Week 1 – Day 5

Photo by Lucas George Wendt on Pexels.com

Okay, another night of suboptimal sleep. 6 hours, and 7:45 in bed. So I decided to call out the big guns. Since I have a Masterclass subscription (thanks, Santa!) I searched for sleep.

Dr. Mattew Walker, author of Why We Sleep, and a British authority on all things sleep, has a Masterclass called The Science of Better Sleep. Yes, please. I spent my lunch today listening to three sessions and already have things to think about.

The first couple of lessons, Dr. Walker talks about what sleep is, and why it’s important. A couple of things stuck out. First of all, the stage of REM (rapid eye movement, or dream sleep) is when our brains process emotional experiences, connect new learning with old learning, and problem solve. This immediately took me back to my college days. I was taking a senior level statistics class as a junior and the homework proofs could take four hours each. I would go to bed totally stumped, then wake up in the morning with the solution. Now I know why.

He also talked about chronotypes (ie, night owls, and morning larks) and I stopped the lesson to go take a chronotype survey. Turns out I am “intermediate” , but leaning to owl. Years ago, I would have for sure been an owl, but I guess age is changing me. The site with the test AutoMEQ, also suggested that I could use my light therapy light at 7am for thirty minutes to help get me more alert in the morning AND fall asleep faster at night. I will try this and report back

The most fascinating thing was that Daylight Savings Time changes are kind of dangerous. Dr. Walker said there were studies that said when we lose that hour in the spring, the next day has a 24% increase in heart attacks. While in the fall, the day after the time change has a 21% decrease in heart attacks. That is really kind of frightening.

I have about 8 more lessons, so this will not be all I write about this class. Already there have been things to try (light therapy and melatonin) so I will report back.

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