Sleep is your superpower

29 Jul Sleep is your superpower

This is an interesting TED conference given by Matt Walker, a brain and sleep scientist, who in his searching for understanding why we sleep; he clarifies in his talk a variety of important facts about sleep.

Firstly, he mentioned the importance that sleep has in the sexual and reproductive life of human beings. He clarifies that males could suffer of premature ageing and females could have issues in their reproductive health if they do not sleep. Additionally, the speaker mentioned the alarmingly bad things that happen when we do not get enough, for both brain and our body.

Regarding to brain activity and the functions of learning, he and his colleagues did a research trying to test the hypothesis that pulling the all-nighter was a good idea. So, they took a group of individuals and they assigned them to one of two experimental groups: a sleep group, and a sleep deprivation group. Then the next day, the participants were tested inside an MRI scanner for evaluation of the brain activity. The found was quite significant related to effective sleep and learning, it showed 40% deficit in learning abilities and no capability of making new memories in patients who were lacking of sleep.

Turning to the body, Walker mentioned that Sleep loss affects the reproductive, cardiovascular system and immune system, and even our genetic code.  The Immune deficiency can increase tumour promoting and inflammation. Only 4 hours of sleep can reduce 70% of effectivity in killer cells activity. Nowadays, the World Health Organization has classified any form of night-time shift work as a probable carcinogen, because of a disruption of our sleep-wake rhythms.

He concluded saying the famous quotation “The shorter your sleep, the shorter your life” saying that indeed is it true and providing some helpful tips for getting some shut-eye: “Regularity is king”, “Keep it cool” a room temperature of 18°C is beneficial for most people, and most important “Sleep is a nonnegotiable biological necessity. It is your life-support system, and it is Mother Nature’s best effort yet at immortality”.


If you would like to watch the full talk the reference is below – Totally worthy to watch in only 19 minutes-.


TED Talks. Matt Walker. Sleep is your superpower. Available online: