Questions about the book "Why we sleep?"

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I'm reading the book "Why we sleep?" by Matthew Walker and it seems to be very controversial in the context of our culture and society habits. Do other experts agree with this book?
I'm reading the book "Why we sleep?" by Matthew Walker. If some other experts have any experience with this book could you tell me your opinion? Is our modern society really blind to very good known facts mentioned in this book?

For example, a necessity to sleep at least eight hours every day for adult people, a causality in between vascular disease and not have a snooze after lunch, etc., etc.?

Also, there was mentioned that specific stimulation of the brain can improve memory and other function of the brain. If so, do exist some devices for home personal use AND really work? :-) I believe there are many "alternative" companies and products which are nonsense, but we are in the 21st century... I checked the web and found one device called Dreem 2 (I can't attach a link because of the policy) but it seems a bit promising. Could anyone let me know his opinion if it is still nonsense or it really does something positive or at least measures real brain activity or properties?

Thank you very much for any comment.
 

jim mcnamara

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Sleep specialists have found different phases of sleep. There is a 90 minute cycle: 2 types of REM sleep, and then delta sleep. Walker has found that delta sleep is the period of time when by-products of daily metabolism are removed from the brain. For patients deprived of delta sleep in the lab, when cerbrospinal fluid is sampled from them, it has high level of tau proteins, which are not present in patients who experienced full delta sleep- full 90 minute cycles in other words. The book also discusses diurnal rhythms, daily routines, diet components, lighting.

Yes, the book is aligned with his research, but most of what he says is "dumbed down" in the book so that people without a science background read it. It is meant for people who do not sleep well. So it is correct AFAIK, but the science in that domain had been iffy the past. I'm not current in this at all. So I cannot tell you why it is "controversial". It seems okay to me.

Dreem 2 is primarily an EEG device. It does not make you sleep better, it just records brain activity during those sleep cycles I mentioned. Then you pay to have support and counseling. The claims about sleeping better and the band EEG gizmo on your head changing sleep quality, I would take with a large grain of salt.

Please keep this thread on target == science only. Thanks.
 
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So I cannot tell you why it is "controversial". It seems okay to me.
I meant "controversial" that he suggests changing biorhythm driven by society (waking up later, however people have to wake up earlier to work; take a rest after lunch, however people don't have time for it; etc.). Do you believe that these changes in the habits of people (as he mentioning) would significantly affect the health of people in general?
 

jim mcnamara

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I do not know. What he is talking about is the fact that electric lighting has caused humans to ignore day/night and sleep during different periods of the day. His point is that humans did not evolve to do this. The rest of his understanding of sleep pathology is based on clinical observations, which I cannot judge.

Short answer: he is probably correct, but I do not know enough to be more certain.

And I am not sure about the current meaning of biorhythm, either. Diurnal cycles are what I have seen in the literature. I guess they are synonyms.
 
I like Walker's book for the suggestions he makes. I'm a physicist now doing psychotherapy with a specialty in sleep. They say 75% of sleep problems are psychological yet the medical approach to sleep problems is almost entirely mechanical and symptom-focused. I used some of Walker's ideas to suggest how people can understand their potential to participate in sleep and dreams, and to emphasize that their sleep patterns are closely connected with their daily waking patterns. Walker omits the psychology, which is to say the effect on sleep patterns caused by one's cognitive frame. Most of my clients with sleep problems are chronically hypervigilant and they do not know a non-vigilant state because they cannot remember experiencing a relaxed state. Whenever possible, I watch my client's EEG while we're doing a session and I've learned the EEG sigatures of anxiety. Walker does not mention this approach either. In general, I find his work quite therapeutically old fashioned scientifically interesting, nonetheless. You can find my book on sleep on Amazon, with a second one to be published in November of 2019.
 
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I like Walker's book ...
Understand, I'm also a physicist but I'm very interested in the brain (only as an interest I'm not much in). I'm very surprised that society doesn't reflect the results of research about sleep which are presented in his book. Are you connected to research? I would like for example be a volunteer or at least filling questionnaires to help some researchers. It doesn't matter if for psychology or neuroscience but I didn't find anything in my region.
 
There are many sides to the issue. Medicine is not a scientific endeavor, first of all. Research medicine is, but social/therapeutic medicine is not; it's clinical. "Do no harm" is not a scientific credo, and cannot be. That being said, those who advance the field are willing to that the risk in causing change in some unforeseen way. Similarly, clients (and society) are generally unwilling to engage in exploring change to their own health in an unforeseen way. Hence the indifference to Walker's explanations. Also, there is no medical indication as to how one can "fix" one's sleep as sleep is not a mechanical "thing" amenable to fixing. Pharmaceuticals are simply seen as sleep aids not sleep cures, and there is really no guidance for people with sleep disorders. I just finished a class on sleep in which a dozen regular folks with sleep issues came to learn what they could do. As I said, most of these people shared a level of hypervigilance. For them the problem is largely psychological or, to be frank, psychosomatic. Thanks for your offer to engage/explore/be involved in the process. I'll think about that. Most of my scientific (ie observable/measurable) effort goes into correlating EEG and sleep performance. My unscientific efforts are psychological in my attempts to use cognition and behavior to affect sleep. There are too many variables in that to support much inference about what causes what, but I'm always looking for an effect. The problem for sleep science is that sleep is too holistic, it involves the whole person in all their aspects. And the clinical problem is simply to help the client, not to understand the phenomena. Subscribe to my blog for updates and information, if you like. - LS
 

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