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by Matthew Walker

One-line takeaway

“Short sleep, short life”

Extra takeaways

The vast majority of people need around 8 hours sleep per night.

Not sleeping enough causes drastic effects both short and long term:

  • Trouble learning (if tired whilst learning or whilst trying to recollect things)
  • Weight loss (the tired brain craves sugar and fat and is more easily tempted)
  • Alzheimers (evidence that long-term sleep loss makes you more prone to this)
  • Heart attack (lack of sleep builds pressure in arteries)
  • Anxiety (the tired mind is less able to cope with anxious thoughts)
  • Attractiveness (studies show people look less healthy, friendly & attractive when tired)
  • Cancer (long term sleep loss increases chances of many cancers)
  • Cold & flu: one night of bad sleep lowers your immune response

Naps are a good way of topping up sleep loss but need to be short (30-60 mins) and before 3pm

Sleeping helps process the days events and even allows your mind to come up with solutions to problems (story of periodic table being ‘figured out’ after a night of sleep)

Don’t drink in the evenings: alcohol is a repressor which limits the REM sleep which is vital for a complete sleep.