If you’re reading this there’s a high chance that you want to sleep well or more hours. Or perhaps you just want to understand what better sleep can do for your body.
If any of these are true, then you’re in the right place!
The average human who lives up to 79 years will spend about 26 years sleeping in their life which equates to 9,490 days or 227,760 hours. As if that’s not enough, you’d also spend 7 years trying to get to sleep.
But here’s the problem:
As technology advances and new apps and smartphones are launched, there’s a lot to distract us from our sleep.
Besides, there’s been a fad among business executives and entrepreneurs and freelancers that we need to work more hours and sleep fewer hours.
And that’s not all: Guess what suffers as a result of this failure? First our sleep, and then our health. In our quest to work more hours our appear busy (sidenote: busy does not equal productivity), we sleep less.
Sleeping for a better body and mind
In one of our recent articles, we talked about subtle lifestyle changes to help you sleep better at night.
In this article though, we want to take a step back, and dive deeper into the “why” of sleep, and what it does for our bodies and minds, and life.
To help us dive deeper into each aspect of sleep, we will hear from some of the researchers and industry experts who have spent a good part of their lives researching sleep.
We will present some of the important ted talks we have enjoyed and share with you how you can also learn from them. Let’s get started!
1. “Sleep is your superpower” by Matt Walker
Matt is the bestselling author of the New York Times book “Why We Sleep: Unlocking the Power of Sleep and Dreams.
As a Professor of Neuroscience and Psychology at the University of California, his research dives into the impact of sleep on health and diseases.
In this eye-opening Ted Talk, Matt has one singular message, albeit a powerful one: sleep is your life-support system.
From our ability to learn, to remember, to defend against diseases and to have a certain genetic code, sleep is an important factor. Listen to Matt for yourself in the video below:
2. “One more reason to get a good night’s sleep” by Jeff Iliff
Something is captivating about Jeff’s talk. And it’s not just because he is a neuroscientist who for a good part of his career has explored the functions of the brain.
But also, connects his exploration to how we can maintain a healthy neuronal function.
In this talk, you will hear him describe how our brain which uses a quarter of the body’s entire energy supply gets important nutrients when we sleep. Here’s Jeff on having a good night’s sleep:
3. “The brain benefits of deep sleep — and how to get more of it” by Dan Gartenberg
Dan brings the much-needed technology perspective to the conversation about sleep – and you will love it! Here’s why:
For starters, he spent the 10 years of his life inventing sleep technology at a company he founded called Proactive Life.
And he’s built smartphone and wearable apps, like the Sonic Sleep Coach Alarm Clock, for tracking sleep quality and playing sounds that make sleep deeper.
And speaking of sounds, in this talk, he shares his progress on a tech which stimulates deep sleep, “the most regenerative stage which (among other wonderful things) might help us consolidate our memories and form our personalities.” Let’s hear Dan out:
4. “Why do we sleep?” by Russell Foster
“How did homo sapiens even evolve to sleep at all,” is one question I’ve been asking myself lately. And to that Russell would answer:
“Even in animals and people in whom the rods and cones used for vision have been completely destroyed and who are otherwise totally visually blind, the pRGCs can still detect light to shift the circadian clock.”
But I’m getting ahead of myself!
Here’s the thing: if you love digging into the “why” of human behavior, the psychology of our bodies, you will enjoy Russell’s talk. As a circadian neuroscientist, Russell’s expertise is in the sleep cycles of the brain.
And he shows us why we know very little the activity we spend a good part of our lives doing: sleep! Here’s Russell for you:
5. “How to succeed? Get more sleep” by Arianna Huffington
If you don’t know Arianna Huffington, there’s a chance you’ve been missing out on a great deal. She is the co-founder and former editor-in-chief of The Huffington Post.
I listened to her on a podcast about how she finally got to the tipping point of her career as a successful businesswoman. And still noticed she was missing something: sleep.
You’ll love Arianna’s angle of business and success when it comes to sleep, something you wouldn’t hear a lot of the so-called “self-made” successful leaders talk about.
A lot of the insights from this talk can also be found in her book: The Sleep Revolution: Transforming Your Life, One Night at a Time
This talk is authentic, real and shows how practical (we really had to use this word “practical”) sleep is. Watch Arianna’s talk now:
6. “What would happen if you didn’t sleep?” by Claudia Aguirre
Claudia has a Ph.D. in Neuroscience and she loves to simplify complex scientific research in a fun way.
Borrowing the words of Mark Twain, Claudia says “I have never let my schooling interfere with my education.” In this brief video, Claudia takes explains why sleep deprivation must not be celebrated and that “staying awake can cause serious bodily harm.”
Claudia Aguirre walks us through the damage to our body and brain when we skip sleep. Here’s Laura:
7. “How sound can hack your memory while you sleep” by Greg Gage
The body of research on what happens to our unconsciousness when we sleep keeps growing.
That makes Greg’s video even fascinating. For years, Greg who is a neuroscientist and engineer has helped kids discover how their brains and neurons work.
If you’re looking to improve your memory, forget memory palaces (although they are great) for now, and listen to Greg walk you through his hack. Watch Greg here:
8. “Our natural sleep cycle is nothing like what we do now” – Jessa Gamble
Jessa is an accomplished writer who has been honored by Oxford for her work. Her writing focuses on sleep and time and tells a story of the struggle between our internal body clock and our never-off global culture.
She is the author of Siesta and The Midnight Sun: How We Measure and Experience Time.
In this talk, Jessa shares an inspiring and also surprising system we need to rest and sleep well. Here’s her talk: