“When sleep is abundant, minds flourish. When it is deficient, they don’t,” this is what Matthew Walker focuses on in his best seller book Why We Sleep: Unlocking The Power Of Sleep And Dreams. Matthew Walker is a professor of Neuroscience and psychology at UC Berkeley. Before that he was a professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. He has been a researcher for over two decades and his research was mostly focused on sleep.
It’s shocking how many of us don’t pay heed to our sleep cycle. In this book Matthew Walker has very well explained how sleep works and how we can improve our sleep cycle and quality of sleep.
Here are 5 lessons that we’ve learnt from this book.
Understanding the value of sleep
In the current day and age so many of us underestimate the importance of sleep. Infact we consider functioning on little sleep as a badge of honour. It’s about time that we understand that we’ve got it all wrong. It is physically and mentally impossible for human to function at their full potential without sufficient sleep. Experts recommend at least eight hours of sleep every night.
Sleep has a direct impact on your health
Studies show that lack of sleep has a direct impact on your mental health. Major mental health conditions like depression and anxiety are rooted in emotional and mental discomfort. Sleep is detrimental to remain mentally and emotionally stable. Better sleep regulates your appetite and make healthier choices. A lack of sleep increases levels of a hormone named ghrelin that makes us feel hungry, while lowering levels of the hormone leptin that makes us feel full. People who sleep less than 6 hours per night have far higher rates of type 2 diabetes.
Sleep helps us succeed in our career or business
Under-slept workers tend to choose easy low effort tasks. While people who had enough sleep were more likely to do challenging tasks. Many modern people suffer from a type of environmentally-induced insomnia because we don’t realise the effect that things like caffeine, lights and temperature have on our sleep. The first step to fixing your sleep schedule is to fix your inner biological clock.
Caffeine works by latching onto the same receptors in your brain as adenosine (sleep pressure-inducing hormone), it outraces adenosine to these receptor sites so that your brain cannot receive the message of tiredness.
Understanding your chronotype
When we talk about being a morning or an evening person we’re referring to our chronotype. When you understand your natural chronotype you can increase your productivity and alertness. Unfortunately, our world is built in favour of morning people. Be it schools or work places they tend to start during the early hours of the day. This is counter-productive for people with evening chronotype. Teenagers universally tend to stay up late, because of the shift in their body clock caused by hormonal changes.
To accommodate these different chronotypes Matthew Walker suggests moving the school hour later in the day instead of starting early. As for the corporates, instead of working in the 9-5 chunk it is advisable to introduce flexi hours. This allows the employees to choose the time of the day they are most comfortable with. Ensuring that everyone is present during a window time to streamline. This increases employee productivity.
Understanding the REM and NREM sleep cycle
Rapid Eye Movement (REM) and Non Rapid Eye Movement (NREM) occur in non-specific patterns through the night. Dreaming takes place during the REM duration of our sleep cycle. The parts of our brains related to our senses, vision, emotion and memory are very active. This usually occurs during the latter part of our sleep. Which means if you wake up under-slept then you miss out on you REM sleep which causes lack of imagination and creativity.
Who is this book for?
This book is all those who want to fix their sleep cycle and get the most out of life. There is no specific age group to read this book. The language is simple but is very detailed.
Where can you get it?
Why We Sleep: Unlocking The Power Of Sleep And Dreams is available in all the major bookstores offline and online.
Book Title: Why We Sleep: Unlocking The Power Of Sleep And Dreams
Publication: Barnes & Nobel
Read this book and fix your sleep cycle to get the most out of your life!