#1501 Sleep, Light, and Circadian Rhythms

Step #1 in Getting Your Mitochondria Optimized

In our last several +1s, we’ve been exploring wisdom from my ALL-TIME FAVORITE BOOKBrain Energy by Harvard psychiatrist Chris Palmer, MD.

I repeat: If you or a loved one has EVER experienced psychological issues, this is the Note/book to read. (Download/share the Note here. And my interview with Dr. Palmer here. Get the book here.)


We’ve established the theoretical framework with this one line description:

And, we defined metabolism with this two-sentence description: “Metabolism is the process of turning food into energy or building blocks for growing and maintaining cells, as well as the appropriate and efficient management of waste products. Metabolism is how our cells work.”

I promised we’d talk about THREE ways to optimize our metabolism to conquer psychological challenges (while getting ourselves Heroically Energized so we can be Heroically Productive AND Heroically Connected!).

The three things we talk about in the Note and will discuss in these +1s include: Sleep, Fasting, and Purpose.

Today we’re going to talk about sleep.

Chris tells us: “Sleep problems can be defined as too much, too little, or poor-quality sleep. Any of them can take a metabolic toll. Problems sleeping can exacerbate all mental and metabolic disorders. Sleep deprivation can worsen depression, mania, anxiety, dementia, ADHD, schizophrenia, and substance abuse disorders. It can also exacerbate metabolic disorders. People with diabetes can see their blood sugar rise. People with obesity can gain more weight. People who have already had a heart attack can have another one. These are all examples of sleep problems worsening existing disorders. However, they can also be contributing causes to the onset of such disorders. There have been many studies of normal, healthy people being sleep deprived. If the sleep deprivation is extreme, it can result in depression, anxiety, cognitive impairment, mania, and psychosis.”

As you know if you’ve been following along, I’m a big fan of sleep. (Hah.) I’m also a big fan of Matthew Walker and his brilliant book Why We Sleep. Check out our collection of Notes on Sleep and Sleep 101 and the Mastery Series work on the subject.

Walker tells us: “A balanced diet and exercise are of vital importance, yes. But we now see sleep as the preeminent force in this health trinity. The physical and mental impairments caused by one night of bad sleep dwarf those caused by an equivalent absence of food or exercise. It is difficult to imagine any other state—natural or medically manipulated—that affords a more powerful redressing of physical and mental health at every level of analysis.

Based on a rich, new scientific understanding of sleep, we no longer have to ask what sleep is good for. Instead, we are now forced to wonder whether there are any biological functions that do not benefit by a good night’s sleep. So far, the results of thousands of studies insist that no, there aren’t.

Emerging from this research renaissance is an unequivocal message: sleep is the single most effective thing we can do to reset our brain and body health each day—Mother Nature’s best effort yet at contra-death. Unfortunately, the real evidence that makes clear all the dangers that befall individuals and societies when sleep becomes short have not been clearly telegraphed to the public. It is the most glaring omission in the contemporary health conversation.”


It does a Hero good.

Today’s +1 is simple.

What’s ONE thing you can do to optimize YOUR sleep TONIGHT?

Get on that.


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