“Most of us assume that sleep evolved. But why should we make that assumption? Why isn’t it that sleep was the default state when life emerged, and it was wakefulness that evolved?”— Dr. Matthew Walker
Matthew Walker, PhD (@sleepdiplomat), is professor of neuroscience at the University of California Berkeley and founder and director of the school’s Center for Human Sleep Science. Dr. Walker is the author of the New York Times and international bestseller Why We Sleep: Unlocking the Power of Sleep and Dreams, which was recently listed by Bill Gates as one of his top five books of the year. His TED Talk, “Sleep is Your Superpower,” has garnered more than 17 million views.
He has received numerous funding awards from the National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health and is a Kavli Fellow of the National Academy of Sciences. In 2020, Dr. Walker was awarded the Carl Sagan Prize for Science Achievements. Dr. Walker’s research examines the impact of sleep on human health and disease. He has been featured on numerous television and radio outlets including 60 Minutes, Nat Geo TV, NOVA Science, NPR, and the BBC. Dr. Walker is also scientific advisor to Oura, a sleep-tracking ring.
Dr. Walker hosts the 5-star-rated podcast The Matt Walker Podcast, which is all about sleep, the brain, and the body.
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Want to hear another podcast episode with someone who won’t rest until you get a good night’s sleep? Listen to my conversation with neuroscientist and Stanford University professor Dr. Andrew Huberman, in which we discussed timing circadian biology to accentuate the positive and eliminate the negative, the ideal time for morning light exposure, what he recommends over melatonin as a sleep aid, the non-sleep deep rest of yoga nidra, using physiological sighs to reduce stress, the future of beneficial brain change, cage diving with great white sharks, and much more.
What was your favorite quote or lesson from this episode? Please let me know in the comments.
SCROLL BELOW FOR LINKS AND SHOW NOTES…
SELECTED LINKS FROM THE EPISODE
- Connect with Dr. Matthew Walker:
- Why We Sleep: Unlocking the Power of Sleep and Dreams by Matthew Walker | Amazon
- The Matt Walker Podcast
- Matt Walker’s TED Talks
- Center for Human Sleep Science
- Insights from Dr. Matthew Walker, Adam Grant/Atul Gawande, Diana Chapman, and Rich Roll/David Goggins | The Tim Ferriss Show #630
- What is Alzheimer’s Disease? | alz.org
- Insomnia: Symptoms, Causes, and Treatments | Sleep Foundation
- Sleep Apnea: Symptoms and Causes | Sleep Foundation
- The Connection Between Sleep and Alzheimer’s Disease (Clip) | The Drive with Peter Attia #47
- Scientists Discover Previously Unknown Cleansing System in Brain | URMC Newsroom
- Aquaporin-4-Dependent Glymphatic Solute Transport in the Rodent Brain | Neuroscience
- Deep Sleep Gives Your Brain a Deep Clean | Scientific American
- Sleepy Worms Shed Light on Why We Need Our Shut-Eye | Futurity
- Gedankenexperiment Definition & Meaning | Merriam-Webster
- America’s Favorite Coffee, Espresso and Donuts | Dunkin’
- Make New Memories But Keep the Old, With a Little Help From Electrodes | Innovation| Smithsonian Magazine
- Prefrontal Cortex | The Science of Psychotherapy
- Somnee: First Electronic Sleep Aid Headband | StimScience
- How Sleep Latency Impacts the Quality of Your Sleep | Sleep Foundation
- Dr. Peter Attia on Longevity Drugs, Alzheimer’s Disease, and the 3 Most Important Levers to Pull | The Tim Ferriss Show #517
- Close the Blinds During Sleep to Protect Your Health | Northwestern Now
- Alaska Bear Natural Silk Sleep Mask | Amazon
- Temperature: Part 1 | The Matt Walker Podcast
- Temperature: Part 2 | The Matt Walker Podcast
- Sleep Fitness Technology: Smart Bed Cooling & Heating System For Better Sleep | Eight Sleep
- 10 Health Benefits of Taking a Hot Bath | Byrdie
- The Best Exercises to Get Better Sleep | Sleep Foundation
- James Clear, Atomic Habits — Simple Strategies for Building (and Breaking) Habits, Questions for Personal Mastery and Growth, Tactics for Writing and Launching a Mega-Bestseller, Finding Leverage, and More | The Tim Ferriss Show #648
- Caffeine and Sleep | Sleep Foundation
- Sleep & Caffeine: Part 1 | The Matt Walker Podcast
- Sleep & Caffeine: Part 2 | The Matt Walker Podcast
- How to Make the Strongest Coffee | Coffee Gems
- 10 Healthy Reasons to Drink Coffee | One Medical
- Using Cannabis for Sleep | The Sleep Doctor
- The Difference Between CBN, THC, & CBD | Pantry Food Co
- Observations on the Medicinal Properties of the Cannabis Sativa of India | Medico-Chirurgical Transactions
- On the Preparations of the Indian Hemp, or Gunjah | Provincial Medical Journal, and Retrospect of the Medical Sciences
- Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM–5) | American Psychiatric Association
- “The Dose Makes the Poison.” | Chemical Safety Facts
- Generation 3 | Oura Ring
- The 4-Hour Body: An Uncommon Guide to Rapid Fat Loss, Incredible Sex, and Becoming Superhuman by Timothy Ferriss | Amazon
- Whole-Night Continuous Rocking Entrains Spontaneous Neural Oscillations with Benefits for Sleep and Memory | Current Biology
- Why Hammocks Make Sleep Easier, Deeper | Shots
- Skeuomorphism 101: An Intro to the Controversial Style | HubSpot
- The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown | Amazon
- George Foreman Indoor Grill and Panini Press | Amazon
- Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan | Prime Video
- Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA)
- Understanding the Glymphatic System | Neuronline
- Psychedelic Assisted Psychotherapy and Sleep | Psychology Today
- Recreational Drugs and Sleep | Sleep Society
- We Talked to a Scientist Who Gave LSD to Cats Back in the ’70s | Vice
- The Endocannabinoid System: Essential and Mysterious | Harvard Health
- Sleep & Weight Gain: Part 1 | The Matt Walker Podcast
- Sleep & Weight Gain: Part 2 | The Matt Walker Podcast
- The Orexin System: Basic Science and Role in Sleep Pathology | Frontiers of Neurology and Neuroscience
- Orthostatic Intolerance | Wikipedia
- Melatonin | The Matt Walker Podcast
- The Effects of Ramadan Fasting on Sleep Patterns and Daytime Sleepiness: An Objective Assessment | Journal of Research in Medical Sciences
- Narcolepsy: Causes, Symptoms, Treatments | Sleep Foundation
- Fainting Goats! | National Geographic
- Cataplexy | Wikipedia
- Sleep Paralysis | Stanford Health Care
- Modafinil and Sports: Legal Performance Enhancer? | Modafinil
- Gamma-Aminobutyric Acid (GABA) | Cleveland Clinic
- Why We Sleep Pt II: Walker on the Dark Side of Sleeping Pills — Plus a CBT That Works? | Health Rising
- Professor Marcos Frank: How Sleep Helps You Learn and Remember | humanOS Radio #004
- Trazodone | Drugs.com
- Considerations Before Taking Trazodone for Insomnia | Verywell Health
- Ketanserin | Drugs.com
- Psychedelic-Antidepressant Interactions | MIND Foundation
- How Gabapentin Differs From Pregabalin | Pharmacy Times
- Restless Legs Syndrome: Symptoms and Causes | Sleep Foundation
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia (CBT-I) | Sleep Foundation
- How to Lucid Dream | Sleep Foundation
- [05:55] Sleep and Alzheimer’s disease.
- [19:55] What causes the decline of deep sleep as we age?
- [24:36] Are there any known species that don’t require sleep?
- [29:15] Brain stimulation for more deep sleep, less insomnia.
- [41:01] Tips for better sleep without laboratory budget or access.
- [51:45] Ideal types of exercise for promoting deep sleep.
- [53:51] Matt’s updated thoughts on caffeine and sleep.
- [1:11:12] Cannabis (CBD, THC, CBN) and sleep.
- [1:30:18] A crowdsourcing request of listeners.
- [1:36:17] If the bed’s a-rocking…
- [1:41:45] The Da Vinci Code magic sleep device.
- [1:46:04] DARPA innovation.
- [1:46:32] Ensuring proper function in the glymphatic system.
- [1:50:42] Psychedelics and sleep.
- [2:01:20] How sleep affects food intake and weight fluctuation.
- [2:10:46] Orexin, I reckon.
- [2:22:11] Fainting goats and narcolepsy.
- [2:25:36] Modafinil.
- [2:30:32] How sleep medications affect sleep quality.
- [2:36:16] Trazodone.
- [2:46:26] Perilous polypharmacy.
- [2:49:04] Pregabalin and gabapentin.
- [2:54:33] The psychological value of emergency sleep medicine for insomniacs.
- [2:58:16] CBTI and the balancing role of pharmacology.
- [2:59:56] Parting thoughts and what to expect from a future round two.
MORE DR. MATTHEW WALKER QUOTES FROM THE INTERVIEW
“If sleep is a missing piece in the explanatory puzzle of aging and Alzheimer’s disease, then maybe we can do something about it. Sleep is a modifiable factor.”
— Dr. Matthew Walker
“In biology it’s very rare that you get a free lunch. And when you fight biology, you normally lose.”
— Dr. Matthew Walker
“Night after night, if you’re not cleansing the brain, it becomes like compounding interest on a loan, that it continues to escalate time and time again, night after night. “
— Dr. Matthew Walker
“Most of us assume that sleep evolved. But why should we make that assumption? Why isn’t it that sleep was the default state when life emerged, and it was wakefulness that evolved?”
— Dr. Matthew Walker
- Maiken Nedergaard
- Peter Attia
- Phyllis Zee
- John Clendinning
- William Brooke O’Shaughnessy
- Kevin Kelly
- George Foreman
- Daniel Kahneman
- Terence McKenna
- Barry Jacobs
- Marcos Frank
DISCLAIMER: I’m not a doctor, nor do I play one on the Internet. None of the content in this podcast constitutes medical advice. Please consult your doctor before considering anything we discuss in this episode.
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