Around the Web for June 2019

I curate articles from around the web that present an interesting perspective or helpful information using technology to improve our wellbeing. Each of these articles were featured in my June 2019 newsletter. I send out an update twice a month along with some notes on my latest work. Sign up for my newsletter here.

Sleep Is Your Superpower

You have a 40% competitive advantage at retaining learning from the day if you sleep 8 hrs vs those who are sleep deprived, according to research done by Matt Walker, the director of UC Berkeley's Center for Human Sleep Science. I'm currently reading his book, Why We Sleep: Unlocking the Power of Sleep and Dreams and have deepened my understanding of how important hours seven and eight are to our memories and learning retention. In this TED Talk, which has already racked up over a million views on YouTube since its posting last week, Walker shares the data on how much brain power we lose by being sleep deprived and its implications for diseases such as Alzheimers. "The shorter you sleep, the shorter your life."

Sleep Apps Backfire by Causing Anxiety and Insomnia

Sleep apps are super popular. I use one myself. I'm into self tracking for health, and find it interesting seeing when and how long I get into that memory etching REM state, usually around hour seven. It reinforces my evening habit routine so I can get up at the same time every day, even on the weekends. But if measuring anything is making it worse, including stepping on a scale or measuring sleep, then it's time stop. In this article for The Guardian, Science Correspondent Hannah Devlin talks to a neurologist who says ‘metricising our lives’ is counterproductive when it comes to sleep. Curious if you've tried out any sleep apps. Hit reply and share which one and your experience using it.

Waking Up at 4 A.M. Every Day is the Key to Success. Or to Getting a Cold.

This is a controversial topic. How early is too early to get up. Even if you get 8 hours of sleep by getting up at 4 in the morning, if you're working against your circadian rhythm, you could still be having an impact on your performance and immune system, according to this New York Times article.

Our best bet against burnout is self-care, just not the kind you think

Do you recall seeing an article titled “How Millennials Became The Burnout Generation” published earlier this year? As a success-drive entrepreneur that teetered on exhausting burnout, I sure did. You may also have seen the The World Health Organization recently update its definition of burnout to describe it as an occupational phenomenon. What Mashable's Rebecca Ruiz has written is a guide of actual solutions to help. Hint: it's not a one-off retreat.

Michael Pollan On the 'New Science' Of Psychedelics

I'm curious about non-traditional forms of tools to treat persistent mental health challenges such as PTSD, depression, anxiety... the same mix of challenges that can surround burnout. Research into the use of psychedelics to help solve these issues continues to become more prevalent. In this case though, it was grappling with death that caught my attention for this podcast interview with Michael Pollan on NPR's Fresh Air. Previously, Pollan has written about the benefits of food for health in five New York Times bestsellers. So to hear him talk about his experience researching and then using psychedelics, I was intrigued.

Over the past several years, death seems to visiting me more and more. After the sudden loss of a close friend and then several family members in relatively quick succession, mortality has been on my mind. It's when Pollan talks about how his use of psychedelics helped him talk with his father before his death that the interview hit home. He also talks about how research is being done to provide this medicine for existential relief to patients with terminal illnesses. His book is: How to Change Your Mind: What the New Science of Psychedelics Teaches Us About Consciousness, Dying, Addiction, Depression, and Transcendence.

How Early Do We Wake Up?

Last edition, I posted an article from the New York Times about the hazards of waking up too early and its impact on your performance and immune system. Actually, all the articles in last edition were about sleep, because it's so important to literally everything else in life. We had a poll out to look at how many hours we sleep at night and what time we get up in the morning. You can still take it here. What we've learned so far is over 60% of us is getting less than the recommended 8 hours of sleep, which sits with the average of 6.8 hours that most Americans get each night. Thirty percent are awake before dawn and working against our circadian rhythm. Sleep and advocating for the performance benefits of sleep continues to intrigue me.

Happy Reading!

[Image: bob al-greene / mashable]