Daniel Gartenberg: Unlocking the Power of Sleep | E12
#12: Unlocking the Power of Sleep With Daniel Gartenberg
Millennials are known to be the “always tired” generation. Everyone under the age of 40 seems to be exhausted. And for good reason— we’re working longer hours, taking on second jobs and side hustles, dealing with more competitive environments, glued to screens and phones that zap our mental energy, caring for small children and the list of stressful triggers goes on and on. In fact, we millennials wear our lack of sleep as a badge of honor. And since sleep deprivation is linked to Alzheimer’s, cardiovascular disease, stroke and diabetes, we have created a real health crisis for ourselves! To make matters worse, poor sleep impacts us mentally; it reduces our productivity, decreases collaboration, prevents us from making good decisions and even limits our capacity for empathy and humor. Needless to say, it’s time we millenials unlocked the power of sleep. To do this, we’ve invited Dr. Daniel Gartenberg on the show, a leading sleep scientist who has dedicated the past 10 years helping people get a better night’s rest through his sleep coaching consultancy and innovative sleep apps. Tune in to learn the function of each sleep stage, how much and how often we should sleep, tips to get better sleep, the best ways to nap, and gain insight on what the future of sleep
[00:00:00] Hala Taha: This episode is sponsored by Audible. If you like podcasts, then you'll love Audible. To download your free audiobook today, go to audible trial.com/yap.
[00:00:09] You're listening to YAP, Young and Profiting Podcast, a place where you can listen, learn, and grow. I'm Hala Taha and today's episode focuses on sleep, an activity as important to our wellbeing as diet and exercise that we spend one third of our lives doing.
[00:00:26] Joining us today is Dr. Daniel Gartenberg, a leading sleep scientist who has dedicated the past 10 years helping people get a better night's rest through his sleep coaching consult. And innovative sleep apps.
[00:00:41] Hey Dan, thanks for joining Young and Profiting podcast.
[00:00:44] Daniel Gartenberg: Hey, thanks for having me. I appreciate it.
[00:00:46] Hala Taha: So ,let's start off the interview talking about you for a little bit. You dedicated the last 10 years of your life on sleep. What are the types of activities that you've been doing and how do you hope to make an impact on the world? [00:01:00]
[00:01:00] Daniel Gartenberg: So what's always really captivated me about sleep. Is that it's basically the human behavior that we do the most of. So if you could just improve that behavior, even a very small percent or amount, it would have basically a massive impact on our productivity, our health, and our wellbeing. I grew up with parents in the medical professions. My dad was a doctor, and one of the things that I was always struck by was, you know how poor our healthcare system is at doing things like preventative health.
[00:01:34] Sleep I see as a pathway to promoting some of these preventative health interventions that can basically address almost every chronic health illness. And I think it could just make people live happier, healthier, more productive lives. And I think people are starting to get queued in on the fact, and I really believe this, that sleep is actually more important for your health and productivity [00:02:00] than even diet and exercise.
[00:02:02] So that's why, I've spent the past 10 years on this. I got a PhD in cognitive psychology, really trying to understand this process and why I want to make technology that's scientifically validated to actually improve people's sleep quality. So that seven and a half hours of sleep feels more like eight hours.
[00:02:23] Hala Taha: And speaking of the science of sleep, that's a relatively new thing, right? Why is the interest in sleep rising?
[00:02:30] Daniel Gartenberg: Yeah, it's an interesting thing where the Greeks and various cultures have been interested in sleep since the beginning of civilization, but as scientists, they really only started understanding this in the 1950s when researchers put electrodes on various places on the head and were able to, for the first time, identify REM sleep or rapid eye movement and non REM sleep, which has various levels of light and [00:03:00] deep.
[00:03:00] And so that was the first time that those stages were differentiated. And then since then, just a lot has come out about how sleep is related to almost every chronic health illness out there. And as we look into these associations, they're under really starting to understand the causal mechanisms between sleep and health, cardiovascular disease, mood disorders, and I think that there's this interest now cuz people, the science is starting to point to that direction and also people are just so overworked and over stimulated from the phones and all these other societal pressures that sleep is really being hurt in the current culture that we're living in.
[00:03:44] Hala Taha: When it comes to millennials, I'm really torn on my opinion of sleep. Some studies report that American millennials get 25 minutes more sleep on average, so that puts them into that seven to nine hour range, which is [00:04:00] traditionally the recommended amount of sleep, and we are getting more sleep because we have higher unemployment rates.
[00:04:06] We're focused on a better work life balance. But then at the same time, millennials are known to be the always tired generation. We're supposedly getting more sleep than others, but I feel like, we're exhausted. So can you try to make sense of that?
[00:04:21] Daniel Gartenberg: So one of the first things is, are we actually getting more or less sleep. And they actually have these studies where they compare like current civilizations to indigenous tribes and whatnot. Probably we are generally getting more sleep than like we used to 10,000 years ago, cuz it's pretty stressful, like sleeping outdoors in these hot, uncomfortable environments and being afraid of predators.
[00:04:46] But since the fifties, there's a gallop pole, for example, that shows, we're sleeping about an hour less than we did during that time, probably due to things like television keeping us up and [00:05:00] other things like that. And that kind of brings to the other question with the millennials. I think it's unclear if they actually are sleeping more or less.
[00:05:08] I haven't actually seen that they're sleeping more. But one of the big things that you have to keep in mind here is that there's a difference between sleep amount and sleep quality. Not all sleep is created equal. For example, if you have an infection, you need to sleep more the next day. If you've, worked out too much, for example, you need to have your body restore itself by sleeping more. So I guess there's the question of if they're actually sleeping more. And then the main thing is their quality actually better? So that, seven hours feels more like seven and a half hours.
[00:05:46] Hala Taha: So quality over quantity.
[00:05:48] Daniel Gartenberg: Basically, yeah.
[00:05:50] Hala Taha: Yeah, that makes sense. And I know that millennials are known to be the most stressed generation ever. Increased workplace demands, very competitive environments. We're taking on more [00:06:00] side hustles and second jobs, so I know high stress equals poor sleep. So Yeah, like you said, it's probably not the deep restorative sleep that we need.
[00:06:10] Daniel Gartenberg: That's exactly right. There's a lot of research that shows. When you're stressed, it activates your fight or flight response and you just get less quality sleep.
[00:06:20] Hala Taha: So talk to us about the stages of sleep and what are the functions of these stages?
[00:06:25] Daniel Gartenberg: Yeah, so it's really interesting. In the United States, there's four stages of sleep. In Europe, they have actually five stages of sleep. So it's like these categorical variables that we just put labels on. That being said, there's certain key features here.
[00:06:42] So there's rapid eye movement or REM sleep, and that's when our bodies are totally paralyzed. Everyone agrees that there's rem cuz there's very clear signals to this. So our bodies are paralyzed, our eyes move around. And we basically lose thermal regulation of our bodies, [00:07:00] and this is when we integrate the relevant information that we've had throughout the day into our long-term memories and personalities, and replay them in a way that's meaningful to us.
[00:07:12] And then there's non REM sleep, and this is when your brain functions very differently than waking life. It produces what are known as delta waves, which are these long burst brain waves. There's a theory in the literature called the synaptic homeostasis hypothesis, which is this idea that during deep sleep.
[00:07:34] We basically have all these excitatory connections during the day that results in the overall activation of the neurons in our brains being higher. And during deep sleep, we downscale, we down, regulate all that information such that only the relevant things to our survival rise to the top. So it used to be like, I only need to remember that there's predators on that side of [00:08:00] the forest.
[00:08:00] That's what's gonna be down, regulated and rise to the top during deep sleep. Now it's, what did so and so think about me in my presentation and all these other more social things. So that's thought to be the main function of deep sleep. And then in REM, you replay and integrate that relevant inform.
[00:08:20] Hala Taha: So really while you're sleeping, you are learning and you are memorizing and things like that. Can you explain that a little bit more? Cuz I think this is a really important point.
[00:08:29] Daniel Gartenberg: Yeah, there's a ton of research showing that people perform better in various memory and procedural tasks when they sleep.
[00:08:39] Compared to say, not sleeping and practicing a lot. So like for any high schoolers out there listening or college students, I would almost always recommend sleeping before cramming, and that's just to consolidate the information. And then there's also just executive [00:09:00] functioning, which is completely impaired when you're sleep deprived. So you're not gonna perform better on that test or that presentation when you cram for it.
[00:09:10] Hala Taha: So you're saying you need to study and then sleep, right?
[00:09:13] Daniel Gartenberg: Yes, that's exactly right.
[00:09:15] Hala Taha: Yeah, so that you can process and make sure that your brain basically puts things in the right places.
[00:09:21] Daniel Gartenberg: I think about it as a muscle. If you push that muscle too hard, it's gonna give out and you're gonna have a negative outcome in terms of performance, there's basically an ideal amount of processing versus sleep that you need to do in order to actually perform better on the test or whatever you're working on.
[00:09:42] Hala Taha: So tell us, what are the effects of sleep deprivation and when would you officially consider someone to be sleep deprived?
[00:09:51] Daniel Gartenberg: The American Academy of Sleep Science recommends that adults get at least seven hours a nights and up to nine hours. So what's [00:10:00] that suggesting is that there's a distribution of sleep need. Probably like 99% of the population falls into this seven to nine hours range, but keep in mind that you're not spending a hundred percent of the time in bed.
[00:10:16] For example, I'm someone that probably needs closer to eight hours, and actually when I'm dealing with say like some emotional changes or if I had a day where, I was really pushing myself cognitively or physically, I know that I'll need a little bit more than that. But keep in mind that to get that say eight hours, usually I have to spend almost eight and a half hours in bed because you don't spend a hundred percent of the time in bed sleeping. It's actually healthy to be asleep for like around 90% of the time is still considered healthy sleep. If you're like less than 85%, that's 85% of the time in bed asleep. That's the kind of the [00:11:00] cutoff for insomnia. If you're getting less than seven.
[00:11:04] You're probably sleep depriving yourself, and you can tell this by if you're like sleeping in on the weekends or if you just feel groggy during the day. There is a very small, and I'm almost reluctant to say this because I don't want people to think that they fall into this category, but close to 0% of the population, probably 0.4% of the population are what are called short sleepers and there's actually genes that map onto this and they can get by in five to six hours of sleep and that's all they need.
[00:11:40] Hala Taha: So you were just mentioning something that I often do, which is sleep binge on the weekends. So I have a full-time job and I have this part-time podcast, so I end up working all day, working all night, sleeping at midnight or past midnight and having to wake up at 6:00 AM for work and then I sleep binge on the weekends.[00:12:00]
[00:12:00] So is it possible to catch up on your sleep or is that not a healthy way to do it?
[00:12:05] Daniel Gartenberg: It's better to make up for your sleep than to not. But that being said, you can't fully make up for the sleep that you've lost in terms of the impact that it has on your body. There are ways to adjust your schedule. So that sort of erratic bedtime wake time from the weekday to the weekend is less dramatic for the body.
[00:12:31] So a simple hack to get better quality sleep is to have a consistent sleep wake schedule cuz that entrains your body for when it should be awake and it should be asleep and that actually improves your sleep quality. And so when you have an erratic bedtime, that kind of makes it, for example, more difficult to fall asleep on a Sunday when you are out till three o'clock or 12 or whatever on that Saturday and you sleep until 11.
[00:12:58] So here's a real simple [00:13:00] hack is if you're out late on a Saturday, Try not to sleep in too much and then take a power nap during your circadian dip in order to make sure you can get through the day, but also make sure that you're tired when you wanna go to bed at around 11:00 PM
[00:13:19] Hala Taha: So let's talk about what happens when you have a lack of sleep? How does it impact our productivity?
[00:13:25] Daniel Gartenberg: It impacts everything strongly related to cardiovascular disease, diabetes, hypertension, Alzheimer's disease. Some research shows cancer, but then there's also the cognitive impact where it really negatively impacts creativity and divergent thinking.
[00:13:44] You actually have less of a sense of humor. Because humor is like a higher level cognitive process. Memory can get totally shot, and there's even things like you're more likely to make a risky decision and less likely to empathize with someone else. They [00:14:00] have these cool gambling studies that shows these effects, and there's even things like your pain perception goes up, so you're actually more sensitive to pain when you're sleep deprived, which is probably in part why it's harder to empathize with people cuz you're basically focusing on yourself and your own survival more when you're sleep deprived.
[00:14:23] Hala Taha: Yeah. So it sounds like getting a good night's rest is important for our success and futures. So I've heard different innovative workplaces like Google, Nike, Zappos. They have nap rooms or nap pods, and they're paying their employees to sleep in hopes to boost performance or alertness. How do you feel about napping? Is it something that you recommend .
[00:14:47] Daniel Gartenberg: So I'm a big proponent of napping. I'm familiar with a lot of these companies that have these nap pods, and one of the issues that we're trying to work with these companies with is even though they have these facilities, oftentimes the [00:15:00] culture at work doesn't promote them having the opportunity to take a nap.
[00:15:04] But I really believe that for optimum performance, especially for these jobs that require divergent abstract thinking that taking like a 20 minute power nap during your circadian dip is going to really improve your ability to perform at your job. And we're trying to show this to employers right now that oftentimes, like when you take that power nap, you'll be able to solve that intractable problem that you were dealing with earlier in.
[00:15:33] I think this is something that's gonna take over maybe in the next two to five years. And we're working with a group of people in Copenhagen that are actually creating these pop-up nap pods where you can just go into this facility and take a quick 20 minute power nap. And I think that's a really powerful tool.
[00:15:52] Hala Taha: So 20 minutes is a quick thing. Some people don't even fall asleep fast enough. Do you have any tips on how to fall asleep faster or [00:16:00] nap faster?
[00:16:01] Daniel Gartenberg: One of the things about sleep, which is counter to like the American culture, is that it's not like exercise where like the harder you force it, the better the outcome, like the harder you try to fall asleep, the harder it is to fall asleep. Sleep is something that just comes on naturally. It shouldn't be forced. And even just closing your eyes during that circadian dip at around two to four in the afternoon after lunch is going to produce alpha waves and maybe even theta waves that are regenerative.
[00:16:33] So what I would say, You can't force it. Humans aren't meant to work continuously for eight hours, like we're just not built this way. So even if you can just find a quiet place to just close your eyes for a little bit, that's going to be regenerative for you.
[00:16:51] Hala Taha: So our next question is on Polyphasic Sleep. It was inspired by one of our awesome Slack community members, and instead of sleeping for [00:17:00] the traditional eight hours all at Wednesday tonight, polyphasic sleep is all about short periods of sleep throughout the day. So the end result is more frequent periods of. Sleep, but significantly fewer hours spent.
[00:17:12] Sleeping geniuses like Einstein, Tesla, DaVinci, they only slept a few hours a day. Edison three or four hours a day, DaVinci and Tesla, just two hours a day. These were highly successful people and I also read that if you slept just three hours a day, instead of the prescribed eight hours, starting at 20 years old, you would gain over 11 years in your lifespan.
[00:17:36] So it seems like a very attractive deal. Do you think these guys were onto something?
[00:17:41] Daniel Gartenberg: Basically, no. No, and no , so our bodies need to sleep. It's responsible for like cell recovery, processing information. There's all this empirical evidence for this. I have never seen a study, a peer reviewed study that [00:18:00] shows that this is a healthy thing and that improves cognitive performance.
[00:18:04] Yes, there is the time factor. You get more time. Another interest that I have in this is being slightly bipolar can be beneficial in certain situations. That's probably why so many people have evolved to be this way. Like a lot of famous and successful people are slightly bipolar. My guess is that a lot of these geniuses, when they're sleeping only two hours a night are basically in a manic state.
[00:18:33] A lot of times when you're in no manic state, you don't sleep much, and then when you get in the downstate, you crash. We don't really know like how much Tesla, da Vinci, Einstein actually slept.
[00:18:44] Hala Taha: Yeah, so this polyphasic sleep seems a little bit extreme for us. But there has been numerous accounts that humans used to sleep in two shifts.
[00:18:53] I read that Shakespeare, Charles Dickinson medical texts, even African and South American tribes have [00:19:00] referenced a first and second sleep. Can you talk to us maybe about how our ancestors used to sleep?
[00:19:06] Daniel Gartenberg: Yeah, so that's true. So there's also like Canterbury Tales, they talk about the second sleep as one of the things that sleep researchers have referenced regarding that.
[00:19:17] This idea that we should sleep eight hours continuously through the night is a little bit not accurate. It's totally normal to wake up in the middle of the night, putter around for a while, and then go back to sleep if you can. It's better to go straight through, but that seven to nine hour suggestion is across the entire day.
[00:19:35] It doesn't have to be a continuous block. And one of the interesting things in the science, Is that when we were developing as a species, we were basically developing together in small groups, and they do these studies that show like when they get objective measures of indigenous tribes that currently [00:20:00] exist on their sleep patterns over a three month period.
[00:20:04] I'm not gonna get the exact numbers correct here, but like over a three month period, the whole tribe was asleep at the same time, for only 30 minutes. So like we naturally have a lot of individual differences when it comes to sleep, and there's morning people and evening people, and so there's probably lots of different patterns of sleep that are ideal for different types of people.
[00:20:31] And it's an evolution thing to make sure that there's always a member of a tribe that's awake at any given time in order to protect ourselves from predators.
[00:20:41] Hala Taha: So then do you have a recommendation for the amount of sleep that we should get and how we should break down that amount of sleep, or do you really think it's just individual?
[00:20:52] Daniel Gartenberg: All adults need at least seven hours from there, knowing if it's seven or nine, it's very individual. [00:21:00] There's a simple test that I give to people to try to help them figure out how much sleep they actually. You can never sleep too much unless you have an infection or you're depressed. So like, if you can sleep, you need to sleep for the most part.
[00:21:17] So what I recommend to people is go to bed at a consistent time prior to a vacation. When you go on that vacation, you are completely free of say external, go on like a relaxing vacation where you're free on external cues, pushing you to be awake, go to bed at the same time every night, and that time that you naturally wake up.
[00:21:41] Is probably the amount of sleep that you actually need.
[00:21:44] Hala Taha: Yeah. So let's talk about circadian rhythms a bit more. How do our bodies know when to sleep?
[00:21:51] Daniel Gartenberg: So there's this whole crazy system that evolved basically from the fact that we started from bacteria in the [00:22:00] ocean. That could differentiate sunlight from darkness.
[00:22:04] Every organism, like every cell in your body, has a circadian rhythm, and there's genes that dictate this rhythm. But there's also external cues that dictate this rhythm. The genes are called chronobiology, and the external cues are called zeit gamers. It's this weird German word that means timekeeper, and the biggest external cue is sunlight. Also, the timing of meals, like when you socialize, when you exercise, all these things are environmental cues that entrench your circadian rhythm. So if you wanna be the most productive person you can be, you wanna have a highly entrenched rhythm where you're getting a peak alertness at the same time every day, and you're getting a peak tiredness or a trough in your tiredness at the same time every day. Usually this is a 24 hour rhythm where you get a peak, like around two [00:23:00] hours after awakening. You get a dip a couple hours after lunch, and then you get another peak and alertness right before dinner time. And then after dinner you start getting tired again.
[00:23:09] And then when your lowest is usually around like. 2:00 AM but this whole system can shift based on if you're a morning person or a night person, or a night owl or a lark. And when you're a teenager, you naturally are more of a night person. As you get older, you're naturally more of a morning person, so it's a shifting rhythm.
[00:23:29] It differs between people. Probably about 30% of people are night owls, 30% are morning larks, and then the remainder can fluctuate more readily based on these environmental cues. So it gets complicated.
[00:23:45] Hala Taha: Yeah, but it's very interesting to know that all these outside factors really affect us. I think I read something where if you go outside when you first wake up in the sunlight, it will help you fall asleep better at night.
[00:23:58] Daniel Gartenberg: Totally.
[00:23:58] Hala Taha: Is that true?
[00:23:59] Daniel Gartenberg: Yeah. [00:24:00] And that's one of the big problems maybe why millennials aren't getting quality sleep is because this whole system that I'm talking about, there's photo receptors in your eyes that detects sunlight. They even detect it when your eyes are closed, and that sends signals to a place in your brain called the, I love this word, the super charismatic nucleus, and that inhibits the release of melatonin when sunlight is detected.
[00:24:25] So getting that sunlight. In the morning for at least 30 minutes is a really good way to entrench your rhythm and ensure that you'll be tired at night, and then making sure that you're not getting white light at bedtime is another way. To not give your body this false cue that it should be alert. Cuz we used to not have all this light in our environments. This is only like 150 years old that we have all this light.
[00:24:51] Hala Taha: Let's try to get more info on sleep habits, sleep hygiene. Can you give your best tips on getting a good night's [00:25:00] rest when it comes to sound, temperature, light, stress?
[00:25:03] Daniel Gartenberg: Yeah, so what we recommend is, and what almost every researcher would say is you want a quiet, very dark and cool environment and basically what we're trying to validate in our studies, and we have software that does a lot of this stuff already. It's called Sonic Sleep, that basically measures the sound in the room and then plays an adaptive, what we call pink noise, like a acoustic cushion, that rounds out any sounds that might happen during the night that wake you up. And so it detects the sound in the room and then gradually ramps up this pink noise in order to mask that sound. Cause basically what wakes people up isn't the loudness of the sound, it's the abruptness. So if you're on a plane for example, it's like a low drum.
[00:25:55] It's loud, but it won't be disturbing for your sleep. Whereas like [00:26:00] even I've seen when we hook people up to electrodes, measure their sleep, I've seen something as innocuous as an air conditioning turning on waking people up. Cuz it's that abrupt on off that's so disruptive. And you can have up to, even a healthy sleeper will have 20 of these awakenings throughout the night and they'll have absolutely no conscious awareness of it.
[00:26:22] Our brains wake up throughout the night all the time. What we're trying to do is block out noises to reduce the number of these, what are called cortical arousals and improve your sleep quality. And I gave this TED talk where I also describe how we're interested in basically playing sounds in order to entrench the deep sleep delta waves that I talked about earlier.
[00:26:46] And we actually show in our study that we could increase the percentage of time in deep sleep and the intensity of deep sleep by playing these sounds right at the level that your brain responds [00:27:00] to them, but it doesn't wake you up. And the sounds actually entrench these delta waves. And so that's thought to make your sleep more regenerative as well.
[00:27:08] And then there's also temperature. And so there's a lot of studies out there that show cooling your body before bedtime is a nice cue. To help you fall asleep and like we're working with this watch device called Ember, that actually can control your temperature regulation with just like a wrist warm device and there's some FDA approved devices that actually decrease your body temperature and show that it helps you fall asleep.
[00:27:39] There's probably like an ideal temperature environment for when you sleep. You lose thermal regulation in rem and so especially if you have a sleep partner that has different temperature needs, which is normal, especially if it's different sexes cuz men and women run in different temperatures. So I wrote this article 'Split Blankets, not Beds', where we talk about [00:28:00] how simply having multiple blankets, which is something that's more normal in like European countries like the Netherlands, is an easy way to hack your sleep in terms of getting the right temperature.
[00:28:11] And then there's the light thing. The light is a little bit simpler. You just wanna have only darkness when you are going to bed and you want light during the day.
[00:28:23] Hala Taha: All that information, it seems so intuitive, like you know that you fall asleep better when it's quiet. You know that you fall asleep better when you're not so hot. And you tend to sleep faster when it's dark around. So I think just being more intentional about the settings around you and making sure you're not looking at your phone before bed and like you said, different blankets, like just trying your hardest to make sure that you have those good settings around you.
[00:28:51] Daniel Gartenberg: Yeah, and this is like a big inspiration for me. The devices are bad generally, like the phone in your room is bad generally, but we're getting to [00:29:00] a point where we can like non-invasively measure people's sleep with consumer devices like the Apple Watch and actually deliver the optimum sound, light and sleep environment for you based on your individual sleep cycles.
[00:29:16] And that's basically the system that I'm trying to build right now.
[00:29:19] Hala Taha: Very cool. And how about the alarms to wake up to? Do you have any recommendation for the sounds that we should be waking up our bodies with?
[00:29:28] Daniel Gartenberg: There's these hacky kind of things that try to wake you up in a lighter sleep cycle. I never recommend that it's not the right way to wake up, but there is some evidence that waking up in deep sleep is bad, but you also almost get no deep sleep in the last cycle. So it's basically moot. The right way to wake up is very gradually. And this reduces what's called sleep inertia or brain fog. In our software, Sonic Sleep, we start out the alarm, it's almost imperceptible, and then it very gradually [00:30:00] increases such that it'll like definitely wake you up at minute 10. But when you're sleep deprived, it might take until minute 10 to wake you up.
[00:30:10] So if you have a crummy night's sleep, you'll get like an extra couple minutes and that's actually really important for your recovery just to even get a couple more minutes. Versus if you had a good night's sleep, you'll wake up a minute four. So I strongly believe that's the right way to wake up.
[00:30:24] We're also hooking up this system with Phillip's few light bulbs and stuff, so the alarm will go off and actually it'll brighten up your room and you'll actually get this cute. It's like a smart home environment that you should be awake at this time.
[00:30:38] Hala Taha: Oh, that sounds so interesting. And we'll definitely get into the future of sleep in a bit, but that definitely sounds like that would tie into it. I could just imagine a world where like getting gently woken up and the lights are frightening up in our rooms, that would be very cool.
[00:30:54] Daniel Gartenberg: Trying to do it. , give it, give me like another year.
[00:30:57] Hala Taha: All right, so another question from our Slack [00:31:00] community. Some of the members in Slack are reporting that they feel more tired on nights where they face dreams or nightmares.
[00:31:07] They wanna know what dreams and nightmares are, what they come from, and how can we avoid them to get the best quality of sleep as possible.
[00:31:16] Daniel Gartenberg: So this is a really interesting thing. Now our dreams are how we process all this information, and there's also like a difference between a nightmare and like a night terror.
[00:31:26] The nightmares are normal. Night terrors are like more associated with PTSD and traumatic experiences, and if you're someone that suffers from that, it actually impacts your REM and your sleep quality. What I would say about the nightmare, and the night terror also is that it's indicative of a overactive fight or flight response and stress.
[00:31:50] And when you are in a stressful state, You are gonna have worse sleep quality. So trying to deactivate that [00:32:00] fight or flight response is a way that you're gonna both reduce your nightmares and also improve your sleep quality, and you'll feel more rested. Since we understand the science of how to stimulate the body while the person's asleep without waking them up.
[00:32:19] We're actually exploring ways where we can identify these night terrors in real time and then play soothing sounds. Maybe even record your mom saying everything will be all right. That can actually push you out of this fight or flight response. Cause we know how to place sounds that your brain responds during sleep, but it doesn't wake you up and you are still processing external stimuli from the environment when you're in a sleep state. So that's a really exciting area of our future research.
[00:32:54] Hala Taha: And so what are dreams exactly, and what are nightmares like? Do you always dream? Because I [00:33:00] never remember any of my dreams, so does everybody dream.
[00:33:03] Daniel Gartenberg: Everyone dreams. So dreams happen in rem. They can also happen in lighter sleep. It's not necessarily good or bad, I'd say if you remember it or don't remember it.
[00:33:13] But what's happening in these dreams is what's happening in REM is where you're taking all the relevant things during the day, and integrating it into your long term memory basically, and your personality. So if you have a really stressful day, that replay factor is more likely to be a nightmare than not, if that makes sense.
[00:33:34] Hala Taha: Yeah. Edgar Allen Poe had this really famous poem that said "All that we see or seem is, but a dream within a dream". And this idea of the boundary between dream and reality is something that people are very interested. Can you talk about the concept of lucid dreaming and controlling our dreams?
[00:33:55] Daniel Gartenberg: Yeah, and actually this is part of what got me interested in this whole field in college after [00:34:00] seeing this really cool movie called Waking Life, which is all about lucid dreaming.
[00:34:05] I think what Edgar's talking about there is the fact that our reality is a construct of consciousness, and our dreams are basically just as real as reality to our consciousness. It's all orchestrated by our minds. And so what gets into Lucid Dreaming is this thing where you can train yourself to be aware of the fact that you're dreaming when you're dreaming, and by doing that you can control your dream.
[00:34:35] I'm not an expert at it, but scientifically showing that experts at this can definitely do this. There's these cues that you can do throughout the day to try to train yourself to have a lucid dream, for example, you can't read time when you're dreaming. Your brain is not capable of doing this. So one of the tricks that a lucid dreamer does is they look at their watch throughout the [00:35:00] day and ask themselves, am I awake or am I asleep?
[00:35:04] And since during dreams, we basically replay the events that happen during the day, especially things that are done with intention and that are important to you. Eventually what'll happen is you'll be dreaming and you'll look at your watch, you'll notice that you can't read the time and then you can potentially have a lucid dream.
[00:35:24] Hala Taha: That's very interesting, and I could see this definitely playing into the future. What do you think the future of sleep is gonna be like?
[00:35:32] Daniel Gartenberg: First off, I'm imagining creating the optimum sound, light, and temperature environments that improves the quality, but from a futuristic, bigger picture idea. I think it's possible to program your brain to integrate certain things and give yourself cues to strategically learn information while you're asleep.
[00:35:55] That's like a sci-fi idea, but I think it's [00:36:00] really interesting. You could imagine it being used for evil, but I think it could also be used for empowering people.
[00:36:07] Hala Taha: So before we go, can you give your pitch on why sleep is so important? Like just tell us all the reasons why getting good sleep is a benefit
[00:36:16] Daniel Gartenberg: I would say one of the big takeaways is it's not just the sleep amount, but it's also the sleep quality. And if you have a healthy sleep quality and a healthy sleep amount, you're gonna perform better at your job, you're gonna have better workouts, you're gonna be more effective in the gym, and you're basically going to live longer.
[00:36:38] Three pretty big cells. I would say. For example, if you go untreated for a sleep disorder like sleep apnea or you have really poor quality sleep, it's related to every chronic health illness, it's gonna increase your hypertension, very much causely. Yeah, very strong causal links with cardiovascular disease.
[00:36:59] And [00:37:00] then there's also like your happiness and your ability to communicate with others, which I find is the most captivating reason for me. Why I wanna get good sleep is it's just gonna make you a healthier, happier, nicer person to people. And I think that in our current society, sometimes I get the feeling that we're suffering from massive sleep deprivation given, the current public discourse that we're dealing with.
[00:37:24] So I, I really see that sleep is a pathway to address these major societal issues.
[00:37:32] Hala Taha: Yeah, I totally agree. So how can our listeners keep up with everything that you do, and can you share some of the apps that you have available on the market?
[00:37:41] Daniel Gartenberg: We have an app called Sonic Sleep Coach, and it does a lot of the sound stimulating and sound masking things that I described has a smart alarm clock, and then basically in two to three months we're actually gonna integrate with Android, Google Wear, Apple [00:38:00] Watch. And we have some algorithms that we've actually scientifically validated as being more accurate than devices like Fitbit for measuring sleep. And then in real time, we'll actually be able to deliver these deep sleep stimulating interventions that are designed to improve your sleep quality.
[00:38:19] And then from there, we're gonna hook up to basically all the wearables that people might use. We work closely with this company, Oura Ring, O U R A, ring, and. We really like their form factor of a ring cuz like a lot of people, you know if you're married you're very used to sleeping with a ring at night and their sensors's very accurate, we'll integrate with that. Phillips Hue for getting the light intervention and then Alexa for being able to basically control this whole system that can also do like meditations and stuff just with some auditory feedback to Alexa. So you can check out sonic sleep coach.com with all this information about what we're building.
[00:38:58] Hala Taha: Thank you so much. This was [00:39:00] so interesting, and I think our listeners will find it really valuable.
[00:39:04] Daniel Gartenberg: Hey I really appreciate it and thank you.
[00:39:07] Hala Taha: Thanks for listening to Young and Profiting podcast. Follow YAP on Instagram at Young and Profiting, and check us out at youngandprofiting.com. And now you can chat with us live every single day on our new Slack channel.
[00:39:20] Check out our show notes, on young profiting.com for the registration link. A big shout out to Par Perrick from our Slack community who suggested the interview question on Polyphasic Sleep, follow me on Instagram, YAP with Hala, or LinkedIn. You can search for my name Hala Taha. Big thanks to our incredible YAP team. Your efforts are greatly, appreciated, and I couldn't do without you. This is Hala signing off until next time.
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