Found in 35 comments on Hacker News
aquafox · 2023-12-03 · Original thread
IIRC, the explanation of Matthew Walker, a well respected sleep researcher and author, ( involves melatonin. It's a sleep timer: Melatonin levels peek in the middle of the day and are lowest around midnight. "Around" is the important part. As we get older, melatonines gets is earlier and earlier, say 1am for a juvenile but 8pm for a retiree. But the retiree doesn't got to sleep at 8pm because of social activities, watching a movie or a late night sports game. By the time he goes to bed, it's already too late and at 4am, melatonin levels are so high that he cannot sleep anymore, despite being tired.
kylebenzle · 2023-11-01 · Original thread
Good sleep seems to be a component of long life (1). Intense daily exercise seems to be the best "treatment" we have for sleep issues.

Importantly, there are NO medications known to help with "sleep" all those pills they sell as "sleep-aids" are technically called sedatives, or "hypnotics" medically and don't give the same benefits of sleep.


Aayush Mudgal is a Senior Machine Learning Engineer at Pinterest, currently leading the efforts around Privacy Aware Conversion Modelling. Ayush has expertise in large-scale recommendation systems, personalization, and ads marketplaces, and in the past has conducted research on intelligent tutoring systems, developing data-driven feedback to aid students in learning computer programming.

Find Aayush on LinkedIn:

And for the books that Aayush recommends:

Why We Sleep: Unlocking the Power of Sleep and Dreams (

How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big (

An Elegant Puzzle: Systems of Engineering Management (


Apple Podcasts:

Ziggy_Zaggy · 2023-05-22 · Original thread
I recommend learning more about sleep. Here's a book that takes a deeper dive.

I have no affiliation with the authors of the book or any of their case-studies.

"Why We Sleep"

coldtea · 2023-03-05 · Original thread
This is like saying you can't believe gravity exists and need references.

I mean, haven't checked about weed as I don't use it, but about alcohol it's one of the most well know facts about it, and there are tons of studies, and mentions in every major work about sleep quality, academic or layman level...

Limit alcohol, because alcohol is not a sleep aid, contrary to popular belief. While it might help induce sleep, “alcohol is one of the most powerful suppressors of REM [rapid-eye-movement] sleep,” Walker says:

Anon84 · 2023-02-21 · Original thread
I really can't stress enough how important a good night's sleep is. I've struggled with insomnia for years and am only now getting it under control thanks to meditation, relaxation exercises, etc... These two books [1, 2] were the starting point for getting me back on track to falling asleep faster and staying asleep longer (especially important now with a small baby)



Ziggy_Zaggy · 2022-10-26 · Original thread
Late to the party but going to post anyways...

So, recent R&D into sleep tech has come along ways in the past 20 years. Basically research has shown that during nap/sleep cycles our brain moves around memories (from short-term to long-term and prioitization) and connections between memories. Also, this process optimizes information in the brain to make the access faster and more efficient thus providing opportunity for neuralogical advanced thought sessions given the datasets after a nap/sleep session.

Some basic take aways include +20% memory capacity per 8-hour sleep cycle and longer un-interrupted access to memory collections. It's also been shown that it's possible to tag the day's memories and then prioritize them during the next nap/sleep session. Significant results have shown that groups that take 30-minutes nap have stronger memory capacity versus groups with no naps.

The face of the R&D seems to be Matt Walker - PhD Brit with intense accent - you've been warned!

TL:DR - The brains basically recharges AND rewires during nap/sleep sessions.

Here's the links:

podcast: The Matt Walker Podcast


mbesto · 2022-03-15 · Original thread
> They're fine if they go to bed early.

They're not. This ignores diverging chronotypes. I suggest you read up on the science around sleep before commenting on whether "they're fine".

veidr · 2022-01-17 · Original thread
I think the science around blue-light-blocking glasses is being seriously questioned (and in my own experience, detailed in my other comment, most of the models on the market don't have any discernible effect).

But I believe the science does indicate that circadian rhythm regulation by the human body is strongly influenced by external light, and specifically blue light.

This doesn't mean that "blue light blocker" glasses work, though. And most of them don't even actually block blue light, they just diminish it somewhat.

I read the book Why We Sleep, by UC Berkeley professor and sleep researcher Matthew Walker, and that is one of the topics covered in the book. (In addition to sleep being fascinating topic generally that book has a number of practical suggestions for better sleep which have helped me, such as setting your bedroom temperature colder and using blackout curtains), so I recommend it if those things are of interest.


inv13 · 2021-03-20 · Original thread
My very TLDR summary: The older people at the firm had the same experience coming into this business. So they expect every new comer to behave the same. Its that simple. Doctors do that with residents which I think is more concerning. I read about it in a book called why we sleep[1] about sleep. [1] -
fbelzile · 2019-11-29 · Original thread
I know this book gets posted anytime something sleep related comes up... but I still find it underrated.

'Why We Sleep'[0] has changed my sleeping habits for the better and I wish everyone had the chance to read it. It's like a manual explaining how your body works 1/3 of the time you're alive.


moozilla · 2019-10-16 · Original thread
I found the statistics in Dr. Matthew Walker's Why We Sleep [1] pretty compelling.

Starting an hour layer improves SAT scores:

One of the first test cases happened in the township of Edina, Minnesota. Here, school start times for teenagers were shifted from 7:25 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. More striking than the forty-three minutes of extra sleep that these teens reported getting was the change in academic performance, indexed using a standardized measure called the Scholastic Assessment Test, or SAT.

In the year before this time change, the average verbal SAT scores of the top-performing students was a very respectable 605. The following year, after switching to an 8:30 a.m. start time, that score rose to an average 761 for the same top-tier bracket of students. Math SAT scores also improved, increasing from an average of 683 in the year prior to the time change, to 739 in the year after. Add this all up, and you see that investing in delaying school start times—allowing students more sleep and better alignment with their unchangeable biological rhythms—returned a net SAT profit of 212 points. That improvement will change which tier of university those teenagers go to, potentially altering their subsequent life trajectories as a consequence.

(This is one example, that has been replicated many times, he covers more in the book.)

It saves even saves lives:

Yet something even more profound has happened in this ongoing story of later school start times—something that researchers did not anticipate: the life expectancy of students increased. The leading cause of death among teenagers is road traffic accidents, and in this regard, even the slightest dose of insufficient sleep can have marked consequences, as we have discussed. When the Mahtomedi School District of Minnesota pushed their school start time from 7:30 to 8:00 a.m., there was a 60 percent reduction in traffic accidents in drivers sixteen to eighteen years of age. Teton County in Wyoming enacted an even more dramatic change in school start time, shifting from a 7:35 a.m. bell to a far more biologically reasonable one of 8:55 a.m. The result was astonishing—a 70 percent reduction in traffic accidents in sixteen- to eighteen-year-old drivers.

To place that in context, the advent of anti-lock brake technology (ABS)—which prevents the wheels of a car from seizing up under hard braking, allowing the driver to still maneuver the vehicle—reduced accident rates by around 20 to 25 percent. It was deemed a revolution. Here is a simple biological factor—sufficient sleep—that will drop accident rates by more than double that amount in our teens.

There's more reasons, like improving attendance and decreasing drug/alcohol use, but these are the ones that stuck out to me. There was another statistic that I can't immediately find a quotation for that was pretty mind-blowing for me, which was that in university, the difference in performance in controls and students who started class an hour later was equivalent to the difference between controls and students who had a professor a standard deviation above the average. They even showed that this was dose dependent (an extra hour later had more effect). I think it's pretty incredible, considering the skill gap between an average professor and a great one, that simply taking a class at a 10am instead of 8am can increase learning so much.


cloverich · 2019-10-11 · Original thread
Obligatory "Why We Sleep" link Writing is ok, but content is great. In short, sleep impacts many more aspects of your health than most realize and is well understood in many aspects. For instance, I was surprised to learn that poor sleep the week after learning something can significantly reduce your recall of it. When slowly learning something over a few months, it's the difference between retaining it well or not at all. Overall, it motivated me to finally start taking sleep seriously -- going to sleep earlier, at consistent times, swapping out my blue tinted led's, etc. Its made a very large impact on my day to day well being, and I wish I'd started much sooner.
Paul-ish · 2019-04-18 · Original thread
This reminds me of a section of the book "Why we sleep"[1] that said similar techniques could enhance an older persons sleep quality. (I don't know the title of the study unfortunately.) It looks like this is an exciting area of research right now.


theNJR · 2019-04-06 · Original thread
While alcohol will help put you to sleep (so will a concussion) it inhibits the restorative function of sleep. (1,2,3)

I’m all for the hedonistic rationalization for alcohol. We all need a release. But it is disingenuous to say alcohol has any positive effects beyond that. It is no different than sugar in that regard. My Saturday night cheat meal is filled with both, and I always look forward to it. But I don’t try and pretend that it’s in any way good for me (beyond psychological).

To that end, I completly agree with you that there are plenty of people who enjoy a few drinks without any real damage. I'm saying classify alchohol for what it it. The tobacco and sugar (4,5) lobbies love to pretend that they are something which they are not to sway public opinion. That is dangerous to society.

1. 2. 3. 4. 5.

juandazapata · 2019-03-25 · Original thread
Sleeping has a huge impact in procrastination. The lack of sleep translates into an hyperactive amygdala (which has a big influence in processing emotions and impulses) and an under-active frontal cortex (which influences our rational thinking, etc) [1]

According to my experience, a good night of sleep is the best cure for procrastination, sadly, our current society don't optimize for sleeping well.



markdog12 · 2019-02-06 · Original thread
Highly recommend Spark! If you like the topic of Sleep, check out Why We Sleep by Matthew Walker:
rconti · 2018-12-26 · Original thread
I am just finishing reading the fantastic book Why We Sleep [1], and as in so many well-meaning studies and articles, I can't help but feel like this effort is misguided. Just like an addict cannot accept help until they want it, I don't see how "adjusting" work schedules for those who don't even understand their own biology can possibly be helpful.

I've ALWAYS considered myself a night owl. I'm still not sure I'm not. But I've spent the past year rising earlier than I'm used to, and the past 7 months rising even earlier than that due to an enforced carpool with my wife. For the first time in my working life, I HAVE to be awake at a certain time (incidentally, far earlier than I'm used to). Instead of snoozing for an hour, I bolt from bed far earlier than I want to. I go to sleep marginally earlier. But my routine is regular I'm happier. I feel better. I feel healthier. I started reading the book and am acutely interested in tuning my sleep times to make this work even better.

Maybe I've never been a night owl. Maybe I've just had horrible sleep habits. Or maybe I AM a night owl, and I'd be even better off than I can possibly imagine, if I take all of these habits and processes and move them later in the day.

But I just feel like you can't possibly know if you're a morning bird or a night owl until you're already, consistently, religiously, getting enough sleep every night, on a consistent sleep/wake schedule.


crazygringo · 2018-12-23 · Original thread
Michael Pollan: How to Change Your Mind [1]

Not just about an utterly fascinating topic (psychadelic drugs), in terms of history (LSD turning from a scientific wonder drug to illegal), his personal experiences, and the neuroscience behind it, but also just extremely well-written -- a real page-turner. A crazy potent combination of science, spirituality (from a skeptic), and narrative. I expect his book will be a significant part of why psychadelic drugs will be legalized in the near future specifically for therapeutic purposes.

Also +1 for 2017's Why We Sleep [2]. After reading it, I couldn't believe how shockingly ignorant I'd been of how I spend a full third of my life, and how much it affects the other two-thirds -- and the degree to which a lack of sleep prevents us from perceiving the effects of lack of sleep, in a kind of vicious cycle.



pavanred · 2018-12-05 · Original thread
I read this book "Why we sleep" by Matthew Walker [0], which digs into a lot of detail about sleep and what we understand about it. And, there are a bunch of things I learned that I have incorporated into my lifestyle now.

- Effect of coffee on sleep: I didn't particularly have problems with sleep but I have stopped drinking way too much coffee, specially late in the day, after understanding its effect on sleep suppression and the ill effects that causes.

- Importance of sleep: I try and get enough sleep and try to maintain a steady sleep cycle as much as I can.

- 2 hours of lost sleep is lot more than 2 hours of lost sleep(say by waking up early for a meeting): Sleep comprises of multiple REM and NREM cycles through the night, some cycles are heavier on REM while other heavier on NREM. And, both are very important and serve different functions. If you miss a couple of hours of sleep, its effect is lot more than just a couple of hours of lost sleep because you didn't get enough of either REM or NREM sleep. And, its not something you ever can get back.

- I used to think its something to be proud about, to be able to function without sleep or by skipping sleep etc. (specially when I was younger), now I think its just stupid :)

Apart from these, its a fascinatingly interesting read, I definitely recommend the book.


crazygringo · 2018-12-05 · Original thread
I highly recommend the 2017 book "Why We Sleep" [1]. Written by a doctor, starting at page 335 he calls exactly for ensuring hospital patients can sleep, why this is so critical for recovery, and how many things in hospitals currently work against this. (The book covers so much ground, including other reforms like school time starts, why society doesn't value sleep because sleep-deprived people don't perceive their substandard performance, and so on.)


guiambros · 2018-11-17 · Original thread
"Why We Sleep", by Matthew Walker [1]. I've read a lot about sleep over the years, but I still found it fascinating and comprehensive.

I've mentioned the book on several other threads [2], so I'll avoid repeating here.

Along the same lines of expanding the ability of your body/mind, one that I'm currently reading is "What doesn't kill us" [3]. Pretty fascinating to think that we have a lot more control over our immune system than originally thought.




crazygringo · 2018-10-27 · Original thread
In my experience and the research I've read, you've almost mentioned all the top relevant reasons: alcohol use, stress, and reduction in sleep (kid being born). It's unlikely to be age.

I'd highly recommend last year's "Why We Sleep" [1] for more info on memory performance and how it's impacted far more that you'd suspect by full (and quality) sleep, which is in turn impacted far more than you'd suspect by alcohol and stress (not to mention kids).


guiambros · 2018-09-15 · Original thread
"Why We Sleep", by Matthew Walker [1]. I've read a lot about sleep over the years, but I still found it fascinating and comprehensive.

I've mentioned the book on several other thread [2], so there's plenty of opinions there if you're interested in knowing more.



skadamat · 2018-07-29 · Original thread
Every single person here, if your serious about diving into the science of sleep, should read Matthew Walker's book: Why We Sleep:

His interview on Joe Rogan is a good summary:

He covers everything from why we sleep (obv), naps, melatonin, etc. I've just finished it and really enjoyed it.

rmcpherson · 2018-07-18 · Original thread
It does get better with age in that your circadian rhythm will shift as you get older. It's a crime that we force adolescents to wake up far earlier than they are biologically wired to just so their parents can get to their jobs. According to Matthew Walker (Berkeley professor and sleep researcher), waking up at 7 is equivalent to an adult waking up at 5. Highly recommend his book on sleep. It's incredible, the best non-fiction I've read in the last couple years.
Styrke · 2018-06-12 · Original thread
I would recommend reading Why We Sleep by Matthew Walker instead. [0]

The Promise of Sleep is an okay book, but it is almost 20 years old now and it shows.

I have read both books and it is remarkable how much more we learned in the time between them.


This was also discussed in a good book about sleep I read a few weeks ago: Why we sleep
And if you want to learn more about why its important to sleep, you should read the book "why we sleep" which is where I found this list.
I am more than half way through the book "Why we sleep?" by Matthew Walker and it is not a surprise to me that misalignment of circadian rhythm with class schedules results in poor grades. The book goes into great detail on the importance of getting eight hours of sleep on a regular schedule. Getting less than eight hours of sleep is tied to every imaginable disease and poor memory. I highly recommend reading the book.

dota_fanatic · 2018-03-23 · Original thread
~8.5 hours.

Most of my life I did the typical not getting enough sleep and then binging on the weekend, which doesn't work well at all. Since reading "Why We Sleep"[0] though, I've changed my lifestyle to prioritize getting quality sleep every single night. That book was pretty eye-opening in obliterating a lot of myths I believed about sleep and then teaching my how complex and important it is, indeed it is just as important as waking time if not more. The idea that time spent asleep is "wasted time" is now absurd to me, as so many bad things happen when you short sleep.

Since getting quality sleep regularly it's been like unlocking a superpower: retaining more information, better progress with strength training and skill-based hobbies, more solid emotional balance and way more motivation / inspiration at work.

Can't recommend that book enough.


krausejj · 2018-01-04 · Original thread is a fantastic new book on the subject, if you're interested in going deeper
SuoDuanDao · 2018-01-01 · Original thread
Interesting. Have you found a difference in your sleep patterns since getting the treatment? One anecdote I've heard is that people on the spectrum have difficulty entering REM sleep[1]. Since REM sleep is partially initiated by eye movement, it makes sense that forehead and sinus shape could impact it.


spjwebster · 2017-12-29 · Original thread
I can highly recommend the book - Why We Sleep - mentioned at the top of the video. It goes into quite some depth on the reasons for and mechanics of sleep in a way I found approachable for someone with only a layman's understanding of chemistry:

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