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Hazel Sheffield – The science of sleep and why napping is good for you

The Arndale shopping centre in Manchester is an impractical place to take a nap. Shoppers hurry through its drafty, off-white interior. People stop on curvy benches to eat Greggs pasties. Workers rush back to their desks before the end of their lunch break. No one notices the low throbbing sound emanating from a big black tent right in the middle of the building, opposite Starbucks. Then from the buzzing big top a line of people emerge, yawning: they’ve just had 15 minutes of top quality sleep.

The Chronarium Sleep Lab landed at the Arndale shopping centre as part of the Manchester Science Festival, an 11-day long event taking in more than 100 installations and activities across the city.

From periscope making to mushroom growing, much of the schedule is dedicated to stimulating people with the wonders of science. This is perhaps the only one designed to to put them to sleep. But it could be the most important.

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