The Secret to Success: Sleep; Dr. Matthew Walker & the 7 Things that Affect Your Sleep Part 2
How do you see sleep? Do you think of sleep as quality over quantity? We will look at the importance of sleep and help you to maximize your performance for your success! It is important to get good sleep to perform well in your daily life. Dr. Matthew Walker, an English Scientist, and Professor who wrote Why We Sleep helps us discover the importance of sleep. We continue to hear him speak of in an interview on Skavlan TV.
Dr. Walker talks about sleeping pills, do they work? He says there are three problems with sleeping pills. “Firstly, they are a class of drugs that we call the sedative-hypnotics and sedation is not sleep. But you mistake the former for the latter when you take these pills. Now they just knock your cortex out. The other two issues are that sleeping pills have been associated with a significantly higher risk of death, as well as cancer.” He shares that you can speak to a therapist to help you to sleep, which will help you get better sleep in the long run. Whereas if you take sleeping pills, and then you try to stop taking them, then you have “rebound insomnia” which he says your sleep gets even worse! There are natural ways to help with your sleep that we wrote of in Part One and you can read that HERE. Taking medicine to help you sleep is replacing what your body can naturally create, and if you replace it, it can make it hard to come off the medicine. We are not doctors so you would talk to your doctor if you need to make any changes medically.
Sleep is important to your success. The less sleep we have, the less productive and creative we are, and it makes problem-solving harder! According to the Sleep Foundation, 100,000 crashes a year happen due to fatigued driving! Sleep is important to your safety and others too! Dr. Matthews continues and answers the question of which is better, quality, or quantity of sleep? “We used to think it was quantity and the advice we would give is somewhere around eight hours of sleep…I certainly give myself a non-negotiable eight hours sleep opportunity, not because I want to be a poster child, or practice what I preach. If you understood the importance of sleep as I do, it’s selfish. You would choose to do nothing other than give yourself that sleep. I don’t want disease or sickness; I don’t want a shorter life. I want a longer life and a longer, healthier life. It’s the best insurance policy that I know of in terms of healthcare.” So, he says the quantity of sleep is important.
“Quality is also critical too. It’s a combination of the two. Just because you may be in bed for eight hours if you are not getting that continuous sleep and the deep quality sleep first, and the dream sleep later in the night, you need all of these things to get those benefits.” Both quantity and quality are important!!
Sleep deprivation is used as a form of torture, and it is something that many Americans are doing to themselves every day by choice! Greg wrote about this fact in his book I Will Fight, and that if we are “waterboarding” ourselves with lack of sleep, we are saying and doing things that we wouldn’t normally do. We don’t have all our cognitive reasoning without the proper rest. Your brain must rest, and if it doesn’t rest your brain will crash! We want to see you succeed in life, and it is all connected to getting a good night of sleep!
Dr. Walker continues and answers the next question, how many people can survive on seven hours of sleep or less without impairment? He says NO ONE! “Anyone suggesting they can survive on five or four hours of sleep is a fallacy.” One of the most significant lifestyle factors that determine whether you will get Alzheimer’s disease is how much sleep you get! “At night, there is this remarkable cleansing system that kicks into high gear that washes away the toxic proteins that are linked to Alzheimer’s disease. So, you get this power cleanse at night…” Your brain cleans itself when you sleep; good sleep means good brain health. Good brain health will lead to greater memory in your daily life too.
He answers next to how caffeine affects sleep. “Caffeine in the morning is okay, a cup or two in the morning. But one of the problems is it has a half-life of about six hours, and it has a quarter-life of 12 hours.” So, if you have a cup of coffee in the afternoon, a quarter of the caffeine is still in your brain in the middle of the night! A good night of sleep won’t happen since it is like drinking a quarter cup of coffee when you lay down to sleep. Maybe you have been wondering why you can’t sleep at night, and the answer could be your afternoon caffeine run. Instead of running to caffeine, you can eat a good source of protein before you hit your afternoon crash to help you make it through your day successfully.
Dr. Walker answers the question about whether Daylight Savings Time affects your sleep. How can one hour of sleep make a difference? The answer is surprising! “In the spring, when we lose one hour of sleep the next day, we see a 24% increase in heart attacks, which is dramatic! And we see an equivalent rise in the risk of suicide, suicidal thoughts, suicidal attempts, suicide completion. We also see a spike in road traffic accidents that following day, this is all just one hour of lost sleep. This is how fragile and vulnerable our bodies are…now in the Autumn/Fall when we gain an hour of sleep; we see a beautiful 21% reduction in heart attacks, so it’s bi-directional. Why are we doing this to society? We should maintain stability.” We become spiritually vulnerable to the enemy when we don’t have good sleep; he doesn’t want you to sleep! The Bible says not to let the sun go down on your anger, and the reason is so that you can sleep well because if you don’t deal with the anger, the enemy can get a stronghold in your life.
You need to take care of yourself because being sleep deprived can cause you to do or say things you normally would not. It takes 40 seconds for a tornado to happen, but it can take 40 years to recover from one, and this can apply to one moment of anger. Use this wisdom from Dr. Walker and apply it to your life to get the amount of sleep that you need so that you can succeed. Be sure to watch or listen to hear more and check out Part One and Part Three to get more wisdom about sleep. Do you have any sleep hacks? We want to hear from you! Write to us in the VFNKB Community or at [email protected]. Greg and John shared in this segment.