Science & Tech
Reclaim Your Sleep
Lesson time 03:55 min
Learn why we as a society should embrace the importance of sleep.
[MUSIC PLAYING] - Looking to the future, I think there are a number of things that must change in society for us to start to improve our chances of getting the sleep that we need. First, I think we need to have an appreciation of chronotype. Everyone doesn't need to necessarily be at work at exactly the same moment in time. In fact, this is a legacy of the industrial era. You may have heard of the factory whistle. Well, during the Industrial age, we had a time where we needed a whole entire workforce to be at the plant at the same time. But that vestige of starting work at the same time of day for everyone is still with us today. But it's no longer necessary in this digital era. So we can think about trying to have society understand chronotype and work with chronotype. Think of a company as having individuals who have their own unique sleep map. How does that map then fit into the entire geography of the company? Because we know that more sleep leads to greater productivity. So when you start a new job, perhaps one of the things that they can do is have an intake form. And they can ask you about the optimal duration of sleep that you think you need and also the optimal timing, your chronotype. And then as best as possible, obviously working with some degree of flexibility, your planning and your week schedule can be matched towards optimizing your sleep and therefore optimizing the entire sleep of a company. And so by designing a society, particularly our professional lives, more around sleep or by placing sleep closer to the center of our decision-making within society, we can give people the chance to be sleeping when they would like to and how much they would like to. If we don't start to change as a society with regards to sleep, then I think there are significant dangers that lie ahead because this pernicious erosion of sleep time throughout almost all industrialized nations, as you can see from the class, is having a catastrophic impact on our health, our wellness, our productivity, even the safety and the education of our children. It is a silent sleep loss epidemic. And if we don't do something to change, then it may be one of the greatest public health challenges that we now face in the 21st century. So I believe it is time for society to reclaim their right to a full night of sleep and for us to do it without embarrassment or that terrible stigma of laziness. And in doing so, we can be reunited with the most powerful elixir of life or the Swiss army knife of health as it were. So my hope for you at the end of this class is not only that you understand more about what sleep is and how it works and also how to improve the quantity and the quality of your sleep but that you can also become a sleep ambassador, that you can start to communicate this same knowledge out into the public, friends and family. And perhaps that way, not only can you start to get more sleep, but together, as a collective, we can start to...
About the Instructor
As a professor of neuroscience and psychology at UC Berkeley and the director of the Center for Human Sleep Science, Matthew Walker is an expert on sleep. In this class, he will illuminate the science behind sleep and teach you how to increase the quality and quantity of your sleep. Learn how to prevent sleep debt, navigate the effects of alcohol and caffeine, and improve your health. Your best sleep starts tonight.