Max Graff

The Ultimate Guide to Maximizing Sleep

The Scholar: Max Graff

The Project: The Ultimate Guide to Maximizing Sleep

The Essential Question: “For a while at least, I’ve always had trouble with sleep, especially ever since COVID year. I think everyone’ anxiety went up and everyone has been having issues just getting to bed on time, and then maintaining sleep, staying asleep, so that’s what sparked me to it. I’ve done a lot of sleep research in the past because of that, trying to improve myself, and I got really deep into the science and mechanism, molecularly, of that, so I wanted to take that even broader and go even deeper, as deep as I could, and then share that information in an easy to access way. My project was more sleep-focused, but the core idea was to take something really complex and make it interesting and accessible to everyone.”

Surprising Discovery: “I guess it’s not surprising, but it jumps at you how complex this all is. You wouldn’t expect there to be so many aspects of your body relating to your circadian rhythm and adenosine buildup, different sleep-related things. Once you really go into it, every single cell in your body has a molecular clock-most every cell-and then hormonal rhythms, the releasing of them, and all these cycles–they’re all intertwined with your circadian rhythm, so many things that you wouldn’t expect to be really closely intertwined with sleep that are.”

Biggest Challenge: “I guess it’s just wondering, you have all these complex terms because everything is so specific you can’t call it general things, you have to call it specific things, and you have to make changes and rename them all and fit them into a certain category that everyone can understand. That was particularly hard, I think. There were so many complex terms and systems, and that’s especially hard because the systems don’t really make sense from a surface level. You have to understand everything in order to understand anything.”

Tip for Future Scholars: “I would say start off knowing what you are interested in. I think an issue a couple people had is that they chose something they didn’t really love that much. It doesn’t matter how much you know, you could know nothing, but choose something that you find really interesting and that you are passionate about, and then try to go as deep as you possibly can.”

What piece of advice would you give to someone who wanted to improve their sleep habits? “I’d definitely say focus on getting morning sunlight, that’d be by far the most important thing.”