New book guides you to better sleep, life and health

2023-11-08

Just a minute... Christian Benedict, sleep researcher at the Department of Pharmaceutical Biosciences who in October published the book Sleep your way to a better life (Sov dig till ett bättre liv) - Can sleep really provide life improvement?

Christian Benedict recommends fixed sleep routines
Christian Benedict recommends fixed sleep routines

“You don't need to sleep on it to come to the conclusion that sleep can give you a better chance of having a better life. When you’ve had a good night's sleep, your mood is better, you have more energy and you’re less emotionally affected when making decisions,” states Christian Benedict, Associate Professor at Uppsala University's Faculty of Pharmacy

According to Benedict, these are qualities that can help us in our personal career development. But sleep is also important for health.

“Good sleep affects your well-being and performance, but it is also an important piece of the health puzzle with links to better immune defence.”

Christian explains that evolution has determined that we humans should spend a third of our lives sleeping, even if we expose ourselves to potential dangers during sleep, as in the Stone Age.

“Sleep is an important part of life and a time during the day when the body and mind can digest the experiences and challenges of the day, retain what is important and create better conditions for the next day,” he notes.

But what happens at night when we sleep? How does sleep affect our body and mind?

“During the night, the relevant procedural and factual memory – what we learned during the day – is consolidated, while superfluous information connections are removed. The brain processes emotions and removes waste products. The cardiovascular system recovers. The body’s immune system is very active and the gastrointestinal tract prepares for future challenges.”

Unfortunately, there are also things that interfere with our sleep, explains Benedict:

“Some of the biggest sleep disruptors are alcohol, mobile phones, caffeine, family stress, financial stress, job stress, societal crises such as a pandemic according to my own research, Friday night fun becoming everyday fun, cats, insufficient breathing during sleep, heartburn, menopause, children and much more.”

In other words, sleep problems can have many different causes. Trends like taping over the mouth are just idiotic, he says, because they cannot reasonably serve as a universal solution to societal problems.

In October 2023, Christian published his second book on sleep, Sleep Your Way to a Better Life: What breathing, sex, melatonin, weighted blanket, full moon and kiwi can do for your sleep (Sov dig till ett bättre liv: Vad andning, sex, melatonin, tyngdtäcke, fullmåne och kiwi kan göra för din sömn). The book has a long subtitle that mentions some sleeping tips. But do the popular sleep aids really work?

Christian Benedict“The point of the book is to enable the reader to fill their toolbox with as many sleep-promoting tools as possible, including fun ones, such as sex, and different but scientifically proven ones, such as eating kiwis. But you need to test your own specific sleep problems by yourself or perhaps together with your healthcare provider. If you have obstructive sleep apnoea, your sleep will not improve until the causes are treated, such as with CPAP therapy,” continues Benedict

Christian wrote his first book, Sleep, sleep, sleep, together with a journalist, whereas he wrote this one on his own. Was this easier?

“I have been wanting to write this book throughout my entire career. But writing a book is never easy. As an author of a popular science book, you want to reach as many people as possible without oversimplifying at the expense of the science. It's a challenge, but that's the kind of challenge I enjoy,” replies Benedict

The new book offers a lot of tips and advice on how to improve ones sleep, but what is Christian Benedict's Number 1 sleep tip?

“Go to bed at the same time every day! Your inner Sandman loves regularity.”

FACTS

  • Christian Benedict's research group studies how disturbances in the circadian rhythm and sleep loss affect health and performance with a particular focus on the connection between sleep deprivation and metabolism.

LEARN MORE

CONTACT

Christian BenedictChristian Benedict, Associate Professor
Dep. of Pharmaceutical Biosciences
Christian.Benedict@farmbio.uu.se

Text: Ulrika Hurtig, foto: Stefan Tell

More news

Last modified: 2022-11-08