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Matthew Walker

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Getting better at getting better is what Rise With Drew is all about. Monday through Thursday, we explore ideas from authors, thought leaders, and exemplary organizations. On Friday, I share something about myself or what we at PCI are doing in our quest to earn a spot on Fortune magazine’s 100 Best Companies to Work For. To optimize our sleep, philosopher Brian Johnson suggests we impose a curfew. Not the kind we give our teenagers.…

1: Researchers examined towns that are similar in every way. Except where they are located. The towns are all in the same time zone. But some are on the far western edge of the time zone. And some are on the very eastern edge of the time zone. Meaning they have significantly different hours of daylight. “Workers in the far western locations obtained more sunlight later into the evening, and consequently went to bed an…

1: Initial reports blamed the inebriated captain of the Exxon Valdez for running the oil tanker aground on the Bligh Reef in Alaska on March 24, 1989. “The coastal ecosystem has never recovered,” Matthew Walker recounts in Why We Sleep.  The breached hull spewed as much as 40 million gallons of crude oil into the surrounding shoreline killing more than 500,000 seabirds, 5,000 otters, 300 seals, over 200 bald eagles, and 20 orca whales. “Later,…

Yesterday, we looked at the impact early school start times have on academic performance and teenage auto fatalities.  Today we explore the impact on mental health.  1: According to sleep expert Matthew Walker: “Forced by the hand of early school start times, this state of chronic sleep deprivation is especially concerning considering that adolescence is the most susceptible phase of life for developing chronic mental illnesses, such as depression, anxiety, schizophrenia, and suicidality.  “Unnecessarily bankrupting…

1: The start time for more than 80 percent of public high schools in the United States is 8:15 a.m. or earlier. In fact, nearly 50 percent of those start before 7:20 a.m. “School buses for a 7:20 a.m. start time usually begin picking up kids at around 5:45 a.m.,” writes sleep expert Matthew Walker in Why We Sleep: Unlocking the Power of Sleep and Dreams.  “As a result, some children and teenagers must wake up at…

1: 1: Getting better at getting better is what RiseWithDrew is all about. Monday through Thursday, we explore ideas from authors, thought leaders, and exemplary organizations. On Friday, I share something I am working on or we are doing at PCI in our quest to earn a spot on Fortune magazine’s 100 Best Companies to Work For. “I’ll sleep when I’m dead.” That was something I used to say as a teenager and young adult.…

The answer may be to restrict time in bed, perhaps to just six hours of sleep, writes Dr. Matthew Walker in Why We Sleep.   “By keeping [insomnia] patients awake for longer, we build up a strong sleep pressure. Under this heavier weight of sleep pressure, patients fall asleep faster, and achieve a more stable, solid form of sleep across the night,” he writes. “Upon reestablishing a patient’s confidence in this regard, time in bed is…

1: In the past month, nearly 10 million Americans have swallowed some type of sleeping aid. This reality is unfortunate and dangerous, writes sleep expert Matthew Walker in Why We Sleep: Unlocking the Power of Sleep and Dreams: “Sleeping pills do not provide natural sleep, can damage health, and increase the risk of life-threatening diseases,” he writes. Sleeping pills like Ambien and Lunesta “target the same system in the brain that alcohol does—the receptors that…

1: Many people swear by a bath before bedtime.  We believe we fall asleep faster because we feel “toasty and warm to the core,” writes Matthew Walker in Why We Sleep: Unlocking the Power of Sleep and Dreams. “Hot baths prior to bed can induce 10 to 15 percent more deep NREM (deep) sleep in healthy adults,” he notes. But not for the reason we think. A “hot bath invites blood to the surface of [our]…

1: The date was September 4th, 1882. The world was about to change forever. At 257 Pearl Street, not far from the Brooklyn Bridge, Thomas Edison’s power-generating station began supplying electricity to customers in the First District, a one-quarter square mile area in New York City. “For the first time, the human race had a truly scalable method of unbuckling itself from our planet’s natural twenty-four-hour cycle of light and dark,” writes Matthew Walker in Why We…

1: The two most feared diseases in the modern world are dementia and cancer. “Both are related to inadequate sleep,” writes Matthew Walker in Why We Sleep: Unlocking the Power of Sleep and Dreams. So far this week, we’ve looked at the connection between a lack of sleep and auto fatalities as well as anger and hostility. Today we look at the link between dementia and sleep. “Lack of sleep is becoming recognized as a lifestyle…

1: How many times have we heard or said those unfortunate words? It might be the unfolding tragedy when “a soldier irrationally responds to a provocative civilian, a physician to an entitled patient, or a parent to a misbehaving child,” writes Matthew Walker in Why We Sleep: Unlocking the Power of Sleep and Dreams. All too often, regret is the emotion that follows. And many times, it is tired, sleep-deprived people who act out this…

More than 2 million people will fall asleep this week in the United States while driving their motor vehicle, writes Matthew Walker in Why We Sleep: Unlocking the Power of Sleep and Dreams. “Drowsy driving is as problematic as drunk driving,” he observes. “Drunk drivers are often late in braking, and late in making evasive maneuvers. But when you fall asleep, or have a microsleep, you stop reacting altogether. A person who experiences a microsleep or…

Our ability to concentrate is directly impacted by even the smallest amount of sleep deprivation, Matthew Walker observes in his powerful book, Why We Sleep: Unlocking the Power of Sleep and Dreams. “The deadly societal consequences of these concentration failures play out most obviously and fatally in the form of drowsy driving,” he writes. Car collisions are one of the leading causes of death in most first-world nations. In the U.S., someone dies in a…

1: The margin of victory in professional athletics is often slight. In the Olympics, the difference between the gold medal winner and the last-place finisher is often only seconds or even fractions of a second. “On this team, we fight for that inch,” Al Pacino growls in Any Given Sunday [aside: Great speech! Terrible movie….]. Indeed.  Finding a competitive advantage is critical.  Which is why Sleep Researcher Dr. Matthew Walker’s phone never stops ringing. “Standing…

1: Dr. Matthew Walker had just finished delivering a public lecture on sleep when a distinguished-looking gentleman dressed in a tweed suit jacket approached the podium.    “As a pianist,” he said, “I have an experience that seems far too frequent to be chance.  I will be practicing a particular piece, even late into the evening, and I cannot seem to master it.  Often, I make the same mistake at the same place in a particular…

1: Shakespeare was right. Writing in Macbeth, he tells us sleep is “the chief nourisher in life’s feast.” Four hundred years later, the science now shows how sleep has a seemingly miraculous effect on our ability to learn and remember. Yesterday, we looked at a controlled experiment in which those who took a nap after doing intensive learning were able to recall 20 percent more information than those who did not.   What exactly is going on…

1: “Scientists have discovered a revolutionary new treatment that makes you live longer. It enhances your memory and makes you more creative. It makes you look more attractive. It keeps you slim and lowers food cravings. It protects you from cancer and dementia. It wards off colds and the flu. It lowers your risk of heart attacks and stroke, not to mention diabetes. You’ll even feel happier, less depressed, and less anxious,” writes Matthew Walker. …

This week we are exploring philosopher Brian Johnson’s idea of creating masterpiece days. Brian suggests we focus on the beginning and end of our day because this is where we have maximum control. Today we begin looking at our evening habits and practices, what Brian calls our “PM Bookend.” Which starts with this insight: how we end yesterday will directly impact today.  Brian encourages us to make the connection between our nighttime habits and…