AMA With Sleep Expert Dr. Matthew Walker: Strategies For Sleeping More, Sleeping Better, and Avoiding Things That Are Disrupting Sleep – The Peter Attia Drive

Check out The Peter Attia Drive Episode Page & Show Notes

Support The Peter Attia Drive here for access to the full AMA (these notes were taken on the publically available portion of this AMA).

Key Takeaways

  • Sleep trackers (like the Oura Ring) are accurate when it comes to determining total time awake vs. time in non-REM sleep vs. time in REM sleep
    • They’re not so accurate when it comes to disguising between light non-REM sleep vs. deep non-REM sleep
  • Avoid eating simple carbs too close to bedtime as they tend to raise your core body temperature
    • (In order to fall asleep, you need to drop your core body temperature by 2 to 3 degrees Fahrenheit)
  • For optimal sleep, avoid exercising within two hours of going to bed
  • Adequate sleep increases your motivation to exercise, your peak muscle strength, your ability to respire and expel carbon dioxide, your time to physical exhaustion, and your ability to sweat
  • Sleep deprivation causes an increase in the hunger hormone (ghrelin) and a suppression of the satiety hormone (leptin)

Intro

How accurate are sleep trackers (like the Oura Ring)?

  • Think of sleep tracking on three levels:
    • Level 1 – Determining total sleep time vs. total time awake
    • Level 2 – Determining total time awake vs. time in non-REM sleep vs. time in REM sleep
    • Level 3 – Determining total time awake vs. time in light non-REM sleep vs. time in deep non-REM sleep vs. time in REM sleep
  • Sleep trackers tend to fail around level 3
    • HOWEVER – they’re good at allowing you to observe deviations from your baseline numbers
      • For example – you might observe that drinking alcohol prior to bed reduces the amount of time you normally spend in deep sleep
    • Therefore – don’t judge yourself against your specific deep sleep/REM sleep/light sleep numbers
      • Instead – assess your sleep based on deviations your norms

Eating Before Bed

  • Aim to stop eating ~3 hours before bed
  • Avoid eating simple carbs too close to bedtime as they raise your core body temperature
    • (In order to fall asleep, you need to drop your core body temperature by 2 to 3 degrees Fahrenheit)
  • But in general – “Don’t go to bed to full and don’t go to bed too hungry”
    • If you need to eat before bed, lean more towards higher protein meals and away from simple sugars

Avoid Exercise Within 2 Hours of Bedtime

  • Be careful with exercising too close to bedtime as it raises your core body temperature and can hinder sleep
    • For optimal sleep, avoid exercising within two hours of your bedtime
  • In addition – exercise changes your hormone profile (specifically your epinephrine, adrenaline, noradrenaline, and cortisol levels) in an unfavorable way when it comes to sleep

How Sleep Aids Exercise and Physical Performance

  • “It’s not just that exercise helps sleep, sleep profoundly helps exercise”
  • Adequate sleep increases your motivation for exercise, your peak muscle strength, your ability to respire and expel carbon dioxide, your time to physical exhaustion, and your ability to sweat
    • It also reduces injury risk
      Sleep and Appetite Regulation

Sleep and Appetite Regulation

  • “When you are sleep deprived, essentially what the brain receives is a signal that is not dissimilar to starvation. It releases a cascade of hormones that changes your appetite profile – you’ll want to eat more and you’ll be less satisfied with your food”
    • “Human beings seem to be the only species that will deliberately deprive themselves of sleep for no apparent reason”
      • The only other time sleep deprivation is observed in nature is when animals are under conditions of starvation
        • Why? – It’s essentially a signal for the animal to start foraging in a larger area for food, and in order to do this – they’ll need to stay awake for longer hours
    • Therefore – When you’re sleep deprived, the brain essentially thinks it’s under conditions of starvation
      • The hunger hormone (ghrelin) is increased and the satiety hormone (leptin) is suppressed

Additional Notes

  • Sleep deprivation leads to elevated levels of cortisol (the stress hormone) which only further impairs sleep
    • “What you should not have if you’re looking for good sleep is a high level of cortisol”
  • Blue light exposure at night prevents the pineal gland from releasing adequate levels of melatonin (which is a signal to your body that it’s time for sleep)
Bookmark

FREE! THE TOP 10 PODCASTS OF 2018, AND WHAT WE LEARNED

You'll also get our weekly newsletter with the takeaways from our curated list of top podcasts. Unsubscribe anytime.