Sleep or you’re screwed

A couple of weeks ago a dropped a link to a podcast that made a huge impact on me. It was Joe Rogan 1109 with Matthew Walker. In short, you probably don’t realise how screwed you are if you don’t get enough sleep.

This hit me hard, cause I don’t sleep very well. If you don’t either, please listen to that podcast immediately. I know it’s long, but this is real shit.

Here are some key points to break you:

  • Men who only sleep 5-6 hours per night have the testosterone levels of someone 10 years older (and yes that’s very bad)
  • People need between 7-9 hours of sleep per night. Pretty much no one (1% of people) can function properly on 5-6, even the ones that are adamant they can, and brag about it (aka they are full of shit)
  • Massive performance drops with even an hour less sleep for athletes
  • Motor skill performance takes a big hit
  • Creativity drops
  • The shorter your sleep, the shorter your life will be
  • Being awake damages the brain, sleeping repairs it
  • Night shift work has been classified as a carcinogen by the WHO
  • Shift workers eat more and are more likely to be obese
  • When sleep deprived not only do you eat more, but it’s harder to make good decisions so you eat more of the wrong stuff
  • Naps are beneficial but don’t make up for sleeping less each night
  • Catching up on sleep is a fallacy
  • Humans are the only species who deprive themselves of sleep for no reason
  • Increased risk of cancer and heart attacks
  • Low sleep effects you DNA
  • Possible connection between lack of sleep and Alzheimer’s
  • And some stuff that will make you never want to go to a hospital
    • Less than six hours of sleep for a surgeon leads to a 170% increase in risk of surgical errors
    • When a medical resident finishes a 30-hour shift, there is a 168% increase in risk of a car accident
    • 1 in 5 medical residents will make a serious error due to lack of sleep
    • 1 in 20 medical residents will kill a patient due to a fatigue-related error

Since hearing all this, I went and bought a Fitbit Charge 2, because apparently these actually do a good job of sleep tracking so I can see what is and isn’t working.

A great book on sleep worth reading is Shawn Stevenson’s Sleep Smarter.

Here are some things you can work on, which I’m trying to implement:

  • Going for a walk every day (the Fitbit gamification REALLY helps here)
  • No screens after 8pm, even if they have a blue light filter (except Netflix of course)
  • Getting sun in the morning (usually means taking the dog for a walk)
  • Having a coffee or two first thing, but zero caffeine after that
  • Having dinner earlier 6-7pm
  • Weights in the gym, but also earlier
  • Magnesium supplements (ZMA)
  • Fiction book or audiobook as I’m going to bed. No more business or intense books
James Rose

James Rose

James is the co-founder of Content Snare and Aktura Technology. Once a web designer, his new priority is to help web designers and developers regain their lives, work less and get better clients.

He does this by writing helpful posts, building software and working with web designers to deliver the complex web development that they don't normally handle.

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