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The Astonishing Power of Sleep

David Rosales strives to create meaning in a universe of possibilities.

As Matthew Walker Says

Sleeping is far more than a pleasurable experience. It is an absolute necessity rather than a luxury. Your body physiologically needs sleep in order to keep functioning at optimal levels, and so does your brain.

To be able to learn, your brain needs adequate and plentiful sleep before and after activity sessions. It is only in this way that it absorbs and cements new memories.

Research scientists like Professor Matthew Walker have validated these claims by carrying out many different kinds of tests with state-of-the-art technology for the past few decades.

In one experiment, a group of sleep-deprived students was compared to a group that got eight hours of sleep. Right after this period of either deprivation or sound sleep, the students in both groups were tested for memory.

The result was that those individuals who had been sleep deprived had a 40% deficit in their ability to make memories relative to individuals in the group who got a full eight hours of sleep.

And, we can easily imagine how regularly sleeping well could make the difference between eventually getting into an Ivy League college or ending up destitute and without prospects.

The Key to a Better Life

The rich inner world of dreams and sleep

The rich inner world of dreams and sleep

Who is Matt Walker?

Matt Walker is a Professor of Neuroscience at UC Berkeley who has spent his career performing research into the nature and function of sleep in humans and mammals.

He made first brought attention to the issue of sleep around the world with his Ted Talk, Sleep is Your Superpower.

More recently he has published a book for the general public titled Why We Sleep?, recorded a video series with MasterClass called The Science of Better Sleep , and now personally produces The Matt Walker Podcast.

Harmful Effects of Sleeping Little

One of the things that research has corroborated is that men who sleep five hours a night have significantly smaller testicles than those who sleep seven hours or more.

Also, men who routinely sleep four to five hours a night have a very low level of testosterone. The deficiency is so great that someone ten years their senior has as much testosterone. Meaning that a lack of sleep can age a man by a decade.

Men who sleep four to five hours a night function as if they were ten years older than they really are. This includes sexual performance and desire, as well as sperm quality. In women, there is an equivalent reproductive health impairment caused by the lack of sleep.

A sleep-deprived brain has an impaired ability to commit new experiences to memory. This result was obtained through analyzing MRI images obtained from subjects.

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It has been, therefore, suggested that disruption of deep sleep is a serious contributor to memory decline. Furthermore, lack of sleep is correlated with aging, Alzheimer’s disease, and dementia.

So, if you are not sleeping enough, which really means anything under seven hours, your immune system becomes significantly compromised in its ability to protect you from biological threats.

According to Matt Walker, the link between lack of sleep and cancer is so strong now that the World Health Organization has declared night-shift jobs to be a likely carcinogen. Working a night shift could put you in the fast lane to developing cancer.

What can you do About it?

You will want to avoid popping sleeping pills, as they sedate you, but they also prevent your brain from going through the cleaning and connecting processes that regenerate and strengthen your whole system.

Sleep regularly and at least eight hours at night, plus up to an hour early in the afternoon.

Also, go to bed at the same time and wake up at the same time. This will allow your body to get to sleep with more ease and with more depth as the routine will breed familiarity.

To be able to fall asleep, you need to be in an environment with a cool temperature that allows your body to drop slightly in temperature.

How cool exactly actually depends on the person and natural environment. In northern climes, it has been written that 65 degree Fahrenheit works well.

Treat your sleep as a non-negotiable priority.

Benefits of Sleeping Plenty

Your testosterone production increases and your body shows results from physical training faster and easier.

You are in a generally good mood, being more patient and emotionally stable. In other words, you tend to get angry less and feel happier more often than if you lose sleep.

The rate and depth with which you can absorb and retain new knowledge and abilities increases. In other words, you become really good at learning.

Your immune system is up and running closer to its full strength, which means that you stave off disease and infection more easily, and generally feel more energized.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.

© 2021 William Nadiz

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