Sleeping for Performance with Matt Carter

I’m surprised by how much I didn’t know about sleep.

I mean, I’ve done it a lot, sure.

I for sure have earned my 10,000 hours – I’m should be a sleep expert!

So far from the truth.

Yeah, I’ll invest 1/3 of my life sleeping, but it’s insane to me that I’ve learned very little about the subject.

Not too long ago, I heard about LeBron James secret to high-performance is getting GREAT sleep.

Not more free throws.

Not more affirmations.

Not better coaching.

It’s sleep.

I use to view sleep as the thing I did when I wasn’t being productive, but now…

I know that sleep is my key to productivity.

Arguably, by body is being super productive while I’m in la-la land.

It’s working through the night to repair, strengthen and build – so I can rock it out the next day.

I believe that life is about charging hard.

But I used to see that as something I did during the day.

Now I know, it’s about charging hard during the day and allowing my body to charge “the batteries” at night.

I’ve been tracking my sleep with my Oura ring, and each day playing close attention to what’s helping (or hurting) my sleep cycles.

Lately, I’ve been feeling SOOOO much better.

Let me back up for a minute.

Why did I start putting so much focus on sleep?

Last year, some blood work indicated a few areas where my body was breaking down.

My iron was low, and hemoglobin counts were off.

My doctor said, “You might have some type of internal bleed.”


I was taken back by the news.

I immediately began a quest to learn more about how my body heals itself – which quickly leads you to the sleep topic.

There is so much info out there, but all roads seem to point back to getting a great night sleep being one of the most important elements to ultimate health.

Over the past several months, I’ve been watching videos about sleep – anything from how to fall asleep, the importance of sleep quality, the difference between REM and deep sleep, etc.

In my research, I found Dr. Matt Carter’s TEDx talk and knew we needed to chat further.

Hence this show.

Enjoy the show fellas!

More About Matt Carter …

At Williams College, Matt Carter is an Associate Professor of Biology where his lab studies how the brain regulates food intake and sleep.

His research is funded by grants from the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation.

He received his Ph.D. in Neuroscience from Stanford University.

He received the Nelson Bushnell Award for Excellence in Teaching and Writing from Williams College, the Walter Gores Award for Excellence in Teaching from Stanford University and the Young Investigator Award from the Sleep Research Society.

He lives in Williamstown with his wife and two children.

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Read the Transcript

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[00:00:02]   Matt Carter:  The funny thing is that, I met a college in most colleges and most workplaces, it’s, the funniest thing is you see people who are sleep deprived and you don’t react to it the same way as if everyone was smoking or everyone was eating junk food all the time and it’s just as bad.


[00:00:19]   (Instrumental)


[00:00:20]   John Vroman:  All right! Front Row Dads. I got Matt Carter with me. What’s up Matt?


[00:00:23]   Matt Carter:  Hey, how are you doing?


[00:00:25]   Jon Vroman:  Doctor Matt?


[00:00:26]   Matt Carter:  Just Matt (laughter)


[00:00:27]   Jon Vroman:  Although you did say you gave every permission to call you Matt.


[00:00:30]   Matt Carter:  That’s right.


[00:00:31]   Jon Vroman:  They don’t have to call you professor. You tell them that on day one.


[00:00:33]   Matt Carter:  Still when people call me professor Carter, I think that there’s another professor as the same last name as me, but I’ve even realized I, I just, uh, yeah, I, I just respond best to Matt.


[00:00:42]   Jon Vroman:  How long have you been, um, teaching?

[00:00:44]   Matt Carter:  Um, this is the end of my 6th year, so I’m about to start my seventh year at Williams College. And um, yeah, I like it a lot here.


[00:00:51]   Jon Vroman:  Where’s Williams?


[00:00:53]   Matt Carter:  It’s in Western Massachusetts. It’s a in the Berkshires. Yeah, it’s a, I grew up on the West Coast originally, and so this is my first, uh, time living in the east coast. But I think the Berkshires is the friendliest introduction to the east coast when my Dad, it’s, it’s, it’s very, uh, outdoors-y and um, it actually reminds me of the west coast a lot.


[00:01:12]   Jon Vroman:   Yeah. That’s awesome. So you grew up in the west coast. What part?


[00:01:15]   Matt Carter:  Seattle. I grew up in Seattle and then I lived up and down the west coast, um, uh, various schools and things like that. And um, we traveled to Oregon and California sometimes when I was growing up and I lived in the bay area for six years, but I grew up in the Seattle area. So I like coffee and bagels with lox and [laughing]. Yeah.


[00:01:35]   Jon Vroman:  Exactly a little bit about your history. I want to get to what you do now, which is why I reached out. I wanted to talk about sleep and which is something that I know that you’re very well versed in. So I’m excited to get to that, but so that people can know a little bit about your life and your history, you know, just a little snapshot about what was life like for you as a kid.


[00:01:56]   Matt Carter:  As a young kid?


[00:01:57]   Jon Vroman:  Yeah.


[00:01:58]   Matt Carter:  Sure! Yeah. So growing up in Seattle, I think I had a really good childhood, actually. I, um, I live close to a place in Seattle called Green Lake and, um, it was a nice community to Green Lake is a little lake that has ah.


[00:02:10]   Jon Vroman:  That sounds like a nice community. [laughing]


[00:02:12]   Matt Carter:  Yeah, no it is. Yeah, it’s a lake. It’s a, um, three mile circumference around the lake and then wrap around the lake are, you know, things like ice cream shops and community centers and places where kids can learn how to play basketball, you know, join whatever kind of sport or youth group that they want. And, um, I remember it as being in a pretty diverse place as well, you know. Um, I had friends from all walks of life and, and then when I was 12, actually my family moved to a suburb of Seattle. It wasn’t in Seattle itself, it was called Bothell, Washington. And that was  ah, Bothell is fine in its own right. But I, I missed Seattle and uh, I went to college in Washington state and graduate school in California and yeah, but I, I think like my childhood was pretty great.


[00:02:57]   Jon Vroman:  That’s awesome man. What’s one thing you learned from your parents that specifically stands out that you’re grateful for?


[00:03:04Matt Carter:  What a great question. Um, you know, actually hope this answer doesn’t make it sound like there’s not more to say. But actually, when I think of my parents, I actually think a lot of times about what I didn’t have to worry about as my parents didn’t take too much time to travel away from us. They rarely drank and when they did drink, they would drink maybe one or two drinks. And so I never ever remember a time when I saw my parents intoxicated when I got the sense that they didn’t want to be home with us. It actually, it, that’s one of those realizations you don’t have until later in life. I don’t even think of it until I went to college. I ever once realized that I never saw my parents in a situation in which they weren’t in control and in which, um, I didn’t feel completely safe all the time.


[00:03:49]   Matt Carter:  And I know a lot of people who, uh, you know, sometimes I hear stories about other people’s parents and they had a great childhood and loved their parents as well. But every now and then I walk here like, yeah, one time they were scared because their father came home drunk or because somebody was traveling on a lot of trips. And um, one of my, uh, either, uh, friends who told me that whenever she looked up and saw an airplane in the sky, she would say daddy, because she knew her dad would, we’d go on business trips a lot. And so I was very fortunate not to have to worry about that. I um, yeah, my, every now and then my parents would go on trips. But yeah, they were very loving and supportive of it. If I did something in school, they would come watch. It’s one of those things though. It’s just he, I, it’s funny how as a kid you don’t really realize that in fact you’re even maybe somewhat annoyed. You wish your parents wouldn’t come to everything and you, you know, you wish your


 [00:04:37]   Jon Vroman:  Yeah!


 [00:04:38]   Matt Carter:  parents would go out more and stuff. And I always, yeah, I don’t know. But I, it’s very lucky in retrospect.


[00.04:42]   Jon Vroman:  Yeah. I think what you’re talking about is, it’s me. The greatest gifts are the ones that grow in value over time and it’s like that where you recognize that these gifts that you’ve been given as a kid grow in value over time. I’ve often told the story about time that my dad gave me for it was either Christmas or birthday, I can’t remember at this point, but they gave me a letter instead of a present and the letter was actually a donation that he had made to a family in a third world country. He donated a flock of geese and he said, because of this flock of geese that were donated in your honor, it was the first time that has ever happened in my life where if somebody donated something on my behalf and said, this family will eat for a year. And I remember getting it and I probably had both reactions of it.


[00.05:25]    Jon Vroman:  That was kinda cool. But like, yeah, it’s not as cool as a real present, you know. But what I’ve noticed about that gift is that every year I feel more and more grateful that my dad had the courage to give me something like that where I might not have responded with like, you’re the best dad in the world. But


[00.05:42]    Matt Carter:  Right!


[00.05:43]    Jon Vroman:  now I look back and say, I’m so grateful that he stood for, you know, important values and like express that within our family.


[00.05:49]    Matt Carter:  Right, right.


[00.05:50]    Jon Vroman:  Let’s talk about your family now.


[00.05:51]    Matt Carter:  Yeah!


[00.05:52]    Jon Vroman:  Tell us about what’s going on at home.


[00.05:53]   Matt Carter:  So I actually, it’s a very eventful time. I, I have, uh, two kids are on it almost nine and almost five. But then my wife actually just had a baby, so I’ll be actually maybe yesterday was her one month a birthday. And so now we have uh, three kids. It feels weird as to say that, but it’s uh, yeah, I didn’t, neither my wife or I expected that we would have three kids I think when we first set up to have a family. And so, um, she wasn’t an accident but, uh, I, I think we always thought of two kids and then we thought, you know, one one more. So we did that. (Laughing)


[00.06:26]   Jon Vroman:  How long have you and your wife been together?


[00.06:28]   Matt Carter:  Uh, we’ve been together since college, which is, um, ah, boy we met in 1998 so it’s been one year since I’ve known her. Yeah!


[00.06:36]    Jon Vroman:  Holy cow, man. That’s great. What have you learned about relationships in the last 21 years? (Laughing) It’s like, what…


[00.06:44]    Matt Carter:  yeah, know what a what a great question. Yeah. Boy, it’s just interesting how circumstances of life just change, change you and change your life circumstances. And if our relationship is fluid enough, then I think that, um, we’ve been able to stay together, um, and be happy with one another just because we’ve been malleable to life’s changes and living in different places and, you know, life with kids is completely different to life without kids. I think you have to make so many adjustments. and I think figuring out how to make it work as uh, um, I don’t know to take it, it’s taken effort. I never really understood when my wife and I got married, you know, everyone was, was talking about, well it’s mostly celebrating when we got married, but you know, every now and then somebody would say something deep like, uh, you know, make sure to work through the tough times and, you know, figure, figure things out.


[00.07:31]    Matt Carter:  And I wasn’t so rosy that I didn’t expect any tough times, but, um, I didn’t really fully appreciate what everyone was saying until we had kids. I think that, you know, it’s, I, it threw everything for such a loop and, and changing your whole schedule and what you’re able to do that. Um, yeah, I realized, uh, yeah, part of having kids is learning how to, we figured out your relationship to your spouse. That’s a everything changes.


[00.07:55]   Jon Vroman:  Well said man. That’s really good. Yeah, exactly. Just talk a little bit about how I found you. I found your Ted talk, which was great. Yeah, that’ll actually be a great transition to talk about what you do professionally and why we also wanted to, to catch up today, which I alluded to earlier. So let’s ask this question. What was your hope with the Ted Talk? Cause I think that’ll sum up what it was all about.


[00.08:14]   Jon Vroman:  What did you hope to get out to the world? What was the idea worth spreading?


[00.08:17]   Matt Carter:  Yeah, no, it’s a, it’s a great question. I actually, I can even just back up a step and say that, um, but before I was asked to do the Ted talk, I really like give, um, as an outreach opportunity, talking about sleep and talking about, um, uh, the importance of a good night’s sleep. And in, in my professional life, I, I teach classes in physiology and neuroscience and then my lab studies sleep. And so I work with mice and, um, the students in my lab and I, we study sleep, um, that like the, the scientific basis of it and how the brain controls that and what happens in the brain and body during sleep. But, um, before I became a professor, when I was a postdoctoral fellow, I was at the University of Washington in Seattle.


[00.08:57]   Matt Carter:  And, um, I heard that there was a group that was looking for someone to talk to , um, a general audience about sleep. I’m not from a scientific point of view. Um, but more for a general point of view, it was about science, but not so much about, you know, what is the brain doing? But, but, but more just like, what are some good, um, what, what advice would you give to people about getting sleep? And, and I w I really loved doing that and I sought out other opportunities to do it. And, and um, I was just surprised. I, I guess, you know, this is something maybe we could talk about, but one of the things about sleep I that I’m just so surprised by is just how much people don’t know about sleep. And I think uhm compared to other


[00.09:34]   Jon Vroman:  Yeah!


[00.09:35]   Matt Carter:  behaviors people do. It’s just, I actually, the more I learned about sleep when I was a graduate student, um, the more I in some ways got mad because I learned things that, um, I’m not mad at any one person, but I, I learned things that I was just sort of always thinking, how come I didn’t know that before?


[00.09:50]   Matt Carter:  Why, why isn’t this, you know, sort of in the public discourse a lot more. And, um, and so, uh, I’m not exactly sure the chain of events that led to being asked to give this, this Ted Talk. I got an email and, um, they said somebody had thought of me for this and I thought that would be a great platform. But my, my goal, um, to get back to your question for the Ted Talk was as soon as I was, um, uh, invited to do it, I just thought, okay, well this is, this would be a nice opportunity to try to encapsulate what I think about a sleep and giving, um, advice about sleep to, um, a larger audience than just William Students. And, um, um, I’ve actually been very happy with how, when, if, if anybody’s ever offered the opportunity to get one of these Ted Talks, it’s, yeah.


[00.10:34]    Matt Carter:  Um, it’s been a great platform and I love seeing, um, you know, how many people have seen it and I get emails every now and then out of the blue, um, from somebody who’s seen it, who has a follow up question and it’s a great platform to, to talk more about, about, uh, things that are interesting.


[00.10:48]   Jon Vroman:  Yeah. That’s cool. Yeah. What type of feedback have you gotten? What valued that you noticed that people are getting out of it? What behaviors are changing?


[00.10:55]   Matt Carter:  Yeah, no, it’s a great question. What I love about it actually is I’ve gotten emails from people all over the place. I mean just from a, I mean, not even just in the United States and so a lot of times it’s just a very specific question that is, is, um, applicable to something, some habit that you have, you know, they say, well, I like to do this. Is this bad to do at night? I was at the caution everybody that I’m not a medical doctor. And I, um, I know a lot about this from reading about it and from studying it. Um, but I always have to remind people it’s like on a day to day basis I usually work with mice, but to the extent to which I can answer questions, I, um, um, it’s just interesting to see how, I guess something that surprised me is how many different routines people have. This is like w you know, something that, um, I know how I get ready for bed and I know what we were trying to do with our kids and how I try to put our kids to bed. Um, and I, you know, know, the general appreciation for how movies and television television shows depict going to bed. But it’s interesting to hear actually. It’s one of those things you just never talk about how most people go to bed. You know, some people you go to bed.


[00.11:57]   Jon Vroman:  How do you go to bed?


[00:11:58]    Matt Carter:  Yeah. Great, question great. (Laughing)


[00:12:00]   Jon Vroman:  Tell us about your daytime routine.


[00:12:02]   Matt Carter: Yeah, when I’m good. So I shouldn’t even just come right out and say sometimes I’m good and sometimes I need to be better at it. And it’s funny because here I am, you know, giving advice and I look freely admit that. Um, I think actually sleep hygiene is just like eating. It’s um, you know, you could say you’re going to eat better and have good nutrition, but everyone, I mean it would be really sad if someone never had a piece of cake or some ice cream every now and then. So I think that that sleep actually is the same way. I think. Um, most of the time I get ready for bed, I try to be really deliberate about it. I tried to, um, have a good routine where, um, you go through the same steps every night. Um, I think people find different success through different things. But one of the big things I do is try not to look at screens. I go look at, uh, yeah, no phones or iPads or computers. Um, at least like 30 or 60 minutes before I go to bed. And I try to read, I think I’m reading before bed is, um, I don’t know, it just, uh, it relaxes me and then I usually stop reading because I just, I realized that my eyes have closed and I’m, I’m, I’m no longer reading. Even the book’s really good. I just, uh, find that that’s something that works for me. Uh


[00:12:00]   Jon Vroman: That’s your cue.


[00:13:15]   Matt Carter: That’s my cue. Yeah. But where I get lazy about it is, uh, you know, most of the time I’m doing this in, in my own bed, but I have to admit, um, you know, just in the context of, uh, you know, like the person eating some ice cream or cake every now and then, then sometimes I’ll fall, sort of doze off while I’m reading on the couch, you know, and so on.


[00:13:32]    Matt Carter: And, uh, you know, now that we have three kids, especially, you know, my, my wife is sometimes with one of the kids and I put the other kids to bed or sometimes, um, actually one of the hard things about going to bed when your fathers, I bet a lot of people would appreciate this as like, a lot of times I’ll put the kids to bed and I’ll just fall asleep right with them and I, I, I,


[00:13:50]    Jon Vroman: Yeah absolutely!


[00:13:51]    Matt Carter: Yeah. You know, so it’s a, it’s a, it’s actually an informative thing about how much sleep you’re getting as if you put your kids to bed at, um, depending on their ages obviously. But you know, if your, if your kids are going to bed at eight or nine and um, you fall asleep with them, then there’s a, there’s a chance that you’re probably not getting enough sleep yourself, you know, and say if you normally go to bed at 10 or 11 and you’re putting kids to bed at 8:30 or 9:00 and you fall asleep with them, then that’s, I think a good sign. Your body is telling you that you’re not getting as much sleep as you need. But I guess the question is, and then what you do about it. If, but yeah, sometimes I’ll fall asleep, you know, putting my kids to bed and then I’ll realize that the things I was going to do afterwards, I just, there’s no chance I’m going to do them well. So I’ll just try and go to sleep then too. But then other times, um, and there were some nights I’ll, I have to put the kids to bed and then I’ll come back to the office for an hour or something and I’ll just try and prepare something for the next day. But, um, but in general I find like not, not looking at screens and reading are the two big factors pretty well for me. Yeah.


[00:14:49]   Jon Vroman: What are you hoping to learn by studying mice? Like what is the objective you’re after?


[00:14:54]    Matt Carter: Yeah, so in the lab we actually study, um, very specifically the parts of the brain that are active or, um, influencing asleep states. And so when people think about the brain, they usually think of, you know, what they see on, you know, and diagrams or something. As you know, you’re, you’re squiggly gray brain and things in it and it’s, um, you think of it as like a one one Organ, uh, kind of just like your heart is an organ or your liver is an organ and it seems like your brain is, is doing the same thing. But the brain is really just a, a bureaucracy of lots of different kinds of cells. And each of those different groups of cells can in a way be thought of as their own little organ. And it’s ridiculously complex. I mean it’s sort of like a city actually.


[00:15:38]    Matt Carter: I mean I think like, you know, you can think of a, like we were talking about Seattle, so I can refer to Seattle and we can think of Seattle is like an entity in itself, but obviously Seattle’s got neighborhoods and then you’ve got different kinds of people within those neighborhoods. And so what we’re interested in in my lab is the very specific neurons that influence different states of sleep. And what their role is. And so what we’re able to do is actually, um, in my system, turn those neurons on or off when, whenever we’d like to and then, um, ask how that changes the mouse’s sleep behavior and


[00:16:10]    Jon Vroman: using what, how are you turning the neurons on rough?


[00:16:12]    Matt Carter: Yeah, no, it’s a, it’s a great question. There’s a couple of different methods we take there. There’s a, and in most, uh, rodent neuroscience labs now about 10 years ago, there were a couple of techniques that were invented where you can actually directly go into a mouse’s brain. They actually stimulate neurons very specifically. Um, one, one technique I still use is light. There’s a way to make neurons light sensitive. And by shining certain kinds of light on those neurons, you can either stimulate them or a different color of light. You can, you can turn them off and you have to play these molecular tricks in order to do it. But, um, but once you’ve saw this,


[00:16:48]    Jon Vroman: Can you just imagine this one mouse. It’s like, yeah, I can’t sleep. You can be shining lights on now. And of course I can’t sleep.  (Laughing)


00:16:55]    Matt Carter:  It is actually a problem. Like what you’re saying is true because the light that we deliver, we actually put in a tiny little implants into their brain and the light directly. It’s kind of like you’ve miniaturize a flashlight flashlight above the brain, but it’s actually a problem because if you don’t hide the light from the mouse, like we have to take these little fibers that are any of the light in there and we have to cover them and make them opaque because the mice will respond to the light. Cause it’s a, it’s a very good point. You know, it’s uh, the mice will respond to the light if they can see it. So we tried to make it so that we can stimulate the neurons without them being able to see.


[00:17:27]   Jon Vroman: So now who’s funding this and why? Like what is it?


[00:17:32]   Matt Carter:  I’ve been actually very fortunate. We have funding from the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation. And so those are the two biggest federal granting bodies in the United States and the National Institutes of Health. As the name implies, will fund health related projects. And the national science is not necessarily health related, but it’s some scientific project of merit that’s going to improve our knowledge about sleep. And so I’ve been fortunate to actually have grants from, from both agencies, um, to fund different projects. But, um, the, the goal is to just understand more about sleep. And part of my lab also studies, um, food intake behavior. And so I’m fascinated by sleep and food intake because their, their behaviors that, um, as humans and as animals in general, we, you don’t have to teach an animal how to go to sleep and you don’t have to teach an animal how to eat animals. We, we just instinctively get hungry and tired.


[00:18:24]   Matt Carter:  Um, or if you, if you think about water and take, we get thirsty. You don’t have to teach a mouse how to drink or how to eat it. And I’m fascinated about this from a human point of view just because, um, it’s kind of a, I don’t want to get too philosophical, but um, you know, I guess it’s a question of free will sometimes. You know, it’s just like you, you can’t talk yourself out of being sleepy. Um, there, there are some tricks you can do if you need to wake yourself up, you know, that we can do. But, um, it’s almost like you’re doing battle against part of your brain that’s sort of already made the decision for you, you know? And so if you’re really hungry, you can distract yourself and you can play games with yourself to try not to be hungry, but it’s hard not to feel hungry.

[00:19:00]    Matt Carter:  You can’t just say, oh, I’m, I feel like not being hungry right now. And you can’t just shut that part off or being devastated. So I’m really interested in how the brain will motivate animals to, um, go to sleep or to wake up or to, um, to find food or, um, to feel full. Those things, they’re so well controlled by the brain that they seem like they just happen. They seem, you know, it seems like you just feel hungry, so, so go eat. But really there’s a very fine tuned decision making process that’s happening in the brain that you’re not conscious of. And then finally it hits you at a conscious level when you say to yourself, Hey, I’m a, like, it’s lunch time, let’s go eat. Or if you see a, you know, a donut or something and sleep is no different sleep is um, you know, it just seems so natural that you would feel tired at night, um, and that you would be energized in the morning. But, um, it’s actually a very, uh, complicated network of neurons that induces you to fall asleep and to wake up.


[00:19:56]    Jon Vroman: Let’s talk about food or actually we could just talk about any substance that you put into your body that either helps or hurts. So


[00:20:32]    Matt Carter:  Yeah.


[00:20:03]    Jon Vroman: Can you kind of run through a list of like what do you know about either when we eat or what we put in our mouth is I should say, or what we’re consuming and at what time? And I’m particularly thinking about like when I eat dinner, whether I’m in a fasted state and even other things like alcohol or cannabis or, you know, some of those things that, how are they affecting our sleep or CBD products that are so popular right now. Can you speak to that a little bit about their consumption factor?


[00:20:32]    Matt Carter:  Yeah, for sure. Yeah, it’s a great question. Yeah, I would say, boy, just start, I would just say that eating right before bed, um, digestion, it depends entirely on what you’re eating. So when you eat depends on what you eat. I think it’s, it’s, um, the worst thing that you can eat right before bed is carbohydrates. I think that that’s just the, the, if I had to answer your question in, in only one sentence, I would say don’t have carbohydrates before you go to bed. Um, and by carbohydrates. I mean, um, sugars, um, but also, uh, starches, things like a pasta and a rice, but especially very simple sugars. Um, like orange juice. Um, you know, things, things that would fall under the category of sweets. What people would, anybody would associate as sweets. Um, uh, yeah. Candy bars, cakes, donuts. The reason for this is that, um, um, especially for simple sugars or like if you’re drinking something like juice or you have something that’s just very carbohydrate dense, like, um, frosting is that, um, your digestive system can actually digest these things very quickly and, um, your blood sugar level will rise very quickly.


[00:21:36]     Matt Carter:  And, um, you know, as we, like we were talking about the neurons before that decide for you whether you should be awake or, or, uh, go to sleep. They’re very sensitive to sugars and there’s, there are some specific neurons in the brain that promote wakefulness and keep you awake and they become more active. The more sugar is in your, um, in your bloodstream. So, um, one of the worst things you can do is, is have a lot of sugars before you go to bed, have orange juice or something like that. And this is especially true in kids. Um, so for, you know, for all the dads out there, I think every parent knows what it’s like to give your kids sugars is they get really hyper and they run around. And so obviously the effectiveness and nighttime is, is, is really bad. Alcohol is another, uh, interesting thing because I want, alcohol is very ironic because a lot of times people will deliberately have a drink because it makes them feel sleepy.


[00:22:25]   Jon Vroman: Yeah.


[00:22:26]   Matt Carter:  It’s like a depressant, right? So some people deliberately have a glass of red wine or a glass of, um, you know, like some whiskey or something. There’s a lot of movies actually. I mean like how many movie scenes have you seen where at the end of the day somebody comes home from work and then they makes happen. Yeah. To a


[00:22:41]   Jon Vroman: nightcap.


[00:22:42]   Matt Carter:  Yeah, Exactly. Exactly. The term nightcap implies, it’s like, oh, it’s a way to just, you know, get rid of the day and you know, there’s truth to it. I mean, obviously if it helps you relax, I mean it’s, um, there, there is truth to that, that it, you know, for some people it really helps them unwind and, and it is a depressant, so it makes you, it does help you fall asleep. That’s the ironic thing about it. But what’s paradoxical about this is that when alcohol gets into your system, the liver metabolizes the alcohol and what does it metabolize the alcohol into it, metabolize it into carbohydrates.  So you know, if you have red wine or a beer or a nightcap of any sort, it might actually help you to fall asleep. And there is truth. It definitely might help you to get to sleep faster. However, an hour or two after you fall asleep, um, the body’s going to convert the alcohol into sugars and you’re, uh, basically, it’s like you just had a doughnut before you went to bed. And so, um, I guess this sort of gets into the issue of sleep quality as well as, because you might not even know that your, your sleep quality is diminished. Although a lot of times I’ve heard when I tell people this, people, oh right. Cause sometimes I’ll, I’ll have a drink before I go to bed and then I’ll wake up two hours later or three hours later and I’ll feel, you know, kind of weird or I’ll have to, you know, I don’t know. They wake up in the middle of the night and they, and so that’s definitely maybe because their body has been metabolized in the alcohol, but in most cases I would guess that most people don’t even know that it’s affecting their sleep quality. They might not wake up. But, um, sleep quality is very different than sleep quantity. A person can easily, when you think about getting a good night’s sleep, you think about getting, um, you know, eight hours of sleep or a, a really good number and the number is really important. But the quality is another thing to think about. And the, the things that influence the quality of sleep is what you’ve been eating. Um, also how much stress you’re under. You know, if the, the more anxiety you’re feeling, the more likely you’re to have diminished sleep quality. Um, and, you know, that’s another thing we can talk about is just a, you know, it’s hard to control those things.


[00:24:39]   Matt Carter:  You know, it’s just like, well, what can I do about that? Um, but, but what you eat is definitely one thing you can, you can control. And so, um, proteins and fats don’t, don’t seem to make, you know, as much of a difference as sugars do, so sugars is one of the worst things you can have before bed. And actually some proteins, you know, are really high and trip to fan and things that are actually a have been demonstrated to actually promote sleep really well. And so, you know, this is like, you know, there’s like sort of a post-thanksgiving effect, you know, you have a lot of Turkey or you have something that’s that’s high in protein and then that actually might be be be good for sleep. Um, well these days, you know, it’s just , uh, you know, some have been really following a lot is intermittent fasting and you know, hygienic diets and things like that. And um, it seems like that’s great for sleep as well because you avoid carbohydrates a lot. You typically would avoid things right before sleep. And, um, I’d say like, yeah, the two worst things you’ve been have in terms of consumption is , uh, carbohydrates and alcohol.


[00:25:40]    Jon Vroman: Hey guys, I want to take a second to tell you about our Front Row Dads retreat. If you would value connecting with a brotherhood of likeminded and like-hearted guys who want to deepen their sense of purpose and meaning as fathers and within their families and to talk about and share the best practices and the strategies for ultimate family success, then this event might be for you if you add value being around high performing guys without the big egos, guys that believe in being family, men with businesses and not businessmen with families. You might enjoy our Front Row Dads retreat twice a year. We’re getting together in person, small groups, cool locations, guest experts and so much more for these events. We’ve now done this multiple times. It has sold out every single time and if you’re excited about it, make sure to check it out where you can apply for the next retreat now. Hey, one of the things you might be wondering is, does leaving my family make me a better dad or husband? The answer is for many of you, I know you travel a bunch, you do other things, and the idea for this one is you have to retreat to advance. You have to take a step back to gain the perspective so that we can go back and crush it within our families. This is the same concept that works in business where you take a moment, you think, you plan, you strategize, you work on your family so that you can be better in your family. If that all sounds good, check it out


[00:27:01]   Jon Vroman: I’ve been obsessed with sleep lately, mostly coming from a place of a year ago getting some blood work done, whereas, I had low iron, my hemoglobin was off and I had a high erythrocytes sedimentation rate, which essentially meant that if anybody out there listening, what the doctor told me was that I just had inflammation in the body and what they told me was they said, John, based on these things, it looks like there’s some sort of internal bleed. We don’t know what that means, where it is, but like that caught my attention.


[00:27:32]   Jon Vroman: I was like, that doesn’t sound great. I could think of better commentary about my blood work, but it is what it was. So I got really obsessed with this. He started paying attention and then we had our dad’s retreat this spring in Austin and I invited a man named Doctor Sachin Patel to come in and he talked a lot about, it was all about health. One of the things he talked about was this aura ring. And so I’m wearing those listening on the podcast. I’m holding up my ring. And for those watching on YouTube or somewhere this a, it’s really cool. I actually wear it as a wedding band. There are about 300 bucks.


[00:28:05]    Matt Carter:  Okay.


[00:28:06]    Jon Vroman: And have you heard of these?


[00:28:07]     Matt Carter:   I haven’t actually.


[00:28:10]    Jon Vroman: And then what it does is it syncs with an app on your phone and you can monitor and track the sleep quality. And I’d love to get into that a little bit here with you too, because I’ve been paying attention to what things are causing, first of all, great night’s sleep or not a great night’s sleep.


[00:28:25]    Jon Vroman: And what this does is, and I know again those of you listening can’t see what I’m holding up, but I’m just going to show this to Matt here. So that gives you all these stats


[00:28:33]    Matt Carter:   Oh, right. I see.


[00:28:34]    Jon Vroman: and then you can,


[00:28:35]   Matt Carter:  Oh, wow.


[00:28:36]    Jon Vroman: Yeah, and it’s really cool. Like that’s actually my sleep cycle right there.

[00:28:40]    Matt Carter:  Oh Wow. That’s great.


[00:28:41]    Jon Vroman: So, like last night, here’s a great example. It is a real numbers, right. So I was in bed for eight hours. I slept for seven hours. My sleep efficiency was 85%, it said I had an hour and 47 minutes of deep sleep. I had 59 minutes of REM sleep and then shows my sleep stages. It gives me my resting heart rate, which was 44 beats a minute.


[00:29:01]    Matt Carter: Okay.


[00:29:02]    Jon Vroman: And then anyways, so it tells me all these things and so I’m getting to the question of, I’d love for you to talk for a moment about maybe quality of sleep because I have some interest in like REM and deep sleep and the difference between those two.


[00:29:14]    Jon Vroman: I think that the way I’ve summarized it, tell me if I’m right on this, is like deep is like healing for the body, REM is healing for the mind.


[00:29:20]    Matt Carter: Yeah. That’s the way I, I think about it. It’s not as simple as that in practice, but that I think actually, to be honest, that’s the way I think about it.


[00:29:29]    Jon Vroman: Yeah. Okay, cool. That’s how I’m kind of processing it. And then I started paying attention to like what’s affecting my sleep.


[00:29:35]     Matt Carter: Right.


[00:29:36]    Jon Vroman: I noticed that when I was binge watching Game of Thrones, and literally  see it on the trend on the tracker, that’s like your sleep quality wet through the floor. Right? It’s horrible. But when I listened to light relaxing music and do stretching on the floor and read a book before I go to bed, my sleep goes way, way up.


[00:29:52]    Matt Carter: Right.


[00:29:53]    Jon Vroman: Right. And I was always amazed by that.


[00:29:54]    Jon Vroman: And then other people, my buddy started wearing the rings and they were like, whoa. You know, I noticed that alcohol really hurts my sleep. I like that helps me go to sleep, but I sleep worse. So, when I was talking about, yeah, it helps you sleep, but I sleep worse.


[00:30:07]    Matt Carter: Right.


[00:30:08]    Jon Vroman: Other people were saying, and I think Ben Greenfield, who we just recently had on the show was talking about some CBD products, and he was saying that certain genetic profiles, the CBD oil will help you fall asleep. But for other people it actually hurts your sleep.


[00:30:21]    Matt Carter: Yeah. Right, right. No, it’s true.


[00:30:24]    Jon Vroman: So, let’s talk about for a moment about quality of sleep.


[00:30:27]    Matt Carter: Yeah.


[00:30:28]    Jon Vroman: What do you know about that?


[00:30:29]     Matt Carter: Yeah, no, this is one of those things, I guess when I was saying before, that there were certain things I learned that I would get angry about, that I didn’t, I, I wish that, like why was I never told this. Um, cause I had always been told you should get six to eight hours of sleep, you know? That, that was the sort of like from a hygiene point of view, and then when I say hygiene, I, you know, I, I’ve actually learned to think of sleep as, as hygiene. I’ve, I’ve learned, um, uh, you know, like if you want to take care of your teeth, you know how to brush your teeth, and you’re told how to floss and um, may use mouthwash and stuff, but I think hygiene is, it can apply to sleep as well. But yeah, here’s the metaphor is that, you know, if you did learn about oral hygiene, and you learned about brushing your teeth, and somebody said, oh, well you should brush your teeth for two minutes every day, and that’s all that you’d ever been told, then you can be brushing for two minutes every day, but you might be doing it really poorly.


[00:31:14]    Matt Carter: And, uh, you know, the quality of your brushing is, is, uh, matters just as much as how long the toothbrush is physically in your mouth and, um, quality of sleep, yeah. It’s just so funny that nobody ever talks about that other than what it even is. Um, so the way I think about sleep quality is, um, typically what happens is that, you just brought this up, there’s non-Rapid Eye Movement sleep and Rapid Eye Movement sleep, and a non-Rapid Eye Movement sleep usually, um, it can be defined into different stages, um, scientifically, but typically there’s, there’s light, non-REM sleep and, and deep non-REM sleep. And then, uh, Rapid Eye Movement sleep is sort of an altogether different sleep stage. When you first fall asleep at night, like if, if you, uh, let’s say you go to bed and you fall asleep at 11:00 PM, you’ll, you’ll go through a couple of periods of light non-REM sleep, um, that maybe last 15 minutes or 30 minutes, and then you’ll go into a really deep sleep.


[00:32:06]     Matt Carter: Um, and that’s still non-Rapid Eye Movement sleep. And, um, that might last your, your first cycle, it might last an hour, hour and a half, but then you’ll drift off into a Rapid Eye Movement sleep. And when you’re in Rapid Eye Movement sleep, um, typically the first cycle will last maybe 30 minutes or so. And it’s called Rapid Eye Movement sleep because your eyes dart back and forth. Uh, there’s, you know, a lot of movement between the eyes that happens. And that’s where it gets his name from. But then after Rapid Eye Movement sleep ends, you go right back into non-REM sleep and you’ll go back into sort of a light phase, a deep phase, and then back into REM sleep. And you’ll cycle through these phases, um, you know, maybe three or four times over overnight. And so how this refers to sleep quality is, um, like for example, when you just held up the app on your phone and you were able to trace the deep sleep versus REM sleep so you can see your sleep cycles.


[00:32:57]     Matt Carter: Like, wait, what I was looking at when you held that up just now, was I could see, yes, that ring is tracking you going into light sleep and yeah, and so sleep quality is basically your ability to go cycle through those natural cycles of sleep just very nicely and very progressively, and not to have them interrupted. And when someone has a really poor quality night of sleep, their sleep, actually, we call it Sleep Fragmentation, and what happens is that, um, the, the cycles become interrupted, they become much more fragmented, or you see a person going from one cycle to another much faster. Or actually, a lot of times people might even wake up, you know, it’s not that you’re just quickly going into REM sleep too fast, but you’re, you might wake up actually, and just like your, you can see in the, um, you know, like over a night of sleep, all these cycles are interrupted by, you’re constantly waking up.


[00:33:49]    Matt Carter: And, and actually one of the interesting thing, too, is you might not even know you’re waking up. You know, like you might, um, you know, have eight hours of sleep, and then not even know that you’ve broke up a few times. You know, and you don’t even know it until you look at one of these things, you know, or you’re somebody who watches you sleep. He sees that you’re kind of, every now and then you, uh, you might actually even open your eyes, you know, it’s just, just for a few seconds. And so you don’t remember it the next day. Um, in, in, uh, Sleep Science, we usually call these, uh, Micro Arousals. They’re just like very little, you know, brief periods where you’re awake but not to the degree which you might actually remember it, and you might not, not be conscious. And so the more micro arousals.


[00:34:26]    Jon Vroman: The guys out there listening are like, yeah, I’ve got a few micro arousals in my sleep. (laughing)


[00:34:32]     Matt Carter: Exactly. The word arousal carefully maybe. Yeah. You know, too. Yeah, no, exactly. Um, but yeah, the more of those that you have while you’re sleeping, the worst the quality of sleep you have. And what I mean by that is that, um, the worst intellectually you’ll be the next day, the less creative you’ll be, the less you’ll be able to do athletic performance. The, you know, the worst radio you’ll have the next day, pretty much anything you measure the next day is, is negatively correlated the more micro arousals you have, and the worse your sleep cycle is. And so then the big question then is, well, what can you do to influence your sleep bog, and get rid of this? And so the one thing is, uh, you know, not having carbohydrates, guys, the more carbohydrates you have, the more choppy your, your sleep will be. Um, anxiety plays a big role into this.


[00:35:18]    Matt Carter: And so, it actually turns out that the more stress you have in your life, the more choppy your sleep will be. It’s almost as if your brain is trying to remind you that your


[00:35:26]    Jon Vroman: Stuff is going on in your life.


[00:35:27]    Matt Carter:  Stuff is going on in your life. And yeah, exactly.


[00:35:29]    Jon Vroman: Don’t sleep too heavy.


[00:35:30]    Matt Carter: Right. It’s unfortunate. And then, you know, obviously stress is sometimes difficult to manage, especially if you’ve got something really stressful in your life.


[00:35:37]   Jon Vroman: Don’t watch Game of Thrones.


[00:35:39]    Matt Carter: Yeah, exactly. Yeah. Game of Thrones. If you’re a student, you know, and you’re really worried about upcoming exams, you know, or if you’re working on a big project at work, you know, that kind of stress, the daily stress can impact your sleep. And actually another big thing that can impact your, um, the quality of your sleep. And you know, this goes back to Game of Thrones, too, is um, there’s a neurochemical, probably a lot of people have heard about Dopamine.


[00:36:03]    Matt Carter: Dopamine is, a lot of times people think of it as a pleasure chemical because it’s the chemical in your brain that gets released when you are doing something pleasurable, whether it’s, uh, you know, you have a piece of cake or you know, obviously, Dopamine is, it’s very heavily implicated in drugs of abuse. You know, people who have a cocaine, or at pretty much every drug of abuse on every single one, but lots of them impact your Dopamine system. But what Dopamine is actually doing is it’s actually regulating your interest in something. It’s not just that it’s giving you pleasure or reward, it’s that it’s actually making you motivated to seek something, um, or to like to keep seeking chocolate cake or, or cocaine, or sex, or you know, something that’s, that’s pleasurable to you. Um, but this is where game of Thrones comes in.


[00:36:47]    Matt Carter: Is that even something like Game of Thrones or, um, you know, even if you’re, um, if you’re holding a phone, let’s say, and uh, you know, like if you go to the YouTube app or the Facebook app, uh, you see what you’re looking at., but then all of a sudden you can take your finger and you can just see an infinite number of videos sign up. If you liked this video, you might like this, you know, an infinite number of these other videos. Or if you look at what one of your friends is doing on Facebook, and then you just keep going like this with your thumb and swiping upwards. And you see, you know that there’s an unlimited number of Facebook posts , and it turns out every time you take your finger and you swipe upwards, you’re getting a little burst of Dopamine, and Dopamine has very well been shown to disrupt sleep.


[00:37:27]    Matt Carter: It’s, it’s, it’s flowing. So the Game of Thrones, uh, you know, binge watching. I mean, my guess is what that’s doing is, especially, you know, if you sit there and you’re, you know, it’s getting to be one or two in the morning, and you’re binge watching something, or if your phone is the last thing you’re looking at before you go to sleep, and you’re holding it and you, um, you know, you’re swiping upwards all the time, then you’re not only are you keeping yourself awake because you’re shining a bright light in your eye and you’re not, you know, getting yourself ready to sleep, but you’re also keeping yourself awake because your attention is, um, you know, being, uh, um, drawn in and you’re getting more and more Dopamine, which is keeping you awake. And it’s the kind of thing that even when you do fall asleep that Dopamine is still able to disrupt your, and fragment, your sleep quality.


[00:38:10]   Jon Vroman: Do you have thoughts on the, uh, the glasses that block the blue light?


[00:38:14]    Matt Carter: Yeah, it’s a, I’ve heard of these products, and actually  not only the glasses that block blue light, I should actually just back up a step and say like, it is it, the blue light is the light that has specifically been shown to, um, it interferes with your circadian rhythm system. The more blue light that’s hitting your eyeball is basically informing your brain that, um, essentially that it’s daytime even when it’s


[00:38:37]    Jon Vroman: Go to bed state. Right?


[00:38:38]    Matt Carter: Yeah, exactly.


[00:38:40]    Jon Vroman: It’s like a primal part there too. That’s like


[00:38:42]    Matt Carter: It’s evolutionary for sure, for sure. Just a funny thing to think about, but, um, you know, the light bulb has only been around for less than two centuries. And so we obviously, you know, mankind during evolution, domesticated fire. And so, it’s not like we only depended on the Sun for light, but when you think about an, even a campfire is not, it’s not like your whole visual world is lit up.


[00:39:05]    Matt Carter: Like if you’re saying so, you know, for maybe a few hundred years we had candles and I mean, I don’t know the history of know ancient times, but before the light bulb relaxed the ability to really flood our visual scene with light at night. And nowadays, not only do we have light bulbs, but we have tablets and computers and a phone blasting the light in eyes, and specifically it’s been shown, it’s the blue light. And so, the iPhone now and I think, uh, I have an iPhone, I don’t have an android phone, but I think they do the same thing as they actually have.


[00:39:36]    Jon Vroman: They do have night time feature?


[00:39:37]    Matt Carter: Yeah, exactly. Night shift.


[00:39:39]    Jon Vroman: I think it’s a good strategy where, I don’t do this, but I’ve heard people do this that they have, there’s certain lights, like a lamp, certain lamps in their houses that are using the softer lights, not so much of the blue light.


[00:39:52]    Jon Vroman:  And what they’ll do is that as evening time rolls around, they’ll start to only use those versus all the lights in their house.


[00:39:58]    Matt Carter: Yeah.


[00:39:58]    Jon Vroman:  One of the things that I’ve noticed personally that works for me, and there’s a great hack by the way, for all the dads out there trying to put their kids to bed. I just find that starting to turn off lights. So what I’ll start to do is if I want my kids to go to bed at eight, I’ll just start walking around and start turning off lights. So absolutely by the time it gets closer to their bedtime, there’s only one or two lights on in the whole house.


[00:40:17]    Matt Carter: Right.


[00:40:17]    Jon Vroman:  Just the whole environment says to their brain, I don’t have to say it verbally, I don’t say we have to get ready for bed. It’s like, it’s all the cues, the environmental cues that are saying your body needs to, because I’m not speaking to them intellectually.


[00:40:30]    Jon Vroman: I’m speaking to their internal, right?


[00:40:33]    Matt Carter: Exactly. No, that’s exactly right. They’re hardwired.


[00:40:36]    Jon Vroman: They’re hardwired.


[00:40:37]    Matt Carter: That’s exactly what they’re really doing, that if you take it to the next degree of sophistication is the, um, the brain produces this hormone called Melatonin, Melatonin promotes sleep and the more blue light that hits your eyes, the more that inhibits Melatonin.


[00:40:53]    Jon Vroman: There you go. Can I ask you about supplementation, does that work?


[00:40:57]     Matt Carter: It does for some people. It does for a lot of people, especially in conditions of jet lag. So I think, um, yeah, Melatonin is very safe. You know, you can get it over the counter, you can get into the, you know, your drug store or your grocery store and it’s very safe. Uh, if you take the right dose, you know, but a lot of people find it works. There’s so, a lot of people who say that it doesn’t work for them or there’s some people that say it doesn’t work unless they’re jet lagged.


[00:41:21]    Matt Carter: And so it’s one of those things where you know, a lot of things work for some people but not other people, and you just kind of just got to figure out what works best for you. But, um, Melatonin over-the-counter works, works really well. But I just personally find that exactly like what you said, dimming, dimming  the lights at night for my kids and for myself is really good. So when I do read at night, I don’t read under, um, the, you know, with all the lights on, [inaudible] the bed, you know, the lamp light is much [inaudible] in things. And by the way, the opposite is also true. Like what do you do when you wake your kids up in the morning? Like probably the best thing you can do is to open the curtains.


[00:41:57]    Jon Vroman: Yeah, yeah.


[00:41:57]    Matt Carter: [inaudible] And that’s what I do myself, too.


[00:41:58]     Matt Carter: It’s like if I’m really groggy in the morning, I don’t want to wake up, one of the best things you can do to like, again, like intellectually, you know, you need to wake up. It’s not like you’re convince yourself to wake up and your, your body doesn’t want to do it. And so if you opened up the shades and let it in a ton of light.

[00:42:13]     Jon Vroman: So true. Yeah.


[00:42:14]    Matt Carter: The best things you can do. Yeah.


[00:42:16]     Jon Vroman: Two final questions and then I know we’re a, we’ve got to wrap up here, but two final questions and then you can have the final words. Any if you want to say or to ask about.


[00:42:24]     Matt Carter: Yeah.


[00:42:24]    Jon Vroman: Lets go with your genetic profile versus like your habits, so how much of somebody’s ability to sleep or how much sleep they need, has to do with the choices they make, their diet, right.


[00:42:35]    Jon Vroman: All that, versus just your body. You were born to sleep six hours, they were born to sleep hours, whatever it might be. Do you know how much is nature versus nurture?


[00:42:48]    Matt Carter: Right. It’s a great question. I think the two things where people show their greatest variability is, you hit the nail on the head, is that some people are very lucky and they don’t need to sleep more than five or six hours a night.


[00:42:59]    Jon Vroman: I wish I was that person.


[00:43:00]    Matt Carter: Yeah, I wish, I really wish I was that person.  I turned out not to. You know, usually what people hear is they see somewhere in their life they’ve heard that you should get six to eight hours of sleep a night, and so they say great. Six, (laughing) thinking, okay.


[00:43:14]    Jon Vroman: Yeah, I’ve read those studies.


[00:43:15]    Matt Carter: Right, right, yeah. But I mean just it’s, it’s an inverted you, you know, if you ask, okay, well how much sleep do you need to get each night? You know, like what is the best night for you? If you measure this in thousands of people, most people need about seven hours of sleep per night, and then six to eight is sort of a good window. It’s like if you get six to eight, that’s probably good. But there there’s some lucky people who it’s really, you know, five or six, and there are some unlucky people where it’s even more than eight. Like maybe they need eight or nine. And obviously this changes on over the course of your life, too. You know, infants, you know, we have a one-month-old daughter, she sleeps all the time that said, you know, she needs to sleep 22 hours a day out of her 24 hours.


[00:43:51]    Matt Carter: And younger kids need to sleep a lot longer. But there really are people who need various levels of sleep, and the way to find out how much sleep you need. You know, cause it’s not like we, we come with instruction manuals about how much we each need. They’re the way to figure this out, which is actually, it’s a little tedious. But if you ever get a chance in your life to not set an alarm, if you.


[00:44:11]    Jon Vroman: When you wake up, right.


[00:44:13]    Matt Carter: It’s just basically measuring. If you’re sleep deprived, maybe the first night you’ll sleep 10 hours and then the next night you’ll sleep nine and a half and nine, and you’ll slowly start to decrease. And then suddenly you’ll realize, oh, I’m sleeping seven hours every single night.


[00:44:26]    Jon Vroman: Yeah.


[00:44:26]    Matt Carter: That’s for you is your golden ever. So those people will, whenever you are, you’re hardwired for that, your genetics say you need to get six hours of sleep or you need to get eight hours of sleep.


[00:44:35]    Matt Carter: And it’s actually, it’s really impossible to change that. There’s nothing you can do to say, you know, boy, I wish I could turn into one of these four-hour a night people or five-hour night uh, you just gotta do it. So you just got to listen to your body, and you just got to adapt to it. But then the other area where genetics comes in, and sometimes people think this is a myth, but it’s really not as is, um, night people versus morning people. People think that that’s not very scientific, but it’s absolutely true is that there are some people who are really hardwired to be alert and


[00:45:05]   Jon Vroman: That’s my wife.


[00:45:05]    Matt Carter: Right, yeah. I gotcha. Yeah. And then the opposite is true too. There, there are people who naturally wake up earlier in the morning. Is that you? Is that like you’re the morning person [inaudible] like. Okay great, yeah.


[00:45:14]    Jon Vroman:  [inaudible] My son ocean is like the early riser, he just started fires less sleep.


[00:45:19]    Jon Vroman: He wakes up on his own, never with an alarm. And Tiger and Tatyana are identical.


[00:45:22]    Matt Carter: Yeah. I see. Yeah that’s [inaudible]  really funny.


[00:45:26]     Jon Vroman: Don’t talk with them for the first hour of the day. (laughing)


[00:45:29]    Matt Carter: Yeah, yeah. [inaudible]  No, that’s, that’s, funny yeah. My family is a mix of people in it, too. It’s a, which is interesting because it is genetic, but I guess you notice like depending on the mom and the dad, you know, or know wherever it comes from, but that’s really hardwired, too. And so, it’s not a, uh, unscientific to call people morning people and night people.


[00:45:45]    Jon Vroman: Yeah, yeah.


[00:45:46]    Matt Carter: They really are. So I think, um, what you just have to do is sort of a, um, embrace it. You can change. And so like actually, because you know, like people who are more of a night person, if you know, you have to get your kids ready for school, and you’re like, well shoot, now I have to wake up at 6:00 AM because I’ve gotta make their lunches and I gotta do it.


[00:46:02]    Matt Carter: You can adjust it. It’s not like

[00:46:04]    Jon Vroman:  Makes sense.


[00:46:05]    Matt Carter:  you’re always, you know, you that you can’t do it, but you know, there’s this unfortunate thing for night people that they’re lazy or that they’re, um, you know, if they naturally don’t want to wake up until nine or 10, and they stay up late, that you sort of a sense that they’re undisciplined people and that they, you know, just want to sleep in and that they’re not, they don’t, they don’t have good time management to stay up at night.


[00:46:24]    Jon Vroman: I have a lot more empathy for my wife after you said all this.


[00:46:28]   Matt Carter: Yeah, (laughing) that’s true.


[00:46:28]   Jon Vroman: I know this this is gonna save my marriage.


[00:46:31]    Matt Carter: Yeah, well the students at Williams, you know, it’s just, I, I’ve, you know, meet students from all walks of life and um, some people, but you know, the, the Williams Library is open until three in the morning and there, there are some students who deliberately sign up for classes that start very late in the day.


[00:46:46]    Matt Carter: Sometimes they’re labeled as the , uh, you know, people will say, why can’t you just do what you in the day? But


[00:46:53]    Jon Vroman: Yeah, yeah. They know themselves!


[00:46:46]    Matt Carter: They know themselves and they function best. Yeah. You know, it’s, um, yeah. So there’s truth in that but you can mold it. Yeah.


[00:47:00]    Jon Vroman: Last easy question, and if you can even give this in one word, if you want, is temperature, is there an ideal temperature?


[00:47:06]    Matt Carter: A little bit cool. I guess that that would be the short version is that if you had a choice between being a little bit cool when you’re falling asleep and a little bit warm.


[00:47:15]    Jon Vroman: I’ve heard 65 to 70.


[00:47:17]    Matt Carter: Yeah. Okay. No, that sounds great. I would call that [inaudible]. I definitely wouldn’t say cold, like going to bed cold would be, you know, disrupt going to bed


[00:47:25]    Jon Vroman: Do we sleep differently with temperatures, is that one of your variables?


[00:47:29]    Matt Carter: Yeah, it is. We don’t do this in my lab but that’s definitely true is that if you change the temperature there are optimal temperatures for every animal. Actually, every animal has their own optimal temperature and yeah, you want to be warm, but you don’t want to be too warm and uh


[00:47:45]    Jon Vroman:  The animal that sleeps next to me likes it super warm. I like it. Cool. What we’re looking at these chili pads that you put underneath your bed, so (inaudible).


00:47:45]    Matt Carter: Oh Yeah. Yeah.


[00:47:55]    Jon Vroman:  There’s always a conversation about EMS and visited myth EMS and so we’re having this like heavy debate.


[00:48:01]    Matt Carter: Right, right.


[00:48:02]    Jon Vroman:  On-going temperature debate.


[00:48:04]    Matt Carter: Right. I see one of the best things that I ever found out and my son loves this. I like it too, but my son really likes it. It’s something called a Chillo. It’s just like a little pad you put in your pillow and it keeps the pillow cold. And I love this thing because my face just gets so warm when I’m lying down. And this thing just will cool it down, and I’ll just fall asleep so much faster with the thing. My son loves it.


[00:48:24]   Jon Vroman:  Oh, the Chillo.


[00:48:25]    Matt Carter:  Yeah. It’s not an electric at all, all it is is a very, very thin pad that’s filled with water. You know? The water doesn’t change temperature very easily, and so when you’re lying on this thing, you’re lying on this little sheet of water, but you don’t, you don’t ever feel the water. It doesn’t feel like you’re like the water (inaudible).


[00:48:42]    Jon Vroman:  You wake up in the middle of the night, and it’s boiling. (laughter)


[00:48:43]    Matt Carter: Yeah, yeah, yeah, (laughing) exactly right. I was afraid of it leaking, but yeah.


[00:48:48]    Jon Vroman:  Hey Matt, I know you’ve got, we’ve got to let you go here in a moment, but you can have the final words. Is there anything that we didn’t get to today that you feel would be critical for these men to hear? We know that we’re talking about all this, guys, because we know this affects your ability to be in a great relationship with your spouse. We know these things are important to managing your emotions with your kids, and also your kids’ emotions. Like a lot of times we’re angry at our kids because they’re misbehaving, and what we’re failing to see is that maybe their sleep schedule is off. We just had this conversation today about, you know, summertime with our kids, that they’re staying up later. There’s holidays, they’re eating more candy, their sleep schedule’s off. Then their attitude’s off and before you start like, okay, crushing them with discipline because they seem to be a little bit crazy, we’re going to take a note that you know, hey, when their sleep schedule’s off, when they’re not sleeping as well as normal per se, or they’re eating the sugars, and carbohydrates late at night because they’re bingeing on July 4th right, and then we’re sending them straight to bed. Don’t be shocked if July 5th right? We’ve got some number 26th or whatever they act like lunatics.


[00:49:49]    Matt Carter: Yeah, that’s exactly right. Yeah. If there’s anything I would end on, it’s maybe the way I started that TED Talk, you know what I mean? If you came into a new community, and every single person was smoking, you would say, okay, this community has some sort of unhealthy smoking habit. And if you came to a community, and everyone was constantly eating junk food and they all looked overweight, you would say, well, they have a bad relationship with food, and everybody seems to be obese and it would be out kind of, you know, you’d have to fight against that peer pressure. Um, and same with, you know, like, alcohol, you know, if everyone around you was drinking, then you’d say, well, I’m surrounded by a bunch of people who I, you know, they, you just have to carve your own healthy path. But the funny thing is that I’m at a college, and most colleges and most workplaces, you know, they just, it’s the funniest thing is you see people who are sleep deprived and you don’t have the same reaction to it.


[00:50:34]   Matt Carter: You know, you don’t react to it the same way as if everyone was smoking or everyone was eating junk food all the time. And it’s just as bad. Just, just for the reasons you’re saying it’s not healthy, it’s bad for your, um, your mood. It’s bad for your ability to think creatively. It’s bad for your ability to go to the gym and lift weights. You know, there’s so many things we, boy, I mean we, I can talk for hours about sleep, but you’re like, one of the things that happens when you’re sleeping is that’s when most of your growth hormone is released. And so it’s a, so I would just say, yeah, the, the number one thing that I hope people would know is it’s just as important as all those other healthy habits, even though, ironically, we seem to celebrate a lack of sleep, you know?

[00:51:11]    Jon Vroman:  Yeah. Exactly. Right.


[00:51:12]    Matt Carter: Yeah, it’s a great thing to talk about.


[00:51:16]    Jon Vroman: Matt. I’m so grateful for you, man. Uh, thanks for taking the time. We really appreciate you. If people wanted to go watch the TED Talk, what would they search for?


[00:51:22]   Matt Carter: Sure, they can search my name, Matt Carter, TEDx sleep. And I think that that would take them straight


[00:51:27]    Jon Vroman: For sure. And if they want to reach out, is there a way that they might be able to say thanks for this episode or


[00:51:31]   Matt Carter: Yeah, thanks so much! If they wanted to reach out, they can definitely feel free to send me an email. Even my, my email is a or if that’s hard to remember, just go to the Williams Biology Department and Webpage, and find my name, Matt Carter, and I’d be happy to keep in touch with people over email.


[00:51:49]   Jon Vroman: That’s awesome. Well, Matt, thank you so much, man. This is really important. This has been such a passion of mine recently. We’ve been talking a lot about it in the Front Row Dad Brotherhood, in our community and I just think it’s so important, man. It’s so important for the health, the long-term health of our men in this community so that they can function at the highest possible level. I used to think of sleep as a thing that took me away from being productive. Now, I see it as like one of the most important tools for being productive in my life.


[00:52:16]   Matt Carter: Absolutely. Absolutely.


[00:52:16]   Jon Vroman: What you just said about even like the growth hormone being released in our bodies. That’s when our bodies build, and it’s just such an important piece. Like I thought about all my building happening during the day, and now I think about so much of my building happening at night, when my body is repairing itself and building stronger neural connections, and my muscles are building because they’re resting. Okay, so rest and digest versus fight and flight. You know, I might fight and flight during the day, but when it comes to night, I’ve got to rest and digest, so this is so critical, man. Thank you so much man. I look forward to continuing our friendship.


[00:52:48]   Matt Carter: Yeah, definitely. My pleasure. Thanks.


[00:52:50]   Jon Vroman: All right, buddy.


[00:52:50]    Matt Carter: Cool. Thanks so much!


[00:52:53]    Jon Vroman: Hey, guys, if you haven’t already done so, go right now to and join the conversation that’s happening right now online. We designed this group for guys who are entrepreneurial in their thinking, they are high performing guys with low egos. We’re looking for the dads that believe in teaching their kids how to think, solve problems, and be real leaders. We’re looking for guys who believe in being family men with businesses, not business men with families. We’re looking for the fathers who have great knowledge but also believe that they have so much more to learn, and we’re looking for men who want to add value by sharing their wisdom and those that are willing to ask the questions that we all need and want answers to. That’s or simply go to Facebook, type in Front Row Dads and you’ll get to our group and what we put in there links to all the podcasts and videos and other resources that you can’t get access to anywhere else except for in this group. We want to give you the best ideas to help you with your marriage, balancing work and family life communication strategies with your spouse and also your children, travel ideas and even suggestions on the latest gear that would save you time and help you be more effective. We’ve got updates on upcoming events and so much more. Go right now to and join the conversation. I look forward to connecting with you there.


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