On Sleep

Many of us face some level an anxiety over our sleep, or perceived lack of it. I’ve recently gone down a rabbit hole of sleep-related podcasts and articles. I thought I would share some of what I learned here on my blog. I’ll update the post as I run into new information.

‎Plain English with Derek Thompson: The Most Important Thing Most Americans Misunderstand About Insomnia on Apple Podcasts

This was my first experience with Derek’s podcast after hearing him on Episode 523 of The Learning Leader Show. Derek does an excellent job breaking down the complex topic of sleep into layman’s terms. Dr. Wu also does an excellent job explaining the science behind sleep. Below are my notes from the show.

  • Sleep is the most important factor in your health.
  • Biphasic sleep was the norm until the Industrial Revolution (1st and 2nd sleep).
    • The first half is deep sleep, which is most important to purge adenosine built up during the day.
    • The second half is still very important – it might be for REM sleep but that wasn’t discussed.
    • The 1st and 2nd sleep trend documented pre-Industrial Revolution was likely caused due to lack of man-made sleep interference (light, etc.). It can also happen naturally when the transition between phases causes a waking moment.
  • Insomnia can be easily described as low sleepiness/high bedtime availability.
  • Sleep deprivation can be best described by high sleepiness/low bedtime availability.
  • Insomnia is often caused by anxiety about sleep or anxiety in general.
  • Good circadian health is key to good, restful sleep.
    • 24.1-24.2 hrs is typically rhythm
    • Figure out your chronotype and see how to adapt your schedule to it if possible.
  • Shift work is considered a carcinogen: Recent News about Night Shift Work and Cancer: What Does it Mean for Workers? | Blogs | CDC
  • Keep the half-life on caffeine in mind when you are consuming coffee
  • Cognitive Behavior Therapy specifically for insomnia appears to be the best remedy for long-term insomnia sufferers.
  • Sleep consolidation is typically suggested for people who have problems falling asleep or staying asleep. Reduce the time available for sleeping to train your brain to be more sleepy and get better quality sleep.
  • Sleep trackers are useful, but aren’t fully accurate and can negatively impact sleep anxiety.
  • The TikTok trend of drinking lettuce water doesn’t work for people. You would need to drink more lettuce water than you can take in during a 24-hour period for this to work.
  • Using the same TV show every night can be a sleep association that works. Unsolved Mysteries reruns work for me!

Toolkit for SleepHuberman Lab
Andrew Huberman put together a great list of solid tips for getting quality sleep. I recommend reading it.

Thanks for joining me in this rabbit hole!