Welcome to episode 11 of the BrainTree Podcast!
[00:45] The hosts kick the show off by introducing the topic, this episode the discussion is all about sleep.
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“To keep the body in good health is a duty. Otherwise we shall not be able to keep our mind strong and clear.”
[04:36] Why is sleep important? Prue takes us through some of the science of sleep and breaks down the benefits of a good night’s rest. R.E.M. sleep is the most important for study and memory.
[08:36] Prue breaks down some of the research on sleep and the myths and facts that have come from sleep labs. The conclusion is that the average sleep length is around eight hours, but it varies greatly from person to person and often the desired sleep length decreases with age.
[11:17] Prue introduces an iPhone app called Sleep Cycle which measures your sleep patterns and reports on the quality of your sleep. The key to waking up refreshed is waking up at the shallow end of a sleep cycle or at the end of a cycle.
[14:34] Rocky discusses his own problems with getting to sleep on time and Prue discusses the problem of insomnia. Of course some students will take the opposite approach and make themselves too tired to study. So it’s important to get the right balance.
[16:42] The hosts discuss the importance of a regular sleep rhythm, Both Prue and Rocky remember times when they’ve tried to “catch up” on sleep, but much more effective and beneficial is a regular sleep pattern. Prue reminds us not to rule out the usefulness of a 20-40 minute power-nap.
[20:15] Prue introduces us to the power of progressive relaxation techniques.
[21:26] The discussion moves on to the science of puberty and the delayed release of melatonin in teenagers. Melatonin is the brain hormone that triggers sleep. It’s also a problem for adults as well due to the modern phenomenon of late night light exposure. Laptops and phones trick your brain into delaying melatonin and this causes you to stay awake longer.
[23:50] So here’s some tips to improve your sleep rhythm.
- If you sleep in on weekends, don’t sleep more than an hour or two beyond your normal wake time.
- Sleeping 10-15 minutes earlier each day can help to improve your sleep rhythm.
- Limit your afternoon naps. 30 minutes maximum!
- Avoid caffeine. At least after dinner, but preferably no later than 4p.m. depending on your sensitivity.
- Make sure you organise at night to minimise your tasks in the morning. Pack your bag the night before.
- Switch off your electronic devices and minimise artificial lighting after a certain time each night.
- Create a relaxation routine to allow yourself to wind down before bed.
- A temperature drop at night can help trigger sleep.
- Make sure your sleep environment is dark and quiet.
- In the morning, get up and out into a bright light environment as quickly as possible.
- Regular exposure to natural light helps regulate melatonin release.
- Improving your sleep cycle can take 4-6 weeks to improve your well-being.
- Last thing at night and first the in the morning, the brain is highly receptive and so just reading your study notes or recording them and listening to them when you’re drowsy will help you retain that knowledge better.
[32:50] The hosts wrap up and give out some of the resources mentioned in the show including Rocky’s free resource on Progressive Relaxation Techniques.
Tune in again in a fortnight for the next episode and sleep well!