#147 How To Improve Your Sleep and Why You Should with Professor Matthew Walker

Improving the quality of our sleep is arguably the single most effective thing that we can do to reset our brains and recharge our bodies, yet many of us just aren’t getting enough. But what is the optimal amount of sleep and what can we do if we struggle to get enough? I’m delighted to welcome back onto the podcast the world-leading sleep researcher, Professor Matthew Walker to answer these questions and more. Matthew is author of the international best-selling book ‘Why We Sleep’, Professor of Neuroscience and Psychology at the University of California and a fountain of knowledge when it comes to all things sleep.

My last conversation with Matthew back on episode 70 of the podcast was one of the most popular to date. A few months ago, I asked my podcast listeners to let me know what further questions they would like Matthew to answer and in this conversation, I put some of those questions to him.

We cover how many of us feel that we don’t have enough time to sleep for 7-9 hours but how rather than stealing time from us, getting more sleep can actually make us more productive. And even grabbing an extra 15 minutes of sleep a day will have benefits for our overall healthspan. Matthew shares some brilliant tips on how we can regain control of our sleep and for those who are really struggling, he explains that there is an alternative to sleeping pills that is just as effective in the short term, but much more effective long term.

We cover so much ground in this conversation, including polyphasic sleep (sleeping for periods of time throughout the day), unbroken sleep and why lying awake in bed for long periods of time can affect our ability to sleep in the future. Matthew shares the fascinating and dramatic changes that have occurred in the way we sleep and dream following the coronavirus pandemic and why it has allowed what he calls “the revenge of the night owls.”

We delve into REM sleep and how it is one of the best forms of therapy – the brain can literally re-wire negative memories when we sleep. Finally, we cover sleep trackers, caffeine and how sleep impacts our immunity. This really is a fascinating conversation, full of fresh insights and actionable tips that we can all put into practice today. I hope you enjoy listening.

Show notes available at drchatterjee.com/147

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