These are my notes for the interview with Why We Sleep author Matthew Walker and Joe Rogan in show #1109 of The Joe Rogan Experience.
We need between seven and nine hours of sleep a night. Less than six hours of sleep affects your energy, time to exhaustion, chance of injury, and ultimately shortens your lifespan. Temperature, regularity (going to bed the same time every night), diet, and darkness are the most important for deep restful sleep.
“Sleep is the elixir of life. It is the most widely available and democratic powerful healthcare system I could ever possibly imagine.”
The central theme of the podcast is around the importance of sleep and how much a lack can affect our health. He says that all stages of sleep are important, even though there is a focus on deep and REM sleep stages. “Mother nature wouldn’t waste time putting you into a state that wasn’t necessary”
The effects of a lack of sleep on your health
When you sleep six hours or less:
- Time to physical exhaustion drops by 30%
- There is a higher risk of physical injury
- Lower peak muscular strength
- Lower vertical jump height
- Ability of your lungs to inhale oxygen decreases
- Increases risk of all cause mortality
- Increases risk of bowel, prostrate, and breast cancer
- Drop in cognitive performance
Insufficient sleep and weight gain
Lack of sleep plays a big part in weight gain, with negative effects on the hormones that control appetite and hunger. On average, people sleeping only four to five hours a night will eat 200 to 300 calories more per day. Often, you can reverse weight gain by fixing your sleep.
Will naps help recover sleep?
You cannot make up for lost sleep with daytime naps. “Sleep is not like a bank. We can’t accumulate a debt and hope to pay it off on the weekend”. This is a recent phenomenon and there is no evolutionary protection for lost sleep.
Lack of sleep and testosterone
Men who sleep only five to six hours a night will have the testosterone levels of people six to ten years older. The older you are, the worse this will play out, since testosterone levels have a significant bearing on energy levels, muscle gain and retention etc.
- “Sleep is the elixir of life. It is the most widely available and democratic powerful healthcare system I could ever possibly imagine.”
- “Mother nature wouldn’t waste time putting you into a state that wasn’t necessary”
- “Practice doesn’t make perfect. Practice with a night of sleep makes perfect.”
- “Sleep is the greatest legal performance enhancing drug that most people are probably neglecting”
- “We are a dark deprived society in this modern era”
- “Don’t go to bed too full, and don’t go to bed too hungry”