TED Talks Daily on Smash Notes

Sleep is your superpower | Matt Walker

TED Talks Daily

Sleep is your life-support system and Mother Nature's best effort yet at immortality, says sleep scientist Matt Walker. In this deep dive into the science of slumber, Walker shares the wonderfully good things that happen when you get sleep -- and the alarmingly bad things that happen when you don't, for both your brain and body. Learn more about sleep's impact on your learning, memory, immune system and even your genetic code -- as well as some helpful tips for getting some shut-eye.

Episode notes last updated on July 09, 2019 04:50


In this episode

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Smash Notes summary for this episode

Who is Matt Walker?

Matt Walker is a Professor of Neuroscience at UC Berkeley, trying to understand why we sleep.

What do we need to know about sleep and testicles?

Men who sleep five hours a night have significantly smaller testicles than those who sleep seven hours or more.

Why do we need sleep for our brain?

Your brain needs adequate sleep to absorb, and to retain new memories. Scientist validated these assumptions by comparing a group of sleep deprived students to a group that got 8 hours of sleep before taking a test. The former had a 40% deficit in their ability to make memories. For some children, this could be the difference between getting an A and failing.

What goes wrong within the brain deprived of sleep?

A brain on sleep deprivation shuts down your brain's ability to commit new experiences to memory, according to the MRI images obtained from subjects in study.

Are aging, dementia and alzheimers related?

It is suggested that disruption of deep sleep is a serious contributor to memory decline.

Are sleeping pills any good?

No, they do not produce naturalistic sleep.

Is sleep is essential for the body?

Yes, sleep is essential for our body and specifically for the cardiovascular system. We can measure it during the Daylight Time transitions, where the rate of heart attacks before/after go up and down by 27% each year, indicating that even 1 hour of sleep deprivation can have a tremendous impact on the physiology of our body.

How does sleep deprivation impact our immune system?

If you are not sleeping enough, even as little as only sleeping 4 hours for 1 night, your immune system becomes significantly impacted. The link between lack of sleep and cancer is so strong now, some night-shift jobs are being classified as carcinogens.

How can I fix my sleep?

1 - Regularity. Go to bed at the same time and wake up at the same time. It will anchor your sleep and improve its quality.
2 - Sleep in cool temperature. Your body needs to drop the temperature to sleep; 65 degree Fahrenheit is optimal for most people.

Sleep is not an optional luxury, it is a non-negotiable biological necessity. Treat it that way.