Sleep is your superpower | Matt Walker

5 min read. 20 min video.

One of my earliest blog posts was on sleep. The heading was/is, Grace and the beauty of sleep. You can read it here. I had stumbled on this truth about sleep—that within the Christian scriptures, God spoke to people in their sleep. God, very few times spoke to people who were wide awake. The message of the post was to encourage us to relax a bit. Take it easy. Go to sleep and let God do the night shift.

Sleep is a fundamental gospel truth, and this truth is a thread that runs throughout the Christian scriptures. In my earlier post, I highlighted instances of sleep and the results. For example, in the garden, when God wanted to give Adam a wife, he put him to sleep. When God wanted to give his son, Jesus, a new wife, he put him to sleep. Jesus’ last act was sleep—death—and in his sleep, the new creation (bride) was born and fully became operational when the Holy Spirit descended on the bride in Acts 2.

This sleeping is a metaphor for rest. The Christian gospel offers rest to weary souls. Jesus offers rest to people tired from trying to earn their acceptance and approval from God and others. And even when they become Christians, they continue resting on—believing in him and not their performance or good works. And this continues on to day to day living—when it comes to receiving good things from God, be they finances, influence, creative ideas, relationships, jobs, healing, etc. we receive them when we are at rest.

No other faith worldview offers this rest as the Christian gospel does. Every other faith worldview says to its adherents—work your way to God. Only the Christian gospel says this—God has worked his way to you and for you, rest.

This TED talk by Matt Walker, an English scientist, and professor of neuroscience and psychology at the University of California, Berkeley, is fascinating and more so points to a greater spiritual truth, the gospel of grace. I heard echoes of the gospel of grace and I thought I should share.

You get to, hopefully, hear those echoes too.

Watch the talk here.

Some of my key takeaways

0:46 – A lack of sleep will age a man (woman) by a decade in terms of that critical aspect of wellness.

1.32 – You need sleep after learning to essentially hit the save button on those memories so that you don’t forget.

1:45 – You need sleep before learning, to actually prepare your brain, almost like a dry sponge, ready to initially soak up new information.

4:46 – What is it about your physiological quality of your sleep when you do get it that restores and enhances your memory and learning ability each and every day? …. It is the combined quality of these deep brain waves that act like a file transfer mechanism at night. Shifting memories from a short-term vulnerable reservoir to a more permanent long term storage site within the brain, and therefore protecting them, making them safe.

6:33 – The disruption of deep sleep is an underappreciated factor that is contributing to cognitive decline or memory decline in aging and most recently we discovered in Alzheimer’s disease as well.

7:26 – Sleeping pills… unfortunately, they are blunt instruments that do not produce naturalistic sleep.

9:54 – On sleep and your immune system – we are now finding significant links between short sleep duration and your risk for the development of numerous forms of cancer. Currently, that list includes cancer of the bowel, cancer of the prostate and cancer of the breast.

11:50 – The old maxim that you can sleep when you’re dead… It is mortally unwise advice.

12:06 – There’s a simple truth: the shorter your sleep, the shorter your life. Short sleep predicts all-cause mortality.

12:28 – We have since discovered that a lack of sleep will even erode the very fabric of biological life itself – your DNA genetic code.

13:54 – There is simply no aspect of your wellness that can retreat at the sign of sleep deprivation and get away unscathed. It’s rather like a broken water pipe in your home, sleep loss will leak into every nook and cranny of your physiology.

14:26 – How do I start to get better sleep? What are your tips for good sleep? The first is regularity. Go to bed at the same time and wake up at the same time, no matter whether it’s the weekday or weekend. Regularity is king and it will anchor your sleep and improve the quantity and the quality of your that sleep. The second is to keep it cool. Your body needs to drop its core temperature by about two to three degrees Fahrenheit (or -16.111 Celsius) to initiate sleep and then to stay asleep… Aim for a bedroom temperature of around 65 degrees Fahrenheit or about 18 degrees Celsius.

15:40 – What is the mission-critical statement here? Sleep, unfortunately, is not an option lifestyle luxury. Sleep is a non-negotiable biological necessity.  It is your life support system, and it is mother nature’s best effort yet at immortality. And the decimation of sleep throughout industrialized nations is having a catastrophic impact on our health, our wellness, even the safety and the education of our children.

16:32 – I believe it is our right to reclaim our right to a full night of sleep. And without embarrassment or that unfortunate stigma of laziness. And in doing so we can be reunited with the most powerful elixir of life, the Swiss Army knife of health, as it were.

Now, go to sleep. 

That’s what grace looks like

Video by TED Published on Jun 3, 2019

3 thoughts on “Sleep is your superpower | Matt Walker

  1. Reblogged this on Christian Mommas and commented:

    Sleep is not overrated, mommas and pappas! Take a break, ask for help, and sleep. New moms with one child, please sleep when your baby sleeps. Everything can wait. Mommas with multiple kids, please prioritize sleep/rest when possible. If you find it difficult to sleep at night despite doing all that is recommended by the scientist/expert in this video, just talk to God about difficulty sleepy. He knows anyways. Remember Psalm 127:2 “In vain you rise early and stay up late, toiling for food to eat– for he grants sleep to those he loves.” Enjoy this ever timely post by fellow blogger Schulter


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