The Reis Release #7

What I’m doing…

The Science of Well-Being from Yale University (on Coursera)

Professor Laurie Santos pivoted her esteemed career as a cognitive psychologist studying monkeys to address alarming statics of depression and unhappiness on American college campuses. She created Yale’s most popular class in the university’s 300+ year history with 1,200 students enrolled. With all the buzz around this week’s Powerball, I’ll share some studies she cites. In the US in 2015, the US lottery spend was 70bn which is more than people spend combined on books, music, movie tickets, sports teams, and video games combined. Yet according to a study (and many others) from Daniel Kahneman and Angus Deaton (economists who won the Nobel Prize), happiness does not increase once your income is above $75,000. Along these lines, people who win the lottery and those in severe accidents which require amputating limbs, after a short period, see happiness levels revert to their prior levels.

What I’m listening to…

Sleep Expert and Neuroscientist Dr. Matthew Walker (on the Joe Rogan Experience Podcast)

Firstly, why do British people sound so much smarter? Anyway, Matthew Walker really appears smart. He is a Professor of Neuroscience and Psychology at Berkley, founder of the Center for Human Sleep Science, and author of the bestseller Why We Sleep. On this podcast he delves into the mysterious science of sleep providing tips and citing studies. He goes as far as saying, “sleep is the greatest legal performance enhancing drug that most people are probably neglecting” and for those of you who think you don’t need sleep, that’s unlikely (less than 0.5% of the population have a gene which allows them to function on 5 hours of sleep). He highlights that one hour of iPhone use will delay the onset of melatonin production by about 3 hours and that drowsy driving kills more people on the roads than alcohol or drugs combined. And sorry, according to Walker unless you are an older individual, it’s unlikely melatonin supplements help you sleep but they could be useful traveling. Also, under slept employees take on fewer work challenges and end up taking the simpler work rather than creative/deeper project work. Ahead of the upcoming daylight savings, be aware: during daylight savings time, in the spring, when we lose an hour of sleep, we see a 24% increase in heart attacks and in the fall, when we gain an hour of sleep, there’s a 21% decrease in heart attacks

What I’m pondering…

Continuing the importance of sleep, one point I didn’t include above, which is likely obvious, but the quality of sleep is degraded by alcohol consumption. I’ve been more mindful of this and came across a startup, Dry Farm Wines which claims (please do your own research if you are over 21) “you can enjoy the richness of the evening without the headaches, hangovers, or poor sleep”. There are aspects I’m skeptical of but I found points in the interview with the founder on the Human Optimization Podcast thought provoking. For example, there’s been a massive corporate consolidation in the wine industry (52% of all wines in the US are made by the top three companies), there are 76 additives approved by the FDA that can be used in wine (i.e. it’s not just natural grapes you drink), and contents are not required to be labeled on the bottle unlike merely all other food products. Dry Farms Wines seeks honest and natural wine from family farms and they do their own lab testing on the products they distribute (e.g. to ensure they are sugar free). Anyone want to do some tasting? Is this a nascent trend that will disrupt the wine industry just like we’ve seen in the food and beverage industry with more natural products?

Quote I enjoyed…

In theme (contrast?) with the above…”If you want your dreams to come true, don’t over sleep.” ~ Yiddish Proverb

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