Published by: Julia
We all benefit from sleeping well. Yet, many of us struggle to get enough sleep. Dr. Matthew Walker´s Masterclass shows you how to break that negative cycle and sleep better.
This sleep masterclass is a must
Before I tell you what I learned by taking this masterclass, I just want to encourage you to buy it.
I have never said that before. In the past, I have always written my reviews without out and out recommending that people take it. I know we are all different. What I find interesting or helpful may not be right for you.
But, I genuinely feel what I learned from this course is of vital importance to all of us.
Sleep is far, far, far more important than I realised before taking this Masterclass. For me, this course had been literally life-changing and I think it could be for you too. Which is why I highly recommend that you try it.
Who is Dr. Matthew Walker
Before I dive in and tell you more about Matthew Walker Teaches the Science of Better Sleep Masterclass, let me first tell you a bit about your teacher. Who he is, what his credentials are, and how he has been helping others for decades to solve their sleep problems.
Matthew studied neuroscience and neurophysiology. Gaining a degree and Ph.D. in those subjects. In 2004, he became an assistant professor of psychiatry at Harvard medical school and that is where his exploration of sleep began.
He realized that science still does not really understand why we sleep. Matthew carried on teaching and became a professor of neuroscience and psychology at the University of California in Berkeley. But he was so interested in exploring the subject of sleep that he set up the Center for Human Sleep Science of California and began to experiment.
Over the years, he researched the possible connection between a lack of sleep and:
- Drug addiction
- Our emotional responses
- Recovering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
He and his team have written over 100 sleep-related papers. Matthew is also the author behind the best selling book – Why We Sleep
You can see why people call Dr. Matthew Walker the Dream Machine.
Who is this how to overcome sleep issues Masterclass designed for?
If you are amongst the 1 in 3 people who feel tired most days because they are not sleeping well, this masterclass is most definitely for you. In it Dr. Matthew Walker does the following:
- Learn what point in the 24 hour cycle is the best time for you personally to sleep
- What sleep is
- Why we need to sleep
- How to optimize the sleep you get
- How sleep impacts your memory
- Why sleep can reduce your risk of dementia and maybe cancer
- What are dreams? How are they created
It is never too late to start sleeping better.Dr Matthew Walker Teaches The Sciene of Better Sleep
What is sleep and how it works
In the first couple of videos, Dr. Walker explains how sleep works. What your brain is doing during the various stages of the sleeping cycle.
At this point he explains:
- What REM sleep is and why this point in the night, when your brain is frenetically active, is important for mental and emotional health.
- What NREM sleep is and how it helps to store your memories and gives your nervous and respiratory systems they need.
Why getting enough sleep is vitally important
This section, for me, contained a bit of a wake-up call, which is ironic considering this is a course all about sleep. I had not thought that missing out on sleep a couple of days per week was much of an issue. Until that is Dr. Walker explained that studies showed that when DST means we lose an hour of sleep as the clocks “spring forward” 8% more people have strokes on that day and the following day. A startling fact that shocked me, but bought it home to me just how important sleep is.
In this section, Dr. Walker covers the subject of melatonin. How it affects sleep and whether it is safe to take it as a supplement.
He also covers the subject of social jetlag or sleep bulimia. Not getting enough sleep during the week and trying to catch up at the weekend. Something that a lot of us are guilty of doing.
Sleep is the elixer of life. It is the Swiss army knife of health.Dr. Matthew Walker – Sleep scientist
Learn how to find out what your sleep chronotype is
When we need sleep varies from person to person. It depends on your circadian rhythm, what times of day you are at your most alert and most tired. When those times are it depends largely on your genes. There are 4 main types of circadian rhythm. Sleep clinics can carry out tests to identify which rhythm you are programmed for. It is also possible to get a good idea of which you are by doing a quiz. Matthew mentions this, but frustratingly there is no link to one in the workbook.
He also explains how our circadian rhythms change as we age. Explaining why so many teenagers struggle to get up early and so many elderly people get tired earlier than they used to but also want to get up earlier.
How caffeine and alcohol affects your ability to sleep well
I am one of those people that tends not to worry too much about when I drink coffee. But I do tend to avoid drinking it after 2 pm to make sure that I get a good night´s sleep. It turns out that is not necessarily early enough to ensure that you get enough deep sleep. When you watch this part of the masterclass you will see why.
The section about how alcohol impacts your ability to sleep was enlightening too. Especially the impact it has on REM sleep.
Regularity is one of the best weapons that we have in the in the toolbox of good sleep.Dr. Matthew Walker – Masterclass.com
What is sleep debt and how to avoid it
Creating sleep debt is something many of us are guilty of running up. We all stay up late occasionally or agree to a stupidly early meeting that requires us to get up at 5 am. This is not great. The problem is that you cannot address that debt. You cannot get back that sleep that you have lost.
Subjectively you may think you are doing OK when you are not getting enough sleep. In reality, numerous studies show that people with sleep debt perform significantly worse than they would otherwise do. As you can see from this graph you are also at a far higher risk of having a car accident when you are sleep deprived.
Why naps can be both a good and a bad thing
Many people try to catch up or cope with sleep deprivation by taking naps. Dr. Walker explains why you need to be careful of napping during the day. But that does not mean you cannot use them on occasion. He explains how in this section.
How to reduce the impact of jet lag
This was a particularly helpful section of the Masterclass. There were a lot of tips that I had never heard of. The next time I travel across time zones I will be using what I learned.
How sleep improves brain function
There are 3 reasons you need sleep to learn effectively. Dr. Walker shares the details of several studies they carried out to work out the impact sleep had on the ability of people to learn. Retain what they had learned and make the necessary connections to be able to utilise and fully understand what had been learnt.
You need sleep before learning to prepare your brain to lay down those new memory traces. But then you need sleep after learning to cement those memories.Dr. Matthew Walker – Sleep Masterclass
The most revealing part of this section was the fact that you problem-solve when you sleep. You can also create amazing things in your sleep. For example, Dmitri Mendeleev came up with the answer to how to arrange the periodic table in his sleep. In the morning, as soon as he woke up he wrote it down. Some of the most memorable tunes came to their composers in their sleep.
How to compensate for the fact that our sleep patterns change as we age
Everyone´s sleep patterns change as they age. This is normal. But Dr. Walker points out that this does not mean that as we get older we need less sleep. This means there are many benefits to doing our best to sleep as much as we can despite the fact that our brains are not as good at putting and keeping us asleep.
Understanding why we find it harder to sleep as we age is the first step to doing this. Fortunately, this is well covered in the masterclass.
The potential connection between a lack of sleep and Alzheimers
There is a disturbing section in this video where Dr. Walker explains that research indicates that not getting enough sleep can put you at a greater risk of developing Alzheimer’s. He says this:
Or (if) you even just selectively deprive them (a person) of deep non-REM sleep for one single night. The next day you see an immediate increase in that toxic beta-amyloid.Dr. Matthew Walker – Sleep Masterclass
In people with certain kinds of Alzheimer’s, beta-amyloid clumps together and clog up the brain. This impairs its ability to function. Learning this made me pause for thought and is one of the reasons I have prioritized getting a good night´s sleep after taking this sleep Masterclass.
Having read around the subject a bit more I felt that the findings of the studies looking at this were compelling. So much so that it prompted me to share details of this Masterclass with a couple of friends I know that habitually go without sleep.
Why REM sleep is emotional first aid
Most of us have found that getting a good night´s sleep during times of distress helps a huge amount. Dr. Walker shares why the following conditions can be excacebated by not getting good quality sleep:
- Potentially other mental illnesses too
What is dreaming?
We all dream. This is the case whether you are aware of it or not. But what is dreaming? why do we do it? Those questions and many more are answered in this section of the course. Including an indication of whether our dreams mean anything.
Sleeping to improve your health
Sleep plays a vital role in keeping you healthy. For example, if you sleep less than 7 hours a night your risk of developing the flu. The results of the study he shares are compelling.
Not getting enough sleep also has a massive impact on our hormone levels. That includes testosterone. Low levels of this hormone has a massive potential impact on a man´s ability to retain and develop muscles, their virity and energy levels.
This is another part of the Masterclass that made me prioritise getting a good night´s sleep every day. Especially what he said about the connection between sleep and cancer risk.
The connection between diet and health
If you are struggling to lose weight and always feel hungry, being sleep deprived may be playing a role. It might even be part of the reason you are so drawn to eating so much junk food.
In this section looks at:
- The connection between sleep and diabetes
- Why people who don´t sleep enough are prone to weight gain
- The connection between sleep and junk food cravings
- How a lack of sleep impacts your athletic performance
- How sleep impacts your ability to take in oxygen
- Why muscle spasms are a problem for those who do not sleep enough
- Sleep is needed to build muscles and heal your injuries
You will also learn about the connection between sleep and exercise. The study he carried out into how sleep improves the motor skills and muscle memory performance of elite athletes. Find out why so many of them sleep more than many people do and how they do it throughout the day.
How to sleep better
This is by far, the most important part of this sleep masterclass. Understanding how sleep works and the impact it has on your physical and mental health is useful. For me, it was a motivator. What I learned as part of the Masterclass got me going to bed earlier and I switched on the sleep function on my smartwatch and no longer took it off at night.
Matthew Walker´s Sleep Masterclass PDF download
The Matthew Walker Masterclass PDF is a free download, that comes as part of the fee you pay. Sadly, it is not the best instruction booklet for someone who has primarly taken Matthew´s course to learn how to sleep better.
It looks beautiful. This sleep workbook is stuffed full of fascinating infographics and great illustrations and is a highly enjoyable read. But, there is little text and it is not much of a guide to what is contained in the videos.
That said, the “How to get back to sleep when you wake at 3 am” section offers practical tips. The “Matthew´s Tips” chapter was good too.
Would I recommend this Masterclass?
In short, yes I would. It definitely improved my understanding of how sleep works and highlighted to me just how important it is. To the point where I changed my sleeping habits.
But, I do have a criticism. The section on how to sleep better was way too short. It would be nice if the course was structured so that you could simply visit that video to refresh your memory about what you need to be doing.
As it is, you have to dip into several videos to get all of the steps. So, when you take this Masterclass, make a note of the important points. Or at least a note of the video number and the time-point where the information you may need in the future is shared.
Please do not let this issue put you off of buying this masterclass. The information it contains really is invaluable.
As you know, I have taken more than 50 of these masterclasses and I would say that this one is the most important of them. So, please give it a try.
Having said that looking at the Matthew Walker Masterclass Redditt and other reviews most other people felt that he had got the balance right. Providing insights into the science behind sleeping at the same time as sharing practical advice and tips.
Matthew Walker sleep Masterclass FAQs:
How long is Matthew Walker´s Masterclass ?
It is 173 minutes long. There are 15 videos of between 4 and 17 minutes.