Dr. Matthew Walker is a former Professor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and currently is Professor of Neuroscience and Psychology at the University of California, Berkeley. He is also the founder and director of the Center for Human Sleep Science at the University of California, Berkeley.
Dr. Walker’s research examines the impact of sleep on human health and disease. He has received numerous funding awards from the National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health, and is a Kavli Fellow of the National Academy of Sciences. To date, Walker has published over 100 scientific research studies.
Dr. Walker is the author of the New York Times bestseller, Why We Sleep, which was recently selected for the prestigious Sundance Book Festival. Why We Sleep has a singular goal: to reunite humanity with sleep. The book provides a complete description of, and prescription for, sleep. It answers critical questions about sleep: how do caffeine and alcohol affect sleep? What really happens during dreaming? Why do our sleep patterns change across a lifetime? Why are sleep pills linked to a higher risk of death and cancer?
Charting cutting-edge scientific breakthroughs, and synthesizing decades of research and clinical practice, Why We Sleep explains how we can harness sleep to improve learning, mood, and energy levels; regulate hormones; prevent cancer, Alzheimer’s, obesity, and diabetes; slow the effects of aging; increase longevity; enhance the education and lifespan of our children; and boost the efficiency, success, and productivity of our businesses. The book concludes with a provocative new vision for sleep in the modern world - one that aims to solve the greatest public-health challenge we now face: the global sleep-loss epidemic.
Dedicated to the communication of science, Dr. Walker is an internationally recognized speaker, having been invited to give talks at the prestigious Royal Institution (Ri) and Royal Society for the Arts (RSA) in London, The Smithsonian in the U.S., and he has also given three Google talks. Dr. Walker is also a popular media discussant and frequent feature on mainstream television outlets including the BBC and CBS, as well as popular radio outlets such as the BBC World Service and NPR.
With the goal of promoting sleep's critical importance, he speaks at festivals, events, and forums available to the general public. Dr. Walker also offers workshops of various kinds to business leaders, technology firms, and medical and healthcare professionals. Dr. Walker was the feature of a CBS 60 Minutes special entitled “The Science of Sleep.”
Dr. Walker has also helped create the recent National Geographic documentary, Sleepless in America, and the PBS NOVA special, Memory Hackers. Most recently, he has contributed to the BBC Horizon documentary, Curing Alzheimer’s. His numerous presentations include several Google Tech talks and radio features on the BBC and NPR’s Fresh Air with Terry Gross, City Arts & Lectures, Hidden Brain, Science Friday, and Forum: NPR.
Dr. Walker holds numerous U.S. patents concerning consumer-based sleep recording, sleep tracking, and sleep stimulation. He also owns several patents focused on the commercial use of consumer-based sleep measures as they apply to health, technology, business, and enterprise.
Previously, Dr. Walker has served as Chief Scientist and scientific counsel for numerous technology companies, including Hello and Fitbit. Currently, Dr. Walker is a Sleep Scientist at Google. Here, Dr. Walker helps the scientific exploration of sleep in health and disease.