views challenged by the pro-capitalist side. “It’s very easy to exist in a social group where everyone has the same political vibe,” Kaplan said.

“I’m immersed in one side of the debate,” said Thomas Doscher, 26, a labor organizer who is studying for his LSATs. “I want to hear the other side.”

The debate pitted two socialist stalwarts, Jacobin founder Bhaskar Sunkara and New York University professor Vivek Chibber, against the defenders of capitalism, Katherine Mangu-Ward, Reason’s editor in chief, and Nick Gillespie, the editor in chief of Reason.com and Reason TV.

And it was the attempt to rebuff criticism of capitalism that mostly riled up the crowd.

Chibber argued that the problem with capitalism is the power it has over workers. With the weakening of U.S. labor unions, “we have a complete despotism of the employers,” he said, leading to stagnant wages. When Mangu-Ward countered that Americans aren’t coerced on the job, the crowd erupted in laughter. “Every morning you wake up and you have a decision about whether or not you’re going to go to work,” she insisted, and the audience laughed again.

Sunkara summed up his argument for socialism as a society that helped people tackle the necessities of life—food, housing, education, health care, childcare. “Wherever we end up, it won’t be a utopia,” he said. “It will still be a place where you might get your heart broken,” or feel lonely, or get indigestion.

Mangu-Ward replied: “Capitalism kind of [fixes] those things, actually.” There’s the app Tinder to find dates, and Pepto Bismol to cure your upset stomach. “Those are the gifts of capitalism,” she said.

The arguments stayed mostly abstract. Sunkara and Chibber insisted their idea of democratic socialism shouldn’t be confused with the communist dictatorships that killed millions of people in the 20th century. Mangu-Ward and Gillespie likewise insisted on defending a capitalist ideal, not the current, corrupt reality. “Neither Nick nor I are fans of big business,” she said. “We’re not fans of crony capitalism.”

Talking theory left little time to wrestle with concrete problems, such as inequality or climate change. That frustrated Nathaniel Granor, a 31-year-old from Brooklyn who said he was worried about millions of people being put out of work by automation such as driverless vehicles.

“It didn't touch on what I feel is the heart of the matter,” Granor said. Both capitalism and socialism might ideally be ways to improve the world, he concluded, but both can fall short when applied in the real world. 

    Read more: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-11-06/get-rid-of-capitalism-millennials-are-ready-to-talk-about-it

    Chelsea Clinton understandably can’t take Trump’s crude ‘joke’

    What a pair.
    Image: Chris Kleponis-Pool/Getty Images

    It would be that in an exposé of Vice President Mike Pence, it’s a reported comment from President Donald Trump about his veep’s views that’s putting the president right back in the hot seat.

    A new New Yorker story, “The Danger of President Pence,” dug out incredible details about Pence’s history, his rise to the vice presidency, and his relationship to Trump. Toward the end of the lengthy piece, author Jane Mayer reported on what Trump thinks about his political partner. 

    “Trump thinks Pence is great,” Bannon told me. But, according to a longtime associate, Trump also likes to “let Pence know who’s boss.” A staff member from Trump’s campaign recalls him mocking Pence’s religiosity. He said that, when people met with Trump after stopping by Pence’s office, Trump would ask them, “Did Mike make you pray?” Two sources also recalled Trump needling Pence about his views on abortion and homosexuality. During a meeting with a legal scholar, Trump belittled Pence’s determination to overturn Roe v. Wade. The legal scholar had said that, if the Supreme Court did so, many states would likely legalize abortion on their own. “You see?” Trump asked Pence. “You’ve wasted all this time and energy on it, and it’s not going to end abortion anyway.” When the conversation turned to gay rights, Trump motioned toward Pence and joked, “Don’t ask that guy—he wants to hang them all!”

    The last part about gay rights was picked up as especially cruel, and not at all funny. Chelsea Clinton, who has called out Trump before (and before that), was quick to reprimand the president about having a little basic decency.

    Others chimed in to share how upsetting it is to hear the president speak about the gay community in such a violent and flippant manner.

    As this is one of countless inappropriate, cruel, and inhuman comments Trump has uttered, the fear is that the revelation isn’t likely to change anything — or even get noticed much beyond today’s tweets. 

    Read more: http://mashable.com/2017/10/16/pence-new-yorker-trump-gay-chelsea-clinton/

    A timeline of the rogue Twitter employee’s last day at work before deleting Trump’s account

    Image: mashable composite. max knoblauch; shutterstock

    This post is a part of Mashable Humor. It is not real. We drew the bird, though, and think it’s pretty good.

    A Twitter customer support employee is responsible for temporarily deactivating the account of President Trump for 11 minutes on Thursday night, just before 7:00 p.m. EST. According to a statement from the company, it was said employee’s last day, and they acted without the approval of anyone else at Twitter.

    What follows is a comprehensive timeline of the “rogue” employee’s infamous last day at Twitter HQ.

    9:05 a.m.: Employee arrives at office on their last day. Employee sits at desk.

    9:15 a.m.: Employee’s manager approaches, asks employee if they received email. “I haven’t checked my email,” employee replies. “Oh, okay. Well, when you get a chance,” manager answers. The employee will not look at the email.

    9:20 a.m.: Employee tells coworker Devin that his coffee mug is on their desk, technically, and has been every day for several months.

    9:25 a.m.: Employee leaves for “early lunch.”

    1:15 p.m.: Employee returns from lunch.

    1:19 p.m.: Employee sends email recommending lunch spot’s Moscow Mules to full New York office.

    1:25 p.m.: Employee forwards Moscow Mule email to global staff list with message, “In case any of you are ever in town.”

    1:30 p.m.: Using Sharpie, employee writes, “This bread taste like DOGGGG SHIT” on a loaf of bread in the employee kitchen.

    1:35 p.m.: Employee reminds coworker Devin about the coffee mug’s location, asking him, “Did you know?”

    1:40 p.m.: Employee leaves for “late lunch.”

    4:10 p.m.: Employee returns from late lunch.

    4:45 p.m.: During team meeting, employee is asked to say a few words. Employee uses full time to again recommend the Moscow Mules. The employee has worked at Twitter for 4 years.

    5:00 p.m.: Employee enters back room and adjusts office thermostat to 68 degrees.

    5:03 p.m.: Employee arrives at HR for exit interview.

    5:10 p.m.: Employee responds to HR’s question of, “How do you feel about your time here?” with simply, “Bad.”

    5:12 p.m.: Employee responds to HR’s question of, “Is there anything you feel you have not been able to do in your time here?” with, “Delete the president’s Twitter.” Employee tells HR they think they will be deleting President Trump’s account later in the day. The HR representative chuckles.

    5:15 p.m.: Employee returns to desk.

    5:30 p.m.: Employee watches the first 25 minutes of Netflix’s What the Health at desk without headphones.

    5:55 p.m.: Employee says, “Wow.”

    5:56 p.m.: Employee messages manager that the office chairs are very uncomfortable. Manager replies with, “Well, I don’t furnish the office lol.” Employee replies, “I do not like you and I have not liked you for some time now.” Manager does not reply.

    6:00 p.m.: Employee stands on desk and announces that they will be drinking Moscow Mules at the lunch spot nearby if anyone wants to go.

    6:48 p.m.: Employee returns to office to retrieve coat.

    6:49 p.m.: Employee throws Devin’s mug in the garbage.

    6:50 p.m.: Employee deactivates the president’s Twitter account.

    6:55 p.m.: Employee returns to lunch spot for Moscow Mules.

    Read more: http://mashable.com/2017/11/04/rogue-twitter-employee-deletes-trump-timeline-satire/

    Woman requests time off for mental health, boss sends the perfect reply

    It’s been almost three months since the news that Linkin Park’s Chester Bennington died by suicide, and the tributes and comments about the lead singer are still pouring in. 

    Before his death, Bennington, along with two members of the band, filmed an episode of Apple Music’s Carpool Karaoke

    That video was finally shared on Thursday with the blessings of Bennington’s family and friends, and is 23 minutes of pure joy with comedian Ken Jeong, a big fan of the band. 

    The four men rip through Linkin Park classics, an Outkast song, “screaning” lessons (that’s scream singing), a dance break and more. Because this goes beyond the James Corden segments that started the carpool movement, the group goes on a karaoke bus for even more antics.

    Fans of Bennington and the band were thrilled, and emotional, about the new video. 

    “Everyone at home watching should all sing along,” Bennington says at the end. 

    What are you waiting for?

    If you want to talk to someone or are experiencing suicidal thoughts, text the Crisis Text Line at 741-741 or call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. For international resources, this list is a good place to start.

    Read more: http://mashable.com/2017/10/12/chester-bennington-linkin-park-carpool-karaoke-/

    Joe Biden supports Julia Louis-Dreyfus after her breast cancer announcement like only a veep could

    The "veeps" got this.
    Image: HBO/Kobal/REX/Shutterstock

    After Julia Louis-Dreyfus’ breast cancer diagnosis announcement Thursday, former Vice President Joe Biden voiced his support to the acclaimed actress who has played a fictional vice president on HBO’s Veep.

    Biden assured Louis-Dreyfus that he was there for her during her cancer fight. “We Veeps stick together,” he wrote. He included a photo from a 2014 spot the two did together before the White House Correspondents’ Dinner in 2014. Aviators are obviously involved.

    Louis-Dreyfus, who plays vice president-turned-president (briefly) Selina Meyer on the show, had produced a spoof video in character with the then-real-life veep. The two had an adventurous day in the White House and bumped into Michelle Obama, Rep. Nancy Pelosi, and called former Speaker of the House John Boehner.

    Julia liked Joe’s tweet, and posted her own response shortly after.

    Like Biden tweeted, we’re with you, Julia.

    Read more: http://mashable.com/2017/09/28/joe-biden-julia-louis-dreyfus-veep-breast-cancer/

    Fireball bagels will make breakfast boozy without the booze

    Ever wake up regretting that last shot of Fireball? Well, now you can extend that regret all the way through breakfast.

    The Fireball bagel is the latest bizarre offering from The Bagel Nook, a bagel shop in Freehold, New Jersey. Per Delish, the semi-boozy treats are made by pouring a bit of Fireball into the bagel dough itself, then dunking the finished bagels in a glaze made from even more of the liquor (reduced, of course, so it’s not actually alcoholic).

    It’s served with a sprinkle of cinnamon sugar and a hearty schmear of apple pie cream cheese. Something tells us it might also be good with hazelnut cream cheese? Someone test this for us, please.

    And if it cures any of your Fireball-induced hangovers, please also drop us a line.

    Read more: http://mashable.com/2017/09/21/fireball-bagels/

    ‘I take it personally’: NFL star chokes up responding to Trump’s attacks.

    President Donald Trump’s divisive comments on the NFL protests are making national headlines, but to Miami Dolphin Michael Thomas, the remarks hit close to home.

    Michael Thomas. Photo by Cindy Ord/Getty Images for Sirius XM.

    Speaking to reporters from the locker room on Sunday, Thomas — who has knelt during the national anthem before games — responded to Trump’s claim that a “son of a bitch” like him should be fired for refusing to stand.

    Over the past several months, many players have kneeled during the national anthem in a peaceful, silent protest to draw attention to racial injustice — namely, police brutality targeting people of color — since former San Francisco quarterback Colin Kaepernick began kneeling last season.

    “As a man, as a father, as an African-American man, as somebody in the NFL who’s one of those ‘sons of bitches,’ yeah I take it personally,” Thomas told reporters. “But at the same time, like I said in my Twitter posts, it’s bigger than me.”

    “I got a daughter; she’s going to have to live in this world,” Thomas told reporters, holding back tears.

    “I’m going to do whatever I got to do to make sure she can look at her dad and be like, ‘Hey, you did something, you tried to make a change.'”

    Thomas’ emotional response shows how deep the president’s remarks have cut and why more athletes are now stepping up — or, rather, kneeling down — to spark change.

    Controversy surrounding the NFL protests boiled over this past weekend, after the president waded back into the world of political activism in pro sports.

    Trump set off a firestorm Friday night at his rally in Alabama, claiming NFL athletes who sit or kneel during the protests should be fired. The following morning, he slammed Stephen Curry for planning to skip his team’s potential White House visit after winning the NBA national championship in June: “invitation is withdrawn!” the president tweeted. LeBron James jumped into the foray to defend Curry shortly thereafter, calling the president a “bum.”

    Trump’s bombastic remarks prompted a wave of players to kneel on Sunday. According to NPR, roughly 200 NFL athletes protested as “The Star-Spangled Banner” played before their respective games.

    Several Detroit Lions players kneeled during their game on Sept. 24, 2017. Photo by Rey Del Rio/Getty Images.

    Critics have slammed Trump for stoking a fire solely to enrage his base while ignoring other dire issues.

    “He wanted a reaction; he got that reaction,” Michael Steele, former Republican National Committee Chairman, told NBC News. “It’s very disappointing — the same level of stuff we get from the president that doesn’t advance a genuine conversation but polarizes people into camps.”

    Meanwhile, dilemmas are playing out on the national and global stages — the GOP’s unpopular Graham-Cassidy health bill, relations with North Korea, devastation in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria — with little leadership or comment from the president.

    “It just amazes me with everything else that’s going on in this world, especially involving the U.S., that’s what you’re concerned about, my man?” Thomas noted to reporters on Sunday. “You’re the leader of the free world — this is what you’re talking about?”

    It appears so.

    Read more: http://www.upworthy.com/i-take-it-personally-nfl-star-chokes-up-responding-to-trumps-attacks

    The shorter your sleep, the shorter your life: the new sleep science

    Leading neuroscientist Matthew Walker on why sleep deprivation is increasing our risk of cancer, heart attack and Alzheimers and what you can do about it

    Matthew Walker has learned to dread the question What do you do? At parties, it signals the end of his evening; thereafter, his new acquaintance will inevitably cling to him like ivy. On an aeroplane, it usually means that while everyone else watches movies or reads a thriller, he will find himself running an hours-long salon for the benefit of passengers and crew alike. Ive begun to lie, he says. Seriously. I just tell people Im a dolphin trainer. Its better for everyone.

    Walker is a sleep scientist. To be specific, he is the director of the Center for Human Sleep Science at the University of California, Berkeley, a research institute whose goal possibly unachievable is to understand everything about sleeps impact on us, from birth to death, in sickness and health. No wonder, then, that people long for his counsel. As the line between work and leisure grows ever more blurred, rare is the person who doesnt worry about their sleep. But even as we contemplate the shadows beneath our eyes, most of us dont know the half of it and perhaps this is the real reason he has stopped telling strangers how he makes his living. When Walker talks about sleep he cant, in all conscience, limit himself to whispering comforting nothings about camomile tea and warm baths. Its his conviction that we are in the midst of a catastrophic sleep-loss epidemic, the consequences of which are far graver than any of us could imagine. This situation, he believes, is only likely to change if government gets involved.

    Walker has spent the last four and a half years writing Why We Sleep, a complex but urgent book that examines the effects of this epidemic close up, the idea being that once people know of the powerful links between sleep loss and, among other things, Alzheimers disease, cancer, diabetes, obesity and poor mental health, they will try harder to get the recommended eight hours a night (sleep deprivation, amazing as this may sound to Donald Trump types, constitutes anything less than seven hours). But, in the end, the individual can achieve only so much. Walker wants major institutions and law-makers to take up his ideas, too. No aspect of our biology is left unscathed by sleep deprivation, he says. It sinks down into every possible nook and cranny. And yet no one is doing anything about it. Things have to change: in the workplace and our communities, our homes and families. But when did you ever see an NHS poster urging sleep on people? When did a doctor prescribe, not sleeping pills, but sleep itself? It needs to be prioritised, even incentivised. Sleep loss costs the UK economy over 30bn a year in lost revenue, or 2% of GDP. I could double the NHS budget if only they would institute policies to mandate or powerfully encourage sleep.

    Why, exactly, are we so sleep-deprived? What has happened over the course of the last 75 years? In 1942, less than 8% of the population was trying to survive on six hours or less sleep a night; in 2017, almost one in two people is. The reasons are seemingly obvious. First, we electrified the night, Walker says. Light is a profound degrader of our sleep. Second, there is the issue of work: not only the porous borders between when you start and finish, but longer commuter times, too. No one wants to give up time with their family or entertainment, so they give up sleep instead. And anxiety plays a part. Were a lonelier, more depressed society. Alcohol and caffeine are more widely available. All these are the enemies of sleep.

    But Walker believes, too, that in the developed world sleep is strongly associated with weakness, even shame. We have stigmatised sleep with the label of laziness. We want to seem busy, and one way we express that is by proclaiming how little sleep were getting. Its a badge of honour. When I give lectures, people will wait behind until there is no one around and then tell me quietly: I seem to be one of those people who need eight or nine hours sleep. Its embarrassing to say it in public. They would rather wait 45 minutes for the confessional. Theyre convinced that theyre abnormal, and why wouldnt they be? We chastise people for sleeping what are, after all, only sufficient amounts. We think of them as slothful. No one would look at an infant baby asleep, and say What a lazy baby! We know sleeping is non-negotiable for a baby. But that notion is quickly abandoned [as we grow up]. Humans are the only species that deliberately deprive themselves of sleep for no apparent reason. In case youre wondering, the number of people who can survive on five hours of sleep or less without any impairment, expressed as a percent of the population and rounded to a whole number, is zero.

    The world of sleep science is still relatively small. But it is growing exponentially, thanks both to demand (the multifarious and growing pressures caused by the epidemic) and to new technology (such as electrical and magnetic brain stimulators), which enables researchers to have what Walker describes as VIP access to the sleeping brain. Walker, who is 44 and was born in Liverpool, has been in the field for more than 20 years, having published his first research paper at the age of just 21. I would love to tell you that I was fascinated by conscious states from childhood, he says. But in truth, it was accidental. He started out studying for a medical degree in Nottingham. But having discovered that doctoring wasnt for him he was more enthralled by questions than by answers he switched to neuroscience, and after graduation, began a PhD in neurophysiology supported by the Medical Research Council. It was while working on this that he stumbled into the realm of sleep.

    Matthew
    Matthew Walker photographed in his sleep lab. Photograph: Saroyan Humphrey for the Observer

    I was looking at the brainwave patterns of people with different forms of dementia, but I was failing miserably at finding any difference between them, he recalls now. One night, however, he read a scientific paper that changed everything. It described which parts of the brain were being attacked by these different types of dementia: Some were attacking parts of the brain that had to do with controlled sleep, while other types left those sleep centres unaffected. I realised my mistake. I had been measuring the brainwave activity of my patients while they were awake, when I should have been doing so while they were asleep. Over the next six months, Walker taught himself how to set up a sleep laboratory and, sure enough, the recordings he made in it subsequently spoke loudly of a clear difference between patients. Sleep, it seemed, could be a new early diagnostic litmus test for different subtypes of dementia.

    After this, sleep became his obsession. Only then did I ask: what is this thing called sleep, and what does it do? I was always curious, annoyingly so, but when I started to read about sleep, I would look up and hours would have gone by. No one could answer the simple question: why do we sleep? That seemed to me to be the greatest scientific mystery. I was going to attack it, and I was going to do that in two years. But I was naive. I didnt realise that some of the greatest scientific minds had been trying to do the same thing for their entire careers. That was two decades ago, and Im still cracking away. After gaining his doctorate, he moved to the US. Formerly a professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, he is now professor of neuroscience and psychology at the University of California.

    Does his obsession extend to the bedroom? Does he take his own advice when it comes to sleep? Yes. I give myself a non-negotiable eight-hour sleep opportunity every night, and I keep very regular hours: if there is one thing I tell people, its to go to bed and to wake up at the same time every day, no matter what. I take my sleep incredibly seriously because I have seen the evidence. Once you know that after just one night of only four or five hours sleep, your natural killer cells the ones that attack the cancer cells that appear in your body every day drop by 70%, or that a lack of sleep is linked to cancer of the bowel, prostate and breast, or even just that the World Health Organisation has classed any form of night-time shift work as a probable carcinogen, how could you do anything else?

    There is, however, a sting in the tale. Should his eyelids fail to close, Walker admits that he can be a touch Woody Allen-neurotic. When, for instance, he came to London over the summer, he found himself jet-lagged and wide awake in his hotel room at two oclock in the morning. His problem then, as always in these situations, was that he knew too much. His brain began to race. I thought: my orexin isnt being turned off, the sensory gate of my thalamus is wedged open, my dorsolateral prefrontal cortex wont shut down, and my melatonin surge wont happen for another seven hours. What did he do? In the end, it seems, even world experts in sleep act just like the rest of us when struck by the curse of insomnia. He turned on a light and read for a while.

    Will Why We Sleep have the impact its author hopes? Im not sure: the science bits, it must be said, require some concentration. But what I can tell you is that it had a powerful effect on me. After reading it, I was absolutely determined to go to bed earlier a regime to which I am sticking determinedly. In a way, I was prepared for this. I first encountered Walker some months ago, when he spoke at an event at Somerset House in London, and he struck me then as both passionate and convincing (our later interview takes place via Skype from the basement of his sleep centre, a spot which, with its bedrooms off a long corridor, apparently resembles the ward of a private hospital). But in another way, it was unexpected. I am mostly immune to health advice. Inside my head, there is always a voice that says just enjoy life while it lasts.

    The evidence Walker presents, however, is enough to send anyone early to bed. Its no kind of choice at all. Without sleep, there is low energy and disease. With sleep, there is vitality and health. More than 20 large scale epidemiological studies all report the same clear relationship: the shorter your sleep, the shorter your life. To take just one example, adults aged 45 years or older who sleep less than six hours a night are 200% more likely to have a heart attack or stroke in their lifetime, as compared with those sleeping seven or eight hours a night (part of the reason for this has to do with blood pressure: even just one night of modest sleep reduction will speed the rate of a persons heart, hour upon hour, and significantly increase their blood pressure).

    A lack of sleep also appears to hijack the bodys effective control of blood sugar, the cells of the sleep-deprived appearing, in experiments, to become less responsive to insulin, and thus to cause a prediabetic state of hyperglycaemia. When your sleep becomes short, moreover, you are susceptible to weight gain. Among the reasons for this are the fact that inadequate sleep decreases levels of the satiety-signalling hormone, leptin, and increases levels of the hunger-signalling hormone, ghrelin. Im not going to say that the obesity crisis is caused by the sleep-loss epidemic alone, says Walker. Its not. However, processed food and sedentary lifestyles do not adequately explain its rise. Something is missing. Its now clear that sleep is that third ingredient. Tiredness, of course, also affects motivation.

    Sleep has a powerful effect on the immune system, which is why, when we have flu, our first instinct is to go to bed: our body is trying to sleep itself well. Reduce sleep even for a single night, and your resilience is drastically reduced. If you are tired, you are more likely to catch a cold. The well-rested also respond better to the flu vaccine. As Walker has already said, more gravely, studies show that short sleep can affect our cancer-fighting immune cells. A number of epidemiological studies have reported that night-time shift work and the disruption to circadian sleep and rhythms that it causes increase the odds of developing cancers including breast, prostate, endometrium and colon.

    Getting too little sleep across the adult lifespan will significantly raise your risk of developing Alzheimers disease. The reasons for this are difficult to summarise, but in essence it has to do with the amyloid deposits (a toxin protein) that accumulate in the brains of those suffering from the disease, killing the surrounding cells. During deep sleep, such deposits are effectively cleaned from the brain. What occurs in an Alzheimers patient is a kind of vicious circle. Without sufficient sleep, these plaques build up, especially in the brains deep-sleep-generating regions, attacking and degrading them. The loss of deep sleep caused by this assault therefore lessens our ability to remove them from the brain at night. More amyloid, less deep sleep; less deep sleep, more amyloid, and so on. (In his book, Walker notes unscientifically that he has always found it curious that Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan, both of whom were vocal about how little sleep they needed, both went on to develop the disease; it is, moreover, a myth that older adults need less sleep.) Away from dementia, sleep aids our ability to make new memories, and restores our capacity for learning.

    And then there is sleeps effect on mental health. When your mother told you that everything would look better in the morning, she was wise. Walkers book includes a long section on dreams (which, says Walker, contrary to Dr Freud, cannot be analysed). Here he details the various ways in which the dream state connects to creativity. He also suggests that dreaming is a soothing balm. If we sleep to remember (see above), then we also sleep to forget. Deep sleep the part when we begin to dream is a therapeutic state during which we cast off the emotional charge of our experiences, making them easier to bear. Sleep, or a lack of it, also affects our mood more generally. Brain scans carried out by Walker revealed a 60% amplification in the reactivity of the amygdala a key spot for triggering anger and rage in those who were sleep-deprived. In children, sleeplessness has been linked to aggression and bullying; in adolescents, to suicidal thoughts. Insufficient sleep is also associated with relapse in addiction disorders. A prevailing view in psychiatry is that mental disorders cause sleep disruption. But Walker believes it is, in fact, a two-way street. Regulated sleep can improve the health of, for instance, those with bipolar disorder.

    Ive mentioned deep sleep in this (too brief) summary several times. What is it, exactly? We sleep in 90-minute cycles, and its only towards the end of each one of these that we go into deep sleep. Each cycle comprises two kinds of sleep. First, there is NREM sleep (non-rapid eye movement sleep); this is then followed by REM (rapid eye movement) sleep. When Walker talks about these cycles, which still have their mysteries, his voice changes. He sounds bewitched, almost dazed.

    During NREM sleep, your brain goes into this incredible synchronised pattern of rhythmic chanting, he says. Theres a remarkable unity across the surface of the brain, like a deep, slow mantra. Researchers were once fooled that this state was similar to a coma. But nothing could be further from the truth. Vast amounts of memory processing is going on. To produce these brainwaves, hundreds of thousands of cells all sing together, and then go silent, and on and on. Meanwhile, your body settles into this lovely low state of energy, the best blood-pressure medicine you could ever hope for. REM sleep, on the other hand, is sometimes known as paradoxical sleep, because the brain patterns are identical to when youre awake. Its an incredibly active brain state. Your heart and nervous system go through spurts of activity: were still not exactly sure why.

    Does the 90-minute cycle mean that so-called power naps are worthless? They can take the edge off basic sleepiness. But you need 90 minutes to get to deep sleep, and one cycle isnt enough to do all the work. You need four or five cycles to get all the benefit. Is it possible to have too much sleep? This is unclear. There is no good evidence at the moment. But I do think 14 hours is too much. Too much water can kill you, and too much food, and I think ultimately the same will prove to be true for sleep. How is it possible to tell if a person is sleep-deprived? Walker thinks we should trust our instincts. Those who would sleep on if their alarm clock was turned off are simply not getting enough. Ditto those who need caffeine in the afternoon to stay awake. I see it all the time, he says. I get on a flight at 10am when people should be at peak alert, and I look around, and half of the plane has immediately fallen asleep.

    So what can the individual do? First, they should avoid pulling all-nighters, at their desks or on the dancefloor. After being awake for 19 hours, youre as cognitively impaired as someone who is drunk. Second, they should start thinking about sleep as a kind of work, like going to the gym (with the key difference that it is both free and, if youre me, enjoyable). People use alarms to wake up, Walker says. So why dont we have a bedtime alarm to tell us weve got half an hour, that we should start cycling down? We should start thinking of midnight more in terms of its original meaning: as the middle of the night. Schools should consider later starts for students; such delays correlate with improved IQs. Companies should think about rewarding sleep. Productivity will rise, and motivation, creativity and even levels of honesty will be improved. Sleep can be measured using tracking devices, and some far-sighted companies in the US already give employees time off if they clock enough of it. Sleeping pills, by the way, are to be avoided. Among other things, they can have a deleterious effect on memory.

    Those who are focused on so-called clean sleep are determined to outlaw mobiles and computers from the bedroom and quite right, too, given the effect of LED-emitting devices on melatonin, the sleep-inducing hormone. Ultimately, though, Walker believes that technology will be sleeps saviour. There is going to be a revolution in the quantified self in industrial nations, he says. We will know everything about our bodies from one day to the next in high fidelity. That will be a seismic shift, and we will then start to develop methods by which we can amplify different components of human sleep, and do that from the bedside. Sleep will come to be seen as a preventive medicine.

    What questions does Walker still most want to answer? For a while, he is quiet. Its so difficult, he says, with a sigh. There are so many. I would still like to know where we go, psychologically and physiologically, when we dream. Dreaming is the second state of human consciousness, and we have only scratched the surface so far. But I would also like to find out when sleep emerged. I like to posit a ridiculous theory, which is: perhaps sleep did not evolve. Perhaps it was the thing from which wakefulness emerged. He laughs. If I could have some kind of medical Tardis and go back in time to look at that, well, I would sleep better at night.

    Why We Sleep: The New Science of Sleep and Dreamsby Matthew Walker is published by Allen Lane (20). To order a copy for 17 go toguardianbookshop.com or call 0330 333 6846. Free UK p&p over 10, online orders only. Phone orders min p&p of 1.99

    Sleep in numbers

    Two-thirds of adults in developed nations fail to obtain the nightly eight hours of sleep recommended by the World Health Organisation.

    An adult sleeping only 6.75 hours a night would be predicted to live only to their early 60s without medical intervention.

    A 2013 study reported that men who slept too little had a sperm count 29% lower than those who regularly get a full and restful nights sleep.

    If you drive a car when you have had less than five hours sleep, you are 4.3 times more likely to be involved in a crash. If you drive having had four hours, you are 11.5 times more likely to be involved in an accident.

    A hot bath aids sleep not because it makes you warm, but because your dilated blood vessels radiate inner heat, and your core body temperature drops. To successfully initiate sleep, your core temperature needs to drop about 1C.

    The time taken to reach physical exhaustion by athletes who obtain anything less than eight hours of sleep, and especially less than six hours, drops by 10-30%.

    There are now more than 100 diagnosed sleep disorders, of which insomnia is the mostcommon.

    Morning types, who prefer to awake at or around dawn, make up about 40% of the population. Evening types, who prefer to go to bed late and wake up late, account for about 30%. The remaining 30% lie somewhere in between.

    Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2017/sep/24/why-lack-of-sleep-health-worst-enemy-matthew-walker-why-we-sleep