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Dr. Matthew Walker on Sleep for Enhancing Learning, Creativity, Immunity, and Glymphatic System


This episode features Matthew Walker, PhD, who is a professor of neuroscience and psychology at the University of California, Berkeley, and serves as the Director of the Center for Human Sleep Science. Formerly, Dr. Walker served as a professor of psychiatry at the Harvard Medical School.

Walker’s research examines the impact of sleep on human health and disease. One area of interest focuses on identifying “vulnerability windows” during a person’s life that make them more susceptible to amyloid-beta deposition and, subsequently, Alzheimer’s disease later in life.

In this episode, we discuss how sleep plays a critical role in learning and memory, in the regulation of emotions including loneliness, in the function of the immune system, preventing the formation of amyloid beta plaques in the brain and Alzheimer’s disease, glucose regulation and insulin sensitivity. We also discuss how certain dietary macronutrients affect sleep, the effect of sleeping pills and alcohol on sleep, the accuracy of sleep trackers, and so much more.

00:00:00 – Introduction
00:00:18 – Sleep during development
00:04:14 – Sleep boosts learning
00:13:05 – Learning in contexts
00:18:11 – REM enables creativity
00:23:17 – Dream recollection
00:26:27 – Loneliness
00:35:28 – Impulsiveness
00:38:20 – Psychiatric conditions
00:43:00 – Meditation for insomnia
00:44:09 – Light exposure
00:51:42 – How much sleep is enough?
00:56:08 – Temperature triggers sleep onset and depth
01:02:08 – Panacea
01:09:11 – Immunity & Cancer
01:16:26 – Hormonal imbalance
01:18:40 – Alzheimer’s
01:27:59 – Sleep depth
01:30:47 – Sleep apnea
01:33:26 – Preventing dementia
01:36:15 – Sleep changes with age
01:40:34 – Sleep tracking technology
01:43:07 – Blood pressure
01:45:40 – Evolutionary drive
01:48:14 – 4 Pillars of Sleep
01:51:30 – Sleep chronotypes
01:57:50 – Blood sugar regulation
02:04:23 – Appetite & satiety
02:11:10 – Microbiome
02:15:19 – Tips for better sleep
02:20:36 – Alcohol and Caffeine
02:24:05 – Maijuana, CBD, THC
02:26:40 – Sleeping pills
02:31:19 – Cognitive-behavior-therapy for insomnia

▶︎ Get the episode’s show notes and transcript.

▶︎ Get Dr. Mathew Walker’s New York Times bestselling book: Why We Sleep.

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▶︎ Submit your raw genetic data. You can find the circadian report and APOE report at https://www.foundmyfitness.com/genetics.


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