BEST IELTS Academic Reading Test 403

BEST IELTS Academic Reading Test 403


IELTS Academic Reading Test



Sleep should be prescribed: what those late nights out could be costing you

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

A. Matthew Walker dreads the question ‘What do you do?’ On aeroplane it usually means that while everyone else watches movies, he will find himself giving a talk for the benefit of passengers and crew alike. To be specific, Walker is the director of the Center for Human Sleep Science at the University of California. No wonder people long for his advice. As the line between work and leisure grows more blurred, rare is the person who doesn’t worry about their sleep.

Indeed, it’s Walker’s conviction that we are in the midst of a ‘catastrophic sleep-loss epidemic’. He has now written Why We Sleep, the idea being that once people know of the powerful links between sleep loss and poor health, they will try harder to get the recommended eight hours a night. Sleep deprivation constitutes anything less than seven. ‘No one is doing anything about it but things have to change. But when did you ever see a National Health Service poster urging sleep on people? When did a doctor prescribe, not sleeping pills, but sleep itself? It needs to be prioritized.

IELTS Academic Reading Test

B. Why are we so sleep-deprived in this century? 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. Some reasons are obvious, but Walker believes, too, that in the developed world sleep is strongly associated with weakness. ‘We want to seem busy, and one way we express that is proclaiming how little sleep we’re getting. When I give lectures, people 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,” It’s embarrassing to say it in public.’

C. Walker has found clear evidence that without sleep, there is lower energy and disease, and with sleep, there is vitality and health. More than 20 studies all report the same relationship: the shorter your sleep, the shorter your life. For example, adults aged 45 years or older who sleep less than six hours a night are 200% more like to have a heart attack, as compared with those sleeping seven or eight.

IELTS Academic Reading Test

This is because even one night of sleep reduction will affect a person’s heart and significantly increase their blood pressure as a result. Walker also points out that when your sleep becomes short, you are susceptible to weight gain. Among the reasons for this are the fact that inadequate sleep increases levels of the hunger-signalling hormone, ghrelin. ‘I’m not going to say that the obesity crisis is caused by the sleep-loss epidemic alone.’ Says Walker. ‘However, processed food and sedentary lifestyles do not adequately explain its rise. It’s now clear that sleep is that third ingredient.

D. Sleep also has a power effect on the immune system, which is why, when we have flu, our first instinct is to go to bed. If you are tired, you are more likely to get sick. The well-rested also respond better to the flu vaccine so this is something people should bear in mind before visiting their doctors. Walker’s book also includes a long section on dreams.

IELTS Academic Reading Test

Here he details the various ways in which deep sleep – the part when we begin to dream – to how important deep sleep is to young children. If they don’t get enough, managing aggressive behavior becomes harder and harder: Does Walker 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. I take my sleep incredibly seriously because I have seen the evidence.’

E. Sleep research shows that we sleep in 90-minute cycles, and it’s only towards the end of each that we go into deep sleep. Each cycle comprises of NREM sleep (non-rapid eye movement sleep), followed by REM (rapid eye movement) sleep. ‘During NREM sleep … your body settles into this lovely low state of energy,’ Walker explains. ‘REM sleep, on the other hand is … an incredibly active brain state.

IELTS Academic Reading Test

Your heart and nervous system go through spurts of activity.’ Because we need four or five of these cycles to stay healthy, it’s important for people to break bad sleep habits. For example, they should not be regularly working late into the night as this affects cognitive functioning. Depending on sleep pills is also not a good idea, as it can have a damaging effect on memory.

F. So what can individuals do to ensure they get the right amount of sleep? Firstly, we could think about getting ready for sleep in the same way prepare for the end of a workout – say, on a spin bike. ‘People use alarms to wake up,’ Walker says. ‘So why don’t we have a bedtime alarm to tell us we’ve got half an hour, that we should start cycling down?’ Companies should think about rewarding sleep. Productivity will rise and motivation will be improved.

We can also systematically measure our sleep by using personal tracking devices, Walker says, and points out that some far-sighted companies in the US already give employees time off if they get enough it. While some researchers recommend banning digital devices from the bedroom because of their effect on the sleep-inducing hormone melatonin, Walker believes that technology will eventually be an aid to sleep, as it helps us discover more about the way we function.

IELTS Academic Reading Test

Questions 14-18

Reading Passage 2 has six paragraphs, A-F. Which paragraph contains the following information? Write the correct letter, A-F, in boxes 14-18 on your answer sheet.

NB You may use any letter more than once.

14. a comparison between two different types of sleep that people experience

15. an explanation for some people not wanting to admit the amount of sleep they require

16. examples of different behaviours that have a negative impact on mental performance

17. a suggestion that medical professionals are not taking the right approach

18. a reference to changing trends in the average amount of sleep people get

IELTS Academic Reading Test

Questions 19-22

Choose NO MORE THAN TWO WORDS from the passage for each answer.

19. Over 20 studies have shown a person’s ………………. goes up when they are sleep deprived.

20. Insufficient sleep is one of the three factors which explain the …………………

21. People who are given the …………………. by doctors find it more effective if they sleep properly.

22. Walker has described how a lack of deep sleep is linked to ………………. in young children.

IELTS Academic Reading Test

Questions 23 and 24

Choose TWO letters, A-E. Write the correct letters in boxes 23 and 24 on your answer sheet.

The list below mentions some things that individuals can do to ensure they get the right amount of sleep.

Which TWO of these things are recommended by Matthew Walker?

A. taking a natural product that encourage sleep

B. avoiding looking at brightly lit screens after dark

C. negotiating later start times for work with employers

D. keeping a regular record of hours spent sleeping

E. reducing your activity level at a set time of day

IELTS Academic Reading Test

Questions 25 and 26

Choose TWO letters, A-E.

Write the correct letters in boxes 25 and 26 on your answer sheet.

Which TWO of the following statements are true of Matthew Walker?

IELTS Academic Reading Test

A. He is sometimes reluctant to admit what his profession is.

B. He has based his new book on a series of lectures.

C. He has experienced significant improvements in his health.

D. He has carried out research into the meaning of dreams.

E. He always makes sure he gets enough sleep each night.

IELTS Academic Reading Test


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BEST IELTS Academic Reading Test 403

IELTS Academic Reading Test


14. E

15. B

16. E

17. A

18. B





23. D/E

24. D/E

25. A/E

26. A/E

IELTS Academic Reading Test

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