75 episodes

The Matt Walker Podcast is all about sleep, the brain, and the body. Matt is a Professor of Neuroscience at the University of California, Berkeley. He is the author of the book, Why We Sleep and has given a few TED talks. Matt is an awkward British nerd who adores science and the communication of science to the public. 

The Matt Walker Podcast Dr. Matt Walker

    • Health & Fitness
    • 4.9 • 800 Ratings

The Matt Walker Podcast is all about sleep, the brain, and the body. Matt is a Professor of Neuroscience at the University of California, Berkeley. He is the author of the book, Why We Sleep and has given a few TED talks. Matt is an awkward British nerd who adores science and the communication of science to the public. 

    #71 - Acting Out Dreams - REM disorder

    #71 - Acting Out Dreams - REM disorder

    This week, Matt dives deep into the complexities of REM Sleep Behavior Disorder (RBD), a condition where individuals physically act out their dreams due to the absence of normal muscle paralysis during REM sleep. He meticulously breaks down the mechanisms of normal REM sleep, where the brainstem induces muscle atonia to prevent dream enactment, contrasting it with the failure of this system in RBD cases. 
    Further expanding on the topic, Matt explores the etiology, diagnosis, treatment options, and prognosis of REM Sleep Behavior Disorder. He outlines the primary, drug-induced, and secondary types of RBD, with a focus on the idiopathic category, linking its occurrence to neurodegeneration and the accumulation of alpha-synuclein protein in the brainstem. Treatment strategies include lifestyle adjustments and pharmacological interventions like melatonin and clonazepam, aiming to reduce injury risks. 
    Please note that Matt is not a medical doctor, and none of the content in this podcast should be considered medical advice in any way, shape, or form, nor prescriptive in any way.
    Are sleep troubles keeping you up at night? Matt used to be a skeptic about meditation, but 7 years ago, he tried it using a fantastic meditation app called ‘Calm’, and it transformed his sleep! Now, he meditates for 10 minutes before bedtime every night! He’s also partnered with Calm who have been generous enough to offer his podcast listeners an exclusive 40% discount on their premium subscription! All you have to do is go to calm.com/mattwalker and take advantage of this incredible deal! Head on over now and improve your sleep today!
    The good people at InsideTracker are one of the sponsors of this week's episode, and they are generously offering a special 25% off any one of their programs for anyone who uses the above link during the time window of this episode. InsideTracker is a personalized biometric platform that analyzes your blood and your DNA to better understand what's happening inside of you and offers suggestions regarding things that you can do to better try and adjust some of those numbers, optimize them, and, as a result, optimize you.
    Another sponsor this week is the biochemical electrolyte drink company LMNT, and they are very kindly offering eight free sample packs when you purchase any one of their orders at drinklmnt.com/mattwalker. LMNT is an electrolyte sports drink that I can get behind - it's created from the basis of science, and it has no sugar, no coloring, and no artificial ingredients – all qualities that are so important to maintaining your blood biochemical balance. If you want to give LMNT a try, just head on over to drinklmnt.com/mattwalker and get your eight free samples with your first purchase. 

    • 42 min
    Ask Me Anything Part 5

    Ask Me Anything Part 5

    Eti is back for another AMA episode with Matt to answer questions that have been submitted over the last little while. Today’s installment dives into a number of topics including the intricate relationship between sleep and pregnancy, exploring how sleep disturbances impact pregnant women and the postnatal period. Additionally, the hormone prolactin, essential for milk production, is highlighted for its sleep-promoting benefits during the postnatal phase, illustrating nature's intricate balance between nurturing new life and ensuring the mother's rest. 
    Their discussion also touches on whether pregnancy sleep disturbances are all part of preparing mom for baby’s arrival which, of course, can further disrupt schedules, citing the very few biological exceptions where sleep is actually sacrificed for survival. Our experts also undertake  a light-hearted exploration of "eye gunk" (rheum), demystifying its composition and reassurance that its presence is a normal part of sleep hygiene rather than an indicator of sleep quality. They finish up by responding to a question regarding the connection between sex, masturbation, and sleep, which you absolutely do not want to miss.
    Tune in today, and don’t forget to send in any sleep questions you may have - Matt and Eti might just answer them in a future episode!
    Please note that Matt is not a medical doctor, and none of the content in this podcast should be considered medical advice in any way, shape, or form, nor prescriptive in any way.
    One of the podcast’s new sponsors is Levels, the groundbreaking continuous glucose monitor that keeps track of your blood sugar levels day and night. Whether you're curious about your body's response to different foods or seeking to enhance your sleep quality, Levels has the answers. Matt’s been using it for almost 2 years now, and has actually made changes to his diet in response to the powerful individual information Levels provides. If you’re interested, visit levels.link/Mattwalker now to grab an exclusive podcast offer of two free months of this impactful service, and take charge of your health journey today!
    Another exciting new sponsor is MUD\WTR, the ultimate coffee alternative that delivers a natural morning pick-me-up without caffeine jitters. Their unique blend of cacao and mushrooms offers a delightful and gentle lift to kickstart your day, as Matt can attest! Plus, now when you head over to mudwtr.com/MattWalker, as a podcast listener, you'll receive a free frother and coconut creamer samples! Experience the delicious world of MUD\WTR, valued sponsors of our podcast, and elevate your mornings with this fantastic offer!
    As always, if you have thoughts or feedback you’d like to share, please rea

    • 1 hr
    #70 - Sleep & Screens with Dr. Michael Gradisar

    #70 - Sleep & Screens with Dr. Michael Gradisar

    In today's podcast episode, Matt welcomes back Dr. Michael Gradisar to delve into the evolving understanding of screens and sleep. Initially holding the belief in the detrimental effect of screen light on sleep, Matt finds this notion challenged by Dr. Gradisar's research, which emphasizes a more nuanced perspective. Their discussion highlights the shift from simplistic concerns about screen use to acknowledging the multifaceted influences on sleep, including content and individual differences. 


    Dr. Gradisar's experiments, such as exposure to violent video games and bedtime displacement monitoring, emphasize the complexity of the relationship between technology use and sleep, stressing the need for personalized approaches to addressing sleep issues. His dialogue with Matt underscores the importance of scientific inquiry in challenging and refining commonly held beliefs about technology and sleep, advocating for a nuanced understanding that considers individual behaviors and differences. Furthermore, both speakers encourage researchers to engage with industry and the public, translating findings into practical advice for improving sleep hygiene and promoting healthier sleep practices.


    Please note that Matt is not a medical doctor, and none of the content in this podcast should be considered medical advice in any way, shape, or form, nor prescriptive in any way.


    The good people at InsideTracker are one of the sponsors of this week's episode. For a very limited time, InsideTracker is giving you 50% off their bundles. Plus, they’re offering 30% off everything else in their store. InsideTracker is a personalized biometric platform that analyzes your blood and your DNA to better understand what's happening inside of you and offers suggestions regarding things that you can do to better try and adjust some of those numbers, optimize them, and, as a result, optimize you.


    Also sponsoring this week are those fine people at Athletic Greens, and they are generously offering 3 benefits for anyone who uses the above link for their first order: 1) a discount on your order; 2) a one-year free supply of vitamin D; 3) five free travel packs. Athletic Greens is a nutrition drink that combines a full complement of antioxidants, minerals, and biotics, together with essential vitamins. Matt’s been using it for several years now because he’s serious about his health, and because he did his research on the science and ingredients in Athletic Greens and thinks its scientific data can be taken as ground truth.


    As always, if you have thoughts or feedback you’d like to share, please reach out to Matt on Instagram.


    Links:


    Wink Sleep: https://winksleep.online/

    Michael Gradisar LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/michael-gradisar-ba2184b6/?originalSubdomain=au

    • 1 hr 8 min
    #69 - Sleep & Menopause

    #69 - Sleep & Menopause

    Matt explores menopause and sleep disturbances today, noting the impact of hormonal changes, including a drop in estrogen and progesterone, and the role of hot flashes in disturbed sleep. He enumerates different types of sleep impairments related to menopause such as insomnia, sleep-disordered breathing, restless leg syndrome, and various sleep stage disruptions. Treatment options are discussed, with an emphasis on hormone replacement therapy, though controversy surrounding this approach is acknowledged. He outlines alternative treatments, including medication and cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia. The episode underscores the effect of menopause on sleep and the importance of education and support for these issues.
    Please note that Matt is not a medical doctor, and none of the content in this podcast should be considered medical advice in any way, shape, or form, nor prescriptive in any way.
    Are sleep troubles keeping you up at night? Matt used to be a skeptic about meditation, but 7 years ago, he tried it using a fantastic meditation app called ‘Calm’, and it transformed his sleep! Now, he meditates for 10 minutes before bedtime every night! He’s also partnered with Calm who have been generous enough to offer his podcast listeners an exclusive 40% discount on their premium subscription! All you have to do is go to calm.com/mattwalker and take advantage of this incredible deal! Head on over now and improve your sleep today!
    The good people at InsideTracker are one of the sponsors of this week's episode, and they are generously offering a special 25% off any one of their programs for anyone who uses the above link during the time window of this episode. InsideTracker is a personalized biometric platform that analyzes your blood and your DNA to better understand what's happening inside of you and offers suggestions regarding things that you can do to better try and adjust some of those numbers, optimize them, and, as a result, optimize you.
    Another sponsor this week is the biochemical electrolyte drink company LMNT, and they are very kindly offering eight free sample packs when you purchase any one of their orders at drinklmnt.com/mattwalker. LMNT is an electrolyte sports drink that I can get behind - it's created from the basis of science, and it has no sugar, no coloring, and no artificial ingredients – all qualities that are so important to maintaining your blood biochemical balance. If you want to give LMNT a try, just head on over to drinklmnt.com/mattwalker and get your eight free samples with your first purchase. 
    As always, if you have thoughts or feedback you’d like to share, please reach out to Matt on Instagram.

    • 23 min
    Ask Me Anything Part 4

    Ask Me Anything Part 4

    It’s another AMA episode and Dr. Eti Ben Simon returns to not only share some of her own sleep routines, but also to help listeners gain a rare insight into Matt's personal sleep habits as they respond to a listener’s query. Renowned for not sharing much, if anything, regarding what he considers his “boring” self, Matt is coaxed into offering a candid exploration of his bedtime routines, shedding light on both his successes and challenges in achieving optimal rest. From his dedication to regular sleep schedules to his strategies for managing stress-induced insomnia, Matt’s uncharacteristic willingness to share personal anecdotes, coupled with Eti’s invaluable contributions, humanize the often complex realm of sleep science for listeners here today.
    Through their engaging dialogue, our hosts emphasize the importance of individualized approaches to sleep hygiene, highlighting the significance of understanding and optimizing one's unique sleep patterns. By delving into each other’s personal experiences with occasional insomnia and proactive efforts to prioritize sleep, our hosts reveal valuable insights into practical strategies for enhancing sleep quality and overall well-being. This exchange not only enriches listeners' understanding of sleep science but also underscores the transformative potential of personalized sleep practices in fostering health and vitality.
    Please note that Matt is not a medical doctor, and none of the content in this podcast should be considered medical advice in any way, shape, or form, nor prescriptive in any way.
    One of the podcast’s new sponsors is Levels, the groundbreaking continuous glucose monitor that keeps track of your blood sugar levels day and night. Whether you're curious about your body's response to different foods or seeking to enhance your sleep quality, Levels has the answers. Matt’s been using it for almost 2 years now, and has actually made changes to his diet in response to the powerful individual information Levels provides. If you’re interested, visit levels.link/Mattwalker now to grab an exclusive podcast offer of two free months of this impactful service, and take charge of your health journey today!
    Another exciting new sponsor is MUD\WTR, the ultimate coffee alternative that delivers a natural morning pick-me-up without caffeine jitters. Their unique blend of cacao and mushrooms offers a delightful and gentle lift to kickstart your day, as Matt can attest! Plus, now when you head over to mudwtr.com/MattWalker, as a podcast listener, you'll receive a free frother and coconut creamer samples! Experience the delicious world of MUD\WTR, va

    • 35 min
    #68 - Sleep & Light With Dr. Michael Gradisar

    #68 - Sleep & Light With Dr. Michael Gradisar

    Matt Walker welcomes his dear friend, the epic sleep researcher and clinician, Dr. Michael Gradisar, to the podcast to join him in exploring the profound influence of light on sleep quality. Dr. Gradisar's groundbreaking research and clinical proficiency in pediatric sleep disorders and circadian rhythm disruptions have reshaped the field, guiding both scientific comprehension and practical interventions. His conversation with Matt here today delves into the intricate interplay among light exposure, circadian rhythms, and sleep, highlighting the therapeutic promise of light therapy, particularly in addressing insomnia.


    Throughout their dialogue, our two experts challenge prevailing misconceptions about screen time and its purported negative impact on sleep. Advocating for a nuanced understanding of how light influences sleep patterns, they dispel the notion of screen light as a malevolent disruptor. Instead, they underscore the multifaceted nature of light's effects and stress the importance of tailored interventions that align with individual circadian rhythms. Navigating the intersection of scientific research and real-world application, Matt and Michael encourage listeners to reconsider common myths and embrace evidence-based strategies for optimizing sleep hygiene.


    Please note that Matt is not a medical doctor, and none of the content in this podcast should be considered medical advice in any way, shape, or form, nor prescriptive in any way.


    The good people at InsideTracker are one of the sponsors of this week's episode. For a very limited time, InsideTracker is giving you 50% off their bundles. Plus, they’re offering 30% off everything else in their store. InsideTracker is a personalized biometric platform that analyzes your blood and your DNA to better understand what's happening inside of you and offers suggestions regarding things that you can do to better try and adjust some of those numbers, optimize them, and, as a result, optimize you.


    Also sponsoring this week are those fine people at Athletic Greens, and they are generously offering 3 benefits for anyone who uses the above link for their first order: 1) a discount on your order; 2) a one-year free supply of vitamin D; 3) five free travel packs. Athletic Greens is a nutrition drink that combines a full complement of antioxidants, minerals, and biotics, together with essential vitamins. Matt’s been using it for several years now because he’s serious about his health, and because he did his research on the science and ingredients in Athletic Greens and thinks its scientific data can be taken as ground truth.


    As always, if you have thoughts or feedback you’d like to share, please reach out to Matt on Instagram.


    Links:


    Wink Sleep: https://winksleep.online/


    Michael Gradisar LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/michael-gradisar-ba2184b6/?originalSubdomain=au

    • 44 min

Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5
800 Ratings

800 Ratings

LLB ,

Can’t-miss podcast!

Following Dr. Walker’s wisdom has improved the quality of my life, in particular, my mood and ability to focus.

He breaks down the science to make to help the public make informed decisions.

Dr. Walker, you might consider changing your cover art. You are a well-known public intellectual. I suspect I am not the only one who first bypassed this show as it appears to be someone else.

CheckpointC ,

Matt got a new glamour shot

Matt looks better.
Is he getting more sleep?

GoGreen930 ,

Such helpful info here!!

This is really a great podcast. The information is given in small enough bites that I have time to listen to the entirety, and he is just now getting into some information that is helping me better understand the sleep info that I get from my garmin watch ( not that this info is particularly correct, but it’s something to go on) Thank you Matt for your clear concise and important sleep information, and I also love your calm kind thoughtful delivery.

Top Podcasts In Health & Fitness

Huberman Lab
Scicomm Media
ZOE Science & Nutrition
ZOE
On Purpose with Jay Shetty
iHeartPodcasts
Ten Percent Happier with Dan Harris
Ten Percent Happier
Passion Struck with John R. Miles
John R. Miles
The School of Greatness
Lewis Howes

You Might Also Like

The Peter Attia Drive
Peter Attia, MD
FoundMyFitness
Rhonda Patrick, Ph.D.
Longevity by Design
InsideTracker
Lifespan with Dr. David Sinclair
Lifespan Communications LLC
The Rich Roll Podcast
Rich Roll
The Proof with Simon Hill
Live better for longer