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014 Build new brain through sleep | Dr Fiona Kerr

Don’t pick up your phone or devices at least for an hour before you want to go to sleep
— Dr Fiona Kerr -

What a pleasure to interview such a multi-passionate and talented woman. Dr Fiona Kerr brings such fascinating aspects to the sleep conversation including the connection that we build new brain when we get quality sleep for a long enough timeframe. I share her concern that we have become sleep starved as a society and when we recognise how creativity comes about we will begin to see the benefits of restorative sleep.

Inspire yourself with these essential insights from Fiona.

We spoke about

  • How Fiona came to be a neurogenesis expert
  • Building new brain through connection, exercise, novelty and sleep
  • The role that sleep cycles play in the brain cleaning up, filing the data then having some fun
  • The way that memory works
  • Role of sleep in creativity
  • The role of a 30 minute refreshing nap
  • Why you may feel groggy if you nap in the day
  • Epigenetic strengths in the area of memory and learning in deep sleep
  • Impact of artificial light including technology at night
  • Relationship between being tired, our willpower and devices
  • The problem of being task based at night
  • Shallow task based activity versus deep thinking work and the impact on creativity
  • The importance of focusing on one thing at a time
  • The power of touch and eye gaze on healing
  • Taking time to interact with others

Value Quotes

“Can you change your brain? Yes you can. Can you grow your brain? Yes you can.”

“Sleep is critical, especially the later hours of sleep.”

“We’ve become sleep starved as a society.”

“Willpower is like a muscle. The more you use it and exercise it the better you get.”

“Devices are designed to basically get us hooked. Your phone is designed very much like a slot machine and so are most apps.”

“Don’t pick your phone or devices at least for an hour before you want to go to sleep.”

“Often companies will get sold technologies as increasing productivity but they don’t they increase busyness.”

“Don’t have the phone dinging at you or the email alert. Just switch them off.”

“Daydreaming mode is critical to zoom out to the big picture.”

“We know that it’s really critical to connect and we watch our world more and more being disconnected through being told we are connecting more through technology but it’s not the same.”

“We need to give ourselves time out to do something that we like to do to feed our own soul.”

“We need to safeguard the value and the power of human interconnection.”

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Until next time fabulous podcast listener, I’m Bev and I invite you to live the fab life with me now!

Episode Links

You can find Fiona at:



Fiona has spent a number of years investigating the building of new brain, which can be done at any age with the right conditions, and is currently trying to complete a non-academic book which outlines in lay terms how to grow new brain.

Fiona was a guest on the ABC show “Ockham’s Razor” with Robyn Williams and taped a podcast called Neurogenesis: a force for creativity.  A short written summary of the broadcast can be found here:

Fiona recently appeared on the Insight SBS program on sleep, speaking on the cognitive role of sleep, naps and biphasic rhythms, and the addictive nature of technologies on the brain. Here is a link to a news interview and article written about napping, one of the subjects covered:

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