« Ten Percent Happier with Dan Harris

#221: All Your Sleep Questions, Answered | Dr. Matthew Walker

2020-01-08
Dr. Matthew Walker is a sleep scientist with a PhD in neurophysiology. His research investigates the impact of sleep on human health and diseases like Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, and cancer. In this episode, Dr. Walker shares significant findings on what happens to us when we do not get enough sleep. He also offers practical tips on how we can get more, quality sleep and how meditation can help. Join the New Year's Meditation Challenge: https://10percenthappier.app.link/IpETZ7CAX1 Plug Zone-- Book: Why We Sleep, https://www.amazon.com/dp/1501144316 Website: https://www.sleepdiplomat.com/ Twitter: https://twitter.com/sleepdiplomat?lang=en Podcast Insiders Feedback Group: https://10percenthappier.typeform.com/to/vHz4q4 Have a question for Dan? Leave us a voicemail: 646-883-8326
This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
For maybe see ten percent happier vodka in her, hey guys. We got to sleep but Mann's report. This week, big me the episode we're gonna have answer all your questions about sleep, which is a huge issue before we die three items of business one. There is still time to join our ten percent happier January meditation challenge two days left to join the challenge Friday that, tenth of January, the less data sign up. You can follow me and one of our star meditation teachers, Alexis Santos, in the challenge you can sign up through the app set thing to point out since we're doing our sleep an this week that if, if you check out the app itself with a whole any section of the EP dedicated to sleep and with were here from a lotta users about how helpful that is- and the third thing to point out- is that the voice mail,
this week are gonna, be answered by Orange a sulphur. other really popular meditation teacher on the tempers happier, app and orange has recorded many of our most popular meditations for sleep. So he'll be entering sleep related meditation questions at the end of this episode. Okay, so our guests this week, is Doctor Matthew Walker, who earned his neuroscience degrees over in the UK and then became Professor psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and is right now professor of neuroscience, and psychology at the University of California in Berkeley, He wrote a best selling book called why we sleep and we're doing a two part episode this week in the first part, we're talking about all the things all the unfortunate things that have happened. You when you don't get enough sleep to your heart, to your brain, the other party or body were talking about the
link between sleep in mental health. What kind of impact patient can have on sleep and Eddie Stigma and our society around sleep and then so we did have an hour together on that several months ago. Actually, we were first recorded that first hour, and we took a couple months and I started to wear a sleep tracking ring, and so we go back to Matthew for another chunk of this interview. Where we talk about my data and many other questions that are fascinating. So here we go part. One of the interview with Matthew Walker on sleep to pleasure, to me you, a Catholic. I know you ever having listen. There's money package will likewise do I have to say our relationship goes by. He is at the very least to see old friends and add you have had as I was saying too early
We really have an impact on the way I think about sleep, so excited the pass that long to our listeners viewers. So let me just ask some biographical stuff: how did you get interested in sleep in the first place? I dont think anyone you know when the five or six years old and you go around the clustering Missy, what she liked to be when you grow up. No one shoots: the hindrances have lived to be asleep research and I think we all accidental sleet researchers- and I was the same so back during my phd work. I was looking at brainwave patterns in people with dementia early stages and I ve tried to differentially diagnose what form of dementia that they had. Was it to the rescue of Dementia Alzheimer's Disease and was failing miserably and used to go home at the weekend, with the substantial journals and put them in my doctors residents. Equally with information around me and what we can
Reading that some of the centres that certain types of dementia would eat away at in the brain was sleep generating centres and then for other types of dementia. They left those centres and well, I'm measuring the brainwave pattern of my patients at the wrong time, which is when their awake should be measuring it when they're asleep started doing that got great results, and at that point I thought maybe the sleep disruption is not just a symptom of the dementia. I wonder if it's actually a causal trigger and that's when I just fell headlong into this field of sleep research and at that time no one could answer the question: why do we sleep twenty years ago, the crew? His answer was that we sleep to cure sleepiness, which is that the factors equivalent of saying to cure hunger? It tells you nothing about the biological,
of nutrition. We really knew nothing about why we see why we sleep twenty years ago. We just had very little understanding other than that. It was deathly if you moved it and they did these cities. Some studies that probably will never be replicated again for ethical reasons in rats and they decided to deprive the rats completely of sleep and what they found was that those rats would die as quickly from sleep deprivation as they would from food. And so we were only on the cusp of realizing. How fundamentally necessary sleep was I then thought? Well, you know if nobody knows it right now, I'll just come along and for two years, right now, I'll just come along and for two years I'll go to America and I went to Boston. I thought all crackling question with total naivety, not hubris. I'm not realising that some of the most brilliant minds it failed to crack the question and, as you said, that was twenty years ago and I think hard Lessons
a little about who asks them? They will meet her out. Their lessons have difficulty all the same, and I've been schooled after the peasant. So what do we know about? Why we sleep? Well, it's fascinating. Over the past twenty years we ve had an explosion of knowledge. In fact, we ve had to attend A question rather than saying: why do we sleep we ve now had to ask? Is that anything that sleep doesnt serve in terms of a benefit for either the brain or the body and the answer seems to be no. There is no single tissue within the body, nor process of the mind that isn't wonderfully and hence when we get sleep would demonstrably impaired when we don't get enough. So walk me through the reasons why we should be attending. So carefully to our sleep, if we don't get enough sleep,
What happens so, let me start in the body and will just go through, may be that the major physiological systems to firstly reproductive health. What we know is that men who were sleeping just forty five hours, a night of have a level of testosterone which is that of some want ten years their senior, so a lack of sleep will age a man by a decade. In terms of that aspect of wellness virility, we see equivalent impairments and female reproductive health caused by lack of sleep away from the reproductive system. We also know that a lack of sleep hasn't dramatic impact on your cardiovascular system and is a great example from perhaps the largest sleeps that he ever done. It affects one point: six billion people it is said, have undertaken across about sixty different countries twice a year and its core
daylight saving time now in the spring, when we lose one arab sleep, we see a subsequent twenty four percent increase in heart attacks the following day, which stands me in the autumn in the full. When we gain an air of sleep, we see a twenty one percent reduction in heart attacks. That's how free challenge. Vulnerable are cardiovascular system set up by the way you see exactly the same profile for road traffic accidents on our streets, even suicide rates following daylight saving time. I speak about the immune system, though, because that something else that's fundamentally regulated by lack of sleep. It doesn't require whole night of sleep deprivation. I can take an individual and we can deprive you, let's say of four hours of sleeps
You get four hours that one night and then the next day we measure some critical anti cancer fighting immune cells called natural killer cells and their almost like the secret service agents of your immune system, very good at identify malignant tumors in destroying them after one night of four hours, leap. We see a seventy percent drop in these natural killer cells, these critical anti cancer fighting cells and we could just keep stepping through the body. But let me just take a moment to go upstairs in the brain. Begets sleep is not just for your body, it's in fact by the brain of the brain and perhaps most importantly, for the brain one of the most feared diseases and about nations is outside mister.
And what we ve discovered over the past five years now is that this a remarkable sewage system in your brain back kicks into high dear at night, while we sleep and that sewage system is called the gleam fat system now. You have a similar system in your body that everyone knows it's called the lymphatic system. We didn't realize. The brain also has a cleansing system, gleam fat existence and one of the sort of toxic metabolic by products That's sleep. Using this system will wash away at night is sticking toxic. Protein called be amyloid and Peter Amyloid is one of the protein culprits underlying Alzheimer's disease,
And so what we see is that, even after one night, you can bring perfectly healthy people into the bark tree, you can actually remove best sleep or even just selectively. Remove that deep sleep, which is when that sort of system that sort of good night sleep, clean kind of power, cleanse actually happens. You can just selectively move that type of sleep and the next day you do what called spinal cord puncture an? U siphoned off some of the fluid who volunteers for this kind of stuff. You have to pay them rather a lot of my aunt and be very nice, and they never do the steady again. Probably so what we find is tat. measure of cerebrospinal fluid that we take from the spinal cord tells us what's going on in the brain. We see an immediate next day rise in the amount of this bitter amyloid toxic protein circulating in this system, and this is in helping people to just one might
So now you can imagine what happens if you scale that across weeks we is but it's like compounding interest on alone, every night that your shot changing your brain of sleep, you're, not clear using the brain of that better amyloid that Toxic Alzheimer's protein, and so it starts to scale. It doesnt scale in a linear fashion, because it's an exponential and that's exactly what we see why Alzheimer's Disease as a pattern of pathology and as a pattern of cognitive decline, and just last year we published evidence that those two things that, as you get older, you sleep gets worse and, as you get all, your memory gets worse. Those two things on simply coincidental there actually closely interrelated they were really understanding so much more now about the fundamental role but sleep place in every one of these physiological systems. In the body and operations of the mind. We can also speak about sleep and mental health. Hopefully, at some point that link is,
probably strongest. What what's out whether now, just where I was going to my mind this? What is the impact of sleep on our emotions on our relationships are in our ability to perform yeah? It's it's, no, really very clear. Firstly, if you take sleep away from an individual and you look at the changes in the brain- There is a deep emotional centre of the brain that I know that you have spoken about before called the amygdala and it's one of the centre piece regions for the generation of impulsive, strong reactions particular negative impact. Reactions. We did a study where we took people and we deprive them of sleep for night put them in the scanner and that part of the emotional brain showed a sixty percent increase in its reactivity. The next day what was worse was that so the words you're freaking out Maurice so yet your emotional brain is just incredibly sensitized by a lack of sleep.
And part of the reason that we found that was another part of the brain call the prefrontal, cortex and politically the middle part of the prefrontal cortex that sits right above your nose, but two inches above that that say you maybe about says, but prefrontal cortex is an evolving reg leading arm. That's right, see you can think of your prefrontal cortex, almost like the ceo of your brain ass, the surrender of saddening, yeah, sort of high level top down executive control decisions and its normally nicely linked to it. sort of neanderthal emotional brain and it controls it, but without sleep that connection had actually been severed and, as a consequence, without sleep we become all emotional gas pedal and too little regulatory control break as it were, and what was frightening to me in some ways was that that neural signature was not done similar to numerous psychiatric conditions and window finding links between a lack of sleep and I'm just
what does such as anxiety, PTSD, included, schizophrenia, depression and, tragically, and most recently, suicide as well. In fact, sleep disruption seems to predict. Suicidal thoughts, suicidal attempts and suicide completion and in has twenty years of studying this field with sleep, a mental health. We have not been able to do a single psychiatric condition in which sleep is normal. So I think sleep has a profound. story to tell our understanding, maybe your treatment, perhaps our prevention of great mental illness. It also has a profound story to tell about who we are and how we operate as a species. So now these, scared the pants out there that anybody we welcome with. Hopefully, you scared their pants off and put their pajama pants on. Let let's just talk about what we can do to.
Make sure we get enough sleep before he died too, planes that I want to ask, I can imagine people. The audience are thinking, ok, I was this I'm in them. Of lifetime of sub optimal sleep. I've got the years of compounded about them all sleep. Am I screw Nor can I can I get my act together now it is the salvation. Yes, the answer is yes and no I'm! No, in the sense that sleep is not like the bank, you can't accumulate a debt and then hope to pay it off at a later point in time. So you called short sleep during the week and then try to sort of binge sleep at the weekend. It's not the credit system like that. So what is half has happened in the past retrospectively in the rear view, mirror whatever dammit
wisdom by lack of sleep has been done, but it's never too late to start sleeping better and I'm not just that of pulling out my palms and being sort of raw. We know but it's so those are my city and we we ve done some of these studies to. Were you take a group of midlife adults who have untreated sleep acne, which is asleep disorder with heavy snoring app near simply means the absence of breath to our people, a sort of sleeping at night and then there's something to snore, and then they stop breathing, if, by the way you know of anyone who snores or you know as a listener, that you are snoring and having that go and see your doktor is a deadly disease and there are treatment outcomes. There is the most undiagnosed sleep disorder. We think about eighty percent of people who have it No it so. The only way to know whether you should be worried about this is if your partner or Eddie,
It has ever been near when you're sleeping says you're snort. So that's the first indication there are apps out the that you consider download that will listen to you and give you a snoring sort of measure? The other thing you can do it go online and search for the term. Stop dash. Bang now hear me out: Sd Opie Dash be a Angie. It's a questionnaire and it allows you to assess your relative risk of sleep at me up and you can fill it out on line and you can get a school and that will also give you a bull park estimate. But someone is telling you that your snoring and to the point where Europe you could wake them up there,
you definitely need to go and see asleep doctor and see if you can be a sort of explore whether you do actually suffer from clinical grade sleep at near. So we had this cohort of patients and they had at that time, undiagnosed, asleep, a mere identified it and then gave them a treatment which is to suit the small, smashed that keeps the airway open, so they stop snoring I'll, see, perhaps see pat machine yeah stands for continuous positive away pressure, see pap and it turned out that about half of these on patients complied treatment over the course of a decade or fifteen years, and the other half didn't services of an experiment of nature as it were, and what you find is that those people who comply to the treatment staved off the onslaught of Alzheimer's disease by ten to fifteen years relative to the group that was untreated, in other words, a causal demonstration that improving your sleep here. By way,
a treatment intervention can actually sort of de risk your likelihood of developing Alzheimer's disease. So it never is too late to start sleeping better it's good to know our towards dive into some of your tips. Antithesis sent seems a little glib, but your recommendations for improving our sleep. One of them is keep it called yeah you're right with positive tips. I think people typically don't worry, gone to read a set of rules. They respond to reasons I think more than rule. So if you allow my scientific brought up I'll, tell you the rule and then I'll explain the reasons great. So I'm Tipp it cool is one piece of advice. Most people set their bedroom temperature or have a temperature. That's too I am the sort of low seventies. Optimal seems to be about sixty seven degrees, Fahrenheit or about eighteen degrees, maybe a little
more am celsius. Why is that? It turns out that your brain in your body need to drop their core temperature by about one degree Celsius or about to two and a half degrees Fahrenheit. For you to fall asleep, and then you to stay asleep and it's the reason I always find it easier to fall asleep in a room. That's too cold than to heart, because the room that's too cold is at least taking you in there. right. Thermal direction for good sleep, so say you're a see if you have that ability, if it saves, do so crack open a window. If you cannot regulate the temperature, if that would help depending on how cool it is outside. You can't do that. Standing floor fan to cool. You is also helpful. The other way that you can hack the cooling system is, and I dislike the wet hack but have hot bath or a shower.
which sounds completely counter intuitive to what I said, but it turns out the reason most people sleep better. After hot bath, when they get in there, all of the blood comes to the surface of the skinny, get rosy cheeks called mass of dilation and then you get out of the bath, and what happens? Is that your skin now with all of the blood, this act as an enormous radiator, release in and evacuate a huge amount of heat from your core, and so your core body temperature actually plummets after a hot bath. That's why you actually sleep better and we ve done their studies and we ve played railway body temperature. So typical is is definitely one of the recommendations. I think a second is light. We are a dark, deprived society in this modern era and we need darkness at night to trigger the release of a hormone called melatonin and melatonin actually helps tell you
brain your body when it's time to fall asleep and if you're not getting sufficient sort of signals of darkness, for example, if you're using screen so phones, I'm even just overhead lighting in your house, can have an impact that light essentially stamps the brakes on melatonin, and so your brain doesn't get the signal that its nighttime. It still thinks it's daytime soon. No wonder many of us struggle with sleep at night. I'm one way you can do that. First, the transfer away from those devices at least an hour before going to bed stay away from beer thunder and tablet, but
so the tv television, usually it at a distance? That's not far enough for those sort of light signals the photons to impact you more impact for, however, is overhead light, and the recommendation would be in the last hour before bed. Just turn off half of the lights in your house. Not only is that, in order to help your electricity bill, but you'd be surprised at how supper ethic Saddam dim light actually makes you too. It's almost sort of like a sedating influence. The reason is because its helping your brain realise its night and your brain is then starting to respond by leasing, melatonin and getting you ready for bad, whereby people like me who like to read to fall asleep? reading is fine under dim light, but try to use a book if you're, using an Ipad, try to put it on
reverse mode, were the paper is black and text is white rather than having that sort of a strict, stringent sort of white coming at you. They did a fascinating, steady back in Boston where they had people read a book for an hour before bad or read an Ipad for an hour before bed and what they found is that the eye pad. Firstly, delayed the release of that common that we was describing melatonin by three hours. So, if I did that this evening here in California, it would put me much closer to Hawaii time in terms of my melatonin release than it would California delay it. Secondly, the amount of melatonin that was released was dropped by about fifty percent five zero. Third, they actually seem to have less rapid movement sleeper, what we call dream sleep and finally, when they
stopped using the Ipad that impact on sleep didn't go away immediately, had a blast radius of several days, almost like a watch out period, but tell him impact for it was so television as long as it's at a distance knots about if you go to read at night, train use, try paper book. If not it's on an e reader then try to make it is dim as possible. What do that sort of reverse with the screen in the text. The other recommendation you have, which you really I had never really heard before, but you really hit hard, is regularity. That's right so going to bed at the same time, waking up at the same time, no matter whether it's the week day or the weekend. Alot of people do the since what we social jet lag, where you're going to bed somewhat earlier during the week, because you have to wake up for work and then at the weekend you sleep in late, maybe by two or three
as but then come Sunday night. You have to drag your sort of twenty four hour body clock all the way back and Sunday night is usually miserable. That's the equivalent for your biology of flying back and forth from San Francisco to New York every weekend to three our time difference its torture. On your back, watching and it comes with health consequences and our bodies are designed for regularity, including your sleep. Wake rhythms. If you give it regularity, it often can take care of itself. So irregularity is king. In that sense, it really anchors your sleep and sort of can improve.
Quantity and quality of that same year, asking people to fundamentally change their their social lives. Perhaps some of it may require a change in social life, and you know I fall prey to this to our typically try to have you earlier social engagements than than later, not quite the alibi special but yeah. I think it's if you want to prioritize that aspect of your sleep and you realize how import sleep is, and I am not trying to tell anyone how to live their life. I can tell you about the science of sleep and then, when you know that knowledge, it's up to you, how you'd like to live your life
What I would say is from the evidence that we have right now, this very simple truth. This is epidemiological studies in coastal cities across millions of individuals of the show Theo Sleep, the shorter your life. At short, sleep predict old cause mortality, so I cannot think of any more efficacious freely available, democratic and or for healthcare system than this thing called full night sleep I mean it is mother. Nature is best effort, yet it immortality So what are you going just curious about how you operate personally What have you got a bit? So I'm sort of attend to ten thirty, the bad guy unusually around without having to wake up around sort of six thirty issue. So I I give myself a non negotiable. Eight, our opportunity of sleep, you see eight and a half hours.
And again, that's not because I want to sort of seem like practice what I preach. I want to be a poster child for sleep. If you you the evidence. As I do it's purely selfish. I dont want to live a shorter life. nor do I want to live a longer life, but in sickness or disease. I want both the life and a longer health spent, not just the lumber lifespan. For example, my family has on both sides are very strong history of cardiovascular disease, and we know that sleep is probably one of the best forms of blood pressure. Medication you could ever want, and so I sleep that amount folk for selfish reasons, and What do you do if you ve got some something I want to do on a Saturday night to suck it up. What do you say? No, you know if I will always try and find a way to leave
early in a vaguely graceful manner. People generally know what I do, and so I get a bit of a get out of cod that get out of jail freak out in that sense. But I do I do really prior. Ties it now: it's not to say that I'm so puritanical, but there are times when you know, stay out, late and I'll get to bed late. I will still wake up at the same time the next morning, because otherwise, what starts to happen? Is you just drift forward in time you go to bed late than you wants to wake up late and then that, following evening you not tired at the same time. So what happens you go to bed even later, which means that you wake up even later and it's a self fulfilling prophecy? some point you have to pay the piper. You just have to cut yourself off that next morning. No it's going to be a short night of sleep. Now it's gonna be a rough day the next day and then get back into set the following evening that more to me, as with travel due to jet, like than typically does informed by social life right because you do travel
quite a bit. I would imagine, and how do you how to deal with that suit? You can't cured jet lag while there is a cure for jet like which is don't try, but you can't treated. There are actually ways that you can ameliorate the, The effects lots of tips firstly, as soon as you get on the plane immediately turn all of your clock, faces, to the time in the news own way, you're going to travel to and then your mom mental mindset. Your operating system is already in that time so and its important, because it in full you as to when you should sleep a lot of people sleep at the wrong time especially on long haul flights. So let's am travelling from San Francisco to back home to London, London, eight hours ahead, I get on the plane. Four p m in San Francisco words already for I M in the morning, so when I get on the plane, I should actually sleep in the first half of the flight,
just what everyone else in London is asleep, when I was see other people typically sleeping, in the second or the last part of the flight, which is now Ten or eleven o clock in the morning, which is when everyone in London is awake and no big surprise when you do that you get off the plane and then come that following evening when everyone else is going to bed at ten eleven. midnight you're lying there in Beit bad having gone to bed at the same time, and you wide awake, and you don't understand why, in the reason is because you didn't wake up until essentially eleven a dot m that morning. But how did you how to get yourself to bed at four hundred in the afternoon? So you know one way, trying to it is starting to wake up a little bit earlier, an earlier in the week beforehand, so try to bring yourself back to that time. Second, stay away from alcohol and caffeine on the flights. They are served
really, but they are the enemies of sleep, and these are two of the big recommendations I have for people for how to sleep better tonight. They make me deeply. popular, but generally an unpopular person based on personality, that this makes it even worse, caffeine, Is everyone knows it's a stimulant? It's a psychoactive stimulant and I think it's the only one that we freely give to our children without too much concern, but most people know that it keeps you awake what you do no is how long it's in your system, so caffeine has a half life of about six hours and it has a quota life of twelve hours. What that means is that if you have a cup of coffee at noon,
watch of that. Caffeine is still swimming around in your brain at midnight. So having a cup of coffee in the middle of the day is the equivalent of getting into bed at midnight, and before you turn the light out, you swim a quarter of a cup of coffee and hope for good night of sleep, and it's probably not going to happen to be mindful of caffeine. In take, I tried to sort of recommend people you know cause it off. Maybe fourteen hours before bad talked afford. now, as the other thing is alcohol in a lot of people, would say why I really sedative. Sedation is not sleep, but when you have a drink in the evening, you mistake the former for the latter. You think that you're actually asleep but you're, not you that alcohol is a sedative Sidney,
she's, not sleep, but when you have a drink in the evening, you mistake the former for the latter. You think that you're actually asleep but you're not you're, just simply blunting your cortex, so you're not falling asleep faster. And if I were to look at the electrical signature of your sleep when you ve had a drink and evening and show it to you, it's very different than the signature of natural, normal sleep and the final two problems with alcohol is that first, it will fragment your sleep, so you wake up many more times throughout the night. Typically, this so short that you don't remember them. You dont commitment to memory then the next morning you wake up and you feel on restore unrefreshed by asleep, and if you have that feeling here and you're having a nightcap, you may want to put those two and two things together. The other thing about alcohol by the way is that it's actually quite potent too in terms of blocking your dream- sleep, your rapid, I movement, sleep as well, so the advice that I would give to people with
is politically incorrect is to go to the pub in the morning and in that way, the alcohols out your system in the evening, and there is no harm, no file from asleep perspective, but I'd never say that on unfilled I rarely drink or drink. Alcohol or coffee, and I would imagine the same is true for you, yes, I guess you're gonna above in the morning had sands per in the morning. I I don't drink coffee nigh, have decaffeinated coffee. In the morning I drink decaffeinated tee for the rest of the day, There was a time in my life when I was drinking calculated black tee, I mean a British. Can it comes with a passport?
but I was finding that, as I was getting older, especially as age progressed, the impact of coffee was increasing this and getting worse too, and that in part because ass we get older or sleep just becomes more fragile. So anything that's trying to invade the sleep process just hasn't easier time of doing it. Ass we get older, so this advice is only becomes ever more, I think, recommended as the age clock advances and then in terms of alcohol, I've just never enjoyed the taste so I dont really drink pray much, so I sound desperately boring bow. I mean you're a good company. Company, I don't know, leave rainment, typically lose the will to live in front of me when they hear what I do so so
What if it's? If we want a drink in moderation, what would you basically raft pair piper yeah? You have to understand that again it's going to harm you, sleep, looked unjust universities with a single glass of wine, as they have done with a single cup of coffee in the evening and both of them separately will have that impact. So you know I'd love to see otherwise, but that would be scientifically untruthful and I'm just a scientist too the data and then what you do with that data is is entirely I'm not inclined to kill the messenger. Let me just say You back onto the plain of four o clock that, when you're flying from San Francisco to London, how I know you refrain from alcohol and and caffeine, but how The only way I be able to put myself down at that point would be to take a volume. So what what do you do so As I said that one of the things I start trying to do is just things
he's my son of wake up time into bed time in the week before, but you can only do that by about thirty or forty minutes before it becomes unreasonable. The second thing I typically do is, I will take melatonin with a coffee though so? Firstly, many people will use melatonin as asleep aid here in Amerika, it's not regulated by the empty FDA, so you can buy it over the counter. Most people take too much. They either take five milligrams or ten milligrams. The danger there is that it actually shuts down your bodies and production of military so aim for somewhere between half a million. Three milligrams is ready, advised when you're stable in a new timezone and your young, healthy melatonin seem to necessarily help you with your sleep, the older that we get the greater the benefit that we see with melatonin once you are stable and in your time so, but for everyone.
no matter what age when you're travelling and you're in a different time. So within the first few days, that's when melatonin does seem to be efficacious. So what I'm going to try and do when I get on the plane is, I will take three milligrams of melatonin and then that tries to fool my brain and thinking. Well, it was four p m and you know it least sort of five or six hours before the darkness signal is going to rise and then all of a sudden it gets the signal say: oh no, I'm sorry it the is nighttime and that will help bring my sleep onset earlier and allow me a greater probabilities, not guarantee, but a greater probability of falling asleep meditation helps Of course you know into wasted. I wanted to discuss this what's interesting, probably about four years ago, as I was writing this book on sleep, I was no. I was sleep. Why we sleep now and you dont have to read
fuck, you just have to buy it. That's all. I ask you to do what It was not a meditative at that point and I'm pretty hard, no scientists. I thought someone that meditation leave spoken elegantly about this before that it had the stigma associated with it. It was a bit wooing, but there was a lot of data coming out on the benefits of meditation to help you fall asleep and fourthly, faster, and so I started doing my research just so that I could write about it in the book and describe the science and it was quite powerful and it was we're getting more robust as an effect, so thought while stop? Maybe I'll start to try it myself, because I'm not immune to a bad night of sleep. There are times when I you know, can get anxious and stressed with work and doesn't help me with my sleep and, worse still, when you know everything about sleep by the way you become the Woody Allen. Neurotic of this may well be lying in bed. At this point, I'm thinking. Okay, so prefrontal cortex is not shutting down
and, if not releasing enough melatonin. I know that my other hormones, and not at that point you dead in the water for the next two hours, it it's a terrible affliction. So I started to meditate and hunted incredibly helpful. And that was four years ago- and you know just as I was walking in to do the interview. I got my notification from ten percent The current I'm not saying you know it's it's time. The method so, you don't let them because we're doing this interview in the middle of a day San Francisco time. So you know that is a right before bed I'll- I often will strategically meditate at bedtime. If no- and I can sense it. I know what I'm stressed. I know as many people will, that you ve just got that. With acts of anxiety and concern- and you know that sort of feeling in this modern day, and age were constantly on reception. Very rarely do we due reflection and for many people the only time you due reflection of fortune is
Your head hits the pillow and that's the last time that you want to start doing your mental processing and I think the reason that if you look at it, if you know meditation meditation apps, if you pull out usage statistics, what see as this incredible spike right. Around bedtime. I've got are attacked him in the room here and there there are nodding. There has not yet had us, and you what's happening- is that people are self medicating the problems with sleep by way of met. It is beautiful united in its almost as though it wasn't initially designed for that, but the audience you know suffering from this. An era of sleep difficulty found when it was helpful and its helpful at all times of day, as we know, but one of the times that its helpful is at night. It's a little surprising I'd be interested to hear you walk through a little bit of the science on this, because if you translate the word Buddha. It means awake so,
I dont know that the original intimate with intimately familiar with them under the Buddha, if I was my life, would be quite different, but I dont know that the original design of the practice was, or sleep. What I do know this and when I go and meditation retreat worm meditating, all day every day my sleep goes down to just a tiny nub. How I feel great so I've always been sort of consumers by the fact that meditation can help sleep, given that when you're doing it at high dose it you don't seem to need much. It's interesting that I've looked at that data are actually said Arthur. I have often been asked tat question. Is this concept where, if your meditating in doing it intensively, your sleep need goes down, the detaching doesn't seem to be quite in that direction or supportive of it. There was a study that came out just a few to go from Richard Davidson former guest on this, my fantastic neuroscientist, and they looked at sleep after a period of intense meditation things about eight hours.
During the day. I think that's enough and it is to create that it's gotta be several days in to attend day meditation locate. Seventy meditation retreat you ve gotta, be really gave in and then what happens? Is that you're just like in the morning. First, you get incredibly vividly. I want to say this as if it's true for all human beings are the same. In my own experience and in the experience that's been related to be by many people, I know you have very dreams and you sleep very little and it's like you. Wake up and you're exhausted, you're, just awake rate than what the one thing I've heard floated by my under a scientist friend of my judge, doktor jet brewer, who is not asleep expert- is that I know of but has done quite a bit of meditation under a size. Is it has I don't know if he was being scientifically when he said this, and I hope is not mad at me. If I quote him because I'm doing it the apparel something about it, when you're suffering less, when your mental churn goes down, you made people sleep.
I don't know how that lands with you but passing along, and I think that would be good logic if, if the only thing that sleep supported was our mental health, but sleep supports as we ve spoken about all of your physiological systems. You cardiovascular system, your immune system, your feel, a regulatory system. You know reproductive system, so all of those things continue to need to be tended, even if your mental health is still robust and good. So I dont think there is what we do now If you have people do an intensive period, for example, of learning there? Actually is an increased demand for sleep or if people who are currently sedentary and do a lot of physical activity, it typically helps with sleep and they sleep more and in this city, and I think it's really interesting what you described, which is how long do you have to go with intensive meditation?
to actually see this change. What they found was that, after an eight hour intensive period, it was actually increase. There is a ten minute increase in the amount of sleep and attempted drop in the amount of time that they were awake. So if anything, there was actually driving too, and for some more of that sleep I buy that because just based on my own experience, the first day of meditation retreat you're trying to hard so interesting so could just be a man effort, yes demand. Yes, I thought I'd increased demand for sleeping consequently, the other that happens on a meditation retreat is when you're doing TED's meditation. Is you realize how sleep deprived? You are the business of the world you're just run ragged even if you're getting- and you know technically enough sleep, I don't want to again. I'm I'm saying you too liberally here I'll just have one to rephrase rephrase it. In my own experience, I find the first couple days of a retreat can be quite sleepy because
I've, describe it as being on a plane that sitting of foamed runway here, it's like wow, moving so fast and all of a sudden things. Slowing down and washing out your sleep debt that you write Tryin to get over, that risk, chronic debt that you ve been building up. Now, as I said you, you can't it's not like the bank. So if I take you this evening and I deprive you of a full native sleep eight hours and then I give you all of the recovery sleep, but you want on a second later, the third night. Yes, you will sleep more than is typical. but do you ever get back all of that eight hours that you lost and we just let you sleep and sleep, I'm each measure for days and days you never get back that four hours. You may only get back about fifty percent of the fleet that you ve lost, which is faster, and we can describe why. I think that that's the case, but to come back about meditation. I think it's it's interesting to that. Perhaps what also changes for what I've heard, is when you want us to be falling asleep and waking up. You see your sort of going to bed. Some people have been.
Suggesting they go to bed earlier in the waking up earlier, and it brings us to a point which is, if you look at hunter. Gatherer tribes, for example, who is way of life is not changed for thousands of years and we ve studied them to not only did they. You know the sufficient amount somewhere around about eight and a half hours total during the twenty four hour period, and they usually do that in what we call by facing sleep when they have about six and a half to seven hours at night, and then they have a siesta like afternoon nap routinely. But what interesting? It's not just the amount of sleep, that's different between the lifestyle and modernity as we sit right now. It's the timing of their sleep, Have you ever thought about what the term midnight actually means, never Jazeera or in its Will you are on a beach, your friend Peter? It teaches Pakistan, you brought this up here and it really hit me middle live than I had ass. Yet for them, when you look at their sleep face, it really is quite close to the middle of their sleep cycle.
but for many of us you know it's the time when we think about you know, check email. Last time or really thinking. I should probably sat watching Netflix at this point in or for some time now and try to talk it either or Disney plot plus. Have you been speaking to the he done, my my preference. So I think you fascinating when you dislocate yourself from the trappings of the modern world? And I you do that when you go and retreat not that I have actually been, but I know I've heard a lot about it. Am, I think, that's when you start to actually reunite yourself with some many of our natural homo sapiens tendencies, one of which is
normal sleep cycle in a normal sleep phase, advocacy start diversely shortly after the sun goes down young and they ve done these cities with healthy people. Whether sitting at what time do you know me typically go to bed what you think, you're so sweet spot, they would say pulley like eleven p m these young kids, then they just said: ok, here's your phone, I'm taking it away sake biting family friends, we're going off an accounting trip up in the rockies for two weeks: no electricity, not even a car light. No, nothing and surprisingly they started to sleep somewhere around about nine hours after they wash them. They took away. That's like that to begin with, and they are committed to about nine hours, which is what we think eight to nine hours is typical. Human sleet need
again: they were going to sleep when they said eleven p M is my sweet spot. They were much closer to about eight thirty p m when they finally finished the end of the story, but to come back to your point, though, and that the comment on the word Buedir and what it actually means in the surprise, about of meditation being apps helpful to sleep. I urge you think it's helpful for at least two reasons based on the data. The first thing that I think it's helpful for is the balance of your nervous system, and we have two branches upon. The system, one is the fight or flight branch called the sympathetic nervous system. The other is the sort of the rest and digest the quiet branch of the nervous system called parasympathetic What we see is that people who suffer from insomnia they seem to be too far, I'm sort of switched over to the fight or flight branch of the nervous system. That part of your nervous system needs be shut off for you to fall asleep.
We see this very common. In my sleep centre This sort of note the exhaustion economy is key. Eating this wired and tired phenotype of people. What people coming in a missing to me like I'm, so desperately I'm exhausted, but I get into bed I'm just so wide that account called full, and part of that reason is because this branch of the nervous system is too revved up. It's like a carbon neutral, but your foot is all down to the floor and you conscious it off and you're never going to fall asleep in that state. But what lovely about meditation is that it seems too through breath, work and also through sort of practice on the mind it actually helps you shift out of that fight or flight branch of the nervous system mode back into the more calm, quiescent branch of the nervous system. That's the first thing that we know is sort of mechanistically. The way or one of the ways
meditation works. The second is a related system in the body which is called the HP access, which is the stress, access in the body, and the stress axis releases stress chemical cool court, system and a quarter. Socrates is increased and we see that in people who are struggling, to rise in the morning. It peaks in the middle of the day, and then it should drop down at night and full to almost its lowest point in the middle of the unless it's ramping down that decrease in this stress hormone cortisol helps us fall asleep, but if you measure that, people with insomnia it starts to fall down in the evening, but then right around bedtime. It gets jacked up again. as if the stress system in the cortisol release is increasing,
and we see that in people who are struggling with falling asleep or staying asleep. But if you look at the studies with method, meditation, wonderful, that levels of cortisol because of that stress, access seem to actually be rammed down, and so there is a second way that I think meditation comes in and just simply quiets the body both from a nervous system perspective and also stress hormonal perspective. and then I think there are benefits on the mind too but downstairs in the body. Those are the two reasons that I think we actually seeing meditation being efficacious as asleep eight, and the size of the effects of considerable as great study done just across the way, I'm at Stanford where they took a group of insomniac and they play someone in mindfulness meditation programme for eight weeks and they were meditating. I think it was around about spoke about thirty, two,
Forty minutes a day, I'm so was a non trivial amount, and after eight weeks those people responded by about forty minute reduction, in the amount of time it took them to fall, asleep that put them in context. Sleeping pills. Bass can give you in eight to ten minutes. Placebo gives you six to seven minutes, so sleeping pills, ready on much above a placebo, and they are very much not recommended anymore now, because of the deadly consequences of the carcinogenic association with sleeping pills which I'm happy to discuss. But in this to be a remarkable drop of a forty minute savings in terms of your time to fall asleep under sleep efficiency, you know they didn't, they won't waking up as much and they felt backed arrested the following day. That's a room, a couple benefit, you know if you had a drug that was giving you the
kind of benefit. It will be a blockbuster. Can you ve talked about two things? I want to put a pen and get back to sleeping pills, answered naps, but since when, meditation. What's them if you ve, gotten into bed and are struggling to fall asleep, do you recommend getting then going to sit somewhere to meditate or turning your phone on and meditating. While you, bad? What's it, what do you think we should have to tough situation? I think I would offer three things that people through freezer practices that you can try. The first is that you can try to meditate in bed that if you are practiced enough- and you can walk yourself through invitation. You can certainly try that and stay in bed the only day
though, is we typically recommend that people don't stay embed awake for longer than about fifteen or twenty minutes. If you haven't fallen asleep within twenty minutes, we ve broken up and you haven't fallen back, asleep, don't stay in bed and the reason is because your brain is this incredibly associated device and very quickly. It will learn that your bad is place of being awake and not being asleep, and this is why patients will sometimes makes me look I'd. I dont understand it. I'm watching television, evening at I'm falling asleep on the couch, and then I get into bed, I'd awake and I dont know why, and the reason is because you ve the association that your bedroom is the place of being await not being asleep. So the way that you break that association is I'm not staying embed awake very long. You get up, go to a different room or different part of the room. If you don't have that luxury and in dim light, just read a book or try
to meditate, and only when your sleepy and there's no time limit, should you go back to bed and that way, I will read: learn the association that your bed is the place of sleep and I think the energy there would be. No. You would never at the dinner table waiting to get hungry. Why but you lie in bed waiting to get sleeping, and the answer is that you shouldn't, so the recommendation would be take your meditation practice outside of the bedroom and that way, you're not associating that bad context, being awake with your bedroom itself outside the bedroom, where the bed, because I meditate in the bedroom but in a chair, around the corner. You that's, I think you know what I think, that somewhat safe as long as it's you're, not thinking of the bedroom writ large as a trigger. That's the only time that the entirety of the context itself can
learned and imprinted, and if that's the case, then you really need to chat about association and go somewhat different. But if that's not the problem, if you're not strictly than staying in the room and just sort of practising the is just fine, so It seems like you're saying the bedroom should be ten, a sacrosanct and my wife ice. I have chosen has worked on. The bed sounds like that I do not idea is then again you're learning the association that, when you get into bed it's a place of active cognitive thought. An engagement see you bet you really should be like a cave. You know, should be dark, cold and free of technology. What's your pre ritual and what are the, what are they? What's? What other serve pieces of sleep hygiene? Do you recommend so I too we have a wind down schedule of about an hour so an hour before bad. That's it I stopped working. Even their work is what I love in a door, and I have an obsession with. I just know that
I still have that fizzing mind if I just work straight up to the point of sleep I may fall asleep, but I know it will come back to bite me throughout the night because of that rolodex of some concern and anxiety. So now before bad, I just couldn't short I usually either read or just watch something white on television. That's where I sort of get my sort of fiction hit from it. I think you ve said this to you: it took me, don't read fiction books, anymore, consume nonfiction until I use television, as is my fiction hit. and then I usually stops of preparing for bed at that point of I usually dim down all the lights in the foam haven't be looking at screens have removed about half of the light bulbs in my bed. Room because that's you know usually the last point of contact for you. You go into your bedroom, really don't want that glaring and then I'll just say
make sure that my room is cold Ellison out before I start a family. I have offended side of my room typically and one of those people get hot at night in the thermal sense just a fly. they have no chance of the day, the other. So and at that point I crack windows open. The bedroom is usually than nice and cold. I have a very dim light. I mean a light that you could probably almost not read by in my bedroom, just so that I am not, cracking motions on the on the bed frame as I go in so I've already start
to scale down the light in fusion that I'm having and at that point, a pretty sort of free of my work baggage. If I feel as though, and I can tell it, I've got that jack the processed and haven't let go of something got on my mind at that point I know I'm just going to either stay outside of the room were like you, have a share in the corner and there I'll just sit and I'll just use do about a ten minute meditation, and that really helps me, and so what's the beef was sleeping pills, sleeping pills. I should say I'm not anti medication and I'm not against big farmer companies. I know the scientists the who do a lot of work on those drugs and everyone wants to help people and help disease and sickness. Unfortunately, however, the sleeping pills that we have right now do not produce net
ballistic sleep, they are a class of drugs and I'm not going to name because they're all much much less in terms of how they actually operate on the brain, the root cause of drugs that we call a sedative hypnotic and it comes back to alcohol once again. Sedation is not sleep. So when you take those sleeping pills as prescription sleeping pills, I'm not going to argue that you're awake at night you're, not, but to argue that you're in naturalistic sleep is an equal fallacy. The now you could argue- maybe that's not so, if it didn't come with with health consequences, but unfortunately it does have been some remarkable cities. Out of you see, SD, where they ve tracked thousands of people taking sleeping pills across just several years compared them to thousands of match controls. Firstly, what we see is that you have a signal
and increase in your mortality risk. If you're taking be sleeping pill every day or occasionally they found, there was a significant increase in mortality risk, even if you are taking somewhere between three to seventeen pills per year, so it was quite striking and then its gale, the more that you and by sleeping because I know what I want to name names but their pill. that are specifically designed to sleep or what about, and I die exile e benzodiazepines. So yes, these drugs, the sleeping pills, have very similar qualities to them. They all target a particular type of reception. Brain called the gap, a reception I want bore you with what it is, but its essential but you ve stopped signal in the brain and all of these drugs. The anti anxiety drugs included spend those that you speak about. They all essentially tickle the same sort of brain inhibiting receptors, just like sleeping pills
So I have to get up really early on Saturday and Sunday morning to anchor good morning, America and so one night a week. My doctor will, let me take a benzodiazepines You would save flush, those down the toilet. I can send you the scientific evidence and you can make the judgment call yourself, but the evidence is not favourable. The other components of it is that they also found a relationship with cancer scaled where's sleeping pill uses well now I wanted also know, however, that those studies on causal that simply association- and I can give you a counter argument. For example, it could be that people who are taking sleeping pills have had bad sleep all of their life, that's why they have a shorter lifespan. That's why we know that sleep is strongly lack of sleep is strongly related to numerous forms of cancer, so much
but that recently the World Health Organization, by the way classified any form of nighttime shift work as a probable carcinogen jobs that can induce cancer because of a disruption of your seat. Wait rhythms. So we know that that evidence between a lack of sleep and counts the strong. So maybe the reason I'm seeing this association, the literature is just because those people who are now taking sleeping pills have bad sleep all of their life and no wonder they are more likely to die. It's not the pills them. Yes, but your argument against the pills is not limited to the carcinogenic effects. The fact that you're not getting as you say, naturalistic sleep whenever they re truly asleep you're, not getting the rest. I will probably never be able to do those causal cities in humans, because the evidence is so powerful of a link between your death, risking your cancer risk that ethically it may not be possible. We some evidence in animal studies there. One one of the critical things with sleep is that it helps actually with learning in memory. So when you learn
information during the day, it's at night during sleep when you're essentially hit the safe button on those new memories, so that you don't forget and sleep actually helps increase the strengthening of the circuit. The memory circuit and one of the studies that needed in rats was looking at the effects of these sleeping medications. so they had a learning experience and then they let the rat sleep and normally what you see with healthy normal sleep is the strengthening of the memory circuit but then they also dose them with sleeping pills now, that's slept longer see would imagine if sleep is good for learning and memory and help strengthen the memory circuit than if they ve slept they should have an even stronger memory trace. The opposite is true. Not only did that sort of sleeping pill induce sleep not string
from the memory it actually unwired the memory. Second, there was actually a fifty percent reduction in the strength of the memory. Second, so there's a good example that you can be thinking that the hoping you sleep but the benefits of that non natural sleep on not only sort of not the sort of increased or amplify If anything there actually taken away the reason she isn't invoke this name before Peter IDEA, our mutual friend, you did a fantastic six hours, three secular. He is are you did at six our three session podcast that I recommend people listen to with him on sleep and one of the things that I would you say, is that you you're pretty servitude, to say the least, about sleep aids. But you you think if I'm getting you right, where'd. You correctly, you think there may be, may be some promise to C b d. So right now,
I think this I mean the reserve, if you think about accommodation regarding in apps and their self medication of sleeping difficulties with meditation. The same seems to be true wealth, marijuana that if you look at some of the usage, a lot of it happens at night to try to help people again, medicate their difficulties with sleep. Now, there's been a lot of work on these psychoactive component of marijuana, which is called th, see Tetra I drove Cannibal and the data that is not favourable. It may help you lose consciousness more quickly, so it may fool you into thinking that your falling asleep faster but th see, unfortunately, actually disrupt your rapid. I movement sleep again, your dream sleep and that's that's not ideal.
also what you do. Is you build a tolerance? And so, when you stop using, not only do you typically go back to the bad sleep, but you are having, but you can often have what's good rebound insomnia, which is that your sleep is even worse and it's not good to build up a crutch. Tolerance and dependence on asleep aid. However, seventy, which is the non psychoactive component of Morocco, which is now starting to sort of explode on the scene? The studies there look interesting. I think I would say we don't have anywhere near enough data yet for me to be in public, saying, definitely recommend C, b d, but, firstly, the seems to be evidence that it can help sleep and not necessarily come at a cost in the same way that th cedars We also don't seem to typically see the developer development of tolerance and thus a withdrawal profile when you stop, which is beneficial as well,
in the studies in animals. There again the seems to be a benefit their studies in animals, and I know for some people- animosities, nay. I completely understand it. You know difficult to to feel good about, but one of the upside of those is that its very difficult to think about a policy bo affect their dinner. They don't know what they're getting admitted that you have a sugar pellinore active dragon. This it's difficult to sort of argue that that's a placebo effect there too So I think firstly, the needs to be a lot more work that should happen and I'm actually kicking round the idea of just doing with myself? You know trying to do a kickstarter or gets funding. If anyone out there would, like you know, has little bit of money in their pockets and they would like train fund this type of. Do it scientifically. I really think it would be a good service to the field because if it's promising, even if it's gonna stigma now, we need to know about it, because people are desperately struggling with sleep. I am committed to trying to help
If this is a promising thing, we need to find it out, but do it scientifically, especially since there seemed to be many. Other sleep pays out there that you can recommend comfortable right exactly and so that you this whole promise. We should know it holds dangers. We should know. I think the other big problem there right now is that, just as with melatonin, because its not regulated by the FDA, even though the FDA is now so I can't get much more interested in Cbd and it's starting to think about legislation. It's a wild west out there so having a trusted brand is very difficult to come by and this lots friends that a sort of saying it in you scan this cure. I code on the bottle and it will give you a lap report from independent. I think that's a good start, but even then, how can you trusted in an unregulated space? As promised, though, we may ask about naps, you pronounce her against snapped foreign against if you can nap regularly and you're, not so
going with sleep at night, the knapsack just fine, that's the by phasing sleeping that Europeans from yet exactly- and you see this in Mediterranean cultures as well, so that the sea s delight behavior. But if you can't not regularly, and especially if you're struggling with sleep at night, the advice is dont nap during the day. And again this is a rule, but let me say to unpack the reasons behind that rule from the moment that you and I woke up this morning- a chemical has been building up in our brain, that chemical is called a Dennis scene and it's a sleepiness, chemical and the longer that we ve been awake, the more of it that builds up the more of it that built up the sleepy that we feel. So it's a good, healthy sleepiness camps. What we call sleep pressure, but then at night. What's wonderful is that the brain it gets the chance to essentially jettison all of that help
sleepiness chemical and it takes about eight hours to remove about sixteen hours of accumulated identity. So after about eight hours of sleep, what you should do is wake up feeling refreshed without sleepiness, because you given the brain the chance to remove that sleepiness by them That's probably one of my best tips for, if you, how do you know that you're getting enough sleep, if you set your alarm or you're alone? Didn't go would you sleep past your normal alarm time, and if the answer is yes, you clearly not getting enough sleep, but I digress Well he's on a digression, and I should ass this earlier? What is the minimum amount of sleep that we should be aiming for somewhere between seven hundred and twenty nine hours for adults over twenty five years. Okay, the number of people based on the data that can survive on less than seven hours sleep without showing impairment round it to a whole number and expressed as a percentage of the population is zero, but
coming back to us even now be happier Jellia story. So what I was describing them- this kind of removal of that healthy sleepiness as we sleep, and so we wake up refreshed. But here's the danger with naps that you ve been building up of this healthy sleepiness. And then you take a nap in the afternoon and it's like pressure, Valvano Cooker, you will release some of that healthy sleepiness, and that can mean that when it comes to fall asleep at your normal bedtime, it's a struggle because you don't have that same amount of healthy sleepiness. Weighing you down wanting to push. You went to sleep That's why I always recommend. If you are struggling with sleep at night in general, then dont nap. You want to build up all of that healthy sleepiness so gives yourself the bat. the chance to get the power throw, even if you feel that crap just power through Europe and avoid the capping, because what caffeine does is that it actually comes into the brain and it laches onto the receptors of identity and it high
jack's there's receptors and essentially hits the mute button on the sleeping, a signal, that's how caffeine works is new big surprise that they sound very similar to the end of their chemical names. Caffeine agenda scene I've seen races in an essentially just picks up the Remote inside of the brain for sleepiness any does hit the mute button, so even though you ve been awake for sixteen hours, your brain with caffeine, circulating inside of it says. Oh second, I thought I'd been awake for sixteen hours. I'm not getting that signal anymore. I feel like I've, only been awake for eight hours and that's why you get the jag of of alertness and that's like having can be damaging to sleep. Ok, so there are people out there who struggle mightily to get to sleep. Insomnia is real and a lot of you will deal with it, and I know you see these folks directly in Europe. I would imagine in your sleep centre, so what is recommendation for people of chronic insomnia. So right now the first line recommendation is not sleeping pills,
It's not my recommendation. Is Europe recommendation made in two thousand and sixteen a landmark recommendation by the American College of Physicians? They said that and they reviewed hundreds of possible control studies based on the weight of the evidence. From sleeping pills and the nominal benefit above and beyond placebo for most people, together with the dangers that we ve spoken about, the first line recommended treatment for insomnia must not be sleeping pills. It must be something called cognitive Paypal therapy for insomnia or c b t I- and here you work with your therapist, its psychological intervention and across several weeks it ends up being just as ethical issues, a sleeping pills in the shop.
Turn. The benefit on sleep is just the same, but what better is that, when you start working with your therapist, the sleeping benefits continue for now. I think the last that he showed up to a five year benefit that was maintained, whereas with sleeping pills, it's a little bit like with th see when you stop them. You go back to not just the ban sleep but you're having but typically you'll sleep is even worse when you come off their sleeping pills. So if you are struggling with sleep, you can go and speak with your doctor and ask about away to try and seek out cognitive behaviour therapy for insomnia. It is typically reimbursed here in the United States. under many health insurance policies. Increasingly, so you can his go online. You can go to the National Sleek Foundation and there you can
google around and you can learn more about c b t. I commented behaviour therapy for insomnia wonderfully efficacious, so two more of our conversation- is on the way after this better health. Offers licensed professional councillors specialised in a wide array of issues like depression, anxiety and grief, conduct with their profession counselor and a safe private online environment. It's a truly affordable option and listeners can get ten percent off your first month by going to better help dot com, slash happier fill out a questionnaire to help them assess your needs and get matched with the counselor you'll love. Ok, so that with poor one and as I at the beginning- that we recorded this several months ago, the part one and then I had a bunch of other questions that I want to ask. Doktor walker- and I also wanted test my own sleep. So I
Got a ring, it's called the aura ring. Oh, you are a ring. There are other, I'm not pitching this particular product girl, lots of asleep trackers out there that just the one that I haven't get, and so in this part of the episode which we just recorded recently We I sent a Matthew, my data and, and we go over, that we also talk about the impact of irregular schedules on sleep. We talk about impact a new study he just did about, an anxiety and we talk about a fascinating and, I suspect, controversial idea of a sleep divorce where couples sleep, indifferent rooms and I think you'd be surprised to hear where he comes down on that. So here we go in part two of Doktor Matthew, Walker. Thank you refer do around two apparently weedin scary off its true pleasure and delight to be chatting with you again and I think it's the opposite. I was surprised that you even wanted to it to speak again. I think some people describe both my
voice and personality is one of the best prophylactic known to man. So I'm a delight to be back with. You took every invitation. I can get true at all. At night I have Amelia. I will. I walked out of our last meeting with a million more questions, I've written them all doubts of procurement, brace yourself, I'm going to. Let you in a lot of questions, questions that thing is I'm possess. I'm ready, gay to start with. I I wore this sleep ring for a while, but those too much of a chicken to good get asleep study because I really didn't want to do that. But we should talk about sleep studies in a second, but you, you ve had a chance to look at my a data from my sleep for a couple of weeks, so I just be interested to hear your response. I think it's raining trusting, because sleep is one of those things. Firstly, that we are actually not aware of, because what typically not conscious, not at least in Waking sense of it, and so it's one
those areas of the visit of the wearable that quantified self movement that I think it is quite informative. There is a side of it that can be problematic where people get overly anxious because they start, ruminating about their data and they can start catastrophism. But for the most part I think it's largely a good thing and your data was actually quite interesting. The raw, I think, a number of important features that the public actually can benefit from. The first is that your sleep opportunity, meaning the amount of time that you are consistently embed, is fantastic. You typically have about an eight even a little bit more eight hours, sleep opportunity and that's great because we know from the national saw us. The foundation recommendation is for most adults. Seventy nine hours. So let's be conservative and say you're, trying to get seven hours of sleep
total, but one of the things that people conflate is time in bed is time asleep and that's not true, and in fact that's what your data was suggesting to when you are healthy. If you have good sleepy, typically have what we call a sleep, efficiency score and sleep efficiency. If you're healthy is about eighty five bucks and what does all this mean. There are three things sleep opportunity, sleep times, sleep efficiency, sleep opportunity is the amount of time that you're in bed and, as we said, you have asleep opportunity routinely about eight hours, which is which is wonderful. Then, if you have a sleep efficiency of eighty five percent, which is healthy and your in bed for an eight and a quarter hours. Then you will get your minimum of seven hours of sleep and I think that's one of the problems. People say I go to bed eleven p M and I wake up at six. A m for work means that I
seven hours of sleep, it's not true. You had seven hours of time in bed, but even if you have a healthy sleep, efficiency police means that you only got about six and a quarter out of sleep We saw that with your data that you were getting about eight hours of time in bed, but because of your sleep efficiency it was perhaps a little bit lower than we would expect. It was sitting around about eighty percent and again he's just based on a device that, I think, is a good device, but it's not quite the accuracy that we would have an asleep lab, but let's take it for truth, you'll sleep efficiency was a little bit lower. So on average your total amount of sleep that you were getting was a little bit like since seven hours sleep at night, so I think we can start to think about ways of trying to perhaps improve the efficiency of your sleep. Your time in bed is great, but we just need to increase the amount of time that Europe sleep. Well,
you're embed, so what would you say? I can do because I've I've definitely in tracking the data myself. I look at it every morning and I've noticed too that I'm in bed for eight to nine hours and often on I am very rarely cracking the seven our mark of actual sleep. I think there are probably in number things that we could think about. Some are just physical, Summah, mental, so typically the things physically that keep awake more during the night, especially ass- we get older. Unfortunately, bathroom breaks getting up to go to the bathroom and in the second is physical pain, though the two things that typically people struggle with from on from bodily perspective, and we could think about those for you. The second component, of course, is mental, and you know so much about this, which is under those
we're not sort of independent. By the way. Often you get. If you go to the bathroom, you come back and now the mind just of unleashing this rolodex of anxiety, and you start thinking or cable one. Didn't I today? What should have my? What should I have done? What we need to do more of tomorrow or less and at that point than it shifts from being a physical fracturing. If your sleep, on two now a mental impairment of your sleep, because if that catastrophism, because if that rumination, that's where things I think like meditation, are so powerful just to try and take the mind off itself as it were and safe. just try to relax back the body and bring down that fight or flight branch of been of a system which gradually creeps up the more that we said go through that anxiety process and when that branch of the nervous system is active, its frank, difficult to get back to sleep, but things like meditation will actually quiet that branch of the nervous system down and that's,
it's easier to start to fall back asleep at night. So I don't know if any of those two pillows the set up a physical components of the mental components play into the time that you're awake during the night did the either of those two filled out of a yes, so for me, I just jotted down. There are three things that I think, are getting in the way of sleep efficiency one. is exactly what you said about getting having to go to the bathroom. I'm nearly fifty and apparently have the bladder of a you know like a kitten. So I'm I got to go to the bathroom. While I get up at five to go to the bathroom. So that's annoying. I don't know what I can do about that. The other is noise so we have a five year old and tea. Gets up a lot in the middle of the night, he won't accept me, which is bad for my ego, but sometimes good. For my sleep. But he's u we hear among them on the baby, monitor and my wife
as to get up and go boffins, Sleep with him were ill or comfort him, and so, but I wake up when that happens, then. The third thing is restlessness, it. This is usually as I'm trying to fall asleep at I often I always meditate before I go to bed. then and maybe often stretch to end with a button Even after doing both of those things I find that there's can be from student, ninety minutes of tossing around and yeah. So those are the three things and I think for near the bathroom breaks. It's just it's very difficult at just one of the things that we all know as we start to get older increases in frequency. How to deal with that. there are some medications that people can prescribe to try and help. But the other thing is to try and think about what is my fluid intake sort of in the evening and often
the trick is not to actually decrease the number of cups or glasses of fluid that you're taking in food, brain into thinking, I'm still having the same number of those glasses of x y, but just try to half the amount of the fluid volume But you pour into those in the evening and in that way you ve of psychologically still think no harm no found. Nothing is checked, but decreasing the amount of that fluid can sometimes also help as well but medications there. That, too, should people want to exploit them. Yeah, I'm pretty Milton about not drinking any fluids after six or seven so. maybe it's something where I want to explore with medication but yeah. It's not awesome and the restlessness year that that's difficult to you know. I think there are sent me stretching is something that helps but its is it a restless
of the body or is it created with the restlessness of the mind. The mind is quiet? That's just the binding! That's restless! Yes, Adam and do you? Are you physically active during the day, typically work out during the it well. I'm a borderline narcissus. It has to look at his own face on television all the time. So yes, I am quite active in the Jim. It's not pretty! but I didn't six to seven days. A week of work out usually early the dogs. I know that working out later in the days it can disrupt the sleep. So, but I am pretty active, ok, yeah, and so I think you know trying think about the body probably going into report as it moves into that sleet phase, maybe associated with that restlessness and then just doing more of the stretching and rolling out as well. The muscles can Also help in that regard
like a foam roller, that's right, yeah, yeah, because some of that restlessness may just be the muscles in that state. One thing that I found helps, and I wonder if that this might cut against your advice. But what I found that helps with restless sister to techniques. I've used, one is just get back. at a bed and meditate again, although some of them to Restless Stephen sit still but the the other is to read, and I found that reading, especially some boring buddhist book. That is both boring and and puts me in touch with funding and told truths that have a way of relaxing the mind, can knock me out? It can take a while, but that can work and I think the latter is almost a distraction. it's moving the focus of your attention from perception of the body to actually in
only thinking within the mind and when you shift that's almost like a set of a spotlight focus from the body to the mind, then, all of a sudden you know the entire organism, is ready for sleep. I think it's definitely one of those things that can help the other thing when we talk about was noise. Obviously I'm not gonna give my kid up for adoption. So that's not an origin, so I deliver that for a little while, but but my Can I do wake each other up quite a bit because my or the bathroom shit she's a light sleeper. She often wakes up, and sometimes she comes, bad later than I do in that process. Will wake me up, and so you you ve before we start rolling you, you told me about something called a sleep divorce can you say more about the head? Yes, it's something that is now becoming a little bit more. Communist people openly speak about this, which is having asleep divorced to potentially per. you from having a real one- and we know
that from survey data, Anonymous survey data that up to thirty percent of people in couples in partnerships will reports sleeping in separate rooms and of is remaining. Let's take seventy percent there's unknown trivia. What proportion of them who will go to bed in the same location but will wake up indifferent locations, and I think this tell is that there is some kind of attention here going on in the public regarding partner disruption of sleep. and in fact it something that myself and my punish she she's a very light sleeper in. She typically has a longer sleet need. She seems to have asleep native around about nine hours. A night my sleep meat is about eight hours, a knight, Sir, were often off sat in time,
I'm just going to bed and also waking up, which would always cause problems instead of me getting into bed after she's asleep she wakes up and getting up early. So we agreed to go through a sleep divorce and I think one of the problems with have and it I should. You know the should be a better time for it, because it's a very negative connotation in that sense for a very beneficial, potentially good upside. But the stigma is that if the people say well goodness, you know if you're not, sort of sleeping together, then your typically not sleeping together in that regard, but often the opposite is true that when a couple starts to get good sleep, What we see as things like reproductive hormones actually improve your physical vigour and vitality, improves, emotional connections and the emotional stability of your relationship improves, all of which typically leads to actually improvements
in the intimacy in the physicality of our relationship. So I think that's that's. Why last, but it's not a one size fits all. I think some people find great comfort and having a partner with them at night and the huge benefit that so I think it's find which of those two buckets that you may fit in and explore it. I think if you are going to go through the sleep divorce as it were, You have to think a little bit more about what it actually means in terms of that. intimacy link what most people mess about getting in Tibet together. Just that moment, where you're saying good night or having cuddle and then in the morning, waking up and saying good morning to each other. But what s interesting is that for thinking between those two bookends, mostly non conscious and not a were unless you ve got sleep disruption going on, so you can sort of hack the system as it were, you do have asleep divorce. Just try to find it
system? Were you whoever get into bed first, the person will come in and say good night to them see have that routine and then whoever wakes up first, you can go into the kitchen. Make your aunt decaffeinated to your coffee and then the other person, contextual, say I've, just woken up come say good morning to me and you can still get the benefit those two beautiful moments, but also have the benefit of getting full undistributed sleep in between. I love this concept and I am grateful to you for bringing it up and and and for having the courage to talk about your on personal situation. I think there's real value in and you not presenting yourself as the you know, perfect. You know avatar of we paid at the end and I it's funny because I've been thinking about this- a lot and feeling sheepish the idea of sleeping in a different route from my wife feels like down navvy or
you know the crown. Were you see these stodgy british couples at sleep and different room? Although it listen down, maybe they seem to have a healthy relationship, and I right about that? So we know, for example, some nights when I'm restless and a one reads fall asleep, and my wife doesn't like the light some I will go sleep on, go fall asleep on it. couch and then it up. It's not uncommon. That last all the way into the morning, and then my son and my wife wake me up and I go back into the bedroom and sleep for another forty five minutes and I've worried what message is sending my son. Is he gonna think that, were you know mommy daddy to love each other? Will we do? We have a great relationship, but I did Did you sleep and I don't want to mess up her sleep, and so I think it's it's quite Freeing for me at least personally, for you to talk about this as a potentially healthy move here. I think people should feel that liberation and you're. It
who did sleep is such a stigmatized topic in and of itself. You know it has this has an image problem and we associated with people being a full and lazy and then take us down speaking about a couple and intimacy. That's perhaps even more of a violation of the norm, but I think people have to understand But sleep is just such a biological necessity and when the two of you we're getting good quality sleep you'll just have a seemingly better quality relationship on all aspects of those things. So I think there is a discussion to be had unless it is not necessarily for everyone, but the more that were opened at this in the more that we speak about this. I think the more people will actually start to come with our own stories. You when I mention this before public tore core public speaking.
always be those people who wait till the very last moment of the last questions in the Mesa beside the left and they whisper to you. You know I'm actually one of those people and we actually do see as if it is just this year. This is terrible embarrassment, any it shouldn't be because it's it's just simply people trying to obtain a biological necessity. Yes amen. So back to my dad. I so word a camera or with the numbers were, but a something like asleep opportunity of north of eight an ace actual sleep time of around six and a half with all the cap that's that apply to the reliability of data. from a ring, rather than a sleep study, if, if I'll like the rest of my life, with those numbers unchanged. Would I be in at real risk for all of the health problems that youth great that are associated with insufficient sleep. I think what we know
from epidemiological studies which are not you can't infer causality out- from those, these are simply association studies, but what we need oh, is that usually relative to groups who are getting sort of seven to eight hours of sleep, a night risks for things such as cod your vascular disease, diabetes aspects of mental health as well. Together with cancer and Alzheimer's disease. Those things typically start to increase. once you start to go lower than those amounts, and so I think, trying to think about ways to improve that sleep efficiency. I think it would and this sounds counter intuitive. I wouldn't starkness early suggesting increasing the amount of time, but you spend in bed because you would think well ok. I need to get more sleep. All I should He was just spend more time in bed. I think that that's probably the wrong suggestion, because you mentioned it before one the things that were very mindful of sleep. Medicine is not being in.
add awake for too long and your point about, say my party is restless. I typically will just get and go somewhere else. That is a great piece of advice and the reason is because Your brain is such an incredibly associated device. It will say, ought to learn the association, but your bed is this place of being awake rather than being, sleep and so Breaking that association, as you suggested that you do, is a very good piece of advice: and that we will actually start to realise that your bed is the place of being asleep and I think the reggie there would be that you would know you'd never sit at the dinner table. Waiting to get hungry, so. Why would you lie in bed waiting to get sleeping amounts Is that you shouldn't so, I think, constantly sort of practising that.
and enforcing this improvement in your association with the bed being the place of sleep may also help. Paradoxically, we could just take it to the opposite end, because there is a practice, incompetent, behavioral therapy for insomnia, not suggesting that you actually haven't someday. I dont think you you do which is at. Can you start to constrain the time in bed to enforce battery efficiency? So, for example, let's say that looking at your day, sir you're in bed for eight hours- and you will typically spend about an hour and a half about eight hours, awake but then I want to give you only two hours of sleep tonight and then keep you awake the following day and then I put you back into bad that following evening what we would
typically see is that you will actually spend a lot less time awake that following night, because you have this sleep rebound. Will you try to recover from that sleep, dat and you dont repay it all, but you'll try and so we do a set of a more subtle version of this where we can actually say. Let's have you spend only seven half hours of time in bed and gradually your brain will learn my goodness to have this luxury of an eight hour embed sleep, opportunity time- and you know I was driving at about eighty percent- sleep efficiency well. If it's constrained, I now need to actually sleep in a much more efficient way to get what I need and you can actually improve your sleep efficiency and, in fact, improve your sleep jury. By constraining your sleep opportunity a little bit, I'm not suggesting that that's the case for everyone. Most people are in the opposite bucket, where they give themselves too little. Sleep
but unity. But that's another way that we can try to play with improving sleep efficiency. It sounds paradoxical but spent being less time embed for those people who our spending at least seven hours or more time in bed can actually mean. More time, asleep, So I'm hearing three things that you think the tent. Play. I could work on given my data, such as it is one is trying to medication. To that, would reduce the trips to the bathroom, the other is along with matching using a foam roller and the third is- and this would be the most sort of aggressive which would Great, perhaps examining us a restriction around sleep opportunity that right yeah All of this very difficult to do. You know first me: firstly, a diagnostic from seventy miles away and also one would want to make sure make sure that we got. You went to sleep laboratory, so we could. Actually. I see no other
Other sleep disorders that were perhaps missing that could be constraining your sleep efficiency and forty spoken a little bit off line. about snoring and I dont think that that's an issue for, we, although it is an issue for for many people, think such as restless. Leg syndrome is well there's other things, but people just get these but she leg sensitive, just an hp need to move them around and that can disrupt sleep quality so, but I think you're right those things trying to implement those things, the other aspect of sleep, a fish- C is alcohol in caffeine, and I know that we have spoken a little bit about this, but for the most part Tommy a little bit about those two things and how they play out about the day in the evening, for you neither I dont get it so that one of the other things that can certainly constrain people's I'm sleep. Efficiency can be spending a lot of I'm in bed, but but that's fantastic and, in that case, no problem to think mothers them
yeah producers. I gotta get your ear you're, though the west, most of these costs. You ve look a little bit of data, but on that in front of you, when I went to sleep said he, so you can't do a total dying, second, I wasn't expecting that. But let's let's talk about the value of asleep steady. I really do want to do it because I I was just ass. I had these phantasmagoric bridge, actions of spending all night with all this stuff wire getting money in on yes and I'm gonna have to go. that would be a million times, are not getting any sleep. The next day is gonna fuck. Am I wrong about that and what's the what's the real, can you can you really? How much can you really measure if I can't imagine I'm actually going them much sleep in one of these sleep studies, so typically those leap. Cities will help clinicians understand what potential sleep disorders that you haven't? We forty men really the sort of the heavy hitting three the first
snoring? What we call sleep, CBS leaps asleep at near the second restless. like syndrome and the third is to if insomnia already having difficulty falling asleep or difficulty staying asleep or waking up the next day and feeling unrefreshed on restored by asleep so often asleep. Laboratory tests, as you mentioned, is not going to give you the perfect snapshot of what that person's sleep is like at her it's more of a diagnostic tool to say: ok come on in and let's see, if there's anything bring in terms of US disorder that we can see and this disorder will typically still be expressed in a sleep clinic even on conditions of a bad night of sleep, so that's really where those sleet clinic studies are usually probably beneficial people and by the way I mentioned those three sleep.
What is, but there are many tens if different. I sleep disorders that we now recognise, so they are just the three probably largest, but there are many others So what is your view? You talk a little bit about this, but I'd love to hear you say more on wearable I wore this rankled in or a ring. Oh, you are a ray I have on you have one. yeah I want, are you, will I know, of information with the company. I might I have no connection with them What do you think about wearable? Is this the one you would recommend or others are there others you would recommend how much stock should we put in the data that we get from variables, etc, etc. It is interesting I about variables in to sort of different vertical ass. The first is about obviously accuracy and right now for the majority of wearable but you place on. Your wrist or you on your thing
or you strapped to your bad. They all typically tried to do this. Thing, whether measuring your respiration, in your heart rate and I'm using algorithms, they can try to stage the different types of sleep, Are you awake? Are you asleep? And if you in sleep you in light non rem, sleep, deep, non rim, sleep or in rapid movement, sleep or dream sleep and, for the most part right now, they all much of a much less out there. They probably have about Seventy percent accuracy. If you look at some of the data, so That's one way of thinking about them and that's why you know I'm a little bit reticent to fully embrace the data that we have from you and saying you know. That is exactly what I would find in my sleep abroad rating. I think it's a good proxy and I think, The ring does a pretty good job of that, but is it hundred percent faithful? It's not there yet no
So I think that one way of thinking about it, what is the accuracy of these devices? The other way I think about it, though, is for a more pragmatic perspective. I think The difficulties with wristwatches or even had bans is that when we go to sleep we typically take things off. We don't put things on as a consequence, if you're going to be worth something that tracks you'll sleep, it's re only going to be mean meaningful if you're constantly doing it in a multiple. Lights are week and for many months, if not years, but with devices if you don't feel very comfortable with them. If you have to put the money, head around your wrist than this the keenness of them, the adherence to those devices decreases quite significantly. As a consequence, I think that can be achieved for people. The reason I like the ring as a form factor, is that people are not uncommonly going to bed wearing rings and in that regard,
think it's less intrusive. So I think that, as a result is perhaps a better form factor for tracking sleep, then some of these other devices, but there the two different ways that I think a in sleep technology right now, yeah I I I have any from wearing the ring at night? I did get tired. During the day I just only where it at night, which limits the amount of data can gather on a dead. The picture of it can of your overall activity levels and etc, etc, but I just don't feel like wherein it during the day what about I'm sorry together. You know you know, I think that that's a perfectly good policy cause, I think, for the most part, and I dont want to speak for the company, but I think that one of the prime focus he's right now is sleep, and so I think that if you go to where it at some point the night and sleep is the place to do it. What about people who me these are expensive. So if I don't have the resources to get it, a tracking device will what would you
and at that point maybe just get a prescription. Firstly, study yes, these devices, none of the commercial devices right now are claiming to be diagnostic from any clinical perspective. So I think, if you feel as though you worried that you have asleep disorder, that absolutely nothing to do go see adopt to see if you ve got to sleep test. If snoring or sleep at NEA is the potential concern you may actually not have to go in. to sleep laboratory. Now they have these at whom diagnostic tests were they and your box out, and you said a few got instructions you can strap on it Spend and put something on your finger input. Summing up, you knows and an you do it at home. So there are lots of more convenient ways that continue to emerge. If you want those types of sleep diagnostics, some of which are happening at home there, things are. You mentioned in this second interview that I want to follow up on that. Don't necessarily flow out of that last question, but I want to make sure I get to them one is
the idea that a problem for folks is not waking up refreshed I will say, even when I get a according to a good night's, sleep were if I'm close to or even north of seven hours, asleep, etc. For me to wake up and still feel pretty groggy slavishly that I feel awful, but I yes, I am leaving out of bed. How big problem is that not leaping out of bed? That's it the problem. I liked leaping constantly. If you're not leaping, come see me no threat to aspects I think to clarify here. The first is feeling refreshed throughout the day. So I think if you feel as though you're constantly needing caffeine to set of keep you. I know this is not the situation for few, but when we speak about feeling refer, restored by asleep were really talking about the entirety of the day, not that sort of goldilocks time.
I'm in the first hour or hour and a half after you wake up it's very natural for people to have that grubbing up in the morning. It has a name. It's called sleep inertia. And we know some of the neurobiology I someone like you, I suffer from quite severe sleeping, I inertia, so you know my partner she will set of? No that basically, in the first hour in the morning, don't talk to me too much, I'm not the best version of myself, I'm you know just pretty groggy in a little bit grumpy. and that's just sleep inertia and peace, The reason is that, where more asleep different parts of the brain start to switch off It is, though they get this recycling this chance to rest and reboot, and one of the parts of the brain that gets taken offline is a part of the brain that we call the prefrontal cortex that you have spoken a lot about on the podcasting. In your writing.
And that part of the brain is the last part, that Rudy starts to sort of come back on line after we wake up so think of your brain, most like the engine in a classic car that you can't just can have for some people. You know turn the key and then just floor? It and drive it how do you actually need the Jane to warm up a little bit. I you need to get it up to operating temperature and then it's good to go for the rest of the day. So if that experience resonates with people listening and resonates with. You done then would say this, perhaps nothing too much to be concerned about. Regarding restorative sleep, all the opposite, which is unrest sleep. The problem is more about saying. Well, I just don't feel refreshed or restored a fully awake for most of the day. If that's the case, that's more of a problem.
your let's see that you're getting your solid, seven hours of sleep at night by way of having at least an eight eight and a half hours sleep opportunity. Why it be, then that even if you're getting seven hours of sleep, you still feel unrefreshed throughout the day another possible. There is a mismatch between when your body wishes to sleep and when you are giving it the chance to sleep- and this comes onto a topic that we call your krona type. So are you a morning type or are you in evening type or are you somewhere in between an often what you'll find is that evening types people who would like to go to bed and if I were to say to you If you want to do the island, you have no commitments, nothing to wake up. For what time would you typically like to? I think drift to go to bed and what time would you like to wake up in the morning? That's your typical natural biological, corona type, and it
turns out that its largely genetically determined or there is a significant part of it? That's genetically determined! You don't really have come roll being a morning type or an evening type is not really a choice gifted to you by your genetics, and this comes back to the idea that you may be positioned in your sleep opportunity window at a time? That's not really aligned with your by a law You call preference for when you would like to sleep. So if you are an evening type who likes to go to bed at midnight and wake up at eight, a m but you're going to bed at ten p m and waking up at six. A m. Well, though, the same in terms of total sleep opportunity time, but the quality of sleep that you we'll get as a night owl trying to sleep on it. Ellie Schedule, won't be as good as the quality of sleep, but you would be getting if you going to bed when you wanted to and waking up when you wanted to, and that will lead to a feeling of being on restore during the day. So
that's a very long description but sir, no perfectly normal. We understand the biology, but if you're feeling unrefreshed throughout the day, you may want to think about asking yourself, but what type I my morning type evening type and am I in synchrony with my biology or am I am, of Miss aligned with my preferential biology, got it and thank you for you the term schedule? I appreciate the scheduled sorry. The other thing I wanted to look back to that you mentioned earlier was the link between lack of sleep and anxiety, and I know you're team just put out a study on this. I wanted to give you an opportunity to talk about that a little bit. Thank you. So there is certainly in emerging literature now on the relationship between sleep and anxiety, fool
a while it's ready bein in one direction. We certainly know that people who are anxious who are just innately anxious you have what we call high trait anxiety. Typically, don't sleep as well at night. I guess that's no big, surprise if you wide, if you're nervous, if your anxious you're not usually going to be consistently having a good night of sleep, but we actually wanted to ask of the visit of the opposite direction. What if we were to disrupt someone said at night, can we actually see if that causally increases their anxiety the following day? That's exactly what we found that if you restrict someone sleep or you deprive them of sleep You get an immediate increase in the amount of anxiety that their experiencing for some of those people somewhere between twenty to thirty percent of those people, after just one night of no sleep, they had actually transition to a level
with anxiety that would be classed as a clinical disorder. So it was a non trivial increase in their anxiety. Second, we found perhaps what The underlying biological cause of that anxiety was when you're not getting sufficient sleep, that prefrontal cortex that we spoke about before, which is open sort of like the the ceo of the brain- it it at a high level, controller of are deep immoral no brain centres that power of the brain when we're not well slapped actually is impaired and, as a consequence, those deep anxiety eighty triggering emotional centres of the brain actually erupt in their activity. Regarding the anxiety, in other words, if you not getting your sleep at night, the bring isn't well positioned to control those emotional anxiety triggers the following day, and so you get this Is he a gigantic? This escalation of anxiety
the day. What we also found, however, is that when you record people say but night and you give them the opportunity to get the sleep that they need. What is it about that sleep that actually provides an angle lit a calming influence on our anxiety, and what we found is that it actually the deep quality of sleep. I what we call deep, non rapid. I movement sleep with deep non ram sleep, the greater the amount of your deep sleep at night, the greater than- next day reduction in your anxiety, so sleep and particularly deep sleep office, this sort of Alma palliative soothing bomb on the brain and it just takes, sharp edges of those sort of anxiety, but he triggering events, and so it's perhaps not time that heals all wounds. But it's time I join deep sleep, provides the type of emotional convalescence. Silly
trusting and anxiety the huge problem on our culture right now, so this is useful data we're in the middle on on this podcast of a big. January series about healthy habits and One of the questions that my colleague Samuel urged me to ask you is: what is the impact caught? A Samuel Johnson of the producers of the show with whom you ve been in contact with fantastic in here. is fantastic gave. One of the questions you asked me to ask: you was: what is the impact of sleep on all of the other habits that we many of us are hoping to improve such as exercise his diet, meditation. So this the some really good data on both diet and exits, eyes regarding sleep, what we know it that when you start to undo sleep when you start to get it, if I am six five, browse of sleep a night. Firstly, your
appetite will start to increase and the reason is that there are two hormones that control are hunger. One is called leaped in, and one is called growing and, despite sounding like habits, they are actually real hormones. Leaped in is the hormone. Is released, emanate released. It says your full, you don't want to eat any more. Your satisfied with your food, growing does the opposite growing as the hunger hormone it says, you're, not satisfied with your food. You want to eat more continue to eat, and when we are deliberately deprive people of sleep or short sleet them, let's say for a week and put them on four or five hours of sleep. For a week. We see increases in the hormone that says hungry. You want to eat more that growing, but, alas, sleet will improve the other hormones. No you're full, stop eating dont need to eat any more which is lapped him so
go in these deleterious opposite directions, It unleashes your appetite and you start to eat more. The second problem is that it's not just that you start to eat more. You also have a change. I'm your preference for what you want to over eat when you, under slept and specifically you you lean towards increasing your concern shut up, I'm simple, carbohydrate sugary foods, things like ice cream candy Also, you increase your intake of heavy, hitting stodgy carbohydrates, Brad, pastor pizza, those types of things as well, so the some really good evidence that when you don't get the sleep that you need, you can actually start to increase your appetite. You can start to set a move towards what we call an obese agenda profile, but the Good NEWS is that, if your getting the sleep that you that you need
Then you can actually eat a certain amount and feel satisfied with that food, and so it can actually be assessed. You shouldn't towards prevention of obesity, or at least it can be a weight gain of preventive? We also know that people, for example, who are dying. but then not getting sufficient sleep almost seventy percent of the weight that they lose, will actually come from lean muscle, mass rather than fat, and what we found is that people are under slept. The body becomes particularly g in giving up its fat its, much more likely to give over things like muscle and hold onto fat, which is exactly the opposite, what most people want to do when they die I as well. So when it comes to diet, sent me. We know that getting sleep. What you need is going to promote you towards healthy sort of body mass index and a healthy state of dietary profile. I'm excess
ice is another great one. We know that when people are getting better sleep, firstly, them motivation even exercise increases. That's probably one of the biggest factors that simply your desire to actually get on the treadmill or go out for a run all got to the gym, even gone a hike that increase. Secondly, when you do exercise the intensity, Your exercise is typically higher when you ve getting good sleep and little lots of components of that that people have looked at your it. If your muscle contraction your plight force personal record on Palatine. So well. So let me ask some questions from that perspective. Apparent those things have benefited when you're getting sufficient sleep. In fact, even your bodies ability the perspective when you're exercising, which turns out to be critical thing cooling, your body, improve your ability to
work out a more intensely Aspersion is impacted by insufficient sleep, so on all of those. act as we know that a good night's sleep is going to make you more likely to exercise and when you do you're going to do it in a more intense, more efficient fashion, yeah not to brag, but I'm looking at my data right now, I gotta get six hours and forty seven minutes a sleepless night in this morning actually hit a personal record on Palatine, so well So let me ask some questions from the perspective of apparent. I mean didn't both sides of this one is: do you have any of you on how we can get our kids to sleep through the night and What are you what your advice to parents who or sleep deprived so on the latter on sleep, deprived parents, it it's such a difficult issue. I think there are
You know the reason that it remains a problem in our society is that we don't typically have good solutions. I think, if you're lucky to have a partner then trying to think about, for example, going back to krona type, who could take the early shift and who could take the late shift? I think for the understanding what your biological tendencies are. If you have that luxury independent of work- which sometimes is not the case- but you know, if you, someone who says, but I can say pretty late, I can take that night shift if it happens from here too, yeah I mean you're someone who typically will sleep deep in the first half of the night. Unlike me where I would like to sleeping late into the morning? If you take the second shift, we can try to patent match. That's enough coverage as it were. Based on our biological tendencies that one way of doing it, the second particularly for new parents. I try to go
the sleep, but you need whenever you can. So even if that involves daytime maps- and we can speak, about naps because they do have a double edged sword, but under those conditions where you are chronically sleep restricted just trying to get your sleep whenever you can can also be beneficial to so I think it's it's a very difficult problem to solve, however, for children, perhaps a little bit easier through, is. There is a great pity that was published, probably about a year or two ago, and they were looking at. The fact is that for young kids seem to promote better sleep. first was regularity so trying to put your kids to bed at the same time and having them wake at the same time, and they typically naturally will wake at the same time but going to bed in time. Regularity was absolutely critical, as it is for adults by the way too, but that was one of the key factors another one of the interesting factors,
was trying to remove as many toys from the bedroom as possible, and this comes back to something we were speaking about, which is how your brain associate itself with the bedroom and sleep and if their sort of lots of toys around the bedroom and sort of these stimulating triggers even a choice else, mind will learn that the bedroom isn't necessarily the place. Were sleep happens it to play were sometimes fleet can happen, but sometimes you know exciting play can happen. you and by removing those toys out the bedroom, they seem to find an improvement in sleep and then also The other component is physical activity during the day and also daylight. I think I've spoken at times both in the book and in public about how we are typically. dog, deprived society at night, and that's true in that darkness is critical at night to release a hormone called melatonin to help regulate or sleep,
but actually you think I've done a very bad job of speaking about the opposite, which is the critical importance of light during the and the some data now starting to emerge that how much light that your exposed to both is as an adult and as a child can actually promote better sleep at night. So thinking about weak and sleep. As such, reading nice load valley he's during the night and high peaks. During the day. You want lots of darkness at nights to help you get deep sleep and that's the same for children and then you want lots of light during the day to take you to a nice peak of wakefulness answered of keeping it in that sort of sign, a soil wave will help you rather than having just this set of more flat line. Were you know why I constantly stuck inside during the day, so your brain is confused. It sitting gets this electrical light, which is nowhere near as powerful as daylight. So it's not quite sure what
going on during the day and then at night we switch those lights back on its feet used again at night time- is daytime same confusion for children to so those things can typically help with child sleep and also human sleep, with the exception of the bedroom, toys which, hopefully are not present- room, I'm intrigue whether they did the more daylight things. Interesting, immediate. It is its. It gets me thinking I work in rooms mostly, they have a lot of windows, so there is daylight there, but it also is another remind. For me that you're going out and taking a walk? Even if it's cold, men can be pretty miserable. New York City in in December and January and February and beyond, Taking a walk might have really salutary effect on a number of levels. It's very true, We often we often think, while even on a cloudy day, it seems about as brighter the office that I mean right now. That's not true,
it's love orders of Madame magnitude stronger in terms of the light, even on a cloudy day, relish if to sit in a somewhat legally well let office room. Didn't I wanted to ask you about: was the impact where upping our sleep could have. A big could could effect. Positive changes society. So school start times four kids should we be looking at later school start time for kids. What about Medical residence- I was married A woman who was a medical resident in that was challenging. For her, too through that, and also we ve got lots of car in its in this country, and that's it the killer and could could more sleep help in those in that area. To she great topics I think Certainly the latest school start times is: is a really press
an issue right now. Hearing California, Governor Newsome, just signed in two to law that for high schools the first period balcony any earlier than eight eight thirteen them. In other words, shifting the start of schools. Later and this now such a great collection of data that supports this logic. We ve seen this I mean again that when schools delay that start to a later point, firstly, we typically see academic grades, improve we know that sleep is essential for function. of learning and memory. So, that's not really that if a surprise, that academic grades would increase? When you give the kids the chance to sleep more, what was perhaps more surprise I think is that we also start to see secondary effects. Firstly, we started to see that truancy rates actually decreased as well as absenteeism rates. We also saw that psychological psychiatric referrals started to decrease
The other aspect was in fact that you could argue that the life expectancy of some students actually increased and the reason is because one of the leading causes of death in late stage. Adolescent teens is road traffic accidents and here sleep matters enormously. What we ve, typically seen in these prospect of cities when a school changes its times, pushes its times took too late, in that narrow age range of just sixteen to eighteen years old. On average, we see about a forty percent reduction in key a is that, following year, a great example happened in TAT in county in Wyoming, arming they shifted. This will start times robots. Haven't thirty in the morning to almost nine clock in the morning and there Actually, a seventy percent drop in car crash is that following year, which to me is is just striking if you put them in context, the advent of a b technology and cause anti look, braking systems that dropped accident rates by about twenty to twenty five percent,
but here is a simple biological solution in getting enough sleep that can drop accident rates on average by forty percent. In some cases even more so I think that evidence is really quite clear. If we as educators, many truly wish to educate and not risk lives in the process than I do that we are failing our children with this model of Alley School Start times, I'm going to get success. sing, delaying them and Any parents out that there was a study published just last year from MIT. They tracked, the sleep of students, cross an entire semester using said wristwatch devices and what they found was that the sleep quantum the inequality in the last month before the exam and the last week before the exam explained about twenty five percent. The success of those students on the exile on the final exam, so yeah
studying is important, but up to twenty five percent of that great be accounted for. Simply by how much sleep those students were getting so it's. I think it's a powerful force that we need to come. Can you too to lobby on in and make changes and whatever medical residents or people who will actually let me let me before I gave unleashed there I'll just read the aforementioned Samuel John producer of the show the Bruges on the show his white Haley's a resident. She sent this question and I think we might have sent to you. That's it as a medical residence rights when doing call shift where I work at twenty eight hour shift. If I had opportunity to now for fifteen to twenty minutes. Birds during the night should do that, where's it better. our through the night and then reset once the night shift. It is done, parent that evolution it's. A more broad question could be what advice you have four people work on irregular schedules, or even the regular night shifts sue for
night shift. Work is what was starting to see. Now is the the frequency with which you flip flop, backing fourth between day and night shifts. That's the one most scenario. So, All of us in society need to be incredibly grateful for people like this. You know if I have a boast appendix four o clock in the morning. I desperately once someone that operate on me and help me, so I'm immensely grey full for their service- but we do know that night shift work is associated with worse health outcomes. We know that night shift work, but is clear, the crisis had going back and forth between sort of different shift, periods around the twenty four hour clock face is the worst form of night shift work and trying to at least sort of Gorman night shift for a long period of time and then come off for a long period of time or long as long as you can, that seems.
A better approach to that coming back to medicine in general that Peter, is actually quite powerful. Firstly, we know that medical residents who are working at twenty four to thirty hour shift can make up woods of four but sixty percent more diagnostic errors in the intensive care unit. We know that, if you're having elect If surgery and the attending surgeon has slept less than six hours in the previous twenty four. There is a one written, seventy percent chance of a significant surgical complication happening right if too, to a surgeon, that's being well slept and then fell Finally, there was a fascinating a statistic coming from a study at Harvard Medical School, and it brings us back to car traffic accidents. They found that local residents after working at twenty four to thirty hour shift when they finish that shift and then they get back in their car and they drive home. They
a one hundred and sixty eight percent more likely to get in a car accident themselves, driving home because they are under slept finding themselves, perhaps back in the emergency room from which they came, but now is a patient rather than attending resident. So I think that area is an area that needs to have changed. We ve seen some of that change, but I don't think it's quite the enough yet based on the data, the idea of irregular schedules is the price. Let irregular schedules resonate with me, because I one of the things I think use. My data is that there is Friday and Saturday night. I dont get a lot of sleep because your most nights during the week I but a bed at ten or eleven pretty regularly but Friday entire nights. I try to go to bed much,
Europe and I have to be up at three forty five to anchor weaken good morning America, a job I love, but the sleep. Applications are quite severe. I wanted to see it in your data answered, oh yeah, that those nights dropped precipitously on those unite in its eggs. I knew exactly what was happening but yeah. What are you What would you recommend, because I'm not the only one? I mean a lot of people of irregular schedules. It it's. Challenging and again I dont think there are any simple solutions here, other than just to simply be aware of the science I mean, I think you know one of the problems have is when you provide, this type of data in the the issues around insufficient sleep. I want public to be aware of it, because I think knowledge is not necessarily a burden, and I won't I'm not trying to tell anyone how to live the life. I just want to empower you with the knowledge and then people can make
turn decision, but I think it is one of those difficult things were if that is your profession and it's a job that you desperately loving you incredibly good at it Who do you think about balancing those two tensions, because What you essentially experience every weekend is something that we call social jet lag amiss tipping happens in a less extreme version where people are working the week that up early may need to sort of go Abed early and then come to weekend, they sort of sleeping eight and their awake in the night said if they did, they go to bed late. They wake up late, come Sunday evening. They have the train, drag their body clock all the way back by may be two or three hours, and It's happening every weekend and you have a version of that social jet like to, but it's actually professional jet lag in this regard. But to put that in context, you know if you're trying to shift your body clock every weekend by two or three hours, that's the equivalent of
flying back and forth from San Francisco to New York every weekend from a biological security perspective, and that really can be made. quite tortuous on your biology, and we know that peat working. Night shifts do have a significantly higher risks of things such as viable tease and obesity and some evidence the regarding cancer as well. In fact, I believe the Health organization has classified nighttime shift, work, the probable carcinogen because, if the association between that circadian sleep disruption and cancer risk you you use, You said a few paragraphs back, something about you know not wanted to tell people how to live their lives and I think you're in it tough position from a communication standpoint. I mean, I know you, you you reference not wanting to be. You know the serve grim, reaper grim sleeper, an angel.
There a couple things that issue worth exploring here. One of them is that you know I bearing this ring has been humbling? For me because I do a lot of things right. I don't drink alcohol or caffeine. I meditate what a bed, in fact right before bad. I stretch right before that. I have a cooling pad on my bed. I keep the room cool. For your advice aid. I dont exposed myself the a of light before as you are aware, retainer. I am an old lots of things that are would see, to be set up. My Having a healthy night's sleep, and yet I'm not racking seven hours that frequently end I do feel a certain sense of like helplessness, creeping in, and I can imagine many listeners do as well it it suited I should note, by the way that you know I'm no poster child fleet myself. You know I I do all of things.
You do too, and I, of course I know I am a little bit about sleep and and hopefully how to get it, but I have knights were ice go with sleep as well. I have faces of my life where I've gone through insomnia. of a number of different triggers. So I know how differ it is- and I know you know I am the This person, I essentially knowing all- but I know when I'm not sleeping well we become the Woody Allen Neurotic of the sleep. Well, it's terrible. You know I'm lying in bed and thinking well, my docile actual prefrontal cortex not shutting down, I'm not out of town tempting down my erects in chemicals in the brain and melatonin. On that. You dead in the water for the next two hours, it's a disaster. So I I genuinely feel for people, and I think, it's being you speak about having humbling experience and I'm glad the ring has had that effect. I think you know it comes to something we same medicine, which is what gets measured, gets managed, and I can ask you
well. Did you sleep last night and you could tell me, but if I were to say well how well did you sleep blush Tuesday and the stay before that and the Saturday before that is very difficult for us to No, what are historical record of sleep has been and how we actually should think about. Said, of trends, and I always think it's much better to follow, trend lines than it is headlines and that's why if anyone has had a bad night of sleep, let's not focus on it, but just stay last night was last night. Let's look to the future, and just let's try to me, a trending improvement overall, but to come back to your point yo you doing so many things right. What could be the other way banks that are that are coming in to eye to play. One of them is the difficult issue of just getting older that as we get older. It is one the most potent physiological signatures of aging, which is that all sleep gets worse and we ve done a lot. work in this area? We know him
why that's occurring. I do think, however, that this sort of you know this weekend. Weekday difference between your sleep is another thing to keep in mind. I think that that can be confused in your body and specifically or body clock your twenty four hour, circadian clock and that's why you could have less opt? more sleep efficiency than you are nevertheless capable of even at age fifty and then So I think you have the other factors you know what is your krona type? Are you of sleeping at the time when you, naturally, with light to sleep? I know that suit difficult. family and you have a job and those forces will prevent you that luxury of just sleeping biologically when you want so those aren't necessarily solutions, but they are at least perhaps reasons that may explain why that sleep efficiency is a little bit lower than we would wish for.
What I'm here hearing you say mostly, is it's it's good for people have the information and that your job to give people the information and once you are informed, really try to do your best yeah, exactly that and. You know for those people who are anxious about sleep, I think you know trying not to set up it and think it's a lost cause if you really are struggling. There are now some fantastic programmes that can really help people. Within insomnia and one in particular, which is called cognitive behavioral therapy. For some C b t I come to pay the third conference on me. It seems to be judged does efficacious as sleeping pills in the short term, but what's bat Is that when you start working with your therapist, I'm not going
You go back to the bats leap that you having, which is what happens when you stop taking sleeping medications. You actually continue on that journey of good sleep, and so there are helpful methods out there that people can embrace if they want to, but also just try not to get so overly anxious about sleep that ends up being counter productive for some people well, of course, and that's one of my greatest fears in I still struggle. I don't know the right balance yet between being communicator of science of sleep and truthfully telling people about sleeping. I think I do what the World Health Organization or the CDC to stop publishing material about the deleterious Facts of substance. abuse or stress or obesity. But you know, if I'm stressed naturally I am an anxious person and I read Robert suppose, Geese book that newspapers don't get else's and that you know
I did me in great detail all of the health consequences that were happening because I was stressed anxious individual did it, Make me more stress. Yes, it did, but did it motivate me to try and make behavioral changes to try and reduce my physiological stress and lowering my anxiety. Yes, it did too, and so I still don't know, I'm still finding my way. As you know, I'm just a scientist in time. For the most part, I am afraid private person it it's not very easy to be in Publican and communicate, but I do feel passionate about sleep and I do think that there is it's a message that, unlike diet and exercise, has yet to have its time in the public spotlight, and I hope that I can try and do a little part of that. But I stress: but with knowing that raises edge balance between being helpful to people, verses, causing anxiety and stress.
A common and then to to ask questions. My comment is, in my opinion, actually you're walking this line very nicely and which which leads me to my penultimate question, which is for those of us who have just and several hours listening to you and are tempted. go. You know, lighter hairs, Leora Heron fired and talked everybody. We know about the importance of sleep and Egypt to convince our part, they need to sleep or etcetera, etc. How do we do that without even making everybody matted us? I think Trying to do it in an interesting way is always helpful, but best piece of advice I got was actually from my partner witches, as I was starting to such released the book and realise that I was the beginning of June. And he is a public communicator of science- should tell me something that was. which was dont, give people rules, people don't respond.
Rules, people respond to reasons, not rules, and so you can tell people that, yes, miss at night is important: it important to keep a bedroom, cold alcohol coffee and should be avoided, but don't stop the experts The mechanism explained the reasons behind those things. That's when I think people connect with the the nation and realize why being told to do what they they We want to do, and so I think, if you don't be. You know asleep, ambassador out there simply telling people you need to do this and you need to do this. We need to do. This is usually not going to go down very well from my experience at least but explaining people our explained. The people, the underlying reasons behind those rules, that's when people. I think that the the eyes light up. They get this connection, they say why does she gasped? I definitely found that when I have alcohol. You know it seems to knock me
but then I wake up many more times throughout the night, and I dont know why I feel you know so unrefreshed cloning day. I never made the connection. I didn't realize alcohol fragments you'll sleep. I didn't really Why is that it's a sedative and what I am experiencing is not sleep, I'm just simply sedating my brain and sedation isn't sleep and that's when people I think, connect in bond with even and feels, though, you not simply wagging a finger, but you genuinely authentically trying to help them final question in the first nine days of my sleep data took it were from. A retreat and meditation retreat. That I was on The data was pretty weird and I just If you had any very thoughts and be the looks like our of my sleep was quite frank: ended in short, and actually sometimes it's gave me more credit for sleep than I deserve because it it was. You saying that my meditation with sleep, and sometimes I do fall asleep during meditation, but there's no way
and I was wearing a ring all day at that of one thousand retreat and he was I was having a special toward the end of the retreat very clear vivid. Meditation sessions, and I know I wasn't asleep, and yet the ring was registering it asleep. So, but there is a lot, from my view. One was thinking that I was sleeping when I was indeed meditation. The other was that my sleep, but not sleepy much at all, while on retreat, which is not uncommon, and yet I felt perfectly well rested. I think this is were worth getting The limits of what these types of devices at present can actually do the algorithm, usually use a combination of movement as well as awake rate in your respiration rate to train, determine Is this person asleep while they are awake and if they are in sleep, what what stage of it of sleep then an It seems as though, by sitting in a very still position method
beating way your heart rate starts to celebrate, and your respiration starts to decrease fools the ring into thinking. Chivas this person to be asleep, and that's a very harsh criticism, because I think any device a sleep measuring device would fall into that. It's not necessarily this. This rings fault. I think it's a! U at sea with many of the other sleep tracking devices, that's where, if I had tread on your head, I would still be able to tell you this person still has wakefulness in them. They not asleep. They made look in a slightly odd state of wakefulness beautiful thing that we call meditation, but it certainly doesn't seem to be sleep and what about the fact that I I wasn't getting much sleep and yet me vera, I did. I ask you about this: in the first part of our interview gets its very common on meditation retreat for people to only sleep three, four, or five hours and night and be wide awake. I mean boot. The word Buddha trend
late into awake. Are you what do you make of that? I think it's fast waiting. I and I know Richie Davidson, who you are good friends with well connected with in Houston, some studies out it with another sleek we such called Julio tony- I just don't think we have good enough d yet to really understand what going on with with meditation. I had this how much as I've been sort of speaking with public people will say as I go on these retreats, my sleep need typically decreases. Is that because, near this friction, pull a change in the way that you're eating and is the change in the eating that change, universes it that you're eating less and typically when people say to eat lesson when they fast that, usually as a trigger for the brain to actually stay awake more because from evolution perspective when food has become scars.
The animals in danger of the animal releases, a chemical chemical called erects in that wait promoting it decreases the amount of sleep and it allows them to spend more time foraging and abroad, a perimeter for food and some tea. When we go into a state where were eating less all were fasting. It is I'm the brain artificially, my goodness food has become Skurse. So I'm going to release this chemical and keep you awake longer, so it may not necessarily be simply the idea that often people say to me, which is meditation, replacing my sleep. My sleep need has decreased. I think that is a possibility and I think we need to explore that but there are also these other possibilities, other things that changing in around a retreat that could also be the trigger. I just don't think you know yet, but it's something I hear quite commonly, and I think, No often those things turn out to have some degree of truth to them. Cliches are often cliches, because the typically true
Next, frontier research, indeed matthew- I just want to save, say in closing here. I really appreciate all the time you ve given too, to the show our audience. I think you're gonna love this, and I really appreciate the work you're doing getting angry with you that we know a lot about exercise and and diet and, to a lesser extent, meditation, but sleep has not gotten the airtime. It deserves so good on you for doing this work. Thank you. Thank you for beyond, had thank you for giving me the opportunity to speak to the public about the scene. I am. I do want to try and help people but I can only do it with fantastic partners who allow their message to be communicated to the audience, and this is the gift that you ve given me. So thank you so much then sleeper. I will really appreciate all This time there was great interview had a bigger impact on me personally
Stu some voice mail as teased at the top of this episode. We ve got a ringer this week or in J. So far has been a previous guest on this podcast episodes twenty and one sixty five and is a very poor. Their teacher under ten percent happier app and he's got too great. forces up on the app one called relationships and the other about working with emotions, so Take him out on the up. In the meantime, he a yell says a bunch of meditations upon our popular sleep tab, so he's we got him to answer three questions related to sleep from you here. One again bill here, calling from Furlano Florida have a question about building a meditation of it. and finding that sometimes one. I'm doing guided that particularly farther into the meditation made evident at fifteen meditation about eight minutes, and I find myself sometimes falling asleep. He said
global am I gonna go to meditation jail for doing that one I do you know wake up, usually at the end of the fifteen minutes I feel extremely refreshed and I feel like it was a positive experience, but unstuck true how I can get over that or what I should do to prevent thanks a lot a this is orange a sulphur thank for the question bill, it's a great question and also a really common experience. So, if you think about it, when our eyes were closed, our body still and where relaxed? most of the time in her life. That means go to sleep. So really common when we're meditating and we start to feel more relaxed and calm that our body gets the message. Oh it's time to go to sleep, so it take time with meditation to learn how to be still and relaxed. Yet still have a quality of wakefulness and alertness in the mind, there's kind of an art to it
sounds like you finding the meditations, energizing and refreshing in the end, which is really good sign so I would say is try to pay a little bit more attention to things like your posture during the meditation, you might sit up a little bit strader you can also, focus more on your in breath, witches naturally activating so your Bringing a little bit more energy into your body or out breath is naturally gonna, be more calming and settling. So if you focus on that, that's gonna tend to take you more into that zone of feeling a little bit lulled and moving towards sleep. Another thing you can do is try to turn the volume up a little bit on your level of interest in what's happening so we'd fall asleep in life when were actively engaged in something watching a really interesting movie. Having a conversation so see
if you can start to relate to the meditation itself with a quality of really alive interest. If you get curious about the breath or whatever meditation you're doing, that's gonna be, more energy and help you stay awake to The last thing you can try bill is to reach connect with your sense of purpose or motivation for meditating. You know why are you doing this when we feel a strong sense of purpose that also brings energy into the meditation. So thanks a true your question again and hope. This is helpful. Good luck with the practice big thanks to all bill on that here is voicemail number two. Paid in my name's Jesse. I live in Reno Nevada how to say man love your show, lower love, what you're doing, but Michael we'll be started meditating at night, and I've noticed that I've had a significant, increase in dreams. I do about a twenty minute practice at night, Twenty minute practice in the morning, I just wondering
You ve never heard a thousand typical experienced, if there's any literature anything out there like that, that be great picked up thanks. So much for that question J C. It is real they common? As a matter of fact, I dont know if there has been any research on increase in dreams with meditation There is a lot of literature about it with in various meditation traditions, so there's a whole form of meditation practice, for example, in some batten traditions called dream yoga where unconsciously and intentionally practices to have a lucid dreams and remember your dreams and so forth. Are you? might be familiar as well. There's forms of psychotherapy, like you mean analysis that also work with dreams, so for me in my own practice, have certainly experienced that and it's pretty easy to understand why a meditation practice it is our awareness and
sharpens our senses, so it would makes sense that that increased awareness and sharpness would start. To carry over into our dreams and result in more vivid or deep or captivating dreams met it We should also tends to help us to process things that might be unresolved in our psyche. Emotions things from the past difficult experiences may be that we haven't dealt with and eat. If that's not happening consciously in your meditations, things can be shifting organ worked out in the background, and sometimes what can happen is our mind, start to work things out through our dreams and it's as if the meditation practices sort of priming the ground or laying the conditions for our subconscious to begin to work things through while were sleeping. So just a few tips if you're interested in working with it it when you notice that this is happening, it can be in
trusting when you wake up in the morning or even during the middle of the night, after a dream to reflect on the dream and just take a few nets to think about like what was the overall emotional tone or quality of the dream. Often, times, there's a message there, just in how're feeling, either in our life or about a particular situation. You might consider like if there any words or images that you remember that stand out that have particular, for sir power to them, then you would just gonna consider what are those bring to mind when you think of that word or see that midge. What's the association that comes and what I find myself as if I take a little time and just reflect on it. Usually some kind of a meaning or a connection becomes clear, not all of the time, but much of the time and you can also get better at it taking the time to read, down the dream, you start to get a feeling.
For how your psyche is communicating and processing things so thin So much again for the question: Jesse thanks for your practice and good luck with it orange and J C and now voicemail number three lent him is Jeff. the Boston area I'm a meditative about six months I have trained in mindfulness. Locally, and I've been practicing daily. My question is when I'm getting into a very deep meditative state, after usually good ten minutes or so, and noticed that sometimes it feels like I'm following a sleeper pre fleets. I am sometimes I even catch myself. Jerking, awake live a little hypnotic jerk, and so I know it knows cases I am actually gaudy edgy falling asleep. I'm wondering Should I be meditating at a level where I'm very very what I consider deep enough. zoning? In an almost appreciate, condition, or should I be
as I am in other times very wide awake very aware of. What's going on in my I practice and being mind really mindful and what's allow me or should I he again or in a trance like almost condition thanks very much, so much for the question Jeff, it's a great question So the name of the game here with meditation is balance we really looking for balance on many many levels. We want the posture to be balanced, we were, a balance, our sense of trust with the quality of scepticism and investigation and we want to balance the quality of wakeful alertness that you're talking about with that sense of real tranquillity and ease so meditation practice involves two parts. On the one hand, there is this aspect of it: that's really about soothing and nourishing ourselves and just kind of
covering from the stress and the incessant friction of life so I think it is helpful and important to allow ourselves and meditation when we do feel at ease we feel those feelings of pleasure even a little bit of drifting tonight, jerk ourselves away from it to let yourself be nourished by it. Let it replenish you at this. each time we don't wanna, be drifting off to sleep for a time, that's gonna be counterproductive. Every now and then, of course, you know we drift a little bit. You catch quick cat, nap, great, no worries, If that's what's happening all the time in your meditation practice, I would- encourage you to try to balance that with more awareness, because, ultimately, in these two parts, the meditation there's, the nourishing calming kind of settling part, but then there is also the understanding. The wisdom
The clarity and really the sense of calm and nourishment is in service of the transformation that comes from wakefulness clarity and understanding and that kind of wisdom only develops. When the mind is aware and awake So you want to see if you can bring in more of that quality of alertness without it being up tight without it being frenetic or forced so that the two sides to blend together. You have a really clear steady, bright awareness- that's all ease full, that's really but we're going for so one of the metaphors that I like to use, as you can think, about a radio receiver like on a stereo on a high fi stereo, where you got the base and amid and the trouble, and it got all these little dials that you can adjust. So what were trying to do here is we're trying to become more familiar with the energies
qualities and the intentions in our own mind and body. The amount of energy and interest and curiosity and ease and kindness and patience- and just a just those ever so slightly here and there so that we find the right balance and things come into focus on their own soil, sounds great, I would say, keep going with it, keep investigating being curious and and you'll find that balance on your own in time. Thanks As for the question, Jeff, and good luck with big thanks to store for joining us for this week's special, voicemail section on sleep and big instead of the folks put this show together, rang Kessler, Samuel Johnson, Grace, Livingston, Lauren, hearts, activity, Mama hundreds and thanks to you for listening, we'll be back next week with another episode, there's not a person in Amerika who hasn't been impact it in some way by the corona
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