Focus on Fatigue

Why We Sleep?

By August 17, 2022 No Comments

Issue #75 – August 2022 – Why We Sleep

Welcome to Focus on Fatigue!

Sleep! It’s the activity we spend up to a third of our life doing (or attempting to!). So, it’s no wonder there is continually new research seeking to better understand how and why we sleep and what happens when we don’t.

In this issue of Focus on Fatigue, we bring you some recent studies on sleep and feature a review of Matthew Walker’s book ‘Why We Sleep?’.

We hope you find it interesting and informative.

The FRMS Team



Views expressed in articles and links provided are those of the individual authors, and do not necessarily represent the views of InterDynamics (except where directly attributed).

Why We Sleep?

Book Review – Why We Sleep by Matthew Walker

As founder-director of the Center for Human Sleep Science at the University of California, Berkeley, Matthew Walker has brought together into one book many recent studies in sleep research. He has analysed everything from sleep’s role in Alzheimer’s disease and depression, to its influence on learning and productivity.

An example of a fascinating study is the comparison between two similar businesses in towns on the east and west of the same time zone. The differences in productivity for individuals across this time zone were remarkable. In fact, those in the east, who get up when it is lighter and finish work when the sun goes down, not only slept better and were more productive but they even received more frequent increases in salary.

Walker’s 12 tips for healthy sleep are:

  1. Stick to a sleep schedule. Go to bed and wake up at the same time each day. You can’t make up for lost sleep. This is the most important sleep habit.
  2. Exercise at least 30 minutes on most days, but not later than three hours before bedtime.
  3. Avoid caffeine and nicotine in the late afternoon. These take time to wear off.
  4. Avoid alcoholic drinks before bed. Alcohol robs you of REM sleep, keeping you in the lighter stages of sleep.
  5. Avoid large meals and beverages late at night.
  6. Avoid medicines that disrupt sleep. Talk to your GP about whether medication contributes to insomnia, and ask about the best time to take medication so as not to affect sleep.
  7. Don’t take naps after 3pm.
  8. Relax before bed.
  9. Take a hot bath or shower before bed.
  10. Dark bedroom, cool bedroom, gadget free bedroom.
  11. Have the right sunlight exposure. Daylight is key to sleep.
  12. Don’t lie in bed awake. Get up and do something relaxing if you are lying awake worrying about not sleeping. Go back to bed when you start to feel sleepy.

The book is available in print, ebook or audiobook format, and explains the science behind the various studies in everyday language.

In The News

Provided below are a selection of articles from around the web on the issues associated with fatigue. We hope you find them useful and interesting.

How Living on the Wrong Side of a Time Zone Can Be Hazardous to Your Health

Christopher Ingraham, Washington Post, April 2019

It turns out that living on the wrong side of a time zone’s boundary can have negative consequences on a person’s health and wallet.


Scientists Find 7 Hours’ Sleep is Best for Middle-Aged Brains

Lisa Rapaport, Everyday Health, May 2022

Middle-aged and older adults have worse cognitive function when they get too little or too much sleep, a new study suggests.


Children Who Lack Sleep May Experience Detrimental Impact on Brain and Cognitive Development That Persists Over Time

University of Maryland School of Medicine, Science Daily, July 2022

Elementary school-age children who get less than nine hours of sleep per night have significant differences in certain brain regions responsible for memory, intelligence and well-being compared to those who get the recommended nine to 12 hours of sleep per night, according to a new study.


Study of AFL Players Reveals the Importance of Good Sleep

7NEWS Australia, Jan 2022

Australian Football League stars are teaming up with Melbourne researchers to expose the dangers of poor sleep. A study of dozens of players has found a clear link between a lack of rest and mental health issues.


Theory for Why Sleep Enhances Learning Confirmed by New Study

Technology Networks, April 2022

The consolidation of learning that occurs during sleep is a result of the learning process and not merely because certain brain regions get used a lot during learning.


Researchers Find What Magpies Lose from Hitting Snooze

Stuart Layt, Brisbane Times, May 2022

Australian magpies are known for their beautiful morning calls, but new research has confirmed that just like some humans, if they don’t get a good night’s sleep they will put off their morning plans to have a sleep-in.

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