Christian Benedict helps 600,000 Swedes to Sleep Tight

2023-05-16

In Swedish Television series Sov Gott, sleep researcher Christian Benedict and program host David Batra accept the challenge to help four famous Swedes with their sleep deprivation. After four prime time Thursday evenings, it is obvious that the duo has created a public education success.

Christian Benedict, sleep researcher, Faculty of Pharmacy
Christian Benedict, sleep researcher, Faculty of Pharmacy

Last Thursday, SVT showed the fourth and final episode of Sov Gott (Sleep Tight), how did it go?
“We are experiencing a fantastic response. SVT just announced that the first three programs attracted an average audience of 600,000 people. Personally, I only receive positive reactions in my mailbox and social media from viewers who appreciate the series' accessible and humorous appeal.”

So now you get to pose for selfies when you walk the streets of Uppsala?
“Admittedly, one or two people look for an extra second, but they’re probably only uncertain where they’ve seen me, so no selfies. On the other hand, attention itself is never the goal as we devote ourselves to spreading knowledge. Our aim is to provide tools for better sleep.”

How did you connect with Swedish Television?
“They called me with an idea that I should help a number of famous Swedes with their impaired sleep. After meeting host David Batra early in the process and assuring myself that we agreed on the concept, I joined the production. In hindsight, I can only state that the concept was an effective platform to reach out with our knowledge.”

Are celebrities, comedians and researchers an underrated constellation?
“In some contexts, it can probably be that way. If the audience wants to be entertained, then we have to relate to it in order to get their attention. Of course, all science is not suitable for infotainment, but with that said, we scientists must not be so afraid to step outside our academic context. Personally, I got far too technical in my first popular science book, so when I, later this year, return to the bookstores with a sequel, I will remain on a much more conceptual level.”

Did you get your message through in Sov Gott?
“Yes, I think so. Sleep deprivation is widespread in Sweden, but if we only talk about the risks it entails, I think we will rather contribute to increased stress and even worse sleep. Without trivialising, we need to de-dramatise and focus on the positive aspects of sleep. In Sov Gott, we try a number of different methods with the message being that everything that works is good, and my impression is that the viewers have taken this to heart.”

When will we see you on TV again?
“If hearing my voice will do, I recently recorded an upcoming episode of Swedish Radio's Kropp & Själ with a focus on deep sleep. But even if science outreach is extremely important to us, we are primarily researchers and teachers at Uppsala University. Right now we are preparing a comprehensive study that we hope to present in May, so the next TV assignment may have to wait, but Sov Gott was a rewarding experience that indeed gave a taste for more!”

FACTS

  • Christian Benedict's research group studies how disturbances in the circadian rhythm and sleep loss affect health and performance with a particular focus on the connection between sleep deprivation and metabolism.

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CONTACT

Christian BenedictChristian Benedict, Senior Lecturer
Department of Pharmaceutical Biosciences
Christian.Benedict@farmbio.uu.se

Text: Magnus Alsne, photo: Stefan TelL

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Last modified: 2024-04-04