Dan Pardi: The Ultimate Guide On All Things Sleep | 180 Nutrition

Blog

Dan Pardi: The Ultimate Guide On All Things Sleep

Watch the full interview below or listen to the full episode on your iPhone HERE.

Guy:  This week welcome to the show Dan Pardi. He is an entrepreneur and researcher whose life’s work is centered on how to facilitate health behaviors in others. He is the developer of Loop Model to Sustain Health Behaviors to help people live a healthy lifestyle in a modern world. He does research with the Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences Department at Stanford, and the Departments of Neurology and Endocrinology at Leiden University in the Netherlands. His current research looks at how sleep influences decision making (publications). Dan also works with Naval Special Warfare to help the most elite fighters in the world maintain vigilant performance in both combat and non-combat conditions. Formerly, Dan served as Board Chairman of the Investigator Initiated Sponsored Research Association, a global non-profit aimed to promote best practices in the arena of academic research grants. Early in his career, he served as a Division 1 Strength and Conditioning Coach where he designed year-round training protocols for 13 different athletic teams.


Free Health Pack

Audio Version

downloaditunesListen to Stitcher

Questions we ask in this episode:

  • Why is sleep so important?
  • How can sleep affect our metabolism?
  • What’s the relationship between sleep and cognitive function?
  • For those struggling to sleep, what tips would you offer?
  • What about the overactive mind that struggles to fall asleep?
  • And much much more…

Get More Of Dan Pardi

If you enjoyed this, then you’ll enjoy these interviews with

180 – Fuelled By Nature

Full range of products HERE.

Leave a Comment

Full Transcript

Guy

[00:00:30] Hey everybody, this is Guy Lawrence of 180 Nutrition, of course, and welcome to another fantastic episode of the Health Sessions, where every week we connect with the leading global health and wellness experts to share the best and the latest science and thinking, empowering us all to turn our health and lives around. This week we are doing it with the awesome Dan Pardi. Now, Dan is an entrepreneur and a researcher, whose life work is centered on how to facilitate health behaviors in others.

[00:01:00] He does research with psychiatric and behavioral science department at Stanford, and the Department of Neurology and Endocrinology at Leiden University in Netherlands. God, I’m trying to get my words out today, not doing a great job. Dan Pardi, not only is he a wealth of experience and a top guy, we tackle everything on sleep today. We’ve really been itching to delve into this topic more over the years, since we’re doing the podcast, and I tell you what, boy, Dan didn’t disappoint.

[00:01:30] How do you get to sleep? Why is sleep so important? Why do we wake up in the middle of the night? What strategies can we do around it? What effects is that having on the body? This goes pretty deep, it’s a podcast I’m going to listen to again. Dan’s knowledge on the human body itself is quite incredible, and this podcast is fantastic. So, I highly recommend it. I’d give it a good listen, because no doubt it’s going to make you want to get your eight hours sleep and get into a bit of a rhythm every week, that’s for sure.

[00:02:00] Beyond that, I just want to give a shout out to our most recent podcast review on iTunes. It’s greatly appreciated. It’s great stuff, five stars from [inaudible 00:01:47]. “I’ve been a customer of 180 Nutrition for a few years now and I really like they’re non-preachy about the holistic approach to health and wellbeing. I just listened to the self love podcast,” that’s the one with Eloise King we did, and it was a very powerful one. “Thank you for being my companion in my journey of self discovery, love, and starting over.” You’re very welcome [inaudible 00:02:07], and it’s great to know, to hear these things.

[00:02:30] If you are listening to our podcast on a regular basis and yet to leave a review, head over to iTunes. It would be greatly appreciated because it obviously helps other people want to listen to our podcast too, which is what it’s all about in sharing this content with everyone. Of course, give us some feedback on today’s episode, guys. The best place to catch me is probably on our Instagram Stories channel. Flick me a video or message about when you listen to this episode, and that’s just on 180 Nutrition. I look forward to hearing from you. I hope yo enjoy this podcast as much as we did. Anyway, let’s go over to Dan.

Hey, this is Guy Lawrence. I’m joined with Stu [inaudible 00:02:52]. Good morning, Stu. Good to see you.

Stu

Good morning, Guy.

Guy

Our awesome guest today is Mr. Dan Pardi. Dan, welcome to the show.

Dan

Thank you, Guy, so much for having me on. It’s great to be here

Guy

I’ve got to warn you, Dan, this is probably Stu’s most passionate topic ever, sleep. He’s been very excited. It’s something we haven’t really fully covered on the show before. We’ve had discussions on the podcast, but to bring someone in to talk more in depth about it is going to be awesome, so brace yourself, mate.

Dan

[00:03:30] Yeah, all right, good. Well, I am fascinated and really passionate about the subject myself so I’m happy to talk with you guys about it. Anybody who already is passionate about it, they’re my people.

Stu

Fantastic, fantastic.

Guy

Awesome. Dan, the first question I ask everyone on the show is just to give listeners a little bit of information. If a stranger stopped you on the street and asked you what you did for a living, what would you say to him?

Dan

[00:04:30] My mission is to promote personal health mastery in people. That’s what I do. I’ve been interested in health my whole life. My career, my education has been centered around this topic. I was interested in the topic from when I was a young kid, and I think I probably got into it because I was interested in athletics. I got injured when I was younger. Then the idea of healing and fixing my body was planted in me, and from a young age. Even though I moved past that injury, it still stayed in my mind about how to optimize, and the fascination grew with how to train better, to how does body fat, how is it regulated in the brain. It just kept going. I discovered sleep serendipitously about ten years ago. I completed a Masters in Exercise Physiology and after that I worked with Dean Ornish, we were doing lifestyle interventions for patients with prostate cancer.

[00:05:00] What I really liked about that research was that we were looking at not just a single nutrient or a single intervention, but rather a multi-factorial approach to promote wellness in patients that have prostate cancer to see if all these things, which we know matter, could affect the internal hormonal milieu and then have the affect the progression of the disease that they already had. Slowing down the progression of a diagnosis that existed or even reversing it. That made a really big impression on me and who I am and what I want to do.

[00:05:30] From there, I worked in the pharmaceutical industry for almost a decade in medical affairs, and I set up and ran the medical affairs department and we had a drug for sleep, so my job on a daily basis was to interact with some of the top sleep researchers in the world, literally, discussing research ideas, talking about our program and how we can work together, and I learned so much during that time. My fascination with sleep started then and has only continued.

[00:06:00] I left there, started my PhD. I do research now. I work with the Departments of Neurology and Endocrinology at Leiden and also Behavioral Sciences a Stanford, and then I started a public health product called Dan’s Plan which will soon be turning into Human OS. That is the idea of synthesizing all of the information out there to help people master their own health. One foot in research, one foot in health promotion.

Guy

Busy boy.

Stu

Brilliant.

Guy

I’m guessing you get a good night’s sleep to keep up with all that work.

Hey, this is Guy Lawrence. I’m joined with Stu [inaudible 00:02:52]. Good morning, Stu. Good to see you.

Stu

Good morning, Guy.

Guy

Our awesome guest today is Mr. Dan Pardi. Dan, welcome to the show.

Dan

Thank you, Guy, so much for having me on. It’s great to be here

Guy

I’ve got to warn you, Dan, this is probably Stu’s most passionate topic ever, sleep. He’s been very excited. It’s something we haven’t really fully covered on the show before. We’ve had discussions on the podcast, but to bring someone in to talk more in depth about it is going to be awesome, so brace yourself, mate.

Dan

[00:03:30] Yeah, all right, good. Well, I am fascinated and really passionate about the subject myself so I’m happy to talk with you guys about it. Anybody who already is passionate about it, they’re my people.

Stu

Fantastic, fantastic.

Guy

Awesome. Dan, the first question I ask everyone on the show is just to give listeners a little bit of information. If a stranger stopped you on the street and asked you what you did for a living, what would you say to him?

Free Health Pack

 

Dan

[00:04:30] My mission is to promote personal health mastery in people. That’s what I do. I’ve been interested in health my whole life. My career, my education has been centered around this topic. I was interested in the topic from when I was a young kid, and I think I probably got into it because I was interested in athletics. I got injured when I was younger. Then the idea of healing and fixing my body was planted in me, and from a young age. Even though I moved past that injury, it still stayed in my mind about how to optimize, and the fascination grew with how to train better, to how does body fat, how is it regulated in the brain. It just kept going. I discovered sleep serendipitously about ten years ago. I completed a Masters in Exercise Physiology and after that I worked with Dean Ornish, we were doing lifestyle interventions for patients with prostate cancer.

[00:05:00] What I really liked about that research was that we were looking at not just a single nutrient or a single intervention, but rather a multi-factorial approach to promote wellness in patients that have prostate cancer to see if all these things, which we know matter, could affect the internal hormonal milieu and then have the affect the progression of the disease that they already had. Slowing down the progression of a diagnosis that existed or even reversing it. That made a really big impression on me and who I am and what I want to do.

[00:05:30] From there, I worked in the pharmaceutical industry for almost a decade in medical affairs, and I set up and ran the medical affairs department and we had a drug for sleep, so my job on a daily basis was to interact with some of the top sleep researchers in the world, literally, discussing research ideas, talking about our program and how we can work together, and I learned so much during that time. My fascination with sleep started then and has only continued.

[00:06:00] I left there, started my PhD. I do research now. I work with the Departments of Neurology and Endocrinology at Leiden and also Behavioral Sciences a Stanford, and then I started a public health product called Dan’s Plan which will soon be turning into Human OS. That is the idea of synthesizing all of the information out there to help people master their own health. One foot in research, one foot in health promotion.

Guy

Busy boy.

Stu

Brilliant.

Guy

I’m guessing you get a good night’s sleep to keep up with all that work.

[00:06:30]

Dan

It is interesting, because sometimes these things, aspects that keep us healthy, lifestyle, diet, exercise, the first things to go when we get busy. For me, they’re things that are protected in my life because I know that if I want … I would rather have 16 good hours then 22 sleepy, poor, unproductive hours. More is not necessarily better. I definitely do better with quality than just quantity of sheer hours. The work’s too complicated.

Guy

Interesting, because we’ve got a couple of guests on that says, “All this wellness if making me sick,” because they’re so busy trying to do the right thing and it can bite you on the backside quite quickly.

Dan

Yeah.

Stu

[00:08:00] It’s interesting as well, Dan, because … A little bit of background for us. We run clean eating and lifestyle workshops over in Australia, and one of the topics that we cover is sleep. Typically we’ll go into a room and have anywhere between 50 and 100 people, and we ask them a question. We say, “Who gets a good night’s sleep?” Very few hands actually go up in the room. Then we break that down. “Who has trouble getting to sleep?” Half the room put their hands up. “Who has trouble staying asleep?” The other half put their hand up. As a nation, I think we’re quite clearly sleep deprived. I wanted to ask you, why is sleep so important for us?

Dan

[00:08:30] What I say, there’s no part of the body that goes untouched by poor sleep. It is a fundamental part to our health and wellness. When we don’t get the sleep that we need, then our body is not able to process essentially all the energy that we expend during the day, thinking, being physically active. We need to recover from that at night, and sleep is the period of time when that happens. We can cheat sleep here and there for a little bit, we can miss a full night and be okay, but chronically if we are regularly getting less sleep than our body wants then we are going to accelerate aging, we’re going to accelerate impairment or disease formation.

[00:09:00] The nice thing is that with nutrition, the task upon people that are really working in the nutrition field is to get people to not eat the food that they want to. With sleep, everybody loves a good night’s sleep. It’s like I’m trying to sell eating donuts. That’s the equivalent. It’s not that easy though because there are a lot of things that will interfere with the type of sleep we get the good news is that everybody does love a good night’s sleep, so at least we’re aiming for the same thing.

Stu

Agreed, yes.

Guy

[00:10:00] I find from me working, because I used to work as a fitness trainer as well, and not many people actually look at stress, look at sleep. They would come into the gymnasium and have this idea about weight loss and exercise and, “Push yourself harder,” almost like the restriction … It’s still there today with a lot of people. If I’d ask them, “How’s your sleep? How’s your stress levels?” That would always get dismissed. In your mind, especially when it comes to weight loss and metabolism effects and things like that, how much do you think sleep actually affects that and they should be addressing these things first, or how would you approach it?

Dan

Yeah. Sometimes I’ll get the question, “What’s more important? Sleep? Exercise? Physical activity?” The way that I like to think about it is imagine a three-legged stool and then tell me which leg is most important.

Guy

Yeah, right.

Dan

[00:11:00] If they’re all fundamental to that chair functioning, you need all three of them. Some people have different sorts of challenges in their life. Some people can eat fine, but they don’t exercise, and they sleep fine. There’s every combination of that three triad that we can imagine. What I think, overall, what’s important is understanding the importance of each one of them, understanding how they interact, and then figuring out ways to modify your lifestyle so that you can get the sleep you need, the diet that you need, the physical activity that we need. I think we over index in diet and exercise. People will try to purge their sins through a hard workout and then don’t do other things right in life.

[00:11:30] You know, a good workout’s great, but I think that health will actually more reliably come when you have a balanced effort that is not too high in one area and too little in others. That’s, I think, how I approach it. I try to encourage people to think about what health is, how to attain it, to take more of a balanced approach to being well. The other thing, too, which is nice about that is it doesn’t make any one of those domains too hard. You don’t have to go for a 70 mile run this week, or accumulate 70 miles over the course of the week, in order to be healthy. You can do moderate amounts of physical activity, walking and using your body, muscles, and lifting weights. You can eat generally well, but not perfect. You get good sleep. You’re going to do really well, you’re going to do really well.

[00:12:30] There’s obviously the optimizers, that are those people that are trying to [inaudible 00:11:50] out every possible advantage or benefit that they can from the knowledge and it becomes a game and it’s fun and it’s a part of their lifestyle and that’s cool, but sometimes I think the culture of health is a serious detractor from people who just want to be healthy. Because you see these images of what health is like and these people are extraordinarily lean and fit. They got that lean over six week of dieting down. They look at that lean for 24 hours and then they [inaudible 00:12:17] again. We’re bombarded with it to the degree where it looks normal and that everybody’s doing that when they’re on Instagram or one of these different social media sites, and that can be really demoralizing and dejecting. Sometimes maybe turning off some of that is a useful idea for people, and just pay attention to the cultures that you are kind of involving yourself in, and do they have a healthy culture in that health culture, not always.

Guy

[00:13:00] Absolutely. I’m just thinking, with sleep, if someone comes to you and says, “Look, I’m not sleeping,” and you talk about the three-legged stool, that you need all of them, how would you start to address it in someone? Should they start just taking small bite-sized pieces of all the pillars, if you like, or?

Dan

[00:13:30] Yeah. I mean, with sleep, it’s interesting. With diet, it is very complex, you’re making a lot of different choices over the day. You’ve got breakfast, lunch, and dinner that you’re eating. With sleep, it’s endlessly fascinating on the backend on the science side of things, you can go very deep and think about all the different connections of the relationships between sleep and health, but generally, the guidance for good sleep is not that complex. At least to the degree that if you’re not dealing with a sleep issue or a sleep disorder. There are things that will affect your sleep at night that are happening during the day, so you want to be ensuring that you’re doing those things. We’ll talk about those.

[00:14:00] Then there are things that you want to be doing in the evening to prepare yourself for bed. You want to have your environment correct and appropriate for a good night’s sleep so it’s not disruptive for one of several different reasons. Then you don’t want to judge a night of sleep based off … You don’t want to judge your sleep based off of one night, because you could get theoretically what seems to be one great night of sleep and not feel that great the next day and say, “Well, I did this, this, and this the other day and it didn’t work.”

[00:15:00] You really want to be judging your sleep, “Am I sleeping right by doing the right things for weeks at a time?” Then assessing, “How do I feel? Do I have good energy? Do I have good physical energy, do I have good mental energy, do I have good verbal fluency?” All the things that kind of come to you that … We know what it’s like. Although the longer we exist in a state without good sleep, the more common, the more natural that state feels. You have to then re-expose yourself to the feeling of what good feels like, and then that could be motivating to stick with your good habits. Always start with sleep hygiene, and I’m happy to go into some of those details if you’d like.

Guy

Yeah, absolutely. I know, I just think of a listener now, they could be tuned in like, “I’m that person. I can’t get asleep. I lay there and I’m staring at the ceiling for three hours. It’s midnight and my brain’s overactive. What do I do? I feel like I’m trying everything.” Let’s talk to that person for a second.

Free Health Pack

 

Dan

[00:16:00] Yeah. The other interesting aspect about sleep is that we all know what it’s like to have a bad night’s sleep and a good night’s sleep. You don’t have to have narcolepsy or obstructive sleep apnea or restless leg syndrome to know what it feels like to not get the sleep that you need. We know that. Everybody has insomnia at some point in their life. Insomnia is more of an anxiety disorder than it is an organic sleep disorder. Although there are different forms of insomnia, but generally most people’s insomnia is through rumination. Something’s going on in your life, you can’t shut your mind off, you’re overstimulated. You lay down for bed and your mind is racing. It’s really frustrating.

[00:16:30] Although more people that have chronic insomnia have an easier time falling asleep but then they wake up in the middle of the night. They have not sleep initiation insomnia, but sleep maintenance insomnia. Maurice Ohayon, he’s an epidemiologist at Stanford. He’s done great work in this area. They’ve pretty well characterized that it’s that middle of the night arousal and awakenings where either you wake up and you’re up for several hours or you wake up earlier than you want. You want to get up at seven, but you wake up at 5. Then you’re up. You’ve slept off too much of that sleep pressure to go back to sleep but you know you’re going to be sleepy for the rest of the day. That’s rough. That’s rough.

[00:17:30] Now, let’s talk about sleep initiation insomnia. Sometimes there’s nothing you can really do. I’m not totally opposed to sleep medications in those scenarios. Acutely used, it’s a temporary fix. You have something that you’re just … I mean, not sleeping for days at a time is worse than getting a little bit of sleep even if it’s facilitated with medication. That’s the extent of, I think, how we should use those drugs. Using them chronically is a bad idea because we know that their usage does not provide normal sleep architecture, and there are certain stages of sleep that are very important for the brain doing important activities to keep itself healthy. That’s why you see the increased risk for things like mild cognitive impairment, Alzheimer’s disease, and other forms of dementia.

[00:18:00] Long term usage of sedative [inaudible 00:17:48] is a bad idea, whether it’s Benzodiazepine or non-Benzodiazepine drugs like, I don’t know what you guys have there, but Ambien, Zolpidem, those are the US names. Short term, acute usage, if let’s say you haven’t been sleeping for four or five days, you feel like you’re not going to continue to sleep, having medication like that can help, but only short term usage. That is the more extreme acute version.

[00:19:00] Then there’s more of the occasional, like, “Gosh, I just have one of those nights where my mind is racing.” What are some things that you can do? You can try to quiet your mind down by doing some relaxation techniques, by taking a warm shower. A drop in core body temperature is important for the initiation of sleep. When you take a warm shower, then the blood actually goes to your skin. When you get out of the shower, then the blood, it enables your core to cool more easily. Facilitating that with a warm shower, hot tub, or sauna can actually do a good thing to help people sleep better particularly if they have an over-aroused mind that night. Even if you don’t, it can actually facilitate good deep sleep as well.

[00:19:30] Also, there are now things like binaural beats. These are apps that you can download. They play a frequency that is slightly off time-wise. Temporally, they’re off, so it’s playing the same frequency but it’s a second altered on this ear. What happens when you utilize this technique, it can actually entrain your brain to a certain rhythm. We know that certain rhythms correspond with certain types of thinking patterns like concentration or relaxation. You can put on certain frequencies for relaxation, meditation, concentration, and that can actually help to quiet down your mind and train it. You can do deep-breathing and meditation. All those things can be useful to just kind of bring it down a notch.

[00:20:00] What I’ll do, also, if I’m ever in a state like that, I’ll listen to a podcast so I’m not watching a television show, but I’ll just put something else on where my mind is not ruminating on my internal thoughts, but it focusing on something external, and that can get me off of my thought pattern, onto something else, and then I can naturally kind of quiet down and relax. Sometimes I’ll do that as well.

Stu

Interesting.

Guy

How much does blue light, do you think, affects sleep patterns from your own research, Dan?

Dan

[00:20:30] Massively. I work with the Circadian Biology Lab at Stanford under Jamie Zeitzer. Jamie Zeitzer did his PhD under Chuck [inaudible 00:20:24] who’s the godfather of Circadian Biology, particularly in terms of it’s connection with sleep. We do a lot of work on looking at how light influences sleep timing. I have a podcast where Jamie and I had a discussion talking about a new, interesting product to truncate the jet lag by two third, even more, actually. It’s a new, cool product that’s coming out. He was the inventor of the IP but has no financial connection with the product.

[00:21:30] We’re both very excited to see the product being developed because, one, there’s a lot of people that do have to travel across time zones and this can help them perform much better both when they arrive in the new area that they go to and also when they get home. It’s common where people that are oftentimes traveling to a new place, their adrenaline from being in the new environment makes them perform okay, but when they come they’re exhausted. The burden of sleep deprivation is taken out all on their family from having a very tired mom or pop for the next couple days. Let’s talk a little bit about just light in general.

Guy

Okay, before we go back to light, I’m really intrigued with that jet lag product. How does it work? What’s the theory behind it?

Dan

Sure. Why don’t we circle back to it? I’ll explain how light affects rhythms and then we’ll talk about how the product is influencing that system to help us with jet lag.

Guy

Beautiful.

Dan

Sound good?

Guy

Yeah, sounds good.

Dan

[00:22:30] Okay. There’d something called a Circadian Rhythm, and this is an [inaudible 00:21:57] 24 hour rhythm. All body processes, whether it’s timing of digestion, or cell cycle growth and repair processes, your sleep/wake cycle, these are all 24 hour rhythms. That means that we are, because sleep and wake are on certain rhythms, that means when it’s dark out our brain is time to know that, well, that’s typically when humans sleep, and then to prepare the mind for sleep and then to extend, consolidate sleep throughout the night. Likewise for the day, during wakefulness. You can completely flip flop that, right? You can travel, I’m in San Francisco, if I travel to Italy, biologically the timing of my rhythm is completely off, so how do I get into sync with the light rhythms of people in Italy to be on the same, kind of, day/night schedule as them? That happens to be light coming into the eye.

[00:23:30] In the back of the retina, we have these, what are called, intrinsically photo-sensitive retinal ganglion cells. They’re in the retinal ganglion layer of the eye, and they’re sensitive to light. What they do is they translate that light signal via the retinal hypothalamic tract, back to what’s called master clock. This master clock, is an area, the hypothalamus, the suprachiasmatic nucleus, and that is essentially the master clock in the brain, and it is then determining through their sympathetic nervous system, through hormonal patterns, and probably some other processes as well. The timing of the rest of your body is synchronized with that master clock, so everything is in sync, and light is that major synchronizer of your body timing.

[00:24:00] If you think about, what is life like in an environment that doesn’t have any natural light, well, you wake up in the morning, there’s light during the day, light goes down at night, the sun goes down at night, and that facilitates certain types of hormones, particularly melatonin. Melatonin is produced under something called dim light melatonin on sight. When it starts to become dim, the light becomes dim, then that will trigger a reaction starting at the retinal ganglion cells, that ends up in your pituitary producing melatonin. That doesn’t make you go to sleep right away, and that’s actually a big falicy.

[00:25:00] Melatonin is not a great sleep drug because it has weak soporific effect, meaning that it weakly will induce sleep. It has a slight effect on promoting sleep, so it’s not very strong, so what ends up happening is people have to take more a pharmacological level of the hormone to get it. Then that, in certain genotypes, we wrote a blog about this, that can still be in your system in the morning. Now, one of the effects melatonin has is to cause the pancreas to stop releasing insulin. Let’s imagine the scenario. You took melatonin at night, you wake up in the morning and you have a normal breakfast. Well, you’re going to look like you are a very bad diabetic in the morning if you still have melatonin in your system. That is because you’re not releasing insulin.

[00:25:30] If you have, let’s say, 45 grams of carbohydrates, your blood glucose levels are going to skyrocket and stay elevated for awhile. It’s good to know that that effect can happen and it definitely happens worse in some phenotypes. You can do 23 and me, go check out that blog, it’s on our site, blog.dansplan.com. If you have 23 and me, which detects what your own genetic structure is, you can see what your genotype is and then figure out your sensitivity to that. It’s important.

[00:26:00] What melatonin does do is it signals darkness. That tells the master clock that it’s time to start to prepare for sleep. It also then helps to make sure that the timing of your sleep rhythm is the same everyday. That is in a natural environment. Light goes down, your produce melatonin, you don’t go to bed right away, but hours later, but it keeps the timing of your rhythm set. Now, modern world, we have not a very strong light signal during the day because we’re inside. I didn’t talk about that, but the light outside is ten times more powerful than light in a room, and that has a stronger anchoring effect on your Circadian rhythm from the opposite perspective. Not dim light, causing melatonin release, but bright light telling the brain, yes, it’s daytime right now.

[00:27:00] Rather, we’re in, what seems to be absolutely normal light. You go into an office building and you can see fine, it looks bright, but it’s the order of magnitude less powerful by telling your brain that it’s daytime. Then you go home, the sun’s going down, you turn on lights, you turn on televisions, you look at your iPads and tablets, you’re getting a lot of artificial light. There’s nothing unique about the wavelengths that’s problematic except you’re giving your brain a signal that it’s daytime when it’s night, and that causes the climbing of your rhythm to shift. That means, over time, that your alertness rhythm is still active when you want to go to bed.

[00:27:30] You lay down and a lot of times you’re wired. People have this experience where they feel tired all day and then they’re alert right before bed. Their best alertness is right when they want to go to bed. Super frustrating. It’s four p.m. and they’re like, “I just can’t wait to go to bed tonight,” and then it’s 11:00 and they lay down and then they look like [inaudible 00:27:21]. That has to do with the timing of your rhythms. That’s why it’s really important to get bright light in the morning, every morning. There’s other things that will actually inform your Circadian rhythm of it’s timing as well like take a cold shower the last 30 seconds of my morning. That will initiate a sympathetic response which can have an affect on the Circadian rhythm as well.

[00:28:00] Then in the evening, put dimmer switches around your home. Dim the lights. You’re trying to mimic a natural environment the best that you can. On that blog, there’s a blog article that I wrote to accompany my interview with Professor Zeitzer. In there I talk about how you can adjust your settings of your iPhone to pull out all the light, all the blue light. If you’re just doing reading, you can actually read, but with less consequence. You want to even turn the dimness down as much as you can, make it as dim as possible, and you want to pull out all the blue light because blue light is what is synchronizing your Circadian rhythms. It has the strongest effect on those retinal ganglion [inaudible 00:28:22]. All light has an effect, so we can’t totally cheat the system but we can definitely do better.

Guy

That certainly supports it.

Stu

Fantastic. Also for those people that just want to plunk themselves in front of the TV at night, is that a similar lighting structure to the devices that we use right now?

Dan

[00:29:30] You know, being in front of the television, we’re not going to get rid of that. It’s going to happen. As we have iPads and devices that enable us to watch Netflix or whatever in bed, increasingly we’re going to have to maintain, do the best we can, being realistic about what people will do. Keeping the rest of your environment dim, don’t walk into the bathroom, turn on a light, and have it be super bright. Light a candle. Think about candle light, it’s much better for not shifting your clock than bright light. Every time you have the distance, like you’re holding an iPhone, you quadruple the exposure to photons that go into the eye. Try to hold it at a distance. It’s not that bright, if you have the dimness down, and you have your night shifter on, I have an iPhone so I’m speaking to that, it would be okay. Particularly if you got outside, I recommend everybody go outside for a half an hour everyday, have your lunch outside, go for a walk. Those are the good healthy behaviors, but also really good for your sleep. Those are some other good tips.

Free Health Pack

Guy

Yeah, got it. I just want to close a loop from earlier, which was the jet lag.

Dan

[00:30:30] Okay, so now we know that light can affect the timing of our rhythm, when things are happening. There’s nothing broken with my rhythm when I travel from San Francisco to Italy. The timing of everything shifts. Now I’m sleeping when I usually was awake and I’m awake when I usually was sleeping. It takes four or five, six days, sometimes ten days to fully adjust. Light’s coming into my eye, telling my brain the signal, and slowly my whole physiology shifts to a different time zone. Well, my mentor Jame had figured out that if you give light pulses you can affect the timing of that rhythm even more than just continuous straight light, turning on a light. That’s one thing that you can do and there are products like that.

[00:31:30] One thing that happens in teenagers is you develop something called delayed sleep aid syndrome, where they want to stay up later but then they still have 7:30 wake up call for school, and because they’re growing they still need nine, ten hours in bed but they just don’t naturally feel sleepy so parents are, “Go to bed,” and they’re on the phone chatting with their friends. That’s very natural. What’s not natural is that they then have to get up so early, so they’re actually missing sleep. It’s very problematic. They have devices that are alarm lights. At four a.m. the light turns on, the child can sleep through it, but our eyelids are translucent so light can penetrate them and it can still give a signal to the brain that it’s now light and that can actually shift the timing, it can pull the timing back. That can be a good thing.

[00:32:00] Jamie was capitalizing on that knowledge and saying, “Okay, well, can we do something that’s even better?” This mask that you wear, you wear it like a sleep mask at night, and then the timing of it, it’s all programmed into the app so you don’t have to really think about it but if you say, “Okay, I’m in San Francisco, and I travel to Italy,” it would just kind of help you do some of the adjustments for you. It would play pulses at night at the right time. When you’re in Italy and then when you came back, and what it would do is it could shrink, instead of taking ten days, it could take four days for you to fully adjust, which might mean you’re feeling fine in a day and a half or two days but then you’re feeling your best by day four.

[00:32:30] There’s application for regular people that do timezone travel, there’s international travel, there’s application for, as I was mentioning before, teenagers. There’s also an application for people who do shift work at night a couple nights a week or a couple nights a month they’re working the night shift and then they want to get back on track quickly. Not only are there health ramifications to it, but there’s also then just behavioral lifestyle, quality of life, ramifications. I’m very excited about the product. It’s not available yet, I have no relationship with the company, but I do want to see it come to market, be successful, and be utilized.

Guy

Sounds awesome.

Stu

[00:33:30] I look forward to finding out a little bit more about it when it’s available. I wanted to just rewind a little bit as well. You mentioned the scenario where many of us can wake up earlier than we would like. I’m guessing that over here in Australia right now that’s happening to a lot of people because we’ve recently had a daylight savings shift. Now we’re getting up an hour earlier than we used to and it’s affecting our mental state throughout the day as well. Let’s say we normally want to wake up at 7:00 but we’re waking up at six or half past five, what strategies or techniques could we implement to help us?

Dan

[00:34:30] We can then use light at night. All the things that you’re usually trying to avoid, you can actually have bright light at night to shift that [crosstalk 00:33:43] a bit. The other thing that you might want to log, is if you’re feeling like you have to get up to urinate which is a common experience for people that are older, try not to watch your liquid intake before bed. Try to resist it for a night a two, because you can habituate getting up and going to the bathroom. Let’s say you do it two, three nights in a row, then the fourth night your body is ready to do that again and it’ll wake you up. Try to avoid it, if you can. If you can’t, sometimes it’s just urgent, you drank too much, but if you can, try to hold it, see if you can fall back asleep, and that’ll help to facilitate better. Sleep consolidation, not having to get up and then go back to bed. Give that a shot. A lot of things that we’re talking about, even with the Circadian timing, will also matter as well, will also matter to this question or problem as well.

Stu

[00:35:00] Got it. Does diet play a part in this as well? We could be having a really carb-heavy meal at night, we could be eating maybe lots of vegetables that are perhaps diuretic to the body, all of these things. What in your experience would be the best diet to foster a great night’s sleep?

Dan

[00:35:30] Marie [inaudible 00:35:06] has done some interesting work on this recently. There’s not a lot of great work in this subject. There needs to be more. There’s the long-term effect of a healthy diet, and then the downstream ramifications of how a healthy diet keeps the cells of your body, including the brain and the cells in the brain that are generating and involved in sleep and wake regulation healthy. That’s something that we know has to be happening. Secondarily, we know that then the acute effects, there’s less data on it. There’s two different … There’s the effects of sleep on eating, so how does your sleep affect what you want to eat and how you’re eating, and then there’s the effects of food on sleep.

[00:36:30] Marie [inaudible 00:35:57], who I’d mentioned, she’s at Columbia University New York in the United States, and what she found is that sugar, as you’d imagine, other carbs interfered with sleep stages. You had more arousals, and you had less non-RAM or slow wave sleep, which is a restorative form of sleep. Things that are associated with good quality sleep was high fiber intake. Here, the Institute of Medicine recommends that we get about 35 grams per day. On average, most Americans get somewhere between 15 and 25 gram per days. Hunter gatherers get somewhere in between 70 grams and sometimes even closer to 100. Lots of fiber intake. Huge impact on our gut microbiota.

[00:37:00] Our gut microbiota has a very powerful impact on signaling and communicating with the brain. Also, producing and even metabolizing neurotransmitters. That’s what I would say in terms of what we know now. At least, she does good research. It needs to be replicated, but I would say that if you want to do something from the food angle to try to get better sleep, I would just try to make sure that your day has enough fiber in it and for all practical purposes most people probably can’t overdo it with their fiber because 70 grams is more than twice as much as what a lot of people are getting.

[00:37:30] If you’re eating Paleo or if you’re eating a really good healthy Mediterranean diet, you are going to be probably close to like 50/60 grams just because that’s what those diets are comprised of. The other thing too is timing. Do you want to eat very close to bed? What I would say is I try to eat dinner as early as possible. There’s also benefits to health with a longer period without any food.

Stu

Like a fasted state, yeah.

Dan

Yeah. I think your body has to metabolize those nutrients, so the harder it’s working to do that closer to bed, the more energy is being reserved for those digestive processes versus having processed your food and now allowing that energy allocation to go towards other processes. A lot of people think of sleep as just a [inaudible 00:38:20] state where everything’s shut down and calm. That’s not true. The brain is active during sleep. It’s doing very important processes, and it needs energy to do that. Energy and blood flow. The other part of that too is alcohol.

[00:39:00] Definitely stay away from a lot of alcohol consumption and caffeine. Most people understand that. I have a little red wine every night. I really like the wine that the dry farm wine guys are doing. They’re looking at wines that have lower alcohol and are produced in a manner that’s less big wine, where they add sugar, they have a lot of additives to it. I’m a very big [inaudible 00:39:11] of the Mediterranean diet, and that diet, wine was a part of that diet on a regular basis. I try to have a little bit every night, but I cut if off at usually around seven, 7:30, no later than that.

Stu

Got it.

Guy

What about, it’s triggering questions as you’re talking. It’s great. Sleep cycles when you’re sleeping, because sometimes I can get eight hours sleep and feel like I need to sleep another eight hours, and I’m slower. Then other times I can even get a little bit less sleep and feel like a million dollars and I can conquer anything the next day. Why is that?

Dan

[00:41:00] My mentor and I have great conversations about this. We tend to talk about sleep as there are certain stages that associate with what we consider sleep quality. Sleep quality, though, is what you would describe as a quality … Sleep quality is [inaudible 00:40:10]. You have good sleep stages, you have adequate time in every sleep stage, given what we think is normal for your age and the normal controls. That there’s good sleep continuity, so you’re not having a lot of arousals, although 15 arousals at night is not abnormal, we just don’t remember most of them. We turn over, we up, a second we go back to sleep. We don’t have a lot of wake time after sleep onset which means that when you do wake up you’re not up for a half an hour before you go back to bed. All of that speaks to the qualify of sleep. You have K complexes and sleep spindles which associate with memory formation. You have adequate times and slow wave sleep, so there’s a frequency ban there, and you’re getting both sub one hertz bands and up to 4.5 hertz, so all this stuff is present.

[00:41:30] It doesn’t necessarily mean that you have good sleep satisfaction. Sleep satisfaction is how you feel from a good night’s sleep. Sleep is a historetic process which means how you were sleeping a week and a week and a half ago can be influencing how you feel tomorrow. You’ve got these long tails that are going to influence tomorrow. Generally, how you’re sleeping is going to predict better … If you’re sleeping well generally, the risk of you having those nights where you just feel really, really sleepy for one reason the next day are fewer. There’s lower risk.

Guy

It’s an accumulative effect over time with the sleep [inaudible 00:41:49] to a degree.

Dan

[00:42:00] Well, yes. There is. Then there are these things that are having an influence that can be playing out days to weeks later. Then there could be something that was disrupting your sleep. The way that we measure sleep is through polysomnography. There’s 27 different leads that are measuring breathing rate, ocular movement, brainwave activity, heart rate, heart rate variability. It’s how anybody could sleep under those [crosstalk 00:42:18].

Guy

I was going to say, I hear you have the worst night’s sleep ever doing it. Isn’t that right, Stu?

Stu

I have done it. I was baffled by the complexity of the reporting and the number of wires that were attached to my body. I probably had the worst night’s sleep that I have ever had in my life, minutes worth of sleep during that night. I was mummified with wires and had flashing lights and beeping sounds all around me. I just thought, this is ludicrous. How is this ever helpful?

Dan

[00:43:00] We’re ridiculous, sleep scientists. I know, I know. It’s one of those things where it does give us very valuable feedback, but the value of that is to identify characteristic patterns that are pathognomonic or predictive of certain sleep conditions: restless leg, obstructive sleep apnea, forms of insomnia, narcolepsy. They’re useful at identifying that but it’s not at all useful for saying what’s optimal for sleep.

Stu

No.

Free Health Pack

Dan

[00:43:30] Right? What’s the Heisenberg … There’s a quote, but I don’t know it well enough to try to remember it. Something to the effect of, “Don’t let the measurement device interfere with what you’re trying to measure.” You know?

Stu

Yeah, and that totally does.

Dan

It does, it does.

Stu

[inaudible 00:43:42].

Dan

[00:44:00] We have a lot of cool new sleep technologies, and they’re getting better by the day. You can have devices that sit on your bedside table that are using radio frequency to look at movement and listening to the sound of your breathing, that can use a strip under the mattress that you couldn’t feel at all but it’s detecting heart rate and heart rate variability which you can predict. You can use algorithms to try to predict what stage of sleep is a person in. I wear a FitBit, no relationship with them, but I do like their products. They’re getting better and better at being able to predict sleep you’re in and even what stage you’re in. All of this technology is getting better and better.

[00:45:00] What’s exciting about it is that I see these sorts of devices as helping you with sleep behaviors. When you have a little but of information about your sleep then … You can’t sleep better by squinting harder and be like, “Sleep hard!” You know? But it can remind you to do certain things. This is an engagement device. It can remind you to have a bedtime. Very few people have a time that they want to go to bed, in your mind. It’s so simple. I call sleep the mundane but meaningful. It really matters but it’s so easy to overlook the things that you want to do when you are paying attention to your form of entertainment that evening, reading a book, hanging out with family, whatever it is. You don’t want to give that up. I’ve got a four year old boy and the [inaudible 00:45:14] of going to bed and missing out on all the other excitement as people stay up is real, it starts early.

Guy

How many hours of sleep do we need? Does it vary for individuals? What’s the norm?

Dan

[00:46:00] It does, yeah. The National Sleep Foundation put out a analysis. 95% of the populations needs somewhere between seven hours to nine hours of sleep. I did an interview with Jerry Siegel, who is a professor at UCLA, famous sleep researcher. He did an analysis of 300 [inaudible 00:45:52] communities in [inaudible 00:45:55], Tanzania and Bolivia. He looked at, he had more rudimentary measurement to look at their sleep, because you can’t log an entire … It’s one of those situations, you can’t lug all the PSG equipment into Africa, into the field, but you can use things like [inaudible 00:46:15] which is looking at movement. You can look at [inaudible 00:46:19], so you’re looking at oxygen saturation and temperatures. They looked at a variety of things that are easy to measure.

[00:47:00] What they found, the assumption was that hunter gatherers sleep more than we do because we have artificial light and that’s causing an encroachment into our total sleep time. Actually, it’s true. They slept on what’s considered the lower end of sleep. I want to mention something very important. The hunter gatherers in his analysis slept somewhere between 5.9 and six and a half hours. That’s how much sleep they got, but if I were to ask you how much sleep do you get, people will say, “Oh, I went to bed at midnight, I woke up at around eight, I got eight hours,” you don’t say it this way, you don’t say, “Oh, I went to bed at midnight. I woke up at eight. I had 85% sleep efficiency, and so I slept six hours and 42 minutes.”

[00:48:00] That’s how we sleep, we just don’t remember that. We do have a period of time where we’re awake at night, and so when the National Sleep Foundation says, “Get seven to nine hours,” it’s because most people are sleeping, that’s how people perceive their sleep even though they’re maybe sleeping less than that. That’s really bed time. You want to plan for seven to nine hours of time in bed, to get the sleep that you need, and then if you wake up the next day and you have good alertness, you have good verbal recall. Like I know for me, when I’m sleepy, I slur my words, I can’t think, I have terrible recall, I’m sluggish in terms of how I’m processing information, but other people aren’t like that. They don’t really experience sleepiness as much. They can perform okay, but their decision making changes in weird ways. You have your own vulnerability to sleep. It’s good to recognize that.

[00:48:30] Even if you are considered a short sleeper, which are people that need legitimately less sleep than others, they can get by with five hours a night for 30 years, and they perform well and seem healthy, there are people like that, but that doesn’t mean that they need less sleep, their need for sleep is less, it just means that they need less sleep. There’s a difference, right? They have a need for sleep, it’s just that they can do fine on less. If you’re not like that, you can’t fake it.

Stu

Right. Absolutely not.

Guy

[00:49:00] Another question popped in and I have to ask it because a friend of mine would shoot me for having you on the show and not asking this, but shift workers, how could they get around it or is it something … Are there long terms effects that are not good? What are your thoughts?

Dan

[00:49:30] 15% of the United States does shift work and that’s increasing. I’d say that there’s two different kinds of shift work. There’s the shift work where you’re a paramedic, you’re a fire department, you’re a first responder, and it’s part of the job. Those jobs tend to be extraordinarily valuable for the functioning of society. It’s a new type of shift work where people will come home, they spend time with their family, the family goes to bed, and then they stay up and they do some writing until the wee hours of the morning because it’s the only time of day that they’re not getting bombarded with notifications. Couple of days a week they do that, coupled days a week they go to bed at a normal time. You’ve got this his variability in sleep timing, the timing of their sleep varies. That is problematic as well. You see metabolic consequences.

[00:50:30] The famous studies, the nurse health study that was done, I think through Harvard. People that do shift work over long periods of time have four fold increases in cancer. It’s because of that metabolic disturbance. That rhythm, the timing rhythms, are constantly being shifted. That’s one of the reason why I’m really excited about this light product coming out. Then also if your body is entrained to a different timing, “This is my time to sleep,” but you’re sitting there wide awake. How easily could you guys just sit down and sleep right now? Unless you’re carrying a good sleep burden, you might feel sleepy, but it’s hard to really shut down.

[00:51:30] Another product that I want to mention, another podcast that I’ve recently had on, is with a product Cortex. Kelly Roman at the company Fisher Wallace, they’re making an interesting device as well and they’re using transcortical direct current stimulation, or TCDS, with virtual reality. It’s a headset and what it’s doing is it’s playing imagery that is relaxing and, again, getting your mind off of any rumination and just kind of focusing on a world that is relaxing. Then at the same time it’s sing two milli-amps of this current that is helping the brain feel more relaxed and actually putting it into a different state. We’re going to see a lot more on the transcortical direct current stimulation and alternating current stimulation in the future because there’s some work on Alzheimer’s disease.

[00:52:00] There’s a podcast that I haven’t yet published with Bryce Mander at UC Berkeley, and we talk a little about how that sort of technology can be utilized to facilitate the type of sleep that helps you actually get rid of [inaudible 00:51:42] which accumulates in the element of Alzheimer’s disease. Fascinating work that’s going up in there. That’s another device. For your friend, okay, you’re now on your night shift, the quicker that you can get into a good state to actually get sleep when you need it, that’s good.

[00:52:30] I see some technologies on the horizon that are going to make life healthier for people that do shift work, and thank you, thank your friend for me for the work that they do, if he’s a first responder, he or she, because we can’t schedule if it’s an emergency, you can’t wait until tomorrow morning, you’ve got to be … It’s a sacrifice that they’re making. My goal and the goal of others is to help make that sacrifice be less of a sacrifice, maybe more of a social one, but not of long stream health consequence one.

The other thing that I would recommend is giving those people extra special attention for doing other things right. Eat well, get your exercise when you can. Doesn’t have to be large volumes, just get some everyday, and you’ll be in a better place for sure.

Stu

Yeah, that’s good advice.

Guy

[00:53:00] Beautiful. I’m just aware of the time, and I don’t want to blow out the hour too much for you, Dan. I’ll move on. We’ve got a couple of questions we ask everyone on the show. One of them is, what are you non-negotiables each day to be the best version of yourself?

Dan

[00:54:00] Time with family, and my health practice. I try not to be perfect because I appreciate life in this life, good food and good wine or staying up late to go dancing. All that stuff, I don’t have the best perspective, that I can’t include it in my life, but I try to make if somebody looked at my pattern for a month that it would much more easily be defined by the things that I was doing well versus the things that I don’t do well. I get exercise everyday. I’ve created kind of a unique style of exercise called In Tune Training. It stands for integrative and opportunistic. The idea is that you are integrating movement in your day in an integrative fashion, which means that instead of planning it or scheduling it. I’ve got a work out appointment for myself, with somebody else for by myself, at five, then rather you’re doing little bursts of physical activity here and there.

[00:55:00] Think about it. Even finding 20 minutes in your day can be really hard, but it’s a lot easier to find a minute or two here and there. That’s that opportunistic part. It’s like, I finished an email, I’m just going to go do 30 body weight squats. Then I try to make my movement pattern, I try to move everyday, versus moving a few times a week. I also cycle. I think getting in a longer, harder workout now and again is good, but I look to try to make … I try to be active everyday, and then I also try to cultivate a high energy state, mental and physical, but not making my daily workouts really intense in terms of overall volume.

I might do something that’s intense for 30 seconds here and there and I do that five, six times a day, but I’m not necessarily trying to exhaust myself day after day. I don’t know that that’s necessarily good for us. [crosstalk 00:55:14]

Stu

[00:55:30] That’s the question that’s coming up with a lot of our guests as well. It’s the ultra endurance, stroke endurance exercise, versus high intensity train of thought right now.

Guy

For sure. When you think about it, Stu, the daily stresses we have with the business and the company and everything else, the last thing I want to do is exercise, feel smashed, and then have to jump back in to continue the day. I want to feel better for me, ultimately. It’s taken me, again, at 40 years of age, to let my ego go.

Dan

[00:56:00] Yeah. Well, you were probably an athlete growing up. It’s interesting. People that were athletic when they were younger are more likely to exercise and be active when they’re older, but you have a challenge which is then when we’re younger, performance is what drove how we worked out and why we worked out and how we trained. Now I think people aspiring to have certain health goals is good, but if you’re always trying to break your best record, then it does put a lot of pressure on and you find a pattern where people are good for a little while then they stop for three months.

[00:57:00] I exercise now to feel really good everyday, to have a high degree of mental energy, and for longevity. I’m happy with that. The more regularly you are physically active, then you do have general physical preparedness for everything in life. Maybe not quite as intense, but I can hop on a mountain bike and go to the top of Mount [inaudible 00:56:52], 1800 feet, and I feel fine. I can go do a lot of things and I feel fine doing it. That’s what I feel good about now, and I just turned 43, so I’m with you there.

Stu

I’m guessing that that helps towards a good night’s sleep as well.

Dan

It does. Think of sleep and physical activity as opposite sides of the same coin. When you get physical activity, it does help with sleep. We know people that undergo bed rest studies where they have no physical activity, they have very fragmented shallow sleep. Then conversely you feel like exercising much more when you get a good night’s sleep and you feel alert.

Stu

Brilliant. Fantastic.

Guy

Last question. What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?

Dan

[00:58:30] When I was working with Dean Ornish, there was a patient in the study, was a really smart man, Orville. We became friends. He kind of took me under his wing. All the patients came once a week for a seven hour intervention. They would go to the exercise physiologist, spend time with a nutritionist, and we had a lot of time to socialize with them during the day so we’d always just pair up and hang out. He was a professor for 30 years at Stanford. He said, “You know, make people think that 80% of your maximal effort is 100%, because people will fill in that 100%, they’ll fill it in with stuff.” The best work in my life came when I had time to really think about what I was doing, what was next, and to be creative. You need that bandwidth, you need to preserve that bandwidth in order to continually do bigger, greater things. I don’t know if I always do that, but I always think about it, and I think it’s good advice.

Guy

That’s brilliant.

Stu

Brilliant. I like that. I like it.

Guy

I try and live by that, mate.

Dan

Yeah, it’s good.

Guy

Yeah, absolutely. Friend who listens wants to get more of Dan Pardi, where can we send them? You mentioned your podcast as well.

Free Health Pack

 

Dan

[00:59:30] I interview mostly professors, but also entrepreneurs, the occasional investor. The way I think about it is people that are doing original research, people that are taking health science research and turning it into innovative products that can help us, and then also people that are then forecasting where is the health industry going based off of all the other technological trends that are happening in our world. That’s my perspective on who I want to speak with. Most of my interviews now are with professors and there’s just great conversations. I feel so fortunate to have the people that I’ve had on.

[01:00:00] You can go to Sound Cloud or iTunes and just look for Human OS Radio, and my name is Dan Pardi, P-A-R-D-I. Then I’ll be launching, you can also go to dansplan.com, D-A-N-S-P-L-A-N, but very soon I’ll be launching Human OS and I’ve been working on that exclusively for two years, so Dan’s Plan is going to be changing very, very soon. I developed a behavior model in academia several years ago all about how to develop personal health mastery. The premise is that we need to take radical ownership of our health, which doesn’t mean that we have to be completely independent. We can also involve an excellent care team, but nobody’s going to be making as many decisions that affect your health and your life as you, so you need to be good at it.

[01:00:30] The model is people should understand, why should they do something, how do they do it, are they doing it, and is it working. Human OS is based off of that. We’re creating peer reviewed health courses and recipe libraries and workout libraries and we have integrated with 50 different tracking services. A lot more to come. Probably launching in May. Fingers are crossed. I’m really excited. It’s what I’ve been working on for over five years. It’s time, it’s close.

Stu

I’m very, very excited. I will follow that closely because it sounds fantastic.

Dan

Awesome, guys. Email me and I’ll make sure you guys can get access.

Stu

Fantastic. Brilliant.

Guy

Dan, that was awesome, buddy. Thanks so much for coming on the show. I have no doubt everyone is going to get something great out of that. I’m going to have to listen to that again. That was brilliant.

Dan

[01:01:30] Yeah, I was talking a lot. Thank you guys for having me on the show. I really appreciate it and good luck to you guys and thank you for your health efforts and endeavors and helping to be a force for good in this world. That’s needed. It’s needed.

Stu

Every little bit helps, I think.

Dan

Totally.

Guy

Thanks, Dan. Thanks, Stu.

Stu

Fantastic. Thank you and hopefully we will chat to you in the near future.

Dan

Yeah, that sounds great.

Stu

Brilliant. Thank you buddy. Bye bye.

Dan

Yeah.

It is interesting, because sometimes these things, aspects that keep us healthy, lifestyle, diet, exercise, the first things to go when we get busy. For me, they’re things that are protected in my life because I know that if I want … I would rather have 16 good hours then 22 sleepy, poor, unproductive hours. More is not necessarily better. I definitely do better with quality than just quantity of sheer hours. The work’s too complicated.

Guy

Interesting, because we’ve got a couple of guests on that says, “All this wellness if making me sick,” because they’re so busy trying to do the right thing and it can bite you on the backside quite quickly.

Dan

Yeah.

Stu

[00:08:00] It’s interesting as well, Dan, because … A little bit of background for us. We run clean eating and lifestyle workshops over in Australia, and one of the topics that we cover is sleep. Typically we’ll go into a room and have anywhere between 50 and 100 people, and we ask them a question. We say, “Who gets a good night’s sleep?” Very few hands actually go up in the room. Then we break that down. “Who has trouble getting to sleep?” Half the room put their hands up. “Who has trouble staying asleep?” The other half put their hand up. As a nation, I think we’re quite clearly sleep deprived. I wanted to ask you, why is sleep so important for us?

Dan

[00:08:30] What I say, there’s no part of the body that goes untouched by poor sleep. It is a fundamental part to our health and wellness. When we don’t get the sleep that we need, then our body is not able to process essentially all the energy that we expend during the day, thinking, being physically active. We need to recover from that at night, and sleep is the period of time when that happens. We can cheat sleep here and there for a little bit, we can miss a full night and be okay, but chronically if we are regularly getting less sleep than our body wants then we are going to accelerate aging, we’re going to accelerate impairment or disease formation.

[00:09:00] The nice thing is that with nutrition, the task upon people that are really working in the nutrition field is to get people to not eat the food that they want to. With sleep, everybody loves a good night’s sleep. It’s like I’m trying to sell eating donuts. That’s the equivalent. It’s not that easy though because there are a lot of things that will interfere with the type of sleep we get the good news is that everybody does love a good night’s sleep, so at least we’re aiming for the same thing.

Stu

Agreed, yes.

Guy

[00:10:00] I find from me working, because I used to work as a fitness trainer as well, and not many people actually look at stress, look at sleep. They would come into the gymnasium and have this idea about weight loss and exercise and, “Push yourself harder,” almost like the restriction … It’s still there today with a lot of people. If I’d ask them, “How’s your sleep? How’s your stress levels?” That would always get dismissed. In your mind, especially when it comes to weight loss and metabolism effects and things like that, how much do you think sleep actually affects that and they should be addressing these things first, or how would you approach it?

Dan

Yeah. Sometimes I’ll get the question, “What’s more important? Sleep? Exercise? Physical activity?” The way that I like to think about it is imagine a three-legged stool and then tell me which leg is most important.

Guy

Yeah, right.

Dan

[00:11:00] If they’re all fundamental to that chair functioning, you need all three of them. Some people have different sorts of challenges in their life. Some people can eat fine, but they don’t exercise, and they sleep fine. There’s every combination of that three triad that we can imagine. What I think, overall, what’s important is understanding the importance of each one of them, understanding how they interact, and then figuring out ways to modify your lifestyle so that you can get the sleep you need, the diet that you need, the physical activity that we need. I think we over index in diet and exercise. People will try to purge their sins through a hard workout and then don’t do other things right in life.

[00:11:30] You know, a good workout’s great, but I think that health will actually more reliably come when you have a balanced effort that is not too high in one area and too little in others. That’s, I think, how I approach it. I try to encourage people to think about what health is, how to attain it, to take more of a balanced approach to being well. The other thing, too, which is nice about that is it doesn’t make any one of those domains too hard. You don’t have to go for a 70 mile run this week, or accumulate 70 miles over the course of the week, in order to be healthy. You can do moderate amounts of physical activity, walking and using your body, muscles, and lifting weights. You can eat generally well, but not perfect. You get good sleep. You’re going to do really well, you’re going to do really well.

[00:12:30] There’s obviously the optimizers, that are those people that are trying to [inaudible 00:11:50] out every possible advantage or benefit that they can from the knowledge and it becomes a game and it’s fun and it’s a part of their lifestyle and that’s cool, but sometimes I think the culture of health is a serious detractor from people who just want to be healthy. Because you see these images of what health is like and these people are extraordinarily lean and fit. They got that lean over six week of dieting down. They look at that lean for 24 hours and then they [inaudible 00:12:17] again. We’re bombarded with it to the degree where it looks normal and that everybody’s doing that when they’re on Instagram or one of these different social media sites, and that can be really demoralizing and dejecting. Sometimes maybe turning off some of that is a useful idea for people, and just pay attention to the cultures that you are kind of involving yourself in, and do they have a healthy culture in that health culture, not always.

Guy

[00:13:00] Absolutely. I’m just thinking, with sleep, if someone comes to you and says, “Look, I’m not sleeping,” and you talk about the three-legged stool, that you need all of them, how would you start to address it in someone? Should they start just taking small bite-sized pieces of all the pillars, if you like, or?

Dan

[00:13:30] Yeah. I mean, with sleep, it’s interesting. With diet, it is very complex, you’re making a lot of different choices over the day. You’ve got breakfast, lunch, and dinner that you’re eating. With sleep, it’s endlessly fascinating on the backend on the science side of things, you can go very deep and think about all the different connections of the relationships between sleep and health, but generally, the guidance for good sleep is not that complex. At least to the degree that if you’re not dealing with a sleep issue or a sleep disorder. There are things that will affect your sleep at night that are happening during the day, so you want to be ensuring that you’re doing those things. We’ll talk about those.

[00:14:00] Then there are things that you want to be doing in the evening to prepare yourself for bed. You want to have your environment correct and appropriate for a good night’s sleep so it’s not disruptive for one of several different reasons. Then you don’t want to judge a night of sleep based off … You don’t want to judge your sleep based off of one night, because you could get theoretically what seems to be one great night of sleep and not feel that great the next day and say, “Well, I did this, this, and this the other day and it didn’t work.”

[00:15:00] You really want to be judging your sleep, “Am I sleeping right by doing the right things for weeks at a time?” Then assessing, “How do I feel? Do I have good energy? Do I have good physical energy, do I have good mental energy, do I have good verbal fluency?” All the things that kind of come to you that … We know what it’s like. Although the longer we exist in a state without good sleep, the more common, the more natural that state feels. You have to then re-expose yourself to the feeling of what good feels like, and then that could be motivating to stick with your good habits. Always start with sleep hygiene, and I’m happy to go into some of those details if you’d like.

Guy

Yeah, absolutely. I know, I just think of a listener now, they could be tuned in like, “I’m that person. I can’t get asleep. I lay there and I’m staring at the ceiling for three hours. It’s midnight and my brain’s overactive. What do I do? I feel like I’m trying everything.” Let’s talk to that person for a second.

Free Health Pack

Dan

[00:16:00] Yeah. The other interesting aspect about sleep is that we all know what it’s like to have a bad night’s sleep and a good night’s sleep. You don’t have to have narcolepsy or obstructive sleep apnea or restless leg syndrome to know what it feels like to not get the sleep that you need. We know that. Everybody has insomnia at some point in their life. Insomnia is more of an anxiety disorder than it is an organic sleep disorder. Although there are different forms of insomnia, but generally most people’s insomnia is through rumination. Something’s going on in your life, you can’t shut your mind off, you’re overstimulated. You lay down for bed and your mind is racing. It’s really frustrating.

[00:16:30] Although more people that have chronic insomnia have an easier time falling asleep but then they wake up in the middle of the night. They have not sleep initiation insomnia, but sleep maintenance insomnia. Maurice Ohayon, he’s an epidemiologist at Stanford. He’s done great work in this area. They’ve pretty well characterized that it’s that middle of the night arousal and awakenings where either you wake up and you’re up for several hours or you wake up earlier than you want. You want to get up at seven, but you wake up at 5. Then you’re up. You’ve slept off too much of that sleep pressure to go back to sleep but you know you’re going to be sleepy for the rest of the day. That’s rough. That’s rough.

[00:17:30] Now, let’s talk about sleep initiation insomnia. Sometimes there’s nothing you can really do. I’m not totally opposed to sleep medications in those scenarios. Acutely used, it’s a temporary fix. You have something that you’re just … I mean, not sleeping for days at a time is worse than getting a little bit of sleep even if it’s facilitated with medication. That’s the extent of, I think, how we should use those drugs. Using them chronically is a bad idea because we know that their usage does not provide normal sleep architecture, and there are certain stages of sleep that are very important for the brain doing important activities to keep itself healthy. That’s why you see the increased risk for things like mild cognitive impairment, Alzheimer’s disease, and other forms of dementia.

[00:18:00] Long term usage of sedative [inaudible 00:17:48] is a bad idea, whether it’s Benzodiazepine or non-Benzodiazepine drugs like, I don’t know what you guys have there, but Ambien, Zolpidem, those are the US names. Short term, acute usage, if let’s say you haven’t been sleeping for four or five days, you feel like you’re not going to continue to sleep, having medication like that can help, but only short term usage. That is the more extreme acute version.

[00:19:00] Then there’s more of the occasional, like, “Gosh, I just have one of those nights where my mind is racing.” What are some things that you can do? You can try to quiet your mind down by doing some relaxation techniques, by taking a warm shower. A drop in core body temperature is important for the initiation of sleep. When you take a warm shower, then the blood actually goes to your skin. When you get out of the shower, then the blood, it enables your core to cool more easily. Facilitating that with a warm shower, hot tub, or sauna can actually do a good thing to help people sleep better particularly if they have an over-aroused mind that night. Even if you don’t, it can actually facilitate good deep sleep as well.

[00:19:30] Also, there are now things like binaural beats. These are apps that you can download. They play a frequency that is slightly off time-wise. Temporally, they’re off, so it’s playing the same frequency but it’s a second altered on this ear. What happens when you utilize this technique, it can actually entrain your brain to a certain rhythm. We know that certain rhythms correspond with certain types of thinking patterns like concentration or relaxation. You can put on certain frequencies for relaxation, meditation, concentration, and that can actually help to quiet down your mind and train it. You can do deep-breathing and meditation. All those things can be useful to just kind of bring it down a notch.

[00:20:00] What I’ll do, also, if I’m ever in a state like that, I’ll listen to a podcast so I’m not watching a television show, but I’ll just put something else on where my mind is not ruminating on my internal thoughts, but it focusing on something external, and that can get me off of my thought pattern, onto something else, and then I can naturally kind of quiet down and relax. Sometimes I’ll do that as well.

Stu

Interesting.

Guy

How much does blue light, do you think, affects sleep patterns from your own research, Dan?

Dan

[00:20:30] Massively. I work with the Circadian Biology Lab at Stanford under Jamie Zeitzer. Jamie Zeitzer did his PhD under Chuck [inaudible 00:20:24] who’s the godfather of Circadian Biology, particularly in terms of it’s connection with sleep. We do a lot of work on looking at how light influences sleep timing. I have a podcast where Jamie and I had a discussion talking about a new, interesting product to truncate the jet lag by two third, even more, actually. It’s a new, cool product that’s coming out. He was the inventor of the IP but has no financial connection with the product.

[00:21:30] We’re both very excited to see the product being developed because, one, there’s a lot of people that do have to travel across time zones and this can help them perform much better both when they arrive in the new area that they go to and also when they get home. It’s common where people that are oftentimes traveling to a new place, their adrenaline from being in the new environment makes them perform okay, but when they come they’re exhausted. The burden of sleep deprivation is taken out all on their family from having a very tired mom or pop for the next couple days. Let’s talk a little bit about just light in general.

Guy

Okay, before we go back to light, I’m really intrigued with that jet lag product. How does it work? What’s the theory behind it?

Dan

Sure. Why don’t we circle back to it? I’ll explain how light affects rhythms and then we’ll talk about how the product is influencing that system to help us with jet lag.

Guy

Beautiful.

Dan

Sound good?

Guy

Yeah, sounds good.

Dan

[00:22:30] Okay. There’d something called a Circadian Rhythm, and this is an [inaudible 00:21:57] 24 hour rhythm. All body processes, whether it’s timing of digestion, or cell cycle growth and repair processes, your sleep/wake cycle, these are all 24 hour rhythms. That means that we are, because sleep and wake are on certain rhythms, that means when it’s dark out our brain is time to know that, well, that’s typically when humans sleep, and then to prepare the mind for sleep and then to extend, consolidate sleep throughout the night. Likewise for the day, during wakefulness. You can completely flip flop that, right? You can travel, I’m in San Francisco, if I travel to Italy, biologically the timing of my rhythm is completely off, so how do I get into sync with the light rhythms of people in Italy to be on the same, kind of, day/night schedule as them? That happens to be light coming into the eye.

[00:23:30] In the back of the retina, we have these, what are called, intrinsically photo-sensitive retinal ganglion cells. They’re in the retinal ganglion layer of the eye, and they’re sensitive to light. What they do is they translate that light signal via the retinal hypothalamic tract, back to what’s called master clock. This master clock, is an area, the hypothalamus, the suprachiasmatic nucleus, and that is essentially the master clock in the brain, and it is then determining through their sympathetic nervous system, through hormonal patterns, and probably some other processes as well. The timing of the rest of your body is synchronized with that master clock, so everything is in sync, and light is that major synchronizer of your body timing.

[00:24:00] If you think about, what is life like in an environment that doesn’t have any natural light, well, you wake up in the morning, there’s light during the day, light goes down at night, the sun goes down at night, and that facilitates certain types of hormones, particularly melatonin. Melatonin is produced under something called dim light melatonin on sight. When it starts to become dim, the light becomes dim, then that will trigger a reaction starting at the retinal ganglion cells, that ends up in your pituitary producing melatonin. That doesn’t make you go to sleep right away, and that’s actually a big falicy.

[00:25:00] Melatonin is not a great sleep drug because it has weak soporific effect, meaning that it weakly will induce sleep. It has a slight effect on promoting sleep, so it’s not very strong, so what ends up happening is people have to take more a pharmacological level of the hormone to get it. Then that, in certain genotypes, we wrote a blog about this, that can still be in your system in the morning. Now, one of the effects melatonin has is to cause the pancreas to stop releasing insulin. Let’s imagine the scenario. You took melatonin at night, you wake up in the morning and you have a normal breakfast. Well, you’re going to look like you are a very bad diabetic in the morning if you still have melatonin in your system. That is because you’re not releasing insulin.

[00:25:30] If you have, let’s say, 45 grams of carbohydrates, your blood glucose levels are going to skyrocket and stay elevated for awhile. It’s good to know that that effect can happen and it definitely happens worse in some phenotypes. You can do 23 and me, go check out that blog, it’s on our site, blog.dansplan.com. If you have 23 and me, which detects what your own genetic structure is, you can see what your genotype is and then figure out your sensitivity to that. It’s important.

[00:26:00] What melatonin does do is it signals darkness. That tells the master clock that it’s time to start to prepare for sleep. It also then helps to make sure that the timing of your sleep rhythm is the same everyday. That is in a natural environment. Light goes down, your produce melatonin, you don’t go to bed right away, but hours later, but it keeps the timing of your rhythm set. Now, modern world, we have not a very strong light signal during the day because we’re inside. I didn’t talk about that, but the light outside is ten times more powerful than light in a room, and that has a stronger anchoring effect on your Circadian rhythm from the opposite perspective. Not dim light, causing melatonin release, but bright light telling the brain, yes, it’s daytime right now.

[00:27:00] Rather, we’re in, what seems to be absolutely normal light. You go into an office building and you can see fine, it looks bright, but it’s the order of magnitude less powerful by telling your brain that it’s daytime. Then you go home, the sun’s going down, you turn on lights, you turn on televisions, you look at your iPads and tablets, you’re getting a lot of artificial light. There’s nothing unique about the wavelengths that’s problematic except you’re giving your brain a signal that it’s daytime when it’s night, and that causes the climbing of your rhythm to shift. That means, over time, that your alertness rhythm is still active when you want to go to bed.

[00:27:30] You lay down and a lot of times you’re wired. People have this experience where they feel tired all day and then they’re alert right before bed. Their best alertness is right when they want to go to bed. Super frustrating. It’s four p.m. and they’re like, “I just can’t wait to go to bed tonight,” and then it’s 11:00 and they lay down and then they look like [inaudible 00:27:21]. That has to do with the timing of your rhythms. That’s why it’s really important to get bright light in the morning, every morning. There’s other things that will actually inform your Circadian rhythm of it’s timing as well like take a cold shower the last 30 seconds of my morning. That will initiate a sympathetic response which can have an affect on the Circadian rhythm as well.

[00:28:00] Then in the evening, put dimmer switches around your home. Dim the lights. You’re trying to mimic a natural environment the best that you can. On that blog, there’s a blog article that I wrote to accompany my interview with Professor Zeitzer. In there I talk about how you can adjust your settings of your iPhone to pull out all the light, all the blue light. If you’re just doing reading, you can actually read, but with less consequence. You want to even turn the dimness down as much as you can, make it as dim as possible, and you want to pull out all the blue light because blue light is what is synchronizing your Circadian rhythms. It has the strongest effect on those retinal ganglion [inaudible 00:28:22]. All light has an effect, so we can’t totally cheat the system but we can definitely do better.

Guy

That certainly supports it.

Free Health Pack

 

 

 

Stu

Fantastic. Also for those people that just want to plunk themselves in front of the TV at night, is that a similar lighting structure to the devices that we use right now?

Dan

[00:29:30] You know, being in front of the television, we’re not going to get rid of that. It’s going to happen. As we have iPads and devices that enable us to watch Netflix or whatever in bed, increasingly we’re going to have to maintain, do the best we can, being realistic about what people will do. Keeping the rest of your environment dim, don’t walk into the bathroom, turn on a light, and have it be super bright. Light a candle. Think about candle light, it’s much better for not shifting your clock than bright light. Every time you have the distance, like you’re holding an iPhone, you quadruple the exposure to photons that go into the eye. Try to hold it at a distance. It’s not that bright, if you have the dimness down, and you have your night shifter on, I have an iPhone so I’m speaking to that, it would be okay. Particularly if you got outside, I recommend everybody go outside for a half an hour everyday, have your lunch outside, go for a walk. Those are the good healthy behaviors, but also really good for your sleep. Those are some other good tips.

Guy

Yeah, got it. I just want to close a loop from earlier, which was the jet lag.

Dan

[00:30:30] Okay, so now we know that light can affect the timing of our rhythm, when things are happening. There’s nothing broken with my rhythm when I travel from San Francisco to Italy. The timing of everything shifts. Now I’m sleeping when I usually was awake and I’m awake when I usually was sleeping. It takes four or five, six days, sometimes ten days to fully adjust. Light’s coming into my eye, telling my brain the signal, and slowly my whole physiology shifts to a different time zone. Well, my mentor Jame had figured out that if you give light pulses you can affect the timing of that rhythm even more than just continuous straight light, turning on a light. That’s one thing that you can do and there are products like that.

[00:31:30] One thing that happens in teenagers is you develop something called delayed sleep aid syndrome, where they want to stay up later but then they still have 7:30 wake up call for school, and because they’re growing they still need nine, ten hours in bed but they just don’t naturally feel sleepy so parents are, “Go to bed,” and they’re on the phone chatting with their friends. That’s very natural. What’s not natural is that they then have to get up so early, so they’re actually missing sleep. It’s very problematic. They have devices that are alarm lights. At four a.m. the light turns on, the child can sleep through it, but our eyelids are translucent so light can penetrate them and it can still give a signal to the brain that it’s now light and that can actually shift the timing, it can pull the timing back. That can be a good thing.

[00:32:00] Jamie was capitalizing on that knowledge and saying, “Okay, well, can we do something that’s even better?” This mask that you wear, you wear it like a sleep mask at night, and then the timing of it, it’s all programmed into the app so you don’t have to really think about it but if you say, “Okay, I’m in San Francisco, and I travel to Italy,” it would just kind of help you do some of the adjustments for you. It would play pulses at night at the right time. When you’re in Italy and then when you came back, and what it would do is it could shrink, instead of taking ten days, it could take four days for you to fully adjust, which might mean you’re feeling fine in a day and a half or two days but then you’re feeling your best by day four.

[00:32:30] There’s application for regular people that do timezone travel, there’s international travel, there’s application for, as I was mentioning before, teenagers. There’s also an application for people who do shift work at night a couple nights a week or a couple nights a month they’re working the night shift and then they want to get back on track quickly. Not only are there health ramifications to it, but there’s also then just behavioral lifestyle, quality of life, ramifications. I’m very excited about the product. It’s not available yet, I have no relationship with the company, but I do want to see it come to market, be successful, and be utilized.

Guy

Sounds awesome.

Stu

[00:33:30] I look forward to finding out a little bit more about it when it’s available. I wanted to just rewind a little bit as well. You mentioned the scenario where many of us can wake up earlier than we would like. I’m guessing that over here in Australia right now that’s happening to a lot of people because we’ve recently had a daylight savings shift. Now we’re getting up an hour earlier than we used to and it’s affecting our mental state throughout the day as well. Let’s say we normally want to wake up at 7:00 but we’re waking up at six or half past five, what strategies or techniques could we implement to help us?

Dan

[00:34:30] We can then use light at night. All the things that you’re usually trying to avoid, you can actually have bright light at night to shift that [crosstalk 00:33:43] a bit. The other thing that you might want to log, is if you’re feeling like you have to get up to urinate which is a common experience for people that are older, try not to watch your liquid intake before bed. Try to resist it for a night a two, because you can habituate getting up and going to the bathroom. Let’s say you do it two, three nights in a row, then the fourth night your body is ready to do that again and it’ll wake you up. Try to avoid it, if you can. If you can’t, sometimes it’s just urgent, you drank too much, but if you can, try to hold it, see if you can fall back asleep, and that’ll help to facilitate better. Sleep consolidation, not having to get up and then go back to bed. Give that a shot. A lot of things that we’re talking about, even with the Circadian timing, will also matter as well, will also matter to this question or problem as well.

Stu

[00:35:00] Got it. Does diet play a part in this as well? We could be having a really carb-heavy meal at night, we could be eating maybe lots of vegetables that are perhaps diuretic to the body, all of these things. What in your experience would be the best diet to foster a great night’s sleep?

Dan

[00:35:30] Marie [inaudible 00:35:06] has done some interesting work on this recently. There’s not a lot of great work in this subject. There needs to be more. There’s the long-term effect of a healthy diet, and then the downstream ramifications of how a healthy diet keeps the cells of your body, including the brain and the cells in the brain that are generating and involved in sleep and wake regulation healthy. That’s something that we know has to be happening. Secondarily, we know that then the acute effects, there’s less data on it. There’s two different … There’s the effects of sleep on eating, so how does your sleep affect what you want to eat and how you’re eating, and then there’s the effects of food on sleep.

[00:36:30] Marie [inaudible 00:35:57], who I’d mentioned, she’s at Columbia University New York in the United States, and what she found is that sugar, as you’d imagine, other carbs interfered with sleep stages. You had more arousals, and you had less non-RAM or slow wave sleep, which is a restorative form of sleep. Things that are associated with good quality sleep was high fiber intake. Here, the Institute of Medicine recommends that we get about 35 grams per day. On average, most Americans get somewhere between 15 and 25 gram per days. Hunter gatherers get somewhere in between 70 grams and sometimes even closer to 100. Lots of fiber intake. Huge impact on our gut microbiota.

[00:37:00] Our gut microbiota has a very powerful impact on signaling and communicating with the brain. Also, producing and even metabolizing neurotransmitters. That’s what I would say in terms of what we know now. At least, she does good research. It needs to be replicated, but I would say that if you want to do something from the food angle to try to get better sleep, I would just try to make sure that your day has enough fiber in it and for all practical purposes most people probably can’t overdo it with their fiber because 70 grams is more than twice as much as what a lot of people are getting.

[00:37:30] If you’re eating Paleo or if you’re eating a really good healthy Mediterranean diet, you are going to be probably close to like 50/60 grams just because that’s what those diets are comprised of. The other thing too is timing. Do you want to eat very close to bed? What I would say is I try to eat dinner as early as possible. There’s also benefits to health with a longer period without any food.

Stu

Like a fasted state, yeah.

Dan

Yeah. I think your body has to metabolize those nutrients, so the harder it’s working to do that closer to bed, the more energy is being reserved for those digestive processes versus having processed your food and now allowing that energy allocation to go towards other processes. A lot of people think of sleep as just a [inaudible 00:38:20] state where everything’s shut down and calm. That’s not true. The brain is active during sleep. It’s doing very important processes, and it needs energy to do that. Energy and blood flow. The other part of that too is alcohol.

[00:39:00] Definitely stay away from a lot of alcohol consumption and caffeine. Most people understand that. I have a little red wine every night. I really like the wine that the dry farm wine guys are doing. They’re looking at wines that have lower alcohol and are produced in a manner that’s less big wine, where they add sugar, they have a lot of additives to it. I’m a very big [inaudible 00:39:11] of the Mediterranean diet, and that diet, wine was a part of that diet on a regular basis. I try to have a little bit every night, but I cut if off at usually around seven, 7:30, no later than that.

Stu

Got it.

Guy

What about, it’s triggering questions as you’re talking. It’s great. Sleep cycles when you’re sleeping, because sometimes I can get eight hours sleep and feel like I need to sleep another eight hours, and I’m slower. Then other times I can even get a little bit less sleep and feel like a million dollars and I can conquer anything the next day. Why is that?

Dan

[00:41:00] My mentor and I have great conversations about this. We tend to talk about sleep as there are certain stages that associate with what we consider sleep quality. Sleep quality, though, is what you would describe as a quality … Sleep quality is [inaudible 00:40:10]. You have good sleep stages, you have adequate time in every sleep stage, given what we think is normal for your age and the normal controls. That there’s good sleep continuity, so you’re not having a lot of arousals, although 15 arousals at night is not abnormal, we just don’t remember most of them. We turn over, we up, a second we go back to sleep. We don’t have a lot of wake time after sleep onset which means that when you do wake up you’re not up for a half an hour before you go back to bed. All of that speaks to the qualify of sleep. You have K complexes and sleep spindles which associate with memory formation. You have adequate times and slow wave sleep, so there’s a frequency ban there, and you’re getting both sub one hertz bands and up to 4.5 hertz, so all this stuff is present.

[00:41:30] It doesn’t necessarily mean that you have good sleep satisfaction. Sleep satisfaction is how you feel from a good night’s sleep. Sleep is a historetic process which means how you were sleeping a week and a week and a half ago can be influencing how you feel tomorrow. You’ve got these long tails that are going to influence tomorrow. Generally, how you’re sleeping is going to predict better … If you’re sleeping well generally, the risk of you having those nights where you just feel really, really sleepy for one reason the next day are fewer. There’s lower risk.

Guy

It’s an accumulative effect over time with the sleep [inaudible 00:41:49] to a degree.

Free Health Pack

Dan

[00:42:00] Well, yes. There is. Then there are these things that are having an influence that can be playing out days to weeks later. Then there could be something that was disrupting your sleep. The way that we measure sleep is through polysomnography. There’s 27 different leads that are measuring breathing rate, ocular movement, brainwave activity, heart rate, heart rate variability. It’s how anybody could sleep under those [crosstalk 00:42:18].

Guy

I was going to say, I hear you have the worst night’s sleep ever doing it. Isn’t that right, Stu?

Stu

I have done it. I was baffled by the complexity of the reporting and the number of wires that were attached to my body. I probably had the worst night’s sleep that I have ever had in my life, minutes worth of sleep during that night. I was mummified with wires and had flashing lights and beeping sounds all around me. I just thought, this is ludicrous. How is this ever helpful?

Dan

[00:43:00] We’re ridiculous, sleep scientists. I know, I know. It’s one of those things where it does give us very valuable feedback, but the value of that is to identify characteristic patterns that are pathognomonic or predictive of certain sleep conditions: restless leg, obstructive sleep apnea, forms of insomnia, narcolepsy. They’re useful at identifying that but it’s not at all useful for saying what’s optimal for sleep.

Stu

No.

Dan

[00:43:30] Right? What’s the Heisenberg … There’s a quote, but I don’t know it well enough to try to remember it. Something to the effect of, “Don’t let the measurement device interfere with what you’re trying to measure.” You know?

Stu

Yeah, and that totally does.

Dan

It does, it does.

Stu

[inaudible 00:43:42].

Dan

[00:44:00] We have a lot of cool new sleep technologies, and they’re getting better by the day. You can have devices that sit on your bedside table that are using radio frequency to look at movement and listening to the sound of your breathing, that can use a strip under the mattress that you couldn’t feel at all but it’s detecting heart rate and heart rate variability which you can predict. You can use algorithms to try to predict what stage of sleep is a person in. I wear a FitBit, no relationship with them, but I do like their products. They’re getting better and better at being able to predict sleep you’re in and even what stage you’re in. All of this technology is getting better and better.

[00:45:00] What’s exciting about it is that I see these sorts of devices as helping you with sleep behaviors. When you have a little but of information about your sleep then … You can’t sleep better by squinting harder and be like, “Sleep hard!” You know? But it can remind you to do certain things. This is an engagement device. It can remind you to have a bedtime. Very few people have a time that they want to go to bed, in your mind. It’s so simple. I call sleep the mundane but meaningful. It really matters but it’s so easy to overlook the things that you want to do when you are paying attention to your form of entertainment that evening, reading a book, hanging out with family, whatever it is. You don’t want to give that up. I’ve got a four year old boy and the [inaudible 00:45:14] of going to bed and missing out on all the other excitement as people stay up is real, it starts early.

Guy

How many hours of sleep do we need? Does it vary for individuals? What’s the norm?

Dan

[00:46:0] It does, yeah. The National Sleep Foundation put out a analysis. 95% of the populations needs somewhere between seven hours to nine hours of sleep. I did an interview with Jerry Siegel, who is a professor at UCLA, famous sleep researcher. He did an analysis of 300 [inaudible 00:45:52] communities in [inaudible 00:45:55], Tanzania and Bolivia. He looked at, he had more rudimentary measurement to look at their sleep, because you can’t log an entire … It’s one of those situations, you can’t lug all the PSG equipment into Africa, into the field, but you can use things like [inaudible 00:46:15] which is looking at movement. You can look at [inaudible 00:46:19], so you’re looking at oxygen saturation and temperatures. They looked at a variety of things that are easy to measure.

[00:47:00] What they found, the assumption was that hunter gatherers sleep more than we do because we have artificial light and that’s causing an encroachment into our total sleep time. Actually, it’s true. They slept on what’s considered the lower end of sleep. I want to mention something very important. The hunter gatherers in his analysis slept somewhere between 5.9 and six and a half hours. That’s how much sleep they got, but if I were to ask you how much sleep do you get, people will say, “Oh, I went to bed at midnight, I woke up at around eight, I got eight hours,” you don’t say it this way, you don’t say, “Oh, I went to bed at midnight. I woke up at eight. I had 85% sleep efficiency, and so I slept six hours and 42 minutes.”

[00:48:00] That’s how we sleep, we just don’t remember that. We do have a period of time where we’re awake at night, and so when the National Sleep Foundation says, “Get seven to nine hours,” it’s because most people are sleeping, that’s how people perceive their sleep even though they’re maybe sleeping less than that. That’s really bed time. You want to plan for seven to nine hours of time in bed, to get the sleep that you need, and then if you wake up the next day and you have good alertness, you have good verbal recall. Like I know for me, when I’m sleepy, I slur my words, I can’t think, I have terrible recall, I’m sluggish in terms of how I’m processing information, but other people aren’t like that. They don’t really experience sleepiness as much. They can perform okay, but their decision making changes in weird ways. You have your own vulnerability to sleep. It’s good to recognize that.

[00:48:30] Even if you are considered a short sleeper, which are people that need legitimately less sleep than others, they can get by with five hours a night for 30 years, and they perform well and seem healthy, there are people like that, but that doesn’t mean that they need less sleep, their need for sleep is less, it just means that they need less sleep. There’s a difference, right? They have a need for sleep, it’s just that they can do fine on less. If you’re not like that, you can’t fake it.

Stu

Right. Absolutely not.

Guy

[00:49:00] Another question popped in and I have to ask it because a friend of mine would shoot me for having you on the show and not asking this, but shift workers, how could they get around it or is it something … Are there long terms effects that are not good? What are your thoughts?

Dan

[00:49:30] 15% of the United States does shift work and that’s increasing. I’d say that there’s two different kinds of shift work. There’s the shift work where you’re a paramedic, you’re a fire department, you’re a first responder, and it’s part of the job. Those jobs tend to be extraordinarily valuable for the functioning of society. It’s a new type of shift work where people will come home, they spend time with their family, the family goes to bed, and then they stay up and they do some writing until the wee hours of the morning because it’s the only time of day that they’re not getting bombarded with notifications. Couple of days a week they do that, coupled days a week they go to bed at a normal time. You’ve got this his variability in sleep timing, the timing of their sleep varies. That is problematic as well. You see metabolic consequences.

[00:50:30] The famous studies, the nurse health study that was done, I think through Harvard. People that do shift work over long periods of time have four fold increases in cancer. It’s because of that metabolic disturbance. That rhythm, the timing rhythms, are constantly being shifted. That’s one of the reason why I’m really excited about this light product coming out. Then also if your body is entrained to a different timing, “This is my time to sleep,” but you’re sitting there wide awake. How easily could you guys just sit down and sleep right now? Unless you’re carrying a good sleep burden, you might feel sleepy, but it’s hard to really shut down.

[00:51:30] Another product that I want to mention, another podcast that I’ve recently had on, is with a product Cortex. Kelly Roman at the company Fisher Wallace, they’re making an interesting device as well and they’re using transcortical direct current stimulation, or TCDS, with virtual reality. It’s a headset and what it’s doing is it’s playing imagery that is relaxing and, again, getting your mind off of any rumination and just kind of focusing on a world that is relaxing. Then at the same time it’s sing two milli-amps of this current that is helping the brain feel more relaxed and actually putting it into a different state. We’re going to see a lot more on the transcortical direct current stimulation and alternating current stimulation in the future because there’s some work on Alzheimer’s disease.

[00:52:00] There’s a podcast that I haven’t yet published with Bryce Mander at UC Berkeley, and we talk a little about how that sort of technology can be utilized to facilitate the type of sleep that helps you actually get rid of [inaudible 00:51:42] which accumulates in the element of Alzheimer’s disease. Fascinating work that’s going up in there. That’s another device. For your friend, okay, you’re now on your night shift, the quicker that you can get into a good state to actually get sleep when you need it, that’s good.

[00:52:30] I see some technologies on the horizon that are going to make life healthier for people that do shift work, and thank you, thank your friend for me for the work that they do, if he’s a first responder, he or she, because we can’t schedule if it’s an emergency, you can’t wait until tomorrow morning, you’ve got to be … It’s a sacrifice that they’re making. My goal and the goal of others is to help make that sacrifice be less of a sacrifice, maybe more of a social one, but not of long stream health consequence one.

The other thing that I would recommend is giving those people extra special attention for doing other things right. Eat well, get your exercise when you can. Doesn’t have to be large volumes, just get some everyday, and you’ll be in a better place for sure.

Stu

Yeah, that’s good advice.

Guy

[00:53:00] Beautiful. I’m just aware of the time, and I don’t want to blow out the hour too much for you, Dan. I’ll move on. We’ve got a couple of questions we ask everyone on the show. One of them is, what are you non-negotiables each day to be the best version of yourself?

Free Health Pack

Dan

[00:54:00] Time with family, and my health practice. I try not to be perfect because I appreciate life in this life, good food and good wine or staying up late to go dancing. All that stuff, I don’t have the best perspective, that I can’t include it in my life, but I try to make if somebody looked at my pattern for a month that it would much more easily be defined by the things that I was doing well versus the things that I don’t do well. I get exercise everyday. I’ve created kind of a unique style of exercise called In Tune Training. It stands for integrative and opportunistic. The idea is that you are integrating movement in your day in an integrative fashion, which means that instead of planning it or scheduling it. I’ve got a work out appointment for myself, with somebody else for by myself, at five, then rather you’re doing little bursts of physical activity here and there.

[00:55:00] Think about it. Even finding 20 minutes in your day can be really hard, but it’s a lot easier to find a minute or two here and there. That’s that opportunistic part. It’s like, I finished an email, I’m just going to go do 30 body weight squats. Then I try to make my movement pattern, I try to move everyday, versus moving a few times a week. I also cycle. I think getting in a longer, harder workout now and again is good, but I look to try to make … I try to be active everyday, and then I also try to cultivate a high energy state, mental and physical, but not making my daily workouts really intense in terms of overall volume.

I might do something that’s intense for 30 seconds here and there and I do that five, six times a day, but I’m not necessarily trying to exhaust myself day after day. I don’t know that that’s necessarily good for us. [crosstalk 00:55:14]

Stu

[00:55:30] That’s the question that’s coming up with a lot of our guests as well. It’s the ultra endurance, stroke endurance exercise, versus high intensity train of thought right now.

Guy

For sure. When you think about it, Stu, the daily stresses we have with the business and the company and everything else, the last thing I want to do is exercise, feel smashed, and then have to jump back in to continue the day. I want to feel better for me, ultimately. It’s taken me, again, at 40 years of age, to let my ego go.

Dan

[00:56:00] Yeah. Well, you were probably an athlete growing up. It’s interesting. People that were athletic when they were younger are more likely to exercise and be active when they’re older, but you have a challenge which is then when we’re younger, performance is what drove how we worked out and why we worked out and how we trained. Now I think people aspiring to have certain health goals is good, but if you’re always trying to break your best record, then it does put a lot of pressure on and you find a pattern where people are good for a little while then they stop for three months.

[00:57:00] I exercise now to feel really good everyday, to have a high degree of mental energy, and for longevity. I’m happy with that. The more regularly you are physically active, then you do have general physical preparedness for everything in life. Maybe not quite as intense, but I can hop on a mountain bike and go to the top of Mount [inaudible 00:56:52], 1800 feet, and I feel fine. I can go do a lot of things and I feel fine doing it. That’s what I feel good about now, and I just turned 43, so I’m with you there.

Stu

I’m guessing that that helps towards a good night’s sleep as well.

Dan

It does. Think of sleep and physical activity as opposite sides of the same coin. When you get physical activity, it does help with sleep. We know people that undergo bed rest studies where they have no physical activity, they have very fragmented shallow sleep. Then conversely you feel like exercising much more when you get a good night’s sleep and you feel alert.

Stu

Brilliant. Fantastic.

Guy

Last question. What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?

Dan

[00:58:30] When I was working with Dean Ornish, there was a patient in the study, was a really smart man, Orville. We became friends. He kind of took me under his wing. All the patients came once a week for a seven hour intervention. They would go to the exercise physiologist, spend time with a nutritionist, and we had a lot of time to socialize with them during the day so we’d always just pair up and hang out. He was a professor for 30 years at Stanford. He said, “You know, make people think that 80% of your maximal effort is 100%, because people will fill in that 100%, they’ll fill it in with stuff.” The best work in my life came when I had time to really think about what I was doing, what was next, and to be creative. You need that bandwidth, you need to preserve that bandwidth in order to continually do bigger, greater things. I don’t know if I always do that, but I always think about it, and I think it’s good advice.

Guy

That’s brilliant.

Stu

Brilliant. I like that. I like it.

Guy

I try and live by that, mate.

Dan

Yeah, it’s good.

Guy

Yeah, absolutely. Friend who listens wants to get more of Dan Pardi, where can we send them? You mentioned your podcast as well.

Dan

[00:59:30] I interview mostly professors, but also entrepreneurs, the occasional investor. The way I think about it is people that are doing original research, people that are taking health science research and turning it into innovative products that can help us, and then also people that are then forecasting where is the health industry going based off of all the other technological trends that are happening in our world. That’s my perspective on who I want to speak with. Most of my interviews now are with professors and there’s just great conversations. I feel so fortunate to have the people that I’ve had on.

[01:00:00] You can go to Sound Cloud or iTunes and just look for Human OS Radio, and my name is Dan Pardi, P-A-R-D-I. Then I’ll be launching, you can also go to dansplan.com, D-A-N-S-P-L-A-N, but very soon I’ll be launching Human OS and I’ve been working on that exclusively for two years, so Dan’s Plan is going to be changing very, very soon. I developed a behavior model in academia several years ago all about how to develop personal health mastery. The premise is that we need to take radical ownership of our health, which doesn’t mean that we have to be completely independent. We can also involve an excellent care team, but nobody’s going to be making as many decisions that affect your health and your life as you, so you need to be good at it.

[01:00:30] The model is people should understand, why should they do something, how do they do it, are they doing it, and is it working. Human OS is based off of that. We’re creating peer reviewed health courses and recipe libraries and workout libraries and we have integrated with 50 different tracking services. A lot more to come. Probably launching in May. Fingers are crossed. I’m really excited. It’s what I’ve been working on for over five years. It’s time, it’s close.

Stu

I’m very, very excited. I will follow that closely because it sounds fantastic.

Dan

Awesome, guys. Email me and I’ll make sure you guys can get access.

Stu

Fantastic. Brilliant.

Guy

Dan, that was awesome, buddy. Thanks so much for coming on the show. I have no doubt everyone is going to get something great out of that. I’m going to have to listen to that again. That was brilliant.

Dan

[01:01:30] Yeah, I was talking a lot. Thank you guys for having me on the show. I really appreciate it and good luck to you guys and thank you for your health efforts and endeavors and helping to be a force for good in this world. That’s needed. It’s needed.

Stu

Every little bit helps, I think.

Dan

Totally.

Guy

Thanks, Dan. Thanks, Stu.

Stu

Fantastic. Thank you and hopefully we will chat to you in the near future.

Dan

Yeah, that sounds great.

Stu

Brilliant. Thank you buddy. Bye bye.

Dan

Yeah.

Free Health Pack

 

  • free_samples_blog

  • Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

    Post a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields marked *

    You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>