Subscribe now on: | Spotify | iTunes | Google Play | Stitcher | Soundcloud | RSS | or search "Ashes Ashes" on your favorite podcast app.

Chapters

  • 04:07 Benefits of Sleep
  • 10:56 Consequences of Sleep Loss
  • 19:57 Sleep Variations
  • 28:41 Demands of Modern Life
  • 43:53 Circadian Disruption
  • 52:10 Sleep Denied
  • 54:45 What can we do?

(Sorry this transcript sucks. We're working on fixing it and correcting these awful AI errors)


Transcript

David Torcivia:

[0:00] I'm David Torcivia.

Daniel Forkner:

[0:02] I'm Daniel Forkner.

David Torcivia:

[0:04] And this is Ashes Ashes, a show about systemic issues, cracks in civilization, collapse of the environment, and if we're unlucky, the end of the world.

Daniel Forkner:

[0:12] But if we learn from all of this maybe we can stop that. The world might be broken but it doesn't have to be.

Now David, on this show on ashes ashes we talked a lot about systemic issues that threaten our world and also the negative consequences of some of these systemic problems. As it is so often with these topics we have created a difficult choice for ourselves. Where are the products the institutions the structures that we have created come at a price. And this price could be environmental health you could be the resilience of our communities you could be our own individual health and we find ourselves at a crossroad. It is not until after the goodies of our Modern World arrived that we discover we have lost something valuable in the process. We are forced into an uncomfortable decision. Do we keep the systems we created or accept that maybe we made the wrong choice and try and get back to a more valuable way of living.

David Torcivia:

[1:10] And while we may have accumulated many of these so-called goodies Daniel like you mention it comes at a cost and oftentimes these costs are things that are not asleep very fundamental to what it means to be alive, and that's the topic of today's episode one of these things that we've given up to cumulate so much more and that thing will it sleep.

Daniel Forkner:

[1:29] And not only David do we lose a bit of what it means to be human but losing something Bible like sleep can often result in terrible tragedy.

David Torcivia:

[1:38] When did greatest environmental disasters in modern history The Wreck of the Exxon Valdez oil tanker, which spread oil all across the shore and killed tens or hundreds of thousands of animals and really sore to jumpstart a lot of the environment to work that we see today because of the imagery that came out of this event that was caused by a Helmsman or been up for 16 hours and was behind the wheel and fell asleep and next thing you know this giant oil tanker crashed and we told his oil causing an environmental tragedy.

Daniel Forkner:

[2:08] It's possible that the worst nuclear problem occurring on United States soil that Three Mile Island meltdown in 1979 occurred because workers working that late night shift were impaired from lack of sleep.

David Torcivia:

[2:22] There's also been reports at the Columbia Space Shuttle tragedy was caused by sleep deprivation. And even in history events like the wall Jackson's failed charge and basically honestly totally ridiculous 30 Jake thinking during his June campaign mini Scholars think is because of extended sleep deprivation. But for most of us sleep deprivation probably appears and impacts our own life's most notably in car accidents I know I have many friends and family members who have gotten into car accidents some serious some not because of sleep deprivation.

Daniel Forkner:

[2:55] These are tragedies occur every single day all over the world David in the United States one out of every 25 people have fallen asleep at the wheel in any given month, and up to 6,000 deaths each year may be caused by drowsy driving alone according to the CDC. That's because driving on less than 5 or even 6 hours doubles the risk of crashing for most people. So it's obvious that sleep is important right David I mean we need this to function obviously we can't go a week without sleep we would literally die.

David Torcivia:

[3:27] Yeah I mean I don't feel like I can go much more than like 8 hours without sleeping.

Daniel Forkner:

[3:31] Well that that lines up pretty well with the science David.

David Torcivia:

[3:34] I don't think I can do more than 4 hours with her sleeping I napped right before this episode I'm going to nap right after it.

Daniel Forkner:

[3:40] You may be joking but researching for this topic has gotten me into taking naps or often and it's kind of, refocused my perspective on sleep I think before I kind of saw it as a time-waster something that was very inconvenience I don't know I could be working but instead I have to sleep but now I see it as something that I want more of it and I appreciate it now and I feel like I get a lot of benefits from it because I recognize why it's important.

Benefits Of Sleep [4:08] David what are some of the reasons that we should be sleeping today.

David Torcivia:

[4:11] Sleep has so many benefits it's really hard to understand how important is. Almost every aspect of our life even simple things like improving our ability to empathize with others or helping us deal with pain management.

Daniel Forkner:

[4:23] Sleep is crucial for the development and maintenance of our nervous systems for one sleep promotes the growth of cells that produce something called myelin which is an important substance and protecting our cells and help some fire more efficiently.

David Torcivia:

[4:37] And for those out there who wish they had a couple more inches on their High Tukwila growth hormones are released when we sleep and for the rest of us who don't want to age sells don't break down as easily while sleeping.

Daniel Forkner:

[4:49] Not sure if that's how growth hormones work David butt.

David Torcivia:

[4:52] No it's his growth right in that in the name.

Daniel Forkner:

[4:54] Remember how we talked about there's lots of different ways to measure growth the supplies biologically as well.

David Torcivia:

[5:00] But you never even asked what kind of inches I was talking about where those inches were.

Daniel Forkner:

[5:04] Touche David and you know our frontal cortex has an important functional relationship with our amygdala which is a very old part of the brain where a lot of Primal emotions like fear come from, without sleep that relationship between the frontal cortex and the old part of our brain breaks down and we lose control of our own emotions we become much more Moody without sleep as many of you can attest I'm sure, or at least your friends.

David Torcivia:

[5:30] Winning School many of us heard the old adage over and over get a good night sleep before your test will turn. That's important because sleeping and sleeping well improved learning and memory formation.

Daniel Forkner:

[5:42] Sleep keeps are hormones like insulin and balance it boost our creativity it dramatically improve the ability for immune system to function.

David Torcivia:

[5:51] And sleep even has dramatic effects on the way are very DNA expresses itself affecting the number and types of proteins being produced or suppress.

Daniel Forkner:

[6:01] Okay so it's clear that sleep serves a number of important functions. Rite Aid gives us physical rest it's a way for the cells in our body and in our brain to recover and there's even been studies that show that when we sleep our brain flushes out toxins. And neural connections get reorganize in ways that make things like memory possible.

David Torcivia:

[6:21] Yeah I mean speaking of memories there's so much to talk about it on this subject here is one thing that comes to mind is that a recent study discovered that during sleep, the brains of rats will strengthen certain neural connections and reorder them in terms of significance actively they were fired prior to sleep. The results of this study help bridge the gap between the two competing theories of the mechanisms underlying the brain's ability to consolidate Memories the one theory is that the brain weakens all connections during sleep and it's only allows the strongest and most vital, sorcerer viable to stick around the rest are effectively Bruins away as insignificant connections Caesar the things we forget because they just don't matter. Other theory is that the brain more actively strengthens and weakens different connections, but this study suggests you know what actually could be all the above both the theories could in fact be correct and remember I mean neural connections are made constantly throughout our day. Every single interaction we have with our environment every single thought we have anything that happens around as is a constant or reorganization of our brain.

Daniel Forkner:

[7:26] Yeah they did actually seemed strange to me at first that our brains would actively want to weekend or disconnect neural networks. You know at first I thought well if I could just remember everything I would prefer that right. I could be like one of those people that has the photographic memory remember every name every face everything I read but as it turns out disconnecting neuro-connections is actually extremely important. There's one particular hormone that's found in the brains of mice that prunes back weeks in UPS connections between neurons during sleep, in 2017 a group of researchers study the effects of inhibiting this Palmer won a protein from forming in mice, these mice were put in a little room that triggered an electrical shock. And then they went to sleep and when they woke up they were put back in the same room and as you would expect David all these mice reacted with fear. But then the researchers did something else they put. These mice in a different room and the mice who did not have this memory erasing protein were afraid of this new totally unique room that they've never been in there were totally afraid, while the normal nice they were not afraid and they just went about their day because they could tell the difference between the room that shocked them in this new room that is a completely different environment.

David Torcivia:

[8:45] Another paper that came out late last year look at memory formation in the brain during deep sleep. And found an important link between the transfer of short-term memory to long-term storage and two electrical waves produced by the brain. The so-called slow-wave must be synced up with the faster sleep spindles way, oral to transfer one accurso being off by as little as 50 milliseconds can cause problems and what's important about this is that when we age it becomes more difficult for the brain. Form is rhythm and I could help explain why memory declines as people grow older.

Daniel Forkner:

[9:21] David I actually have a personal anecdote about this memory formation in the brain you see I was a neuroscientist when I was a young child.

David Torcivia:

[9:29] Wait this story doesn't sync with what my memory recall.

Daniel Forkner:

[9:32] What don't you remember everyone can be a scientist all you have to do is observe thing so I was observing something about my brain therefore I was a neuroscientist and I play the piano when I was a child and. I remember I could practice a difficult passage of a piece for hours I just repetitiously playing the same passage over and over again for hours in a day, and I would notice not a single iota of improvement it seem like in some cases I was going backwards you know I felt like why am I putting so many hours into this and I'm not improving but then something incredible happened I would go to sleep and wake up the next day at sit back down at the piano and like magic I could play it better than I ever could. And so it became very clear to me that while sleep must have some magic ability to make us better things but I think what was really happening is this transfer of memory, I was strengthening certain neurons by practicing that piece then I went to sleep and the Brain said oh these neurons are important let's strengthen them and let's take away anything that distracts from this process here that's Network firing in maybe that's how we get better things David.

David Torcivia:

[10:35] Yeah I think that really does a great job illustrating both the combination of the strengthening of certain connections has walls of pruning of things that don't matter because it's the interplay between both that makes memories so significant in all this happens whether it's one Theory or the other or a combination of the two but what we do know is that it happens during sleep that's where the reason why sleep is so important.

Consequences Of Sleep Loss

Daniel Forkner:

[10:56] Well that implies David that if we don't get enough sleep. Some of these benefits that we've outlined don't accrue and maybe we start experiencing some negative consequences. It sucks that's exactly the case if we don't get enough sleep there are a whole bunch of very negative consequences that start piling up on us they can effectively turn us into an entirely different person.

David Torcivia:

[11:19] Daniel it's right and it really covers so much of ourselves our personality will we look like a physicality all are related to sleep this is things like the pression hypertension weight gain heart problem.

Daniel Forkner:

[11:31] Cognitive break down without sleep I reaction times grind to a halt we have a less ability to concentrate we experience memory loss because that import a function we outlined isn't occurring and sour alertness.

David Torcivia:

[11:45] Return back to studies on mice again we found the genes associated with cell death become emphasized when we deny these my sleep more pretty certain that the same thing happens in all of us.

Daniel Forkner:

[11:56] And continuing with mice. One study discovered that in laboratory settings cancer in my screw twice as fast when their sleep was fragmented and lack of sleep also increase the risk for getting cancer generally. And those things David they just occur with a very basic lack of sleep something that all of us will go through at some point our life and many of us chronically so as we try to adapt to Modern societies and the modern needs of our economy. But with an even more extreme sleep deprivation we have things like.

David Torcivia:

[12:32] So I mean where's on your daddy and sleep deprivation lead to an increase risk for pretty much every disease and illness out there, meaning of chronic diseases that are Global crises at this point or either exacerbated by or in some cases caused by directly sleep deprivation. Research came out early last year that examined gene expression and identical twins under different sleep patterns, and they found that lack of sleep cause one of the twins to experience a significant reduction in gene expression for mini immune inflammatory function, to simplify that phrase down it just means that our immune system simply don't operate at the same level when we lack sleep.

Daniel Forkner:

[13:14] In earlier study David found it when individuals went from a consistently healthy sleep schedule to less than 6 hours for just one week, up to 700 jeans in their bodies were altered in some way. And then these are genes that deal with the immune system and stressed with the ability for DNA to replicate and repair itself with proteins that are associated with cancer, with metabolism and with gene expression generally and much more we may not understand the full implications of sleep on our health at this point but it's very clear the implications are quite dramatic, speaking about the proteins that are produced in our body there's one particular protein or a protein snippet called beta-amyloid that is produced in our bodies when we are awake and it accumulates in our brains, and this protein is strongly linked with the risk of Alzheimer's disease. But it turns out many studies that have been carried out on mice have found that when mice sleep the brain does something very interesting, the neurons themselves will shrink and the Brain flushes itself with cerebrospinal fluid which takes all that accumulated beta-amyloid, and flushes it out of the brain and so we're just now beginning to understand, I'll sleep might be an important way to prevent very harmful toxins accumulating in the brain and leading to very serious neurodegenerative diseases like all timers that played so many people.

David Torcivia:

[14:44] Whatever Daniel that's a bunch of nerds shit because what people really care about when it comes to sleep is looking good so pay attention for one lack of sleep causes an imbalance in two hormones that regulate when we feel hungry and full. In a controlled laboratory setting this imbalance increase the desire for fatty foods but. And resulted in participants consuming 500 more calories than they normally would but we don't just gained weight because we eat more. Even at the same caloric intake lack of sleep cancel lead to weight gain. A study published in 2012 that participants spend 3 weeks in state of circadian confusion, that means they just cut them up and also it's a different weird hours they were subjected to 28 hour days they slept five and a half hours each night and the end of the study participants experienced a 32% decrease in insulin secretion leading, pre-diabetic conditions. In addition the resting metabolic rate dropped by 8% and it translates to 12 and 1/2 lb weight gain over 1 year.

Daniel Forkner:

[15:47] Okay that's a lot of facts David this lot of numbers lot of Statistics but I think this is such an important phenomenon where you can take someone who is perfect.

[16:02] Then to a little bit of sleep confusion little bit of lack of sleep I mean we're not talking about huge sleep deprivation you were talking about five and a half hours at night, very many people in our society function on those types of our.

David Torcivia:

[16:17] Yeah I know a lot of people that sleep like 6 hours a night and they told me that's all I need six hours of sleep a night well I've also watch them slowly balloon up over the past decade so.

Daniel Forkner:

[16:27] Are we won't name any names but yeah you take someone who is perfectly healthy new subject them to this new standard of sleep in our society and after one week they are now pre-diabetic, and yes of course if you give them three nights of rest and you let them get back to it more healthy sleep schedule those conditions can revert back to normal but. When people are subjected to this type of schedule chronically over many years. Is it any surprise that when you combine this sleep deprivation with all the other things in our environment like the sugar that we consume that we talked about and sweet release, is any surprise that diabetes is one of the worst chronic diseases increasing globally right now all over the world.

David Torcivia:

[17:11] We'll also because of you know the air pollution and also the carbon dioxide and also cuz it's sleep and also cuz of sugar basically every episode with you we should rename this like why you have diabetes let's be the new name of the show.

Daniel Forkner:

[17:25] Not quite as catchy but it may be a little bit more accurate Davis.

David Torcivia:

[17:28] Well that's not worth his weight loss story ends of course not because in addition when infants and children do not get the sleep they need their risk of obesity later in life increases dramatically, this is really important because of how much stress parents undergo now and that affects their ability to give their children to sleep they need. A British study that examined data on 8000 children in the US study that looked at over 900 children each infants and children back at less than 10 to 12 hours of sleep. 50% increased risk of obesity just a few years later.

Daniel Forkner:

[18:05] I'll take your British study David and I'll Raise You a New Zealand study, because this one was longer-term it followed over 1,000 children from birth until the age of 32 and it found that between the ages of 5 and 11, every hour that was deducted from these children sleep increase their risk of obesity by 50% by the time they hit the age of 32.

David Torcivia:

[18:28] And we're going to get more on this topic later on in this episode but we really want to drive home how important sleep is two children but of course the demands of schools with early hours parents who have to wake up at 6 or 7 or did get their kids ready before they go off to work, this does not mess with how much sleep children need. And the demands of our society that make us follow the schedules might be doing many of us to a lifetime of obesity.

Daniel Forkner:

[18:55] And it's also important to point out that while we're talking about sleep deprivation in this episode a lot sleep loss is not exclusively just going to bed late and waking up early, sleep deprivation also comes from disruptions in our sleep and fragmented sleep that are brought on by things like light, noise and vibrations and also disorders like sleep apnea. In one of the great iron use here's that weight gain increases the risk of someone develop in sleep apnea in causing their Airway to be restricted while they sleep, and some people with sleep apnea they wake up 29 times every hour just to catch a breath, when they're trying to sleep in unfortunately the vast majority of people with this condition don't even know they have it around 80% of people with sleep apnea or undiagnosed.

David Torcivia:

[19:41] It's another one of those death Loops that we talked about, Windows systems that create these problems encourage the roots of these problems get even worse making the symptoms that much more worse in repetition over and over until unfortunately for many of these people it does in fact result in death. That's not to say that all of us are the same there is some variability in how we all sleep some of us need more sleep than others that's absolutely true,

Sleep Variations [20:06] some of us sleep better than others we fall asleep faster we fall asleep into deeper sleeps much more efficiently than other people.

Daniel Forkner:

[20:13] I have to admit David that going into this episode I actually had the impression that the whole night owl versus early riser debate was exaggerated. I felt that people who like to stay up late and sleep in we're kind of looking for an excuse to explain their you know what is viewed as irresponsible Behavior. As it turns out that's really not true at all we each have a unique what is called a chronotype or diurnal preference or circadian clock. Or to put it more simply we have a preference naturally and when we go to sleep and when we wake up and this is deeply rooted in our genetics, this natural sleep preference is a complex phenotype and scientists are still trying to understand the relevant genes and their relationships that create this phenotype but it's clear that the time you should go to bed and the time you should wake up, is significantly determined by your genes perhaps up to 50% in addition to the mini environmental stimuli like exposure to sunlight and cultural and social factors so as you would expect David anything that deals with a very strong genetic Foundation, as a lot of variations and what works on the individual level.

David Torcivia:

[21:25] This is really important to me because I'm one of those night owls I've tried for years to wake up by the time everyone else does but I'm groggy I'm sleepy for a very long time I mean High School specially was really hard because I caught the bus every morning at like 6:15. And that's way too early for my body and honestly it's way too early for all teenagers and that's like I said another part of the show, but services this is important Society discriminates against people who fall asleep later and wake up, Bellator variety of reasons and there is a genetic physical component to this in fact based on studies that have attempted to quantify the chronotype difference among populations you might expect only half the population to fit that 11 p.m. to 7 a.m. sleep schedule the early risers the most of society conforms to the other half that's half of all people would be divided between early risers and late risers in a much smaller percentage falls into the extremes of either in.

Daniel Forkner:

[22:24] You mentioned David that Society discriminates against late risers and maybe some people would think that that's an exaggeration but I want a quote from a study that's titled life between clocks daily temporal patterns of human chronotypes. And the authors write quotes human behavior shows large interindividual variation in temporal organization. I'll results predict the timing of sleep has changed during industrialization and that a majority of humans are sleep-deprived during the work week. Giblets.

David Torcivia:

[23:05] Then I got to admit something.

Daniel Forkner:

[23:08] Lay it on me David this is a safe space.

David Torcivia:

[23:10] I got a cat my beloved cat you've met.

Daniel Forkner:

[23:14] Yes I'm sorry what is that the confession.

David Torcivia:

[23:17] Anyway she she's a large furry beast and I she spends the vast majority of her day, sleep so little boy sleeps on the floor the couch chair on the table like on the countertop on top of the refrigerator anywhere that you could possibly imagine a cat could fit in some places where your surprise the cat came back and fit she's sleeping there at some point.

Daniel Forkner:

[23:39] Maybe she's passively aggressively objecting to the fact that you haven't bought her a nice little kitty bed David.

David Torcivia:

[23:46] That's the only place she doesn't sleep Daniel actually but I admire this weekend as somebody who would very much enjoy sleeping as somebody who often times feel like I don't get enough sleep, this is something I aspire. But what I noticed while watching her sleep is just how often she sleeps and she's not like us there is no like overnight sleep but I can't tell you how many times I've been woken up at 3 or 5 in the morning and she's running around like a crazy thing because. We don't sleep in the same way that we do we're okay so I time I sleep all night and I wake up now I'm awake I'm awake all day time to go to sleep not sleep all night on and on that's because cats dogs many other animals fall of something called segmented sleep. This habit of segmented sleeping is actually common among many animals in a diversity of ecosystems all over the world. We look at our cat sleeping on the floor at 3 in the afternoon at first I was tempted to think my cat is maybe lazy and irresponsible is it's not the right word can a cat be irresponsible cuz they can definitely.

Daniel Forkner:

[24:47] Well the cats not out there hunting you know it's not bringing you back the prizes of its predatory Pursuits.

David Torcivia:

[24:54] That's okay I'm I'd rather have a sleep I mean in reality when you look in the natural world we always are in the strange ones, Humanity where the species that has decided to break the day up into these very defined little time blocks and then measure our productivity based on how many times we can pull those blocks up with whatever work we need to do. But it wasn't always like this like always in our conversations this is a very relatively modern evolution is for the vast majority of human history humans were in fact take me to sleepers as well, and a lot of this has to do with inventions like the electric light, or the popularization and very cheap access to candles or other artificial sources of light but even up until the 1600s it was common for people to have to. First sleep and second sleep. So you would be up all day and it start to get dark you know the sunsets and you stay up for like an hour or two maybe doing some reading relaxing whatever and then you go to sleep, but this is the first sleep cuz you don't sleep all night until dawn impact you wake up sometime after midnight maybe 2 a.m. maybe 3 a.m. and get up and go about your day for like an hour or two.

Daniel Forkner:

[26:06] I think a lot of children were conceived during this time.

David Torcivia:

[26:09] Yes and this was a very popular time to turn over to your partner and then shake them to hate, you awake and then you don't have a little bit of adult on the right there go but also you don't go to the bathroom maybe make a snack do some reading.

Daniel Forkner:

[26:21] Write a letter.

David Torcivia:

[26:22] What is a lot of writing in in in creation and creativity that happens in fact there's some evidence that this is actually very creative time for people and I still know some writers will wake up in the middle night during this time sort of naturally because he sort of happens it somewhere programmed into US it seems to pee and then get their best ideas made scratch them down and go back to sleep and wake up the next day and work out of them, what is observed during natural process Edition this is how we lived for most of our life you do an hour or two of work in the middle of the night, and work meeting usually time spent to yourself or with your family getting things done and then you go back to sleep, sleep another couple hours then the sun comes up and then you know it's 6 or so 7 depending on what season and you go about your day after your second sleep. This wasn't weird this was what every single person did this was, he would even go out and visit Neighbors in the middle of the night. But something began to change and it started with the aristocracy of the world baby because it was a matter of luxury to be able to sleep through the night.

[27:18] We could block out all your windows and live in a totally dark room, and maybe was because it's hard to organize your servants coming in to help you to do all these things they normally would to coordinate their schedule with yours so it's easier just to sleep through the night, anime finish up when you're ready the next day, whatever it was a trickle down from their stock receipt and then really got started going with industrialization when people started having to abide by certain processes and schedules that demanded ships, 12 hours you're working 12 hours there's no time by the specific middle-of-the-night waking you needed all the time we could to sleep and eventually this practice died out. We don't talk about it anymore.

Daniel Forkner:

[27:54] Well not to mention David it sounds like having two sleeps at night where we wake up and we do a little bit that's time consuming and it was made possible right because the sun went down and then what are we going to do. Is part of industrialization we had the introduction of that light bulb which made it possible to work well into the night and so managers and those who ran factories were pretty keen on seeing how long they can get their workers to actually work now that they had this artificial light source.

David Torcivia:

[28:21] Exactly and I think if we reintroduced is sort of segmented sleep that was natural for so long of our human history and that time that our two that we used to have with ourselves with our partners with our family with our neighbors when it's dead be devoted to email.

Daniel Forkner:

[28:41] David this brings us to the modern world with this modern world was built on the foundation of industrialization and as you would expect we still have very regimented schedules that restrict our sleep and in fact it's gotten worse

The Demands Of Modern Life [28:55] and worse over the years, today in America we get somewhere between one and a half and two hours less sleep than we did just 50 years ago and about one-third of the working population sleeps less than 6 hours per night. And 40% of the entire US population is sleep deprived right now. But David why is this is this just because we don't like to sleep as much as we found something better to do with our time or is there something that compels us to sleep less unless unless.

David Torcivia:

[29:26] With one simple phrase Daniel we have no choice because our economy demands. Modern business World depends on very specific schedules and Bill and some industries were starting to get a little bit looser with when he can come in and inflexible working hours that is not the norm at all and it's a very white collar world for the vast majority of retail workers for manufacturers they have no choice you are told to come in at a certain time 8 whatever and you have to be there let's do you risk being fired this is your for Teacher police officers, apparently not for politicians but for the rest of us we are often Bound by these rules by the demands of our modern world and his demands are made without any thought about how much sleep we need.

Daniel Forkner:

[30:10] And in many cases the rule is that there is no rule except what the boss man demands if you like in our episode Logistics of flavor we talked about those California short-haul truckers that are operating on sometimes less than 4 hours of sleep they're working 20 hours a day because they get back to the truck lot they're trying to go home in the bus as note get back out there to Livermore cargo or I'm firing you and taking back the truck that you paid tens of thousands of dollars at 2, so many people in this economy because of our demands and the needs to keep profit going to keep growing these industries so many people are caught in a vicious system that doesn't respect their house. Nina Biondo short hot truckers there are over 2 million big rig trucks on the road in the United States every day are they getting enough sleep.

David Torcivia:

[31:00] I think we know the answer to that.

Daniel Forkner:

[31:02] And if that's a public health problem because if you think about how heavy are truck is I mean they outweigh the average car by over 26 * if we're talking about a 40 ton truck versus a, typically 3,000 lb sedan or something and close to 30% of all commercial truck drivers in the United States have sleep apnea.

David Torcivia:

[31:21] Let me see wanted to know how many of them don't even realize that they have sleep apnea in the first place I know you mentioned at the big problem earlier all of this episode.

Daniel Forkner:

[31:29] What we would expect Ron 80% of them David to not realize they have sleep apnea meaning we have close to half a million truck drivers on the roads in America that have fragment to sleep there sleep deprived the reaction times are suffering they're not as alert as it could be there at risk of microsleeps where they just fall asleep to 5:10 second time and that's just from sleep apnea alone not to mention all the drivers that are just generally sleep-deprived because of their work schedule.

David Torcivia:

[31:57] And I mean the government does recognize that this is a problem there are many Torrey sleeping hours for things like Truckers, but so often times these things are ignored or bibbed or lied about because the demands placed on these truckers are more important than the safety measures put in place to protect them and all of us on the roads.

Daniel Forkner:

[32:15] And when we think about the truck driving occupation I mean people generally think of it as typically a low income low-skilled work but these aren't the only industries that are affected by this high-pressure demand to perform at all hours of the day, some of the highest paid professions in the country have massive sleep problems like the doctors in our hospitals. In 2011 David the accreditation Council for graduate medical education or ACG.

[32:53] Working a shift. They reduce the hours from 3216 amid evidence that Resident Physicians running on low sleep wear a public health risk some of the evidence for this includes these facts, position to work over 24 hours make Sirius diagnostic mistakes 400% more often they accidentally stick themselves with.

[33:21] Placement in an addition when they drive home from work they wreck their cars a hundred 70% more often, but despite these types of interesting factoids David in July of last year the acgme reverse their decision to limit resident physician working hours by increasing that cap back up to 28 hours.

David Torcivia:

[33:43] Why you might ask what I mean there's a number of reasons here and in one thing we don't want understand is the fact that, having the same doctor care for the same patient is good for the patient overall, is a lot of evidence out there that keeping the same position treating the patient without switching up into someone else's a great way to make sure that patient is doing okay and recovers faster but this has to be balanced with the mistakes a position who's at the end of their 28 hour long shift is much more likely to make, and I think the bigger reason why here despite this justification of patient Wellness is that it's likely a financial incentive that drove this decision, hospitals make a ton of money from their residency programs because each residents lot they have Medicare compensates that hospital $230,000. The hospital's men compensate the residence through salary which is often much lower at around a half that amount, meaning the hospital get to keep the rest in addition to whatever profit the residents bring in themselves. Overstretching the hours that residents can work me hospitals have to pay more for staff as we'll discuss when we get to work episode on the healthcare system in a few weeks hospitals themselves are a big part of the reason health care costs have risen so dramatically, and this may be just another tactic and their efforts to improve the bottom line at the expense of our health and safety.

Daniel Forkner:

[35:05] Are doctors are sleep-deprived David are truck drivers are sleep-deprived. And the people who are our future who grow up to be truck drivers and doctors they are sleep-deprived and that's right David I am of course talking about the youth. Middle schoolers high schoolers Elementary School students infants and children perhaps the group that is most vulnerable in our population, for the negative consequences of sleep deprivation well they to have to conform to a system like you mentioned David about having to get the high school so early A system that denies them to sleep they need to succeed in the very system trying to help them fulfill their future potential. People under the age of 18 have high recommended sleep requirements according to the National heart lung and Blood Institute infants need up to 16 hours of sleep. Children need between 9 and 14 and teenagers need between 8 and 10, but getting the right amount of sleep can be impossible for these middle and high school students who have to attend super early classes in fact David you might be surprised to learn that, 70% of adolescents are sleep deprived right now.

David Torcivia:

[36:18] I want to do just a little bit of math right here because I know I mentioned earlier in this episode that I had to catch the bus at 6:15 and granted I was at the like beginning of the bus routes so I was on there for a while as we slowly drove the school bus I'm up at 6:15 and I got my routine my shower but he breakfast whatever down to like 30 minutes so it's wake me up everyday at around 5:45, if I wanted to get the full 10 hours of sleep that I'm supposed to get every single night as a teenager that's really need to sleep, that means I would have had to been going to bed at 7:45 the night before.

Daniel Forkner:

[36:52] Will David is clear that you got your nap before math class because that checks out.

David Torcivia:

[36:57] I'll have you know I'm really good at math.

Daniel Forkner:

[36:58] I'm guessing David that you weren't able to get to sleep at 7:45 each night.

David Torcivia:

[37:02] No it didn't exactly mess with my schedule especially maybe even more so because as I mentioned I'm one of those night owl. Often times I would try and go to bed at a reasonable time maybe like 10 but then I would lie in bed for an hour or two trying to fall asleep, even though I was exhausted my brain just won't let me answer this meant I often was operating on maybe six hours of sleep a night which is just not healthy at all for developing mind.

Daniel Forkner:

[37:27] It is probable that that had significant impact on your performance in school David a report published by the CDC in 2015 States quote adolescents who do not get enough sleep are more likely to be overweight not engage in daily physical activity suffer from depressive symptoms engage in unhealthy risk behavior such as drinking smoking tobacco and using illicit drugs and perform poorly in school in quote but despite this less than a fifth of the public schools in the United States start at 8:30 a.m. or later which is the minimum recommended start time by the American Academy of Pediatrics, and less than 4% of Public School start at 9 a.m. or later, and maybe you were able to get ready for school very quickly David 30 minutes that's pretty good time but not everyone can be even that fortunate because buses depending on the size of the municipality might pick up students an hour or more before class.

David Torcivia:

[38:21] It was like my bus yeah.

Daniel Forkner:

[38:23] Right so if your school has a start time of 7 a.m. that means many students who take an hour to get ready they have to get up at 5 a.m. And like you mention if they want to get 10 hours of sleep will it's just not practical for them to go to bed at 7 in the evening especially they have extracurriculars they're trying to study for pair for college applications maybe there are part of the foot all teams the marching band all the things that you would associate with a successful student they can't have those things and still get the rest they need to succeed to their full potential, and we mentioned already the brains important function of preserving memories but this is having an even bigger impact on adolescents who need this additional sleep, a laboratory settings sleep deprivation has resulted in a 40% decline in the person's ability to remember facts and poorly rested individuals also suffering other areas of learning like creativity meaning that our sleepwalking youth are retaining barely half of what they could be in school.

David Torcivia:

[39:17] And all these problems are in addition to the many other things we've already talked about and Ashes ashes that's things like high CO2 levels in these classrooms that make students perform much worse than they would if they were under more responsible carbon dioxide level, and put the sugar in their food and their lunches all of these add up in addition to this week deprivation that allow students to perform far from their true potential, but making a ship to later school start times has extremely tangible benefits Beyond student learning ability public schools that start at or after 8:30 a.m. are associated with better test scores higher attendance and not surprisingly but very important much less car crashes by their students, teenagers between the ages of 16 and 18 get in 70% fewer car wrecks when they can go to school later in the morning.

Daniel Forkner:

[40:05] Does that mean that if we can move school start times later we can finally get rid of those corny jokes where anytime teenager says they're turning 16 everyone in the room says hi.

David Torcivia:

[40:16] No those are in the Constitution.

Daniel Forkner:

[40:18] Oh yeah if that's the case David this is a benefit we can all get behind the wheel on.

David Torcivia:

[40:24] You not allowed to talk on the show anymore but don't worry listeners because California has read this science big look at the facts.

Daniel Forkner:

[40:33] They listen to ashes ashes.

David Torcivia:

[40:35] Babe listen to ashes ashes you're not allowed to talk at just this month a week and a half ago a bill passed 41-230 mandating the California Public Schools move their start time 2 I know I'll let you take a guess your Daniel this is the only thing you're allowed to say do you want you want to guess.

Daniel Forkner:

[40:52] 8:25 a.m.

David Torcivia:

[40:54] Wrong again Daniel was actually at least. 30 and they have until 2021 to make these changes necessary and implement the new policy but I've already seen a bunch of op-eds come out in three's newspaper talking about hold up well slow down let's not get crazy here and move the time because this is coming into conflict with parents schedules you know how they supposed to keep their children there when they need to go off to work and it Cascade throughout Society like how can we have a proper economy when children are baby home alone or like a small child will be without their parent for a minute and then they have to catch the bus and it's a disaster so we cannot push this back any later even if it does you know mean like doing our children to like horrible brain diseases and obesity and.

Daniel Forkner:

[41:40] One of the opponents of this change was California Teachers Association, and I found a post by them on their website talking about the desire to move School times back in one of the, things they brought up in opposition of it as well parents on their way to work are still going to drop their children off at school early and then we have a bunch of high school students unsupervised on school grounds we can't have that can we.

David Torcivia:

[42:06] Let me know as soon as that is I guess it also does defeat the purpose of waking these kids up later if they're just getting woken up at the same time and then dropped off at school.

Daniel Forkner:

[42:15] True but it also highlights the symbiotic relationship here between school and the needs of the economy to employee, students parents right I think you mentioned it one point that one of the important functions of school is to provide, a place for parents to drop their kids off so they have an incentive to go to work for the economy and not stay home and look after the kids.

David Torcivia:

[42:35] It's right that the huge portion of school and then we will tackle the school topic rest assured listeners there's so much there to talk about, and we have we have many things we want to say about this but yeah I mean this is something that's so critical to our health like such a fundamental part of being sleep. Ideally we spend 1/3 of our life but sleep so I think more more often a lot of us will not achieve that number that is so often tossed around but we're denying ourselves this very basic needs. And it is indeed that just the same as water just the same as eating right sleeping 8 hours a day is a very important need, when it is increasingly incompatible with the society that we built. Strangely instead of questioning our society I've seen so many blogs about oh yeah you can definitely make it under sleep under 6 hours a day. Do this weird trick or sleep this weird way or take these caffeine naps in middle of the day we see businesses like Google introducing nap pods into their place like oh yeah I take a 20-minute nap in the middle of the day and then get back to work see your productivity anti these are not replacements for. All night healthy 8 hours of sleep, these are stop Gap Solutions in order to maintain the status quo while we romantically impact our Hell by affecting our sleep.

Daniel Forkner:

[43:53] Will David speaking about

Circadian Disruption [43:55] the way our current Society is incompatible with our needs for sleep it's not just the fact that we have to sleep in a regular schedules now it's not just the fact that we have compressed our perhaps more natural segmented sleep into one shorter but continuously it's also all the stimulation and many other things that were introduced into our lives in order to function within the society that disrupt our sleep and effects what is the master clock in our bodies that regulates pretty much every function in our bodies and that's the Circadian rhythm. Every organ we have just about every cell we have in our bodies operates differently depending on what stage in the Circadian rhythm it's in, and for the hundreds of thousands of years that we've been on this planet that clock has depended on lights other naturally-occurring stimuli and the patterns of our Behavior to regulate itself.

David Torcivia:

[44:46] I really want to key in on one of those things you mentioned there Daniel that's a light and it turns out we are in fact exceptionally sensitive to light. Both the amount that occurs but also the color of that light as strange as that is to think about let me explain, the sunlight that beat down on us throughout the day is not the same color all day long and if I come you think about it this is a very intuitive experience you've definitely seen this in the morning when you first wake up and you go outside, the sun is rising and when the Sun rises it's warm it's very Orange 3 Reddit very yellow this is called a low Kelvin. No it's maybe 2700 K 3200 k, but throughout the day as the sun goes up or clouds come in that light temperature shifts from being this warm Rich orange to almost blue to a very clean white, and it today hi Kelvin lights like 3600 K to 6300 K and when I say k i mean killed in depending on what type of day it is what the clouds whatever your body sent it to this and it's like oh it's the middle of the day middle of the daylight right now I'm going to be hungry and these types of things Bubba blah and then as the Sun starts to set as it moves past I knew down lower and lower in the sky that lights are getting warmer and warmer and warmer again and it activates all types of chemical reactions in your body is circadian rhythm it lets you know it's starting to get late but why does getting warmer it's getting back down to those very low kelvin's 3200 k whatever and it's time to start preparing the body for sleep because soon there won't be any more like.

[46:14] And as always we fucked up this system because the lights that we surround ourselves with once the sun goes down namely our screens are televisions our computers are phones well the Light payment is typically set at 5600 Kelvin that same High Noon blue. This disrupts our circadian clock and throws our bodies into a loop, we think biologically that is the middle of the day our body is in preparing our cells for sleep and our whole biophysical system that depends on the regulation of light. Thrown out of whack.

Daniel Forkner:

[46:48] When it's not just our cell phones in our computers David and this is something that was really surprising to me because I already knew that blue light was harmful to us in the way it just drops a circadian rhythm blue light is one of the higher energy, lights on the visible spectrum it affects our eyes and more intensive ways and so I just kind of assumed okay yes blue light is bad but as long as I don't look at something that is. Illicitly blue like someone's neon car lights long as I don't look at that I'll be able to sleep. But it turns out that in order to produce white light using LED technology you have to combine blue light into the technology in order to get white light so even though we're looking at lights all around us are street lights the lights that are in our energy efficient Office Buildings even though they look white they're actually outputting a whole bunch of this high-energy blue light is confusing our body into not knowing what time of the day that it's literally all around us all the time.

David Torcivia:

[47:45] But like we mentioned it's also the amount of light that seeps into our life, it turns out that having even a tiny bit of light in your bedroom at night can significantly raise your risk for depression and this is when you're sleeping. Perhaps the first longitudinal study of its kind researchers in Japan examine the effects of low exposure like at night for large sample of elderly people. We found that having a small amount of light in the home in the evening and during sleep resulted in the significant increased risk for depressive symptoms researchers went so far as to make a recommendation that maintaining darkness in the bedroom at night might be a normal and viable way to prevent depression. Of course so many of us don't actually sleep in a dark room in the city like I do believe installed new ultra bright LED lights on the streets right outside my window even with with my blinds closed it still creeps and it's bright but also within our rooms we have bones next to our bed they have notification lights you get a text message to light turns on these things all creep into our environment and even when we're sleeping or eyes are closed this is still having a tangible effect on our body.

Daniel Forkner:

[48:53] And it's important to point out that the light measured in this study that looked at these out early people these depressive symptoms dramatically increased for these people with as little as 5 Luxe of life as equal to 5 lumens per square meter and I don't expect you or even myself to understand exactly what that is but it's a very small amount of light. Okay David Wright it's a small amount of light.

David Torcivia:

[49:18] I just realized I have like a weird amount of sensors around me all the time like I know we've talked in the past about my air pressure sensors are on my air quality sensor.

Daniel Forkner:

[49:28] You have an air quality sensor that measures your measuring PM 2.5.

David Torcivia:

[49:30] CO2 Vox all the stuff I have a.

Daniel Forkner:

[49:35] You sent your water off to New York right.

David Torcivia:

[49:37] To get tested for lead yeah I have a sensor that tells me how loud sound is a result of decibels I have a light meter that like read the light levels around me.

Daniel Forkner:

[49:49] So tell us how many lumens are you getting at night David when you lay your weary head down to sleep at night.

David Torcivia:

[49:55] I don't know I've never actually measured it at night yeah I'll check.

Daniel Forkner:

[50:00] Measure tonight and let's report back next week. And you know did we mention that the Circadian rhythm it's not just about regulating when we fall asleep but literally impact every function in our body and it's possible that this light exposure that we now have in our modern world that is so unnatural it has a lot of negative effects on the body, there's a paper that came out from the Harvard th Chan School of Public Health last August it was a long-term study that showed that women who live in areas with more outdoor light at night than those living in more natural areas with lower outdoor light they are at an increased risk for breast cancer. But again I mean like we've mentioned there so many side effects of the industrial society that we've built that we may never know the full range of problems that we live with that we have just taken for granted as being normal without realizing that so many of the problems in our society today are biology, your health will they were introduced directly through the things that we set up through the products that we created through the lifestyle changes that we've made.

[51:18] Benefits the most from the way we live our lives I mean it does seem strange to me David like we mentioned the way we sleep versus your cat it's really true that we took the day, this very natural progression that occurs when the Sun rises the sun falls, and we divided up into these time chunks and we said how can we increase productivity in each of these hours and that's really largely how we live our lives even if we individually don't think in those terms it is the way we live that has been decided for us by the companies that employ us by the schools that we attend by the expectations of our society that, our job in life is to work to add productivity to the economy add to the bottom line of these companies and we do that by giving our time away, by living in a very regimented way you know it's 7 it's time to get up and go to work. But this is such a normal way that we live now I mean is it even possible to get away from that at this point.

Sleep Denied

David Torcivia:

[52:15] The issue Daniel is that we've created this system it is wholly incompatible with what is healthiest to each and everyone of us whether that's the sleep that we sorely need 8 hours unbroken every night with many researchers saying maybe even as much as eight and a half for 9, for the children for the young three powers of 10 12 16 be building to fill our bodies with wholesome nutrients, Natural Foods things that are processed in Latin down with sugar ability to breathe fresh air free ablution particulate matter harmful organic compounds or CO2 that are their brains.

[52:51] Ability to drink water that is fresh and clean not bill with plastic surgery toxins or other chemicals so much of the very basic needs of our life breathing sleeping eating drinking having trast made incompatible with their health because of the system that we've created to maintain our modern way of living. Our world is Holy incompatible with what is healthy, it's wholly incompatible with human life and that we can survive in this is less than ideal climate it is a life that is filled with these diseases that we've list off in between every episode diabetes cancer heart disease obesity, all these things are brought on by the conveniences of our life use of the sacrifices we made to live a modern lifestyle. And the sacrifices are made all the worst fire society's inability to deal with these problems responsibly and in Many Nations like here in United States, really delete each of us alone individually to deal with these healthy facts that are responsible of our Collective choices.

[53:53] And that is not only responsible but downright evil and this is a topic will Explore More in the coming weeks as much as we tackle this Healthcare question, but the Crux of this idea is that Life as we know it is not compatible with which human life needs to truly be healthy and to maximize our potential, and this is not something that we can fix with Band-Aids we can't switch to renewable energy and cleaner are like this because the systems that enable this pollution the system that enable the schedules that are so bad for all of us, they are built into the very fabric of our modern world and the only thing we can do is to rip that fabric up and start over to build a world that is designed to optimize all of our individual health. And to maximize the potential of humanity by caring for that help.

Daniel Forkner:

[54:41] David I think that's a world that I would be happy to dream about at night.

What Can We Do?

David Torcivia:

[54:46] But in the meantime there are things that we can do individually to help our own personal sleep.

Daniel Forkner:

[54:52] That's right David and you mentioned how many companies promote naps throughout the day and a lot of these companies are very small section of our economy that appeal mostly to the more educated and more skilled of us but there's a reason that they promote these Nash because it really does make his productive and that's because even when we do not get a full night's sleep sometimes we can help our brain finish flushing out those toxins or repairing some those neural connections through naps during the day and that's maybe something we should consider if we have the time, NASA in fact ran a study that looked at the performance of military jet pilots and found that those who take naps can experience over 35% increase in there on the job performance, and can even double their alertness.

David Torcivia:

[55:37] It should be obvious by now with her extensive conversation of the harmful blue light that occurs avoid screens in your bed but it's night time trying I use your phone don't watch television or use your laptop so take this time to work on other things you spend time with family and friends but boring that many devices do have night modes that turn down some of the blue light escaping from your screen and we urge you to turn those on and turn them up dramatically to their effect is as intense as possible.

Daniel Forkner:

[56:05] It's not just the blue light that's affecting your sleep but the way we associate our bed in our minds we want our beds to be associated in our minds with sleep with rats and the more we spend doing other activities in our beds the more our brain gets the impression that that's not really what it's supposed to be doing in bed it's supposed to be awake it's supposed to be stimulated supposed to be watching Netflix and so when it really is time for us to fall asleep we might have trouble doing so if we fall in into these extracurricular bed activity.

David Torcivia:

[56:36] And to that I'm guilty of try and reduce or completely eliminate your intake of alcohol or caffeine in the hours before bed or honestly really anytime after about noon and yes you know many of us are practice at falling asleep at night even though we took caffeine you know I have caffeine with dinner and I can still fall asleep fine great congratulations remember falling asleep is not the same as maintaining a good night sleep, and there are numerous studies that caffeine and alcohol disrupt be repaired of brain waves and rhythms ever store are memory strengthen those neurons throughout the night and so even though you might fall asleep easily despite having drink caffeine or alcohol might help you fall asleep in the first place the fact of the matter is that sleep is not as good as what would have been without the introduction of those substances.

Daniel Forkner:

[57:23] We should work on our perspective on sleep this is something that we as a society should all strive to do is, stop framing sleep in terms of waste of time because like we mentioned it seems that today we only value our time in our ability to complete some activity that can be measured in terms of dollars and this puts us into an unnatural state of mind where we view sleep as something that is inconvenient know we like to say We'll sleep when we're dead when we want to say that we'd like to live more meaningful.

David Torcivia:

[57:55] Or how about so many entrepreneurial stories about like you know work now grind away sleep is something that I will sacrifice you can make it up later that's not true you're killing yourself with these practices and the sacrifices you make are coming directly from your health and the longevity of your life, and it's something that needs to be really driven home despite these narratives of personal growth and success coming from these it is maybe gross it is maybe success but you're paying for that. The death of your life.

Daniel Forkner:

[58:24] We should stop viewing sleep as a hindrance to living and start seeing it for what it is which is an essential component of, a healthy and meaningful life ever had as a consequence of our modern society more people are finding themselves with insomnia. And if this is you and you want to get back on a regular sleep schedule a scientist who studies and somnia and patient has for recommendations. Number one reduce the time that you spend in bed it's counterintuitive but your goal is to Target smaller chunks of quality sleep, as opposed to just longer periods of laying in bed and not actually sleeping number to get up at the same time every single day so that your brain can start getting used to some kind of Habitual pattern.

David Torcivia:

[59:06] Of course it is this something made more difficult because of our work week for his weekends but trying to rectify the difference in our schedule this is something that's really important to focus.

Daniel Forkner:

[59:15] Number 3 don't get in bed unless you're sleeping. Again going back to that Association we want our beds to have in our minds we want our bed to the place of sleep. Which way does the number for don't stay in bed unless you're asleep so for all you people out there who wake up and like to browse social media for an hour before you get up stop doing that that's a No-No, and speaking of insomnia a medical term Behavior shift like this can have a more permanent and effective outcome than something like medical sedatives and other chemical treatments which just like alcohol may only be masking the underlying chronic causes of the Sleep loss in which may actually be preventing some of the important brain functions, that sleep is supposed to be for a common side effect of sleep medication after all is memory loss one of the important functions of sleep itself.

David Torcivia:

[1:00:07] And maybe it's impossible but remembering to try and focus on what is important in our society rather than from the demands of production and productivity, but you said what is healthy for all of us and knowledge in that some of us need to sleep late and stay up late that's none of us need to wake up early but there are differences in the amount of sleep that we need and how we need to acquire that sleep, and that our schedules throughout are gay, remember this because sleep is as important as food as important as water doesn't burn the shelter and without those other critical components we cannot be healthy and we cannot live up to the potential that we all have.

Daniel Forkner:

[1:00:44] As always that's a lot to think about and think about it we hope you will.

David Torcivia:

[1:00:48] You can learn more about all of these topics read detailed information on these studies until the full transcript of this episode on our website at asses asses. Org.

Daniel Forkner:

[1:00:59] A lot of time and research goes into making these episodes possible and we will never use advertising to support this show so if you like it and would like us to keep going you our listener can support this show by sharing this with a friend or giving us a review. Also we have an email address as contact at ashes ashes. O RG and we encourage you to send us your thoughts positive or negative will read them and we appreciate.

David Torcivia:

[1:01:23] You can also find us on your favorite social media Network at ashes ashes cast next week we're turning back towards environment with a deep look at the deep blue we hope you'll turn in for that but until then this is Ashley's ashes. Bye bye.