Every animal on Earth sleeps. Humans go even further, using sleep for inspirational dreams, emotional processing, and memory development. Since humans discovered fire, sleep has played a unique role for our species.
Without enough sleep, you may struggle with high blood pressure, weight gain, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, and cardiovascular issues in the long-term. You may also feel foggy or emotional in the short-term.
Your body may compensate for sleep deprivation with microsleeps. By sleeping in a tiny increment, your body goes through the motion of sleep. This can put you in a dangerous position if you’re doing something like driving. It can also put you in an embarrassing position if it happens during a meeting.
If you want to prioritize sleep, be careful about what you put in your body. Ease up on caffeine and don’t rely on alcohol to get sleepy. Try to quit that nicotine habit and get lots of natural sunlight during the day. Your body’s internal clock wants you to get enough rest, so it’s better to just go with the flow.
About the Author
Matthew Walker calls himself the “Sleep Diplomat.” He has built a career on studying the science of sleep and its impacts.
Walker was born in the United Kingdom. He studied neuroscience at the University of Nottingham and got his Ph.D. in neurophysiology from Newcastle University.
While working as a professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, Walker studied the effects of sleep on performance. He then moved to a role at the University of California, Berkeley. There, he created the Center for Human Sleep Science to further research sleep.
Walker has also worked with technology companies. With the life sciences division of Google, he helped to develop a sleep diary. Walker also worked with Hello on a sleep tracking device until the company ceased operations in 2017.