At TED2019, Matt Walker tackled the issue of sleep deprivation in an age when many are getting less and less sleep because of economic conditions and in some cases career aspirations.
The talk, titled Sleep is your superpower is as detailed as is alarming with all the things that can go wrong in our bodies if we don’t get enough sleep. For instance, “men who routinely sleep just four to five hours a night will have a level of testosterone which is that of someone 10 years their senior”. In other words, a lack of sleep will age a man by 10 years when done routinely.
Matthew opened the discussion with the fact that less sleep shrinks a man’s testicles. As funny as that sounds, it explains where some men have to undergo medical procedures just to get bigger testicles.
And guess what? This was the best news of the night. The rest of the facts about sleep deprivation gets scarier as it was discovered in an experiment that pulling an all-nighter (for whatever reason) reduces one’s ability to study by 40%. Students who bank on the need to study end up short-changing themselves by studying through the night.
The issue with students is a grin one considering it has become almost fashionable to not sleep through the night to somehow affirm that we are being serious with what we are doing. The science shows that we are actually making ourselves dumber and not only that we increase the risk of premature death by 65%.
Students need to sleep before and after learning to be able to access the part of the brain that keeps memories long-term. This shows that our brains get more effective when we balance our workday with enough sleep at night.
Here’s the bottom-line from Matt Walker’s talk:
You have to get sleep and make sure your sleep is deep quality. The axiom that you can sleep when you are dead will literally come true if you don’t reverse course and sleep at night (more than 7 hours) you will be slowing your brain and worse of all shorten the span of your life.