“Scientists have discovered a revolutionary new treatment that makes you live longer. It enhances your memory, makes you more attractive. It keeps you slim and lowers food cravings. It protects you from cancer and dementia. It wards off colds and flu. It lowers your risk of heart attacks and stroke, not to mention diabetes. You’ll even feel happier, less depressed, and less anxious. Are you interested?” – Matt Walker
I’d imagine you are. Who wouldn’t be? The treatment Walker is describing available to all of us – sleep.
In his bestselling book ‘Why We Sleep’, Matt Walker makes the compelling argument that sleep is possibly the most overlooked aspect of health. It is vitally important for everything from mental to reproductive health and everything in between. For example, “Men who sleep 5 hours have significantly smaller testicles than men who sleep 7 or more.”
Sleep plays a vital role in learning too. At night, you are essentially hitting the ‘save’ button on all of the memories and knowledge you’ve accumulated from that day. Not only is it vitally important to store memories, it also primes your brain to take on information the following day. If you think of your brain like a sponge, sleeping is squeezing it dry so that it’s ready to absorb again when you wake up.
In possibly the most terrifying passage from the whole book, Walker discusses daylight savings.
Daylight savings in Spring causes a 24% increase in heart attacks the following day as the population has had an hour less sleep. In Autumn, you see a 21% reduction in heart attacks with the extra hour of sleep. Road accidents and even suicides follow a similar pattern.
Walker puts forward an incredibly convincing case in just how important sleep to your body. Yet many of us, me included, neglect sleep.
It’s often far too easy to stay up far later than you know you should, watching series and scrolling through social media. Not only does this eat away at the hours of sleep you’re getting, it also damages the quality of your sleep.
The blue light emitted from your phone and laptop screens (even on night shift) tells your brain it is morning, and so suppresses the production of melatonin – the hormone that makes you sleepy. Our brains are receiving a signal that it’s time to wake up, just before we try to go to sleep.
The quality and quantity of my sleep while living in a cabin has been remarkably better. I have a whoop strap, a piece of wearable bio technology, which records the number of hours and quality of the sleep I get, both of which have seen a marked improvement.
I attribute a large part of this improvement to the lack of artificial light in the cabin. We only have candles and fairy lights, both of which are soft and yellow/orange, so don’t adversely affect my sleep hormones. We also have no wifi or plug sockets, which means I don’t watch anything in bed or spend time on my phone before I fall asleep.
These factors, in addition to the pitch black of the forest environment, very little noise around and the relaxation of a warm bath, all leave me feeling very well rested when I wake up in the morning – a feeling shared by many other guests at Dreamcatcher’s.
If you were looking for another reason to come and stay at DC’s, join us for a great night’s sleep.