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Importance of Sleep

One of my favorite routine emails is from Whitney Tilson of Empire Financial Research. The emails are a good mix of financial updates, investment advice, as well as life principals. I've never met Whitney Tilson but was planning to at this year's Berkshire Hathaway annual meeting before it got canceled due to COVID. He is a long time follower of Warren Buffett and has even established a personal relationship with the renowned investor. Hopefully one day soon I will have a chance to meet Whitney Tilson, and if I'm lucky enough, perhaps Warren Buffett too.

Whitney recently wrote in an email about the importance of sleep as a teaser to a new book he is writing. I couldn't agree with him more. Everyone knows someone who brags about being able to get by with only 4 hours of sleep or pull all nighters. But that is all wreaking havoc on their health and causing accelerated aging. It is also leading to less learning and being less productive.

Whitney mentioned the TED Talk from neuroscientist, Matt Walker, where he dives into sleep research and why it is so critical. The connection between aging, memory, and sleep is so interconnected that his research is leading to advancements in delaying the onset of dementia and Alzheimer's. Sleep is also linked to better reproductive health, better immune system, lower risk of cancer, and even stronger genetics. I highly recommend you watch it.

Getting enough sleep is one of the most critical (and free) things that you can do for your health, development, and well being. Here are the tips from Matt Walker:
  • Amount - 8 hours is the goal. Some studies show that even 6 hours for one week will begin the development of health issues and that daylight savings where we lose an hour of sleep causes spikes in heart attacks and suicide during the following 24 hours.
  • Regularity - it is best to pick a pattern and try to stick with it regardless of day of week so your body can get into a sleep rhythm. It will lead to deeper, better sleep.
  • Keep it cool - lowering your body temperature by a few degrees will help your body initiate sleep and stay asleep. 65 degrees is ideal.
  • Keep it natural - reduce your consumption of caffeine and alcohol as that can damage your sleep patterns. Also try to avoid sleeping pills as they do not lead to the deep, restorative sleep that your body needs to tap into all the health and memory benefits.