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Home » Sleep is Your Superpower: Matt Walker (Full Transcript)

Sleep is Your Superpower: Matt Walker (Full Transcript)

Matt Walker on Sleep at TED Talks

Here is the full text and summary of Matt Walker’s talk titled “Sleep is Your Superpower.”

TRANSCRIPT: 

Matt Walker – Sleep Scientist

Thank you very much.

Well, I would like to start with testicles.

Men who sleep five hours a night have significantly smaller testicles than those who sleep seven hours or more. In addition, men who routinely sleep just four to five hours a night will have a level of testosterone which is that of someone 10 years their senior.

So a lack of sleep will age a man by a decade in terms of that critical aspect of wellness. And we see equivalent impairments in female reproductive health caused by a lack of sleep. This is the best news that I have for you today.

From this point, it may only get worse. Not only will I tell you about the wonderfully good things that happen when you get sleep, but the alarmingly bad things that happen when you don’t get enough, both for your brain and for your body.

Let me start with the brain and the functions of learning and memory, because what we’ve discovered over the past 10 or so years is that you need sleep after learning to essentially hit the save button on those new memories so that you don’t forget.

But recently, we discovered that you also need sleep before learning to actually prepare your brain, almost like a dry sponge ready to initially soak up new information. And without sleep, the memory circuits of the brain essentially become waterlogged, as it were, and you can’t absorb new memories. So let me show you the data.

Here in this study, we decided to test the hypothesis that pulling the all-nighter was a good idea. So we took a group of individuals and we assigned them to one of two experimental groups: a sleep group and a sleep deprivation group.

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