Matthew Walker, PhD, sleep expert and author of Why We Sleep, makes a compelling case for how sleep benefits our brains and bodies, how sleep is a nonnegotiable biological necessity, and that the shorter we sleep, the shorter we live – and has the research to back it up.
And unfortunately, most of us are not getting enough sleep. According to medical research, adults need between 7 hours 30 minutes to 8 hours 30 minutes of sleep each night. However, the average American adult sleeps only about 6 hours 40 minutes per night, so most of us are under slept by around 1 hour, according to Dr. Peter Attia.
Why Sleep Matters: Links to Effective Leadership, Health, and Well-Being
Our ability to be effective leaders in our organizations, communities and families, as well as healthy individuals, depends on getting a good night’s rest.
Leadership behaviors and skills that directly relate to sleep include our ability to
- Learn, memorize, and make logical decisions
- Navigate challenges
- Be productive
- Be creative
- Recalibrate our emotions and remain calm (mental health)
- Maintain good mood and energy levels
- Manage mental health (think of sleep as emotional first aid for mental health)
- Regulate appetite (weight management)
- Restock immune system to help fight malignancy, prevent infection, and ward off sickness
- Regulate hormones and promote reproductive health
- Help prevent diseases like cancer (bowel, prostrate, breast), Alzheimer’s, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease
- Drive safely, preventing car crashes and traffic accidents
- Slow the effects of aging and increases longevity
- Avoid alcohol before bed (because it robs you of REM sleep)
- Avoid caffeine about 7 to 8 hours before bed
- Maintain a regular sleep schedule, try to go to bed and wake up at the same time each day
- Keep your bedroom cool (around 65 degrees Fahrenheit), dark, and gadget free
- Newsletter: Click here for more information, including Twelve Tips for Healthy Sleep, page 20 (other good sleep articles in this NIH newsletter)
- Video: Click here to watch Sleep is Your Superpower TED talk with Matt Walker. 19 minutes.
- Book: Click here to purchase Matthew Walker’s Why We Sleep: Unlocking the Power of Sleep and Dreams
- Oura Sleep Tracking Ring: Click here to learn more about Oura. After hearing about the ring on Dan Harris’s Podcast, I purchased it. I love! the ring because it provides a daily sleep score that measures sleep contributors including total sleep, efficiency (% of time actually asleep after going to bed), REM, light, and deep sleep stages, latency (time it takes to fall asleep), timing (how aligned your sleep is with circadian rhythms), and resting heart rate (average and lowest throughout the night). I also like the daily readiness score which helps me gauge my physical activity for the upcoming day.
- Podcast: Dan Harris #221: Click here to listen to All Your Sleep Questions, Answered | Dr. Matthew Walker. In this episode, Dr. Walker shares significant findings on what happens to us when we do not get enough sleep. He also offers practical tips on how we can get more, quality sleep and how meditation can help. 2 hours 36 minutes.
- Podcast Series: Click here to listen to Pete Attia’s Podcast the drive #47 – Matthew Walker, Ph.D., on sleep – Part I of III: Dangers of poor sleep, Alzheimer’s risk, mental health, memory consolidation, and more. 1 hour 43 minutes.
- Podcast Series: Click here to listen to Pete Attia’s Podcast the drive #48 – Matthew Walker, Ph.D., on sleep – Part II of III: Heart disease, cancer, sexual function, and the causes of sleep disruption (and tips to correct it). 2 hours 4 minutes.
- Podcast Series: Click here to listen to Pete Attia’s Podcast the drive #49 – Matthew Walker, Ph.D., on sleep – Part III of III: The penetrating effects of poor sleep from metabolism to performance to genetics, and the impact of caffeine, alcohol, THC, and CBD on sleep, 2 hours 1 minute.