The shorter you sleep, the shorter you live.

Loic Le Meur
5 min readOct 25, 2018


Dreams and sleep have always fascinated me.

When we dream, we are in another world. We do not really understand how consciousness comes to a baby and we do not really understand where we go when we dream. Measuring sleep is a good first step. I am currently testing Dreem; a headband that does just that.

The founder of Dreem, Hugo Mercier, released a new version of his application this week. It’s like a sleeping coach; analyzing your sleep by measuring your brainwaves and using AI to improve your sleep. This new version adds recording naps and meditation programs. Dreem now has a broader space than just improving your sleep. I am testing the new features and have been very impressed by Hugo and his team. They raised more than 30 million euros to fund three years of R&D on the brain.

In the image above are the results it gave me from my last night.

According to author Matthew Walker of his book (a must read) — “Why we sleep” I have been doing everything wrong.

I slept less than 6 hours.

“A large study of 25,000 individuals demonstrated that sleeping six hours or less was associated with a 40 percent increased risk of developing cancer. Another study shows that the less sleep an individual is getting in the week before facing a common cold virus, the more likely it is that they can be infected and catch a cold. There is a clear linear relationship between hours of sleep and infection rate. ”

I drink alcohol (wine) at dinner and at times only get 18 mins of REM sleep

“Alcohol immobilizes the frontal lobe region of the brain that helps control impulses and restrains our behavior. We become less controlled and more extraverted. Then other parts of the brain are affected and the brain slips into sedation. Alcohol sedates you from consciousness but does not induce sleep, it is more anesthesia. Alcohol infused sleep is not restorative. Alcohol is also the most powerful suppressors of REM sleep. People consuming even moderate amounts of alcohol deprive themselves of dream sleep. It’s the cerebral version of a cardiac arrest. Memories are extremely vulnerable to alcohol. Alcohol consumption will wash away much of that which you have learned and can abstract by blocking REM sleep.”

Alcohol is why I havent been remembering any of my dreams at night.

I wrote about Lucid dreaming previously. Drinking too much wine killed my creative brain last night.

“Dmitri Mendeleev discovered the periodic table of elements in a 1869 dream. In Mendeleev’s own words “I saw in a dream a table where all the elements fell into place as required. Awakening, I immediately wrote into down on a piece of paper. Only in one place did a correction later seem necessary.”

It was his “dreaming brain”, not his waking brain, that was able to perceive an organized arrangement of all known chemical elements. Leave it to REM-sleep dreaming to solve the baffling puzzle oh how the known constituents of the universe fit together.

The songs “yesterday” and “let it be” came to artist Paul McCartney in dreams.

Keith Richards of the Rolling Stones was keeping a guitar and a tape recorder at his bedside and the opening riff of their song “Satisfaction” came in a dream.

Same with literature, the author Mary Shelley got the vision and narrative for Frankenstein in a nightmare.”

I also travel a lot across time zones; mostly from San Francisco to Europe.

Well I learned in “Why we sleep” that it takes a day to readjust to every hour of time difference. So when I fly San Francisco to Europe it will take about a week to my brain to readjust and same on the way back.

“Scientists have studied airplane cabin crews who frequently fly long-haul routes and have little chance to recover. Two alarming results have emerged: the memory and learning parts of their brains have significantly shrunk, suggesting the destruction of brain cells caused by time travel and short-term memory was significantly impaired. They were considerably more forgetful than individuals of similar ages who did not frequently travel through time zones.

Other studies of pilots and cabin crew members have shown far higher rates of cancer and type 2 diabetes than people who do not travel that much.”

Last two things: too much caffeine and looking at my iPhone before going to bed.

It takes 5 to 7 hours for your body to process that espresso and prevent you from sleeping well (even if you think you sleep well you don’t). Looking at computer or phone screens a few hours before going to bed tell your body it should stay awake (bright = morning, awake).

According to these studies, if I keep up my current ‘sleepstyle’ my memory will get worse, I will have a higher cancer risk, less creativity, I’m will be more sensitive to any disease, and I will live a shorter life.

Why we sleep” made me aware of the need for a big change.

If you order a Dreem headband use the code DREEMWITHLOIC to get a $50 discount. (I am not getting paid for this, I just like the product and they’re friends).

To recap on my previous newsletter:

I was doing some research on who are the best blockchain speakers and hundreds of you suggested speakers. Thank you! However, I don’t know what I was thinking as it turned into a popularity contest as we only sorted it by number of votes…so..needless to say, It was an experiment. Lesson learned: You can’t trust anyone to vote and there should always be a reputation system. A better ranking would include what are the top conferences speakers spoke at or the news published about them.

Random happenings:

Tonight I tried for the first time meat from impossible foods and it was surprisingly delicious. I know I’m late to the party but I had tried vegan cheese before (this one, from Miyoko’s) and hated it. I will try the impossible burger next. Without out a doubt I am learning that eating less meat is wise; not only for my body but to to save the planet.

I am also just starting to learn to play the guitar. I decided I would make my artistic brain (right?) work after a lifetime of only practicing my business brain. I find it really hard but also very meditative. Only my guitar teacher is allowed to hear how bad it sounds (thanks, Roman). Of course my guitar teacher is also a startup entrepreneur behind a marketplace for artists to find gigs, bemusical (sounds familiar!).

I hope you’re having a great week!


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Loic Le Meur

Entrepreneur, pilot, kite-surfer and paraglider. Subscribe to my new newsletter