“At the moment when we analyze the data, and I’m sitting there with a student or I’m analyzing data, and we finally run the statistics, at that moment in time, if I’m lucky, I know something that has never been understood in the entirety of human civilization, and I cannot tell you how much of a thrill and a privilege that is. And so is science hard? It’s brutally hard, but just that alone, the hedonic rush that you get from de novo knowledge, gosh, it’s never left me, and I don’t think it ever will.”— 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.
And one last thing. UC Berkeley has given the rare approval for Matt’s newly opened Sleep Center at the University to be named by an individual donor, or a named company, in perpetuity. If you are interested, please reach out to Matt and note that this opportunity is in the 7-figure range.
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Want to hear the first time Dr. Matthew Walker was on this podcast? Have a listen to our conversation here, in which we discussed the relationship between sleep and Alzheimer’s disease, why our deep sleep declines as we age, ideal exercise for promoting deep sleep, fainting goats, the psychological value of emergency sleep medicine for insomniacs, how sleep affects food intake and weight fluctuation, perilous polypharmacy, 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
- Dr. Matthew Walker, All Things Sleep — How to Improve Sleep, How Sleep Ties Into Alzheimer’s Disease and Weight Gain, and How Medications (Ambien, Trazodone, etc.), Caffeine, THC/CBD, Psychedelics, Exercise, Smart Drugs, Fasting, and More Affect Sleep | The Tim Ferriss Show #650
- Insights from Dr. Matthew Walker, Adam Grant/Atul Gawande, Diana Chapman, and Rich Roll/David Goggins | The Tim Ferriss Show #630
- Sleep and Sex: Part 1 | The Matt Walker Podcast
- Sleep and Sex: Part 2 | The Matt Walker Podcast
- What Is a Sleep Divorce? | Matthew Walker
- I Tried the Scandinavian Sleep Method — And Now My Partner and I Refuse To Sleep Any Other Way | Well+Good
- The Impact of Sleep and Circadian Disturbance on Hormones and Metabolism | International Journal of Endocrinology
- FDA Approves New Treatment for Hypoactive Sexual Desire Disorder in Premenopausal Women | FDA
- Poor Sleep May Impair the Ability to Feel Empathy | Psychology Today
- The Best Temperature for Sleep | Cleveland Clinic
- Sleep Fitness Technology: Smart Bed Cooling & Heating System For Better Sleep | Eight Sleep
- Sex and Sleep: Perceptions of Sex as a Sleep Promoting Behavior in the General Adult Population | Frontiers in Public Health
- Oxytocin and Vasopressin in the Human Brain: Social Neuropeptides for Translational Medicine | Nature Reviews Neuroscience
- How to Fall Asleep When You’re Exhausted But Wired | Shape
- Fight or Flight: The Sympathetic Nervous System | Live Science
- Sleep Pressure | The Matt Walker Podcast
- Wireless Hitachi Magic Wands | Amazon
- Melatonin | Mayo Clinic
- Melatonin | The Matt Walker Podcast
- Two Hormones for One Receptor: Evolution, Biochemistry, Actions, and Pathophysiology of LH and hCG | Endocrine Reviews
- Took Too Much Melatonin? | NCPC
- Thousands of Kids Are Getting Sick from Downing Melatonin Pills | NPR
- 2-Minute Neuroscience: Suprachiasmatic Nucleus | Neuroscientifically Challenged
- Prolonged Release Melatonin for Improving Sleep in Totally Blind Subjects: A Pilot Placebo-Controlled Multicenter Trial | Nature and Science of Sleep
- Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien | Amazon
- Lack of Sleep Shrinks Men’s Testicles? | University of California
- Scientists Pinpoint Dosage of Melatonin for Insomnia | MIT News
- Beta-Carotene | University of Rochester Medical Center
- Optimising Your Sleep | The Matt Walker Podcast
- Matthew Walker’s 11 Tips for Improving Sleep Quality | MasterClass
- Insomnia Treatment: Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Instead of Sleeping Pills | Mayo Clinic
- What Is Sleep Restriction Therapy? Who Should Use It? | Healthline
- Dreams: Part 1 | The Matt Walker Podcast
- Dreams: Part 2 | The Matt Walker Podcast
- Dreams: Part 3 | The Matt Walker Podcast
- Dreams: Part 4 | The Matt Walker Podcast
- Dreams: Part 5 | The Matt Walker Podcast
- Dreams: Part 6 | The Matt Walker Podcast
- What is REM Sleep? | National Sleep Foundation
- Sleep Paralysis | Stanford Health Care
- Lucid Dream | Wikipedia
- Lucid Dreaming: A Beginner’s Guide | Tim Ferriss
- 5 Lucid Dreaming Techniques to Try | Healthline
- Steel Man Argument Explained | Philosophy Vibe
- Frequent Lucid Dreaming Associated with Increased Functional Connectivity between Frontopolar Cortex and Temporoparietal Association Areas | Scientific Reports
- Lucid Dreaming in the Tibetan Tradition: Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche | Science and Nonduality
- Mnemonic Induction of Lucid Dreams (The MILD Technique) | World of Lucid Dreaming
- Waking Life | Prime Video
- How to Use Reality Checks to Have Lucid Dreams | World of Lucid Dreaming
- Exploring the World of Lucid Dreaming by Stephen LaBerge and Howard Rheingold | Amazon
- Huperzine A | RxList
- Galantamine | Healthline
- Lucid Dreamers Are Using Unproven Tech to Hack Their Sleep | Wired UK
- Sleep and Memory: Part 1 | The Matt Walker Podcast
- Sleep and Memory: Part 2 | The Matt Walker Podcast
- Sleep and Memory: Part 3 | The Matt Walker Podcast
- Schools Start Too Early | CDC
- The State Finally Letting Teens Sleep In | The Atlantic
- How Sleep Loss Sabotages New Memory Storage in the Hippocampus | University of Michigan News
- What are Sleep Spindles? | Sleep Foundation
- Sleep Spindles and Memory | AAST
- Ultradian Rhythm: For Real Productivity, Less is Truly More | HBR
- Naps | The Matt Walker Podcast
- Waking up Is the Hardest Thing I Do All Day: Sleep Inertia and Sleep Drunkenness | Sleep Medicine Reviews
- Jurassic Park | Prime Video
- Trapped in Amber | Natural History Museum
- Sleep On It: How Snoozing Strengthens Memories | NIH News in Health
- Memory Processing in Relation to Sleep | Principles and Practice of Sleep Medicine
- Even Small Amounts of Alcohol Impair Memory | The Atlantic
- Funding Cutting-Edge Scientific Research | Saisei Foundation
- Sleeping Brain, Learning Mind: Opinion by Matthew Walker | The Harvard Crimson
- How Sleep Affects Immunity | Sleep Foundation
- Spaced Learning Vs Massed Practice | ITAC
- Make New Memories But Keep the Old, With a Little Help From Electrodes | Innovation| Smithsonian Magazine
- Fast-Forward Playback of Recent Memory Sequences in Prefrontal Cortex During Sleep | Science
- Human Hippocampal Replay during Rest Prioritizes Weakly Learned Information and Predicts Memory Performance | Nature Communications
- Memory and Sleep: How Sleep Cognition Can Change the Waking Mind for the Better | Annual Review of Psychology
- Memory Game | Amazon
- Matt Wilson: Reading the Minds of Rats | TEDxCoconutGrove
- Turning 40 Winks Into Decades: The Pace Of Time In Dreams | Psychology Today
- Inception | Prime Video
- The Role of the Human Anterior Insular Cortex in Time Processing | Brain Structure and Function
- Why Accidents and Emergencies Seem to Dramatically Slow Down Time | The Conversation
- Sleep and Exercise: Pt. 1 | The Matt Walker Podcast
- Sleep and Exercise: Pt. 2 | The Matt Walker Podcast
- How to Fight Sarcopenia (Muscle Loss Due to Aging) | Healthline
- 7 Benefits of High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) | Healthline
- Training Zones Explained | ACTIVE
- Desmopressin | Mayo Clinic
- [05:43] Sleep and sex.
- [23:45] Melatonin misgivings.
- [32:47] The suprachiasmatic nucleus.
- [36:08] Shrinking balls phenomenon.
- [41:47] Minimizing the time it takes you to sleep.
- [49:40] The bizarre basics of dreaming.
- [55:56] Taking a leap into lucid dreaming.
- [1:19:57] Optimizing sleep for learning.
- [1:43:14] Can sleep during an illness boost memory retention?
- [1:49:08] Massed versus spaced practice.
- [1:53:00] Using brain stimulation technology to enhance learning.
- [1:56:50] Optimizing memory replay.
- [2:02:47] Sleep and time dilation.
- [2:11:25] Today’s “charlatan” science that may someday be vindicated.
- [2:17:44] Exercise and memory.
- [2:25:37] Staying hydrated without having to urinate all night.
- [2:29:13] Parting thoughts.
MORE DR. MATTHEW WALKER QUOTES FROM THE INTERVIEW
“At the moment when we analyze the data, and I’m sitting there with a student or I’m analyzing data, and we finally run the statistics, at that moment in time, if I’m lucky, I know something that has never been understood in the entirety of human civilization, and I cannot tell you how much of a thrill and a privilege that is. And so is science hard? It’s brutally hard, but just that alone, the hedonic rush that you get from de novo knowledge, gosh, it’s never left me, and I don’t think it ever will.”
— Dr. Matthew Walker
“The goal of education, in my mind, is twofold. The first is to brainwash you into thinking for yourself. The second is for you to gain long-term information.”
— Dr. Matthew Walker
“Life is to be lived. Have a drink, of course. I’m not being puritanical. But if you are, let’s say, a student or you’ve been learning new information for a new job or you’ve been learning a new skill for a new particular sport and you know when you’ve been learning and you know when you probably want to have a night out, restructure those things to implement them in the smartest way possible for optimizing outcomes.”
— Dr. Matthew Walker
- Hugh Grant
- Stephen LaBerge
- Richard Linklater
- John Smith
- Carlyle Smith
- Bruce McNaughton
- Ken Paller
- Matthew A. Wilson
- Christopher Nolan
- Peter Attia
The Tim Ferriss Show is one of the most popular podcasts in the world with more than 900 million downloads. It has been selected for "Best of Apple Podcasts" three times, it is often the #1 interview podcast across all of Apple Podcasts, and it's been ranked #1 out of 400,000+ podcasts on many occasions. To listen to any of the past episodes for free, check out this page.