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Dr. David Lee highlighted the consequences of inadequate sleep which can include anxiety, irritability, persistent insomnia and a lower ability to learn and recall skills and information. Richard discussed the variation in how much sleep we actually need on an individual level, there is no one size fits all approach, its intuitive. Our sleep requirements also differ throughout our lives, the older we get, the less sleep we need.

David explored the different types of sleep (deep sleep, REM sleep and non REM sleep) and what happens if we are deprived of these different types of sleep. Deep non-REM sleep makes your brain quiet apart from your hippocampus which processes memory and the decisions you have made in the day. David said that if you miss a night of sleep you fail to process the days decisions and memories which then doubles up when you sleep the next night which is too much for us to cope with. REM sleep lights up your limbic system and your amygdla which can cause emotive dreams as REM sleep processes our daily emotions in a safe way. REM sleep allows you to emotionally decompress and regulate ready for the next day.

David provided insight into how natural daylight helps us to regulate our sleep and our evolution means that we spend less and less time outside which can negatively impact our sleep. There are around 300 lumens inside whereas there are over 50,000 outside. Richard highlighted how working inside in front of screens has negative impacts on sleep and to mitigate this, David reccommends spending as much time outside as possible.

David discussed how the circadian rhythm is important to sleep and life and works in 90 minute cycles throughout the day, controlled by the hypothalamus. He discussed how this impacts our decision-making and wellbeing as the trough of the cycle tends to have more sleep pressure than the peak of the cycle. Poorer decisions tend to be made in the trough of the circadian rhythm than in the peak. David recommended that you should schedule tasks in accordance with this 90 minute cycle, take breaks at the trough and do the difficult work at the peak of the cycle. Shift work, jet lag and changing the clocks can be big challenges to regulating your circadian rhythm.

David explored Cognitive Behavioural Therapy for Insomnia (CBTi) and said it starts with knowing yourself and your sleep type. He said that if you can, align your work with your sleep type (morning lark, night owl or ambivalent) to increase efficiency and alignment with your circadian rhythm. David discussed the importance of routines and behaviour and how this can impact our leptin and perlin which makes you hungry and lacking the hormone to keep you full. David mentioned that a lack of sleep can impact our hormones so much that we think we're in crisis and makes us feel the need to eat carbs and sugar which can cause health issues such as obesity and more. We can optimise our sleep by optimising our environment and routines which can then optimise your work and wellbeing.

Finally, David talked about Sleep Restriction Therapy which is good if you can't get to sleep in 15-20 minutes. If this is the case, you have likelly missed your dip so get up, wait until you yawn and then try again. Repeat this throughout the night but still get up at the same time every morning, you may be tired the next day but you will sleep better the next evening. If problems persist, you may need professional support.

Some key takeaways from the session were:
• Children need more sleep as they are learning a lot more than adults are. The younger the child is, the more sleep they need.
• Our brains are like an office and we use sleep to tidy the office each night.
• If there's anything you can still do outside in daylight then do it. Your sleep will improve.
• When you are in a circadian rhythm dip, allow yourself a break, it's not your fault that you are struggling to be productive.
• Accidents happen more often in the trough of the circadian rhythm. Optimising sleep can minimise these impacts but doing safety critical work during a peak if safer than doing it at a trough.
• If employees can schedule their work according to their circadian rhythm they can be much more efficient.
• If you can, align shift work with sleep types to make it easier for employees and minimise sick days.
• There can be a link between shift work that goes against our sleep type and severe health issues like obesity.
• Improve your sleep by having a quiet, dark room, a comfortable bed, blackout curtains, seasonally appropriate bedding, a reasonable room temperature and no distractions. Optimise your room to optimise your sleep - it doesn't need to be expensive.
• Stimulation such as alcohol, nicotine and hot baths directly before bed will impact our sleep. We need time to cool down in the physical and mental sense. Don't lie and worry in bed, don't stay in a hot room.