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BREAKING: MasterClass Announces NEW Class on Science of Sleep by Neuroscientist & Sleep Expert Matthew Walker – Available NOW

OK, usually our posts are on 6-month delay. Sometimes they get bumped a couple times and don’t appear until more than a year after I’ve written them. Other times I write something topical and I’ll schedule it for sometime during the next few days.

But this one is different. It’s NEW and it’s NOW and it’s URGENT. Actually it came in at 9:10 this morning but I never check my email before 4, so I’m worried that I’m already too late. You might have already missed this AMAZING OPPORTUNITY. But, just in case any of the LAST SPOTS remain, I thought I’d pass this one on to all of you lucky subscribers.

MasterClass Announces Class on the Science of Better Sleep

Neuroscientist and sleep expert Matthew Walker teaches how to increase the quality and quantity of sleep

Credit: Courtesy of MasterClass

SAN FRANCISCO, DEC. 22, 2020 — MasterClass, the streaming platform where anyone can learn from the world’s best across a wide range of subjects, today announced a class on the science of better sleep, led by sleep expert Matthew Walker. As a professor of neuroscience and psychology at the University of California, Berkeley . . .

Yeah, I think I heard something about that, something about their research misconduct policy, maybe?

. . . and director of the Center for Human Sleep Science, Walker pulls from more than 20 years of research to share the science behind sleep and its impact on physical, mental and emotional health. Walker’s class is now available exclusively on MasterClass, where subscribers get unlimited access to all 100+ instructors with an annual membership.

“Sleep has never come harder for folks around the world,” said David Rogier, founder and CEO of MasterClass. “In his MasterClass, Matthew desconstructs how sleep impacts almost everything we do and how to find more of it. There has never been a more important time for this class.”

I dunno, is 9:10am really the most important time for this class? I think 9:10pm would be a little bit better . . .

In his MasterClass, Walker will dive into the science of sleep . . .

Diving into the science . . . that’s a real step forward! It’s good to hear that he’s moved beyond the misrepresenting data stage of his career.

. . . providing tools and insightful tips to help members fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer. He’ll break down the scientific explanations . . .

“Break down the scientific explanations,” huh? Yeah, I guess that’s one way to put it!

. . . behind the stages of sleep and how different parts of the brain are hard at work during sleep. He’ll also explain how sleep plays a vital role in sparking our memory, creativity and ability to learn, as well as the impact of alcohol and caffeine on sleep, how to prevent sleep debt and how quality sleep can help prevent cancer and Alzheimer’s disease. Members will leave this class motivated to optimize their sleep using the knowledge and tips they’ve learned.

“Put simply, sleep is the elixir of life and the Swiss Army knife of health,” Walker said.

To read my comment on this one, you’ll have to scroll down to the end of this post.

“My MasterClass will consolidate decades of scientific research and my devotion to this topic into a comprehensive look at the science behind sleep. As a result, the class will offer the necessary guidance to help you understand what your brain and body are doing while you’re sleeping, and how to improve your own sleep.”

Hailing from Liverpool, England . . .

He’s kinda like the Beatles, except that instead of writing and performing a couple hundred classic songs, he wrote a book that was riddled with scientific and factual errors!

Walker earned his degree in neuroscience from the University of Nottingham . . .

OK, to be fair, none of the Beatles received degrees in neuroscience. Ummmm, was there such a thing as a neuroscience degree back then?

. . . and his Ph.D. in neurophysiology from the Medical Research Council in London . . .

No, he didn’t. He actually got it from the University of Newcastle upon Tyne. I don’t know why he didn’t just say this. To an American like me, “the University of Newcastle upon Tyne” has a real Merrie Olde England sound to it and fits in well with the Robin Hood theme. “The Medical Research Council” sounds like some gray office building somewhere, much less cool.

This is one place where I think he would’ve served his case better by just telling the truth. I guess once you get in the habit of misrepresenting data, it’s hard to stop.

. . . before becoming a professor of psychiatry at Harvard University.

Harvard Medical School . . . isn’t that where that Surgisphere-connected guy was? But, hey, now I’m just being unfair. Talk about guilt by association. Just cos this guy taught at Harvard for awhile, it doesn’t mean that he misrepresented research, right? Harvard does have some profs who stay on the straight and narrow, I’ve heard.

Currently, he is a professor of neuroscience and psychology at the University of California, Berkeley . . .

Hey, you guys told us that already! See many paragraphs above. Jeez this post is getting long.

. . . and the director of the Center for Human Sleep Science . . .

You told us that already too!

. . . which investigates the role of sleep in human health and disease by using brain imaging methods (MRI, PET scanning), high-density sleep EEG recordings, genomics, proteomics, autonomic physiology, brain stimulation and cognitive testing.

All that fancy data and the guy can’t reproduce a simple bar chart. Really makes you wonder what’s going on. Personally, I wouldn’t let this guy near any MRI machines. I wouldn’t even trust him with a kitchen scale or a yardstick.

Widely regarded as the world’s most famous sleep expert . . .

Can’t argue with that one!

. . . Walker has published more than 100 scientific research studies examining the impact of sleep on human brain function in healthy and diseased populations. He has received numerous funding awards from the National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health . . .

Your tax dollars at work.

. . . and is a Kavli Fellow of the National Academy of Sciences and was recently awarded the prestigious Carl Sagan Price for Science Popularization.

Maybe the Marc Hauser Prize would’ve been more appropriate?

. . . In 2017, he published the critically acclaimed New York Times bestseller Why We Sleep: Unlocking the Power of Sleep and Dreams, which provides a complete description of, and prescription for, sleep. It answers critical questions, such as how do caffeine and alcohol affect sleep, what happens during dreaming, why sleep patterns decline across a lifetime, how sleep contributes to Alzheimer’s disease, cardiovascular disease, cancer and obesity, and whether sleep pills do long-term damage, and how we can enhance our sleep

I guess this is all literally correct. You can “answer” a question without providing a correct answer.

Embed & view the trailer here:

Download stills here:
Credit: Courtesy of MasterClass

Launched in 2015, MasterClass is the streaming platform where anyone can learn from the world’s best. With an annual membership, subscribers get unlimited access to 100+ instructors and classes across a wide range of subjects, including Arts & Entertainment, Business, Design & Style, Sports & Gaming, Writing and more. Step into Anna Wintour’s office, Ron Finley’s garden and Neil Gaiman’s writing retreat. Get inspired by RuPaul, perfect your pitch with Shonda Rhimes, and discover your inner negotiator with Chris Voss. Each class features about 20 video lessons, at an average of 10 minutes per lesson. You can learn on your own terms—in bite-size pieces or in a single binge. Cinematic visuals and close-up, hands-on demonstrations make you feel like you’re one-on-one with the instructors, while the downloadable instructor guides help reinforce your learning. Stream thousands of lessons anywhere, anytime, on mobile, tablet, desktop, Apple TV®, Android™ TV, Amazon Fire TV® and Roku® players and devices.

Follow MasterClass:
Twitter @masterclass
Instagram @masterclass
Facebook @masterclassofficial

Follow Matthew Walker:
Twitter @sleepdiplomat
This message contains information which may be confidential and privileged.

I wonder what part of the message may be confidential and privileged. The bit about RuPaul?

Unless you are the intended recipient (or authorized to receive this message for the intended recipient), you may not use, copy, disseminate or disclose to anyone the message or any information contained in the message.

That’s ok, I’m pretty sure I’m the intended recipient. Or maybe they meant to send it to Alexey Guzey but it reached me by mistake?

If you have received the message in error, please advise the sender by reply e-mail, and delete the message. Thank you very much.

This is what happens in a world where journalism is in decline and public relations is booming.

That slogan

The thing I’m really wondering about, though, is where he came up with that slogan, “the elixir of life and the Swiss Army knife of health.” Dude’s wasted at the University of California. He should be working full time at an ad agency. Don Draper, step aside. A new copywriter is in town.


  1. Llewelyn Ward says:

    Meanwhile, those of us who do this for an actual living and don’t have time for grandiose self promotion… perhaps he tested his theories on the sleep deprived rats. The Norwegian rat perhaps would like a Swiss Army knife of health… Merry Christmas and may the elixir of life bless you all in quality and duration.

  2. Jeff says:

    If you want to break into the elixir of life, you could do worse than the bottle opener on the Swiss Army knife of health.

  3. Mark Palko says:

    In general, MasterClass always felt a bit like a 21st century Famous Writers School.

  4. Adede says:

    Don Draper wasn’t a copywriter. He was the creative director. Totally different.

  5. Navigator says:

    I have a genuine question (mostly based on reading the other posts on Walker some time ago):

    All misrepresented research aside, do any of you really think that sleep deprivation and cognitive decline, including all the other ills, are not connected and only in one direction?

    Neuroscience (reductionistic, bottom-up) has been around for a while. It is cognitive neuroscience (holistic top-down) that is rather newish. Sleep science and sleep research deal with some pretty hard physiological measurements, not likert scale program evaluation or personality psychology questionnaire nonsense.

    While there is uncertainty embedded in everything and every measurement, the direction is pretty clear when it comes to sleep. Evolution got rid of everything it could to make things optimal and efficient, but somehow, didn’t eliminate sleep when any species is very vulnerable.

    I believe there is a lot more obvious nonsense out there to pick apart.

    Just my 1/5 of a dime.

    • Andrew says:


      Alexey Guzey discussed this issue in his long post on Walker’s book. Here are some quick answers:

      1. You talk about “sleep deprivation” and “eliminating sleep,” but that’s much different from, say, sleeping 6 hours a night.

      2. It may be reasonable to believe that sleeping 6 hours a night is bad for some people, but there’s a big difference between a reasonable belief and scientific knowledge.

      3. Walker is claiming scientific knowledge. If he to just say that he cares a lot about sleep and he has credentials (not a degree from the Medical Research Council but whatever) and he’s read a lot and he has the personal belief that 6 hours of sleep is not enough, that would be fine. I’m not mad at Walker for promoting sleep, I’m mad at him for misrepresenting the science. You might be right that “the direction is pretty clear”; in that case, Walker could just state his opinions and not claim that he’s backed up be the science. That misrepresented graph is a funny story because, even if the graph had been accurately conveyed, it represents essentially no information. There’s no there there.

      4. Yes, there’s more obvious nonsense out there. I only heard of Walker in the first place from Guzey’s post on Why We Sleep, and I can’t even remember how I heard about Guzey’s post. But I think the Walker story is worth talking about because it contains important aspects of the corruption of the scientific establishment. I’m not saying that Walker is history’s greatest monster or even that he’s a bad guy; rather, he’s working within a system in which bad behavior is rewarded, and that’s a problem.

    • Steve says:

      @Navigator —

      “the direction is pretty clear when it comes to sleep.”

      I don’t think it’s that clear. Or at least it’s not as simple as more sleep is always better. It seems pretty reasonable to me that there is a distribution of optimal sleep hours per night which varies per person based on a whole slew of variables. Just saying that everyone needs some magic number (7 or 8 hours per night) sounds about as reductive to me as claiming that everyone needs to eat 2000 calories per day. Sure, you could say that in general we know the direction when it comes to calories (more is better). But this ignores a lot of important variation between people and also ignores that too many calories can be harmful. It seems reasonable to me that if my natural optimal sleep number is 6 hours, then following Walker’s advice could do me real harm.

  6. Renzo Alves says:

    Having been on both sides of publishing, academic and commercial, I would be tempted to at least partly blame Prof. Walker&’s publisher for some of the negatives. Of course he could have said no to mass media fame and fortune, but then again most people like to be seen, heard, admired, and well-paid. (He might be thinking, it’s just a general interest feel-good book, what’s a few little fudges, slips, misrepresentations here and there, let them read the academic papers if they’re all that scientifically interested.) Just a comment, not defending his choices.

  7. zbicyclist says:

    I’ve been carpetbombed for months with ads from MASTERCLASS.

    This one is a bit different, though, in two ways: (1) professionally, Walker is more infamous than famous, and (2) 99.9% of us don’t care much about the science of sleep. We just want to get to sleep.

  8. Sid says:

    An exhaustive guide to The Science of Sleep

    1. Early to bed, early to rise.

    That ends my exhaustive guide on The Science of Sleep

  9. KaZ Akers says:

    One of our family members purchased the entire Masterclass series for my husband so, OF COURSE, I had access, too. It is a great deal of famous, rich, celebrated, respected, lauded, and in many incidences, unqualified to teach, luminaries. I found, in general, the pre-recorded classes to contain information that is easily accessible on Google, FireFox Focus, Qwant, Duck Duck Go or any other search engine you might wish to use. OR at your chosen university, or college. The selling point is these “experts” are famous and if you are famous you are the epitome, bar none, of the expert in your field, n’est pas? I learned everything I know from my field from remarkably regular folk. They are all professionals in their field but my presumption is that they got a D in marketing themselves. As have I. But it has not stopped me from being a published, and produced writer. The most famous person you have never heard of, as it were.

    This article was the best read I have had in lo so many months. More, please.

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