Many things I already knew, but it was good to hear it all summed up in one book. The book is well-written and the author loves researching sleep and sharing his knowledge. You can feel his excitement about the topic throughout the book.
The main thing I learned is this:
Sleep is WAAAAY more important than I ever wanted to admit.
I was one of those ‘I can sleep when am dead’ guys.
Yes, not sleeping enough will indeed drag you to your death faster.
It also bust one myth I believed in.
Here are some takeaways:
1. Good quality sleep is key in processing traumatic events, especially when you dream about the traumatic events
2. Alcohol and sleep is simply a super bad combination. It messes up your memory, you lose some of the benefits of deep sleep. This is of course on top of the other detrimental effects of alcohol
3. Being sleep deprived, even a little bit, impacts performance hugely, in a very negative way, driving while sleep deprived may be an even worse idea than driving under the influence of a little bit of alcohol. Slighty tipsy people still hit the brakes, people who are asleep behind the wheel don’t brake.
4. Our brain solves problems for us while we are sleeping, to skip this is like to skip FREE therapy sessions that don’t even take an effort
5. Caffeine will fuck up your sleep, even if you manage to fall asleep easily (I have quit ALL caffeine, except for the tiniest bit that is in the small piece of dark chocolate I throw in my oatmeal)
6. The myth it busted for me: sleeping longer than 8 hours per night is NOT going to cut your life short. I have long believed that sleeping too little was bad, but sleeping too long was just as bad. He explains that there are no negative effects to sleeping. Why do people think the ones who sleep longer than 8 hours per night die earlier? Cause they sleep so much cause they are already very ill… That’s why.
7. The way our society is organized creates very bad circumstances for people to get good quality sleep. I think we all know this. I know very few people who take their sleep seriously. I think there are indeed lots of negative connotations to sleep, since we live in a culture that emphasizes productivity, being busy, FOMO (fear of missing out), showing ourselves as super efficient. The book doesn’t say so, but sleep is a kind of surrender, a loss of control, and our culture is all about control
8. Staring at screens before sleeping is going to give you a kind of sleep hangover (am guilty of this, but am going to change this as well)
9. One sleeps better in a room that’s a little bit colder
10. One of the things that has made me take my sleep much more seriously: people who don’t sleep enough eat more the next day… They crave food more than people who did sleep well.
The ten points I have listed do not do this book justice. They are just the points that are the most useful to me. There are lots of other interesting facts in this book. You will read about how long it takes to kill a rat if you don’t let it sleep (15 days), what people are capable of while sleep-walking, everything about the hormonal mechanisms behind sleep, information on sleeping pills, etc
If you don’t want to read the whole book you can find lots of interviews with the author on YouTube. Joe Rogan had him on his show, for example. You can find lots of them. They are just as interesting as the book. He mentions an experiment where the people who slept less well than the other participants ate 300 calories more.
I have been applying his advice for a few days now and I must say:
I have had no food cravings and didn’t need to do my ‘tricks’ to suppress my food cravings such as strong ginger tea, super spicy soup, a spoon of peanut butter.
Come to think of it, all those tricks may indeed amount to about 300 calories a day.
‘Confession’: I listened to the German audiobook version and my main motivation was to improve my German, not so much knowing more about sleep. I already knew most of it from the interviews I watched with Matthew Walker.
Question: Do you get enough sleep?
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