(Intermediate) Why is sleep so important? Benefits of good sleep? Why keep a journal? Link with transcript: https://simpleenglishlistening.buzzsprout.com/
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Hello, and welcome to another fun-filled action-packed podcast. With me again is our guest Mei. Hello. Hello, everybody. I'm so glad to be back here again. It's always fun and a great pleasure. Nice, so Mei joins to make the podcast more conversational, and more natural. We do this podcast for two reasons. One reason is to teach you English. But another reason is to give you interesting inspirational information, information that might improve that might benefit your life, or that might teach you something about the world or help you see the world differently. Maybe. So Mei, what will we talk about today? Today we will talk about how to sleep better. Sleep is very important for our health. We will also talk about smartphones and ways you can have a healthier relationship with your smartphone. So that is awesome. That is something that I need to learn more about. Because I become a bit of a smartphone addict. To be honest, an addict is someone that needs to do something again and again and again. Some people are gambling addicts. Can you think of any other addicts? Alcoholic, alcoholic - addicted to alcohol. Some people are addicted to smoking. I'm personally addicted to social media. Yeah, especially Instagram! Exactly many, many addictions. And I've also become addicted to my smartphone, a smartphone addict. And I'm not the only one. It's the same for millions of people these days. Well, you need to help me Mei. Okay, well, on this episode, we've done lots of research online to find the best advice for you. Okay, so we can fix me on this podcast? Oh, well, I can give you some information and you need to fix yourself. Oh, very true. In life, when it comes down to it, you are responsible for your own life. Nobody else will fix you magically. You know, you have to make the effort. Before we get into this podcast, okay, first, if you are on Apple or Stitcher or any podcast app where you can give us a rating and review the podcast, please give us a five star rating, because this will help new people find this podcast which benefits them and benefits us. And of course, it feels more satisfying and rewarding to have more listeners for us. Next, I'll have a short break from podcasting for about a month. So see you guys in about a month, you know, well Mei, guess how long it takes to make a podcast? Do you know? Oh, I have no idea. But maybe I can just give it two weeks. Two weeks to make one podcast? Maybe like a long YouTube video it's two weeks. But a podcast takes about four or five days to research, to write the script to record, edit the sound files, taking out the dead space, adding parts and taking out the loud breaths like
that, and obviously that sounds kind of disgusting. I think you've become professional. Lip sounds as well! I think you have gone a long way and you have become somewhat professional. Yeah, maybe too much of a perfectionist. But also, you have to EQ the sound, compress it, you have to make it nice to listen to, make a thumbnail design, upload the podcast on all the platforms, make a transcript, you know, and that sounds like hard work! The transcript takes like four or five hours just for that! Oh yeah, so next weekend many of my friends are coming from Hanoi. Do you know why? Maybe for gathering? So, two of my friends are getting married! They're two English guys getting married to two very lucky, or unlucky Vietnamese women. That sounds exciting! Yeah. So we'll have a little holiday, holiday with the boys, it's their last trip of freedom. Okay, yea so, I'll be back next month. So will you get married Mei, one day? I hope. Oh, really? Yeah. If I find someone suitable for me, otherwise I I can stay alone, I guess. Yeah. Would your parents be, or your family be like, disappointed if you didn't get married? Um, for sure, I think, but I don't think they can do anything about it. Can they find me a husband? I don't think they can. I mean, they can try. So actually, earlier today I dreamt of, of getting engaged to myself. Wow. Sounds crazy, right? Yeah. I dreamt of like having some engagement to myself, no fiance. In America, you can probably do that! Really? Like, you can marry anything! A man married his horse in America! Oh my god. Yeah, I did that because of the pressure my family put on me. So they could not find me a husband, a fiance. And I could not find myself a fiance either. So I just got engaged to myself, because well, actually, one reason we have dreams, which we'll find out later in the episode. One reason we have dreams is it's a way for our, for us to process emotions. Exactly. So maybe your emotions are telling you something about your future or something. And of course, it's very metaphorical - dreams. It's kind of something that represents something else. Definitely. For example, I sometimes get the dream, a dream where I eat a lollipop, a chewy lollipop. And my teeth get stuck in there. And I just kind of spit out my teeth. And losing teeth is a classic dream. It's like, well known and it's it's a dream that represents stress. Stress. Oh, interesting. Yeah, I spitting out teeth in some way. That's very interesting Tris. Thank you for mentioning it. So for me for the last three years, whilst I'm sleeping. I wake up multiple times. So wake up many different times throughout the night, usually four or five times. Do you know why I wake up four or five times a week? Well, that sounds mental and I would love to know why. It's my smartphone. Yes, I check my smartphone. I check all my apps. You know, there's social media, there's investing apps, dating apps, like many, many different kinds. And, but then I just go on Google sometimes, like, for example, a few nights ago, something that made me laugh. I woke up for like, the third time, and I checked my smartphone. And I just ended up reading an article, reading an article about dogs. Okay, yeah. So these dogs are in Russia, and they live near a chemical plant. And you know, what's so amazing about these dogs? No, they're blue! Oh, my goodness. So I read a whole article about about dogs with blue fur. And is that more important than getting a full night's sleep? I don't know. I mean, and there were many funny
pictures of them. The dogs look at the camera, like really surprised. They've got blue hair. They just like, they're jumping around the chemical plant and somehow all the dogs, there in Russia in this town, they've got blue fur, you know? And another thing, I find it difficult to sleep if I'm not listening to something, you know. And I've had this since I was like 12 years old. I used to listen to music like Queen or Michael Jackson or Bon Jovi. Can you really listen to rock music to go to sleep? It's probably one reason I've turned out as weird as I have, you know. And then, that turned into podcasts as podcasts became popular about 5/10 years ago. I guess I thought I would absorb the information, you know, but it just became habit. So I always listen to something as I sleep. My housemate, he has to watch TV! What? Yeah, he has to watch TV to go to sleep. Oh, no. He just leaves it on and just falls asleep. And is it the same for you? Do you have any kind of listening things or habits? Well, some times I listen to philosophy, philosophy, or maybe some classical music to go to sleep. But like, recently, I try not to, because I feel like my mind need to have some quiet space, you know. So recently I've started leaving my phone in the kitchen. I mean for the last month or so, and my sleep has slowly improved. And that's one technique! We're going to talk about lots of techniques backed by science by a very famous sleep scientist later in the episode. How many hours do you sleep per night Mei, do you think? On average? Seven till nine. That's good. Yeah. So, according to Dr. Matthew Walker, who's an expert in the science of sleep, we should sleep seven to nine hours per night, ideally, seven to nine hours. He called sleep your 'superpower'. Why does he call sleep your superpower? It turns out, sleeping is so important. So I didn't really respect sleep, to be honest, like I should, until more recently, after listening to Professor Walker's TED Talk. Tell me more about what he says. But yeah, one of them - your testicles. Your testicles are the two balls that a man has, like next to his... Okay, you know, and men who sleep five hours per night have much smaller, smaller testicles than those who sleep seven to nine hours per night. So basically, your testicles shrink in size. If they don't get enough sleep. Lucky. I don't have any! Can you believe your testicles shrink by a third? I I do notice the effect of lack of sleep on my cycle. My menstrual cycle. Okay, interesting, if I constantly have insomnia, then my, you know, period would be late. So yeah, it does affect the body greatly. Okay. And for sure. I feel like I get a flu more easily. If I lack sleep. Yeah. And can you guess any other reasons why we need sleep? Um, I guess the body needs time to restore itself. And you know, you cannot, like for example, if you go running, then you need some time to rest as well and stretch your body as well after that, right? So you cannot expect your body to continue day and night doing stuff. You know. That's my theory. So Matthew Walker, he wrote a lovely book about sleep called why we sleep. In this book, he says that the reasons why we need sleep is to improve learning, to regulate our mood. So, to feel naturally happy. Yeah, wow. Yeah. To give us energy. Sleep improves our memory so we can remember things easier. Our memory. Also sleep consolidates our memories. So consolidate. What this means is it helps our brain process store, keep and organise our memories. That's great. That sounds great. And I do notice one more thing if I lack sleep, and I will be in terrible mood for sure.
If I don't sleep for like quite a long time when I talk to people I just forget what I'm saying. Like, you know, halfway through speaking I'm like, 'what am I talking about again?' And then they can't remember, I can't remember, and then it just kills a conversation. Okay, but it hasn't happened for a while since I started sleeping well, I started sleeping well recently - I want to share that with you guys and some of these tips, and Matthew Walker really helped me. So also it boosts our immune system, good sleep, do you know what the immune system is? Yeah, like the system where in the body where it finds diseases and that's what protects us against and fights illnesses and diseases. Also, we need sleep to regulate hormones. Oh, yeah. For example, I said the above fact about testosterone in men. Yeah, testosterone is a very important hormone, which gives men more muscle mass, so makes our muscles stronger, it's also for men's sex drive, and ability to have children. So you become less fertile if you don't sleep properly. So if you want children, you have to make sure you get good sleep. Otherwise, you know, okay, you become infertile. Something. Okay. Do you know how many different hormones there are in human beings? You tell me - there are 64 different hormones in humans. And sleeping well ensures we have enough of these hormones to have healthy, healthy lives. And testosterone is also important in women. Yeah, women just have a smaller amount of it than men - testosterone. Well, it also helps us have stronger bones and helps red blood cell production. Do you know what red blood cells do? Red blood cells? What do you mean? Okay, so, red blood cells are the parts of your blood, the small parts of your blood that take oxygen around your body. So they oxygenize our bodies. Is there anything else I've missed? I imagine sleeping well is also linked to longevity. longevity, longevity? Oh, sorry. It's alright. So yes, that's a good noun, longevity. Thank you for correcting me. Tell us the meaning Mei. Oh, the longevity is like the lifespan like, how long you live? That's right yeah, so, the length of time that you live for is longevity. For example, women, you can say women have a greater longevity than men, meaning they live for a longer time. Sleep increases your longevity. And also it slows the effect of ageing. Oh, so you look younger and more beautiful for longer. And you'll have nicer skin if you sleep. For sure. That's nice to know, for people who can sleep well, but the people who can't sleep well probably they need some advice. Yeah, for sure. You don't want to hear all that amazing stuff about sleeping well and you can't sleep well, yourself. Okay, so what I've learned online is to sleep better, we should, well, first, let's look at Matthew Walker's advice. So he, Matthew Walker is a professor after all, and he's written a best selling book about sleep. He's done some TED Talks. So he knows what he's talking about. Do you know TED? Yeah, for sure. For sure. It's like so famous on YouTube. And if you if you guys are an English learner, like intermediate, upper intermediate level or above, watch TED, like with the subtitles, you can watch the subtitles in your own language and then English subtitles. TED Talks is all the people who are the best in their fields, the best scientists, journalists, philosophers, athletes speaking about their experiences - TED. It's on the internet - type in TED on YouTube. So, how do we sleep better? Me and Mei will teach you with our research. Okay, these are from Matthew Walker, who is a professor of neuroscience and psychology at the University of California. So neuroscience, neuroscience is the study of the brain, okay, neuroscience, okay. First, he says, find a routine. Your body has an internal clock, it has the clock, which is the sleep wake sleep wake cycle. So try to always go to sleep at about the same time, and try to always wake up at the same time. And your body will learn to sleep better during these times.
Nice Yes, find a routine. So personally, about a month ago, I started to go to sleep at about 10pm every night and wake up at about 7am and starting to improve my sleep a lot. Next, he says try not to exercise too close to bedtime. Exercise should finish two or three hours before bedtime. This is because it makes it harder for your brain, harder for your brain to calm down. So your brain needs time to to kind of relax and wind down after exercise. So do you follow these two rules Mei? One about routine - going to bed and waking up at the same time, and the other is not exercising before bed. Well, I think I tried myself to go to bed and get up at certain times of the day. So that's the routine. Yeah, I do follow the routine part. But then exercise well. I never thought of it that way. But I mean, I'm not very consistent with exercising anyway. Yea, many people aren't, you know. Like, they exercise for two weeks and they're like 'yes, I'm going to be super muscley', and then they just stop for months. Many of my friends are like that. So, that's not my problem to be honest. Yeah. Next, he says reduce caffeine. Caffeine is the chemical in coffee, which keeps you awake and nicotine. Yeah, yes, nicotine and also alcohol. Yeah, these can all lead to light to sleep. We need that deep sleep to fully enjoy the benefits. We we need that deep sleep to fully enjoy the benefits of sleep. The DEEP sleep. Also, if you drink lots of alcohol this can affect your breathing while your sleep, waking you up many many times during the night. Oh, nicotine. So nicotine is the chemical in cigarettes that makes them very addictive. Yeah, nicotine. So yeah, so no alcohol, cigarettes, nicotine. Well, I mean, not 'no', but as in - if you want to sleep well, there's more chance you'll sleep well if you don't have those chemicals. Next, eat light! Okay, heavy big meals negatively affect your sleep and cause indigestion. Indigestion is when the stomach acid, the acid in your stomach comes up and is uncomfortable is going to wake you up or interfere with the deep sleep. Also, avoid, avoid (so, try not to) avoid drinking too much before bed to have to go to the toilet like, many times during the night. Also your medication can disrupt your sleep. If you have to take medicine, especially for your heart and lungs, many of these medications can interfere with your sleep so you can speak with your doctor about taking them earlier in the day, if you have trouble sleeping. Yes. And one last thing, next create a relaxing routine before bedtime. What can a relaxing routine be? Such as reading is a good one. A good one. Yeah, I read before bed sometimes and it works and what kinds of like stuff do you read? What kind of material for example? Anything. Fiction, non-fiction? Mostly nonfiction. Very boring stuff. Yeah. And because I'm into very boring stuff. Because it helps you sleep but that's just your taste. Yeah. Okay. But also it helps me to go to sleep better, you know. He also says, listening to music, you say you listen to classical music, that might be better than listening to rock music. Yeah. And so there's another one -worries. Sometimes, you go to bed, and there are worries in your mind. And you can't sleep because you're thinking about them. Right? So we should try and kind of make decisions and fix and resolve our worries before we go to sleep if we can. And if not, Matthew Walker suggest using a worry journal. So you write your worries in your journal. That's perfect. I do that every day. Not specifically at night. But I mean, I write out my problems and struggles every single day. Yeah, in a journal, so my mind can be somewhat somehow free from it, you know?
Yeah. So I completely agree. And you know, me, I'm also a journaler. And I started, just, there's no certain time of day, but every time I get like a good idea, I don't want to forget. Also, if I'm worried about something or have something to do, I quickly write it in my journal. And then and then it's out of my mind, my mind is then clearer. You have a clearer mind. Yeah. So then do other things I need to do. That sounds good. And so you journal, what kinds of kinds of things do you write down? So I think same as you, um, sometimes I write down ideas when I feel like, I have a flow of energy through my body, you know, I get excited and energetic about something, then I can write that down. Usually very interesting ideas. And also, I write down my struggles in life. Like, especially emotional struggle. Like maybe I had some quarrels with my sister, for example. I would write down like, why do I react that way? Why I feel so bad about it? Same! Yeah. Actually, lots of my notes are related to, when I have kind of emotional troubles with like my family members, sometimes, my friends and I get my feelings out. And then I suddenly feel lighter. You know, like, I've got my most aggressive I guess, feeling down on paper. Yeah. And then like I'm left with like a light kind of feeling and then I can then talk to them about it, or deal with it later in like a better way. Yeah, I noticed that it's a very good way to relieve anger. For sure! Yeah, I would say that journaling has transformed my life actually. Yeah, I started when I was about 25, about 10 years ago. And especially good ideas, if I see like beautiful quotes or like lovely ideas, inspirational ideas on the internet, I always make a note. And I've got like, a kind of collection of like, the most inspirational ideas in my journals as well. Yeah. I'm sure you can't go to bed being angry. So, dumping down your anger on page. Yeah, is a good idea. Oh, next, he says, take baths before bed if you can, because the hot water will lower, lower your body temperature. And once you're in bed, it also makes you feel sleepier, and more relaxed. Interesting. But I haven't had a bath for many years, since I lived in my parents house like, 10 years ago, like none of my apartments have had a bath. Not everybody can afford a bath, you know, but I guess maybe a shower can be good. Maybe a hot shower but, so that's just our idea, a shower. But Matthew Walker did not say a shower. But you guys can believe someone with a PhD and he's a professor and just us making random guesses, recording a podcast. He says as well, so the room should be quite cold. This sleep foundation, which is like a website with lots of articles about sleep, say the perfect temperature is between 15 and 20 Celsius. It's pretty cold. It's quite cold, isn't it? I've tried that, and sometimes I wake up, because I am freezing to death. I can feel the cold in my bones. Like I'm deeply cold, because I've been freezing for like an hour before waking up from it. Well, I guess he should have noted that we need to use very thick blanket. Yeah. He says thick blankets. It's best if you can have it cold, but then wear socks, warm socks and thick blankets. He says you sleep better. Well. I'm sure in tropical countries like Vietnam, like you will have to spend lots of money for that kind of temperature in your room. You know? Yeah. Cuz it's like, oh, my God, so much energy. Okay. He also says something like, leave your devices at the door.
Yes. And that is a big game changer. I think so. Yeah. Leaving my device in the kitchen is really, really good for me. I've had like, I've slept a few times in the last two weeks, like six or seven hours in a row without waking up. And that hasn't happened for a long time because it's just like me checking my apps. I've stopped checking my apps but my brain still wants to wake up four times a night because it's kind of been programmed. Okay. Well, you know, it's just got used to that behaviour of waking up even though there's nothing to check. But it's slowly improving as I think my brains like being like reprogrammed to, to not kind of respond to phone responsibilities. I think it takes some time to get used to that. Ah, so he says, next tip, try and get sunlight. He says at least 30 minutes of sunlight per day can help your body regulate sleeping patterns. So, yeah, in the morning is a good time because it makes you, he says makes you more awake for the rest of the day. And the sunlight will give you more vitamin D. One thing I've noticed about here in Vietnam, I find in Vietnam people have this kind of like old and kind of natural rhythm to their life. Yeah, they go to sleep quite early on and wake up very early and the park and the beach downstairs is just full at like 5am right? 5:30am and people they socialise, they exercise. They take their dogs, they go swimming at the beach, they they have a fully social day before the Monday to Friday, nine to five workday starts. Yes. Yeah, you know, and it's like, yeah, that's something we can learn from. Absolutely. I'm really inspired by that. And I tried to wake up now, Vietnamese style. Yes. Okay, let's move on to the last tip. Last but not least. The last tip. Yeah, well done, guys if you've stayed with us for this long? Okay, go on, Mei. Okay, avoid lying in bed for too long. This mistake I've done so much. Yeah, if you cannot sleep after 25 or 30 minutes, get up and do a relaxing activity until you can you start to feel more sleepy. And then try sleeping again. Otherwise your brain will start to to associate will start to connect your bed, 'associate' so, connect your bed, yeah. As somewhere you're awake and stressed and worried. So if you can't sleep after 25/30 minutes, do a relaxing activity and try sleeping again later. Yeah, so that's good advice. Sometimes if I can't sleep, I get stressed. And I'm like, 'Oh my god, yes. I won't sleep, therefore, I won't wake up. I won't have a good day tomorrow'. So instead of just thinking that, you know, 'oh, my God, I can't sleep' and getting angry about it, you stand up, do an activity for 25/30 minutes, and then go back to bed. Otherwise, your mind will connect, associate bed with awake and stressed. Yeah. So we didn't even have a chance to talk about smartphones. Yeah, it's been a long podcast, I really wanted to bitch about smartphones. Which means that, you know, say bad things and gossip about smartphones, because I've got very mixed feelings about smartphones, to be honest, you know? Well, it's, if we use it in a good way, then it's definitely been beneficial. But then if we let it run us somehow, for sure. Then it's, I don't know, counter effective. I feel like smartphones own, possess their owners. Yeah, exactly. It's become such a big part of, of everyone's life. And there can be something amazing, fascinating happening in front of them you know, and they just look up bored and they just look back at their phone. Yeah, they just return to their little safe, little phone world. Yeah. When they find out there's something wrong with their phone, they panic. And it's like the worst panic ever. Yeah, and that didn't exist 10 years ago. You know, that's kind of the way people rely, like they just rely on their phone. And it's kind of, I feel like some people consider it their lives. Yeah. Where it takes them away from a more natural connection with the world, with the earth, with your friends. Yeah. Yeah, it's, it's just quite unnatural. It's very unnatural, to be honest.
I think as a result, the way people think the global the worldwide psychology is like changing, like, the last 10 years, very fast, faster than ever, because people now have essentially a part of their brain is the smartphone. What's the difference between that and AI? It's basically like an AI device, which has become part of their brain. Anyway, we're gonna talk about lots of amazing statistics about smartphones next time and hopefully, Mei will join me again. But remember, next time, we're having a little break next time, we'll be in about four weeks. So there's a transcript on the, there's a link to the transcript on Spotify, Facebook, a few other places, okay. So click on the link if you wanna read the transcripts as a way to improve your English. Please visit the Facebook page 'Simple English Listening'. Please leave a comment, say hello. We'd love to hear from you! As usual, it's been a great pleasure being here with you guys. Thank you for joining us. I hope that you find this podcast informative and entertaining somehow. Yeah, maybe a bit entertaining, and maybe you can help me sleep better as I've started to sleep better after this advice. Okay, lots of love guys. See you next time. See you.