Mastermind - Matthew Walker Teaches the Science of Better Sleep

Science of better sleep - 00.Class Workbook.pdf

Sleep is the elixir of life, it is the swiss army knife of health, and mother nature's best effort yet at immortality.

There are 2 types of sleep

  • Non-Rapid eye movement sleep (non-rem sleep)
  • Rapid eye movement sleep (rem sleep)

The power of non-rem sleep

In the brain, during deep sleep, 100 or thousands of brain cells in your cortex, decide to fire together or silent together.

during non-rem sleep, strength and consolidate information that you learn during the day. Deep sleep improves immune system function.

The beauty of rem sleep

is an active state, provide complimentary benefit ex. overnight therapy (difficult emotion during the day and soothe it so feels better). In some way It’s not time that heals all wounds, it’s the time during sleep we take information during the day start to integrate it, and associate it. Rem sleep seeks out and test specific connection and association between recent information that you’ve required and the back catalog of information that you develop in your lifetime.

Why sleep

average adult recommendation 7 to 9 hours, CDC stipulates min 7 hours for an adult. Even when you lose 1 hour of sleep such as in daylight saving, shows more people have a heart attack.

How sleep works

Sleep pressure

From the moment you woke up this morning, a chemical has been building up in your brain called adenosine, the more this chemical the sleepier that you feel, and when you’re asleep the brain removes and takes away that adenosine.

Circadian rhythm

Circadian rhythm is controlled by the suprachiasmatic nucleus (24-hour clock within our brain), which drums out a rise in activity throughout the morning just start to peak before midday and sustains our activity throughout the afternoon and gradually as just we’re getting into the evening circadian drive to be active will actually shift and it will start to come down again, then it will hit it lowest point some hour into our sleep cycle, usually 3 to 4 hour after we’re going to bed. Then it will go back up again and it will start to rise just before we start to wake up.

how does the suprachiasmatic nucleus communicate its a signal activity for sleep for the rest of the brain and the body, it uses melatonin. when it receives daylight through the retina and streams back to the suprachiasmatic nucleus, it brakes the melatonin.

we need darkness to release the melatonin.

Melatonin Misconceptions

If you are taking melatonin as a supplement, make sure that you are in a lower dose, around 0.5 to 3 mg. The side effect of this is your body might be less receptive to that and we might stop producing our own melatonin.

Sleep’s Ebb and flow

Social jetlag, sometimes from Monday to Friday when we wake up at 7 am, then on Saturday or Sunday we usually wake up at 9 or 10 am because maybe it’s a holiday, this actually hurts our sleep pattern and hurts your body and mind from the 2 or 3 difference in time.

Night Owl or Morning Lark?

Chronotype is decided by genetics imprinted.

Diurnal - active chiefly in the daytime.

The Buzz on alcohol and caffeine

Caffeine is a stimulant, that alerts us and makes us more awake.

Timing of caffeine & duration of caffeine

caffeine can decreases the amount of deep sleep for stages 3 and 4 of rem sleep.

Caffeine will raise into your brain, it will latch into adenosine receptors and it blocks adenosine. If it blocks, the adenosine will build up.

Intoxicated sleep

One glass of alcohol in the evening will end up resulting in immeasurable changes in your sleep. Alcohol is harmful to us, alcohol is a sedative, and sedation is not sleep.

The problem with alcohol is that it will disturb your sleep, sleep fragmentation you will wake up many more times throughout the night, which leads to poor quality of sleep.

Those people who have more rem sleep on average typically live longer.

REM sleep rebound effect, you can’t get back all the rem sleep that you’ve lost.


Stay away from caffeine after 2 PM, the dose and time that makes the poison.

Maintain regularity with your sleep.

Wake up at the same time and go to bed at the same time.

Prevent Sleep Debt

Sleep is a biological necessity and your brain and body expect that sleep every night. The danger of lack of sleep, you don’t actually know when you are underslept. acute death risk when it comes to insufficient sleep, that is drowsy driving.

Nap double edge sword

significantly enhances such as lower blood pressure, cardio vascular system, learning, and memory.

17 minutes have the benefit of initiating fixating on information that has been learned before the nap.

How to nap

Profolatic nap, at the beginning or at the end of the long run.

nap before 3 pm.

nap for 15 to 20 min max.

Combat jet lag

reset your clocks - as soon as you get on the plane, change all your clock faces to the new time.

sleep during the first half of a flight.

stay awake for at least 12 hours.

Avoid caffeine and alcohol.

Wake at a standard time.

Exercise in the morning.

Avoid sunglasses in the morning, and wear sunglasses in the afternoon.

short nap 10 to 20 min briefly in the morning if needed.

Fire up the brain

Sleep before learning to prepare your brain to lay down those memory traces then you need to sleep after learning to cement those memories into the neural architecture of the brain and to associate, assimilate and integrate all of that information together.

Hippocampus is very good at receiving new information

Hitting the “save” button

Memory replay - when we sleep after learning during nonrem sleep the brain actually replays some of those memory traces.

The brain has another mechanism - Selective memory and forgetting.

Ultimate problem solver

when coming out from the dream state, they were 30 percent more likely to solve a problem, more quickly and more intuitively.

Sleep Across our life span

Alzheimer’s Prevention

Dementia - for loss of memory, language, problem-solving and other thinking abilities that are severe enough to interfere with daily life

Beta-Amyloid - denotes peptides of 36–43 amino acids that are the main component of the amyloid plaques found in the brains of people with Alzheimer's disease

Tau - Tau is a small protein with a short name but a large reputation because of its association with multiple brain diseases.

Insomnia - related to poor sleeping habits, depression, anxiety, lack of exercise, chronic illness, or certain medication.

sleep apnea - A potentially serious sleep disorder in which breathing repeatedly stops and starts.

Less than 6 hours have a higher risk to produce beta-amyloid toxic protein in the brain later in adults.

glymphatic system - cleansing system brain.

If we’re not getting enough sleep every single night then we’re not clearing away all of the waste products that develop during the day.

Overnight Therapy

Amygdala is one centerpiece region for the generation of strong impulsive emotional reactions including negative reactions.

The prefrontal cortex is like the CEO of the brain.

Emotional first aid

It’s not time that heals everything but it’s actually sleep that heals everything. REM sleep is actually first aid.

The absurd act of dreaming

Some parts of the brain are up to 30 percent more active when you’re in rem sleep than when you’re awake.

the pre-frontal cortex actually sleeps when rem sleep and the logical rational reasoning region shuts off.

Lose sense of time when sleeping, time dilation happens when we dream.

Your brain actually paralyzes your body so that your mind can dream safely.

Our dreaming life is a reflection of the emotional concern of our emotional anxieties.

Sleep and the human body

The shorter your sleep the shorter your life.

Natural killer cells, secret service agents of your immune system, are good at identifying dangerous unwanted elements and eliminating them.

Lack of sleep will age a man by almost a decade, testosterone will go lower.

Testosterone serves many other functions as well, maintaining muscle mass, and bone mass density, and keeping us lean away from body fat for man.

For females, reduction of flocculus hormone when less sleep, disrupted menstrual cycle, and high rate of miss carriage.

Cancer connection

the connection between cancer and sleep is a shift in the immune system.

Macrophage 1 and 2 cells, if fight against cancer and you’re not getting enough sleep it’s like adding gas to the fire.

Preserve your DNA

DNA will erode when not enough sleep, gene will be distorted.

Diet and sleep

Insufficient sleep affects the amygdala and the prefrontal cortex response, the prefrontal cortex will not give control to your diet if needed more sleep.

Sleep and hunger

leptin is the hormone that signal satisfaction with food, greline does the opposite, the hormone of hunger, if greline is still high you will never be full.

Blood sugar battle

it’s dangerous to have high blood sugar for a period of time, if the body has high blood sugar it will release a hormone called insulin.

Your gut reaction

insufficient sleep can change gut microbio, which helps regulate our gut. Cortisol is a part of healthy biology if it is too much it will act as a stress chronic related hormone.

Eat right to sleep better

A diet that is high in sugar and low in fiber is worse for your sleep at night, less deep sleep, likely to wake up at night.

Sleep to thrive

lack of sleep will erode our physical performance and our athletic ability, decrease the ability of our lungs to expire carbon dioxide and inhale oxygen, and decrease our time to physical exhaustion.

Sweating is a key cooling mechanism that helps keep at that optimal level, if not we don't perspire as efficiently we can’t cool our body.

Lack of sleep, Lactic acid, muscle spasm.

The connection between Sleep duration / Sleep quality and injury risk, the less sleep that you have the higher your injury risk.

Sleep is important for recovery, helps inflammation in the joint reduce it, and prime back the level of energy, glucose, and glycogen stored in our muscles.

People who are physically active during the day will sleep longer at night, people who regularly exercise the quality of their sleep is better (less time awake at night).

Be cautious of exercise before bed, keeps our heart rate ( hard to stay asleep ) body temperature will be high, electrolyte drinks help but find that does not contain caffeine.

Brain Strengthening

Basic procedural motor skills take time to develop, that's why practice makes perfect. Not quite true, it’s actually sleep that makes the perfect, after practice the motor skills will continue to learn. Practice with a night of sleep that leads to optimized perfection for the motor skills.

How to sleep better

  1. Keep it regular - Regularity is king
  2. Wind down - develop some kind of wind-down routine, take a bath before sleeping, meditate, read a book, worry journal - take notes/journal,
  3. Keep it cool - optimal temp 18 Celcius, need to drop the core temperature to about 1 celsius to fall asleep and stay asleep across the night. A warm bath before bed.
  4. Adjust the light - we need darkness at night, to release melatonin, dim the brightness, and block blue light.
  5. Things to avoid - avoid caffein, don’t go to bed tipsy, abstain from nicotine, sedative-hypnotics,
  6. Your sacred space - avoid working, eating, and watching tv on the bed.
  7. Walk it out - if can’t get back to sleep, for 30 minutes do something different. don't eat it will create a habit that will wake you up.
  8. Track your sleep

If the sleep still persists, go to your doctor.

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