Paleo f (x) Austin 2014

 The Importance of Sleep

Speaker: Kirk Parsley, M.D.


Sleep 2


  • One of the biggest problems is trying to get people to value sleep
  • The biggest excuse is that they have no time
  • One of the most intelligent people that I know – Peter Attia – was severely sleep deprived. So much so that on returning from work, he pulled the car over in a particularly bad area, got out, and went to sleep on the grass verge. No matter how intelligent you are, sleep deprivation results in bad – and even dangerous – decisions
  • When we are tired we lose the correct functioning of the pre-frontal cortex. This is important for estimating the consequences of our actions
  • In Paleolithic times, we would rise with the sunrise and sleep at sunset
  • In the Victorian era, we had an average of 10 hours sleep per night (longer in winter and and shorter in summer)
  • The average amount of sleep now is 6.5 hours
  • How we are designed to sleep:
    1. Blue light decreases
    2. Stimulates pineal gland
    3. Secretes melatonin
    4. Suppresses adrenal functions
    5. Body temp, heart rate, blood pressure decreases
    6. Brain metabolism slows
    7. Blood sugar drops
    8. Immune system increases
  • Perfect sleep patterns should be curved as in the diagram (pictured)

Sleep 1

  • If you have trouble staying asleep and wake up early, stay in bed and relax (even if you don’t sleep) until the time you want to get up. Repeat this and you will gradually find that your body responds and you are able to sleep later
  • Try to prepare for sleep at the same time each night and have a period of winding down in which you relax and avoid all blue light
  • Look at sleep aids: eye masks, ear plugs, orange glasses, F.lux for computers (free to download), Sleep Time by Azumio (free to download – monitors sleep patterns)


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