Light, Dark, & Your Sleep: Satchin Panda, Part 1 – #466

In this fascinating episode of Bulletproof Radio, Dave talks to leading researcher in Circadian Rhythms, Satchin Panda about why we are wired to follow a natural pattern of light and dark, and what we can do to get the rest we need in an electric society.

Satchin goes into surprising research on how your sleep, or lack thereof, has a profound impact on a huge number of diseases. Such as: diabetes, depression, metabolic syndrome, heart disease, and cancer.

Plus, is it possible that Dave Asprey is a sleep mutant?

Enjoy the show!

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Follow along with the Transcript

Light, Dark, & Your Sleep: Satchin Panda, Part 1 – #466

Links/Resources for Satchin Panda

Satchin’s Website

My Circadian Clock 

Show Notes

  • Satchin Panda has gone through and done research about the profound impact of ambient light in your daily eating and fasting cycle on preventing a huge number of diseases, like diabetes, depression, metabolic syndrome, heart disease, cancer. He is running a large research study right now through an app called My Circadian Clock that monitors and modifies circadian rhythms.
  • What is a circadian rhythm. “It essentially means approximately a day or a 24 hours rhythm. These circadian rhythms are found in almost every living animals, plants, and also many microbes that are on the planet.”
  • “That’s why for example plants raise their leaves and drop them down in every 24 hours. Birds, animals, humans, we all go to sleep and wake up in 24 hours. These 24-hour rhythms are so ingrained to our life, that if we take one animal or plant from our planet and put it into Mars or any other planet that has a day and night cycle other than 24 hours, will have a hard time to survive.”
  • “Why do we have circadian rhythms?”
  • “Just like that in our body when we go to sleep or when we wake up or when you go play sports there are many things, many genes, many hormones, many brain chemicals that have to work together. For example when you go to sleep at night our sleep hormone melatonin should go up, our muscle tones would go down so that we can sleep nicely, we should not act out our dreams.”
  • Why is knowing about circadian rhythms more important now that there is artificial light.
  • Then what happens is as we have light becomes an enabler to stay awake at nighttime and boost up some stuff. If we look at what is circadian disruption or how much disruption is bad for health? How many nights in a year we can stay awake? That will actually cause dramatic health disturbances.
  • Some of the things seeing in lab rats with circadian rhythm disruption. “Diseases, starting from diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular disease, even anxiety, ADHD-like symptom and cancer.”
  • “How many days in a year you can disrupt your rhythm and be classified as a shift worker?”
  • “There is a nice European definition and I like that, and that is if you stay awake for three hours or longer between 10:00PM and 5:00AM for 50 nights in a year, then you are almost a card-carrying shift worker.”
  • Fifty nights of staying awake for three or more hours around midnight will cause damage.
  • Satchin on Jet Lag.
  • Satchin on “digital jet lag.”
  • What is “social jet lag.”
  • What bin are you in? “Six different categories, traditional shift workers, secondhand shift worker, jet lag, digital jet lag and then social jet lag.”
  • “This is the reason why I think this is very important that we learn more about circadian rhythm, because our body is designed, almost every gene in our genome is designed to go up and down or turn on and off at different time of the day. All of our hormones go up and down at certain time of the day. Our brain chemicals rise and fall at certain time of the day and there is no escaping from that.”
  • “We cannot go back to the Stone Age, we cannot turn off all the lights and just live under day and night, the natural day and night cycle, but if we learn about what disrupts circadian rhythm and how we can nurture rhythms, then we can still live in this modern society and have a nurturing circadian rhythm so that we can be healthy, we can prevent diseases or even reverse some of the diseases.”
  • Dave on red lights not disturbing the owls around his house.
  • How blue light synchronizes our clocks. “That’s how we are designed, not only us as you pointed out, almost every animal is designed to synchronize their internal circadian clock with the sunlight or day and night cycle, because sunlight or daylight is the richest source of blue light out there. That’s why we are designed to synchronize our clock with blue light. “
  • Don’t go shopping late at night! “Essentially by going shopping late at night to a very bright store, you are essentially reducing your hormone levels.”
  • Lighting on circadian Rhythm. “LED, like white LED versus fluorescent, versus halogen, versus incandescent and what they do to circadian rhythm?”
  • Satchin on getting dimmers on every light in your house.
  • It’s possible Dave, that you are a mutant. -Satchin confirms what we all already knew.
  • When it comes to that, as you pointed out just taking care of light exposure or less light during night time, of more light during the daytime is really key to keeping our brain circadian clock functional.
  • Go check out “Headstrong” and “The Bulletproof Diet” on Amazon and leave a review!
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