Professor Charles Spence on his new sensehacking book

Virgin Radio

28 Jan 2021, 10:43

Are you lacking in sleep and pleasure? It's a double yes from us. Cue experimental psychologist and expert in sensory modalities Charles Spence. The professor joined the Chris Evans Breakfast Show with Sky to talk about his new book and the surprising research findings that will blow your mind - and nose.

The professor told Chris about sleep: “Body temperature plays a key role when we fall off and when we don't. Many of us especially in lockdown are suffering with not being able to get enough sleep and if we don't get enough sleep that's one of the major causes of ill health and early deaths.

"Anything we can do to help our sleep is going to be a good thing and that could be anything from using an ambient light or lavender to help improve the quality of our sleep or warming up our feet.

"So if you've got a hot water bottle on a cold winter night then it's better to sleep with it by your feet than by your stomach because the more you can get the blood flowing out to your extremities, like the hands and your feet, the sooner your core body temperature will drop and your brain will decide it's time to nod off.”

He continued: “Most of us spend about 95% of our lives indoors and the chemicals and compounds that can build up in not well ventilated rooms can be bad for health and can cause what's called 'sick home syndrome'.

"There’s a lot of interest in trying to bring plants into the home in order both to help purify the air... through the use of plants. Palms are amongst the best in clearing the air. At the same time by bringing plants into the home that's going to trigger the powerful benefits on our sense of well being or relaxation or attention that we get from being out in nature.

"We get a little bit of that nature by bringing nature into the home with a potted plant, be it real or even plastic."

He told Chris how important one sense in partucular is. He said: “When the sense of smell is lost it leads to the biggest increase in suicide risk. I think Michael Hutchence lost his sense of smell a year or two before he committed suicide.

"That loss of smell takes away the pleasure of food and takes away all of the kind of social communication between you and your loved one, so that's the one I think that we neglect and yet it's probably the most important for life.”