The Matt Walker Podcast

#26: Insomnia - Part 1

July 18, 2022 Dr. Matt Walker Episode 26
The Matt Walker Podcast
#26: Insomnia - Part 1
Show Notes

Today’s episode is the first in a 7-part series on insomnia. Matt starts with a calming reality—insomnia isn’t a single bad night or a string of bad nights of sleep. In the US, epidemiological studies have suggested that insomnia disorder is as prevalent as the obesity epidemic: around 10-15% of the population suffer from clinical-grade insomnia, making it the most common sleep disorder. Indeed, one out of every two people will experience insomnia during their lifetime. It is therefore very likely that you or someone close to you is suffering from insomnia.

But what is insomnia? There are perhaps different “flavors” of insomnia, although it depends on the clinical criteria used by different countries. One useful way scientists and doctors have thought about it is on the basis of three different features: 1) sleep-onset insomnia, 2) sleep-maintenance insomnia, and 3) non-restorative sleep. These features are not mutually exclusive.

Clinicians often use the 30/30/3 “rule of thumb” to first distinguish the possibility of insomnia. The 30/30/3 rule means the following: 1) it takes you at least 30 minutes to fall asleep,  or 2) 30 minutes go fall back to sleep after waking during the night, and 3) that this is  happening consistently at least 3 nights a week.

Insomnia is *not* sleep deprivation. Sleep deprivation is  defined as having the sufficient ability to generate sleep, but insufficient opportunity to get it. Insomnia is the opposite of this. Insomnia is the insufficient ability to generate good quality or quantity of sleep, despite having sufficient opportunity time to sleep.

Finally, Matt points out that insomnia can be a standalone condition, or a secondary symptom of something else, for example, chronic back pain.

Please note that Matt is not a medical doctor, and none of the content in this podcast should be considered medical advice in any way, shape, or form, nor prescriptive in any way.

One of the sponsors of the episode today is a long-time one, our good friends at the athletic clothing company, Vuori. They, too, have a special deal for you all where you can get 20% off your purchase when you visit Vuori produces really good, high quality clothing, and they offset their carbon footprint 100%, both of which, of course, mean a great deal to me. So, if you like athletic clothing, and you wish to help the planet out, then check them out at and get 20% off your purchase. 

Another sponsor of today's podcast is the biochemical electrolyte drink company LMNT, and they are very kindly offering eight free sample packs when you purchase any one of their orders at LMNT is an electrolyte sports drink that I can fully get behind - it's created from the basis of science, and it has no sugar, no coloring, and no artificial ingredients – all qualities that are so important to maintaining your blood biochemical balance. So, if you want to give LMNT a try, just head on over to and get your eight free samples with your first purchase. 

 And, as always, if you have thoughts or feedback you’d like to share, please reach out to Matt on Instagram.