Guest Series | Dr. Matthew Walker: The Biology of Sleep & Your Unique Sleep Needs


Huberman Lab

In this episode 1 of a 6-part special series on sleep with Dr. Matthew Walker, Ph.D., professor of neuroscience and psychology and founder of the Center for Human Sleep Science at the University of California, Berkeley, and the author of the book “Why We Sleep” discusses the essential role that sleep plays in our health. We cover how sleep affects our hormones, immune system, learning and memory, mood, appetite, and weight regulation.

We also discuss what causes the urge to sleep, how sleep is structured throughout the night, and the biology of the different phases of sleep. We also teach you how to determine your individualized sleep needs, including your chronotype (best waking and to-bed time), tips for combat snoring and insomnia, and your QQRT (Quality, Quantity, Regularity, and Timing)—a key framework for optimizing your sleep and therefore daytime energy and focus, and overall health.

The next episode in this special series explores how to improve one’s sleep.

For show notes, including referenced articles and additional resources, please visit

Thank you to our sponsors​


Eight Sleep:






(00:00:00) Importance of Sleep

(00:02:24) Sponsors: Eight Sleep, BetterHelp & LMNT

(00:06:00) Sleep; Non-REM & REM Sleep

(00:11:40) Sleep Cycles, Individuality, Women vs. Men

(00:14:49) Tool: Wakefulness in Bed, Insomnia

(00:19:08) Non-REM Stages of Sleep

(00:27:05) Role of Deep Sleep

(00:34:02) Sponsor: AG1

(00:35:15) Light Sleep Stages, Hypnogogic Jerks

(00:42:00) REM Sleep, Paralysis & Bizarre Dreams; “Falling” Asleep

(00:49:09) Tools: Body Position & Sleep; Snoring & Sleep Apnea

(00:57:43) Yawning & Theories, Contagion

(01:04:03) Nodding Off, Afternoon & Postprandial Dip

(01:08:46) Sponsor: InsideTracker

(01:09:51) Sleep, Animals & Evolution

(01:14:09) Poor Sleep & Health Consequences, Sleep Deprivation

(01:27:13) Positive Effects of Good Sleep, Health Improvements

(01:31:56) Sleep & Mood; Appetite & Weight Management

(01:42:55) Sleep Deprivation & Looking Tired, “Beauty Sleep”

(01:47:57) Tool: Getting Good Sleep, QQRT Macros, Quantity & Quality

(01:56:45) Tool: Sleep Regularity, Mortality Risk

(02:03:15) Tool: Sleep Timing, Chronotypes

(02:14:21) Chronotypes & Insomnia, Circadian Rhythm, Shift Work

(02:20:31) Tool: Sleep Tests, Alarm Clock, Micro-Sleeps

(02:27:27) Sleep Inertia & Waking; Afternoon Dip, Optimum Performance

(02:34:19) Causes of Sleep: Circadian Rhythm, Sleep Pressure

(02:43:02) Adenosine & Sleepiness

(02:46:13) Tool: Growth Hormone & Deep Sleep

(02:50:47) Cortisol & Circadian Rhythm, “Tired But Wired”

(02:57:24) Zero-Cost Support, Spotify & Apple Reviews, Sponsors, YouTube Feedback, Momentous, Social Media, Neural Network Newsletter


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