Must-Watch TED Talk: Why do we sleep?

Video Length: 21 minutes, 47s.

If you live until you’re 90, you’ll spend 32 years of your life sleeping. So why not take a few minutes to understand it more?

The gist of the video, if you don’t have 22 minutes to spare (though I’ve left out a bunch of stuff):

  • To sleep better: Shut off all of your gadgets/screens 30 minutes before bed, make your bedroom as dark as possible, don’t drink caffeine after lunch, and get lots of exposure to sunlight in the morning.
  • If you need an alarm clock to wake up, you’re sleep deprived.
  • “Early to bed, early to rise ..” is a myth. According to Russell Foster, “there’s no difference in socioeconomic standing” when you do.
  • Sleep increases: Concentration, attention, decision making skills, creativity, social skills, health.
  • Sleep decreases: Mood changes, stress, anger, impulsiveness, and bad habits like drinking and smoking.
  • Fee Hutch

    Despite the anxiety provoked by the words ‘ don’t drink caffeine after lunch’ that is really interesting and informative. After another night dozing a little on the sofa and now being ready for bed at 5.20pm I might just give the ideas a try. Plus, he got a Jim Butcher quote in there.

    • Awesome! I’ve heard mixed things RE drinking coffee after lunch. Tim Ferriss recommends having a “coffee nap” between 1-3 for example (http://www.fourhourworkweek.com/blog/2008/01/27/relax-like-a-pro-5-steps-to-hacking-your-sleep/), so that’s definitely something worth playing around with. I think it’d also depend on how much caffeine you consume, and how sensitive you are to it :)

      • Fee Hutch

        With me it’s fizzy drinks rather than coffee and I drink way way too much most days. I’m not sure if that makes me more sensitive or hardened to all caffeine :-)

  • Fee Hutch

    Despite the anxiety provoked by the words ‘ don’t drink caffeine after lunch’ that is really interesting and informative. After another night dozing a little on the sofa and now being ready for bed at 5.20pm I might just give the ideas a try. Plus, he got a Jim Butcher quote in there.

    • Awesome! I’ve heard mixed things RE drinking coffee after lunch. Tim Ferriss recommends having a “coffee nap” between 1-3 for example (http://www.fourhourworkweek.com/blog/2008/01/27/relax-like-a-pro-5-steps-to-hacking-your-sleep/), so that’s definitely something worth playing around with. I think it’d also depend on how much caffeine you consume, and how sensitive you are to it :)

      • Fee Hutch

        With me it’s fizzy drinks rather than coffee and I drink way way too much most days. I’m not sure if that makes me more sensitive or hardened to all caffeine :-)

  • Lupe Bogi

    I believe my circadian rhythm is strongly effed up due to a long period of my life where I’ve spent lots of nights in front of the computer and sneezing during the day. I might use this advice of exposing myself to a lot of sun light during the mornings and going to bed early at night. And turn all that into a habit.

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