Thank you Nick for completing this transcript!
[0:00] I'm David Torcivia.
[0:02] I'm Daniel Forkner.
[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.
[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. You know, David, on this show, on Ashes Ashes, we talk a lot about systemic issues that threaten our world and also the negative consequences of some of these systemic problems. And so, as it is so often with these topics, we have created a difficult choice for ourselves, where the products, the institutions, the structures that we have created come at a price. And this price could be environmental health. It could be the resilience of our communities. It could be our own individual health. And we find ourselves at a crossroad. It is not until after the goodies of our modern world arrive that we discover we have lost something valuable in the process, and 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?
[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 honestly 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 accumulate so much more. And that thing--well, it's sleep.
[1:29] And not only, David, do we lose a bit of what it means to be human, but losing something valuable like sleep can often result in terrible tragedy.
[1:38] One of the 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 sort of jumpstarted a lot of the environmental work that we see today because of the imagery that came out of this event--well, that was caused by a helmsman who had been up for 16 hours and was behind the wheel and fell asleep, and next thing you know, this giant oil tanker crashed and leaked all this oil, causing an environmental tragedy.
[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.
[2:22] There's also been reports that the Columbia Space Shuttle tragedy was caused by sleep deprivation. And even in history, events like Stonewall Jackson's failed charge and basically, honestly, totally ridiculous strategic thinking during his June campaign, many scholars think is because of extended sleep deprivation. But for most of us, sleep deprivation probably appears and impacts our own lives 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.
[2:55] These are tragedies that 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.
[3:27] Yeah. I mean, I don't feel like I can go much more than, like, 8 hours without sleeping.
[3:31] Well, that lines up pretty well with the science, David.
[3:34] I don't think I can do more than 4 hours without sleeping. I napped right before this episode, and I'm gonna nap right after it.
[3:40] You may be joking, but researching for this topic has gotten me into taking naps more 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 inconvenient. It's like, "Oh, no, 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] So, David, what are some of the reasons that we should be sleeping today?
[4:11] Sleep has so many benefits, it's really hard to understand how important it is to almost every aspect of our life--even simple things like improving our ability to empathize with others or helping us deal with pain management.
[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 in protecting nerve cells and helps them fire more efficiently.
[4:37] And for those out there who wish they had a couple more inches on their height, well, growth hormones are released when we sleep, and for the rest of us who don't want to age, cells don't break down as easily while sleeping.
[4:49] I'm not sure if that's how growth hormones work, David, but...
[4:52] No, it says "growth" right in the name.
[4:54] But remember how we talked about, there's lots of different ways to measure growth? This applies biologically as well.
[5:00] You never even asked what kind of inches I was talking about--where those inches were.
[5:04] Touché, 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 this 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 can.
[5:30] When in school, many of us heard the old adage over and over, "Get a good night's sleep before your tests." Well, it turns out that's important, because sleeping and sleeping well improves learning and memory formation.
[5:42] Sleep keeps our hormones like insulin in balance, it boosts our creativity, it dramatically improves the ability for our immune system to function...
[5:51] And sleep even has dramatic effects on the way our very DNA expresses itself, affecting the number and types of proteins being produced or suppressed.
[6:01] Okay, so it's clear that sleep serves a number of important functions, right? It 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 reorganized in ways that make things like memory possible.
[6:21] Yeah. I mean, speaking of memory, there's so much to talk about on this subject here. 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 then reorder them in terms of significance, depending on how actively they were fired prior to sleep. So the results of this study helped bridge the gap between the two competing theories of the mechanisms underlying the brain's ability to consolidate memories. So one theory is that the brain weakens all connections during sleep, and this only allows the strongest and most vital to our survival to stick around. The rest are effectively pruned away as insignificant connections. These are the things we forget because they just don't matter. The other theory is that the brain more actively strengthens and weakens different connections, but this study suggests, you know what? Actually, it could be all of 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 us is a constant reorganization of our brains.
[7:26] Yeah, David, it actually seemed strange to me at first that our brains would actively want to weaken 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 neural connections is actually extremely important. There's one particular hormone that's found in the brains of mice that prunes back weak synapse connections between neurons during sleep, and in 2017, a group of researchers studied the effects of inhibiting this Homer1a 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. They 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 and this new room that is a completely different environment.
[8:45] Another paper that came out late last year looked at memory formation in the brain during deep sleep and found an important link between the transfer of short-term memories 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 wave, or else this transfer won't occur, so 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 to perform this rhythm, and that could help explain why memory declines as people grow older.
[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.
[9:29] Wait. This story doesn't sync with what my memory recalls.
[9:32] Well, don't you remember, "Everyone can be a scientist; all you have to do is observe things"? So I was observing something about my brain. Therefore, I was a neuroscientist. And I played the piano when I was a child, and I remember I could practice a difficult passage of a piece for hours, like, 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 seemed 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, I'd wake up the next day, I'd 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, wow, sleep must have some magic ability to make us better at 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 we're firing," and maybe that's how we get better at things, David.
[10:35] Yeah. I think that really does a great job illustrating both the combination of the strengthening of certain connections as well as the pruning of things that don't matter, because it's this interplay between both that makes memory so significant, and 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, and that's part of the reason why sleep is so important. Consequences Of Sleep Loss
[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. In fact, 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 that can effectively turn us into an entirely different person.
[11:19] Yeah, Daniel, that's right, and it really covers so much of ourselves--our personality, what we look like, our physicality. All are related to sleep. This is things like depression, hypertension, weight gain, heart problems.
[11:31] Cognitive breakdowns. Without sleep, our reaction times grind to a halt, and we have a less ability to concentrate. We experience memory loss, because that important function we outlined isn't occurring, and our alertness suffers.
[11:45] To turn back to studies on mice again, we found that genes associated with cell death become emphasized when we deny these mice sleep, and we're pretty certain that the same thing happens in all of us.
[11:56] And continuing with mice, one study discovered that in laboratory settings, cancer in mice grew twice as fast when their sleep was fragmented, and lack of sleep also increased 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 in 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 psychosis, hallucinations, much more dramatic mood swings, and even death itself.
[12:32] So, I mean, we're starting to get the idea, and sleep deprivation leads to an increased risk for pretty much every disease and illness out there. Many of the chronic diseases that are global crises at this point are either exacerbated by, or in some cases caused by directly, sleep deprivation. Research came out early last year that examined gene expression in identical twins under different sleep patterns, and they found that lack of sleep caused one of the twins to experience a significant reduction in gene expression for many immuno-inflammatory functions. To simplify that phrase down, it just means that our immune systems simply don't operate at the same level when we lack sleep.
[13:14] An earlier study, David, found that when individuals went from a consistently healthy sleep schedule to less than six hours for just one week, up to 700 genes in their bodies were altered in some way. Now, these are genes that deal with the immune system and stress, 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. And 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 how sleep might be an important way to prevent very harmful toxins accumulating in the brain and leading to very serious neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer's that plague so many people.
[14:44] Whatever, Daniel. That's a bunch of nerd 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 increased the desire for fatty foods by 1/3 and resulted in participants consuming 500 more calories than they normally would. But we don't just gain weight because we eat more. Even at the same caloric intake, lack of sleep can still lead to weight gain. A study published in 2012 had participants spend three weeks in a state of circadian confusion. That means they just kept them up at all sorts of different weird hours. They were subjected to 28-hour days. They slept 5 1/2 hours each night. And at the end of the study, participants experienced a 32% decrease in insulin secretion, leading to pre-diabetic conditions. In addition, their resting metabolic rate dropped by 8%, and that translates to 12 1/2 pounds of weight gain over one year.
[15:47] Okay, that's a lot of facts, David. That's a lot of numbers, a lot of statistics. But I think this is such an important phenomenon where you can take someone who is perfectly healthy--lean and fit--you know, just all around in great condition--and you subject them to a little bit of sleep confusion, a little bit of lack of sleep--I mean, we're not talking about huge sleep deprivation here. We're talking about 5 1/2 hours at night. Very many people in our society function on those types of hours.
[16:17] Yeah. I know a lot of people that sleep, like, six hours a night, and they tell me, "That's all I need--six hours of sleep at night." Well, I've also watched them slowly balloon up over the past decade, so...
[16:27] We won't name any names, but, yeah, you take someone who is perfectly healthy and you 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 a 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, well, 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 in "Sweet Release," is any surprise that diabetes is one of the worst chronic diseases increasing globally right now all over the world?
[17:11] Well, also because of, you know, the air pollution, and also the carbon dioxide, and also 'cause of sleep, and also 'cause of sugar--basically every episode we do. We should rename this, like, "Why You Have Diabetes." That should be the new name of the show.
[17:25] Not quite as catchy, but it may be a little bit more accurate, David.
[17:28] Well, that's not where this 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 8,000 children and a US study that looked at over 900 children each found that infants and children that got less than 10 to 12 hours of sleep had a 50% increased risk of obesity just a few years later.
[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's sleep increase their risk of obesity by 50% by the time they hit the age of 32.
[18:28] And we're gonna get more on this topic later on in this episode, but we really want to drive home how important sleep is to children. But, of course, the demands of schools with early hours, parents who have to wake up at 6 or 7 in order to get their kids ready before they go off to work, this does not mesh with how much sleep children need, and the demands of our society that make us follow these schedules might be dooming many of us to a lifetime of obesity.
[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, and one of the great ironies here is that weight gain increases the risk of someone developing 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, and, unfortunately, the vast majority of people with this condition don't even know they have it. Around 80% of people with sleep apnea are undiagnosed.
[19:41] That's another one of those death loops that we talk about, where the systems that create these problems encourage the roots of these problems to 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. But 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.
[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 were kind of looking for an excuse to explain their, you know, what is viewed as irresponsible behavior, but 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, in 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 many 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 has a lot of variations in what works on the individual level.
[21:25] This is really important to me, because I'm one of those night owls. I've tried for years to wake up at the time everyone else does, but I'm groggy, I'm sleepy for a very long time. I mean, high school especially was really hard, because, you know, 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 this show, but so this is important. Society discriminates against people who fall asleep later and wake up later for a 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--that most of society conforms to. The other half--that's half of all people--would be divided between early risers and late risers, and a much smaller percentage falls into the extremes of either end.
[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 to quote from a study that's titled "Life Between Clocks: Daily Temporal Patterns of Human Chronotypes." And the authors write, quote, "Human behavior shows large inter-individual variation in temporal organization. Our results predict that the timing of sleep has changed during industrialization and that a majority of humans are sleep-deprived during the work week. The implications are far-ranging concerning learning, memory, vigilance, performance, and quality of life." End quote.
[23:05] Daniel, I got to admit something.
[23:08] Lay it on me, David. This is a safe space.
[23:10] So I've got a cat.
[23:11] I'm sorry.
[23:12] My beloved cat. You've met.
[23:14] Yes. I'm sorry. Wait, is that the confession?
[23:17] Anyway, she's a large, furry beast, and she spends the vast majority of her day sleeping. She sleeps all over the place. She sleeps on the floor, the couch, a chair, on a table, like, on the countertop, on top of the refrigerator--anywhere that you could possibly imagine a cat could fit, and some places where you're surprised a cat in fact can fit, she's sleeping there at some point.
[23:39] Maybe she's passively aggressively objecting to the fact that you haven't bought her a nice little kitty bed, David.
[23:46] That's the only place she doesn't sleep, Daniel, actually. But I admire this sleep, and as somebody who very much enjoys sleeping, as somebody who oftentimes feel like I don't get enough sleep, this is something I aspire to. But what I notice while watching her sleep is just how often she sleeps, and she's not like us. There is no, like, overnight sleep. 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 they don't sleep in the same way that we do, where, okay, it's nighttime. I'll sleep all night, and I'll wake up. Now I'm awake. I'm awake all day. Time to go to sleep, and I sleep all night. On and on. That's because cats, dogs, many other animals, they follow something called segmented sleep. This habit of segmented sleeping is actually common among many animals in a diversity of ecosystems all over the world. When we look at our cats sleeping on the floor at 3 in the afternoon, you know, at first, I was tempted to think my cat is maybe lazy and, I don't know, irresponsible. Is that the right word? Can a cat be irresponsible? 'Cause they can. Mine definitely is.
[24:47] Well, the cat's not out there hunting. You know, it's not bringing you back the prizes of its predatory pursuits.
[24:54] That's okay. I'd rather have her sleep. But, I mean, in reality, when you look at the natural world, we, as always, are the strange ones. Humanity--we're 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 fill 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, because for the vast majority of human history, humans were in fact segmented 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 two sleeps, and, in fact, they called this "first sleep" and "second sleep." So you would be up all day. Then it would start to get dark--you know, the sun sets--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, because you don't sleep all night until dawn. No. In fact, you wake up sometime after midnight--maybe 2 a.m., maybe 3 a.m.--and then you get up and go about your day for, like, an hour or two.
[26:06] I think a lot of children were conceived during this time, David.
[26:09] Yes, so this was a very popular time to turn over to your partner and shake them and say, "Hey, you awake?" and then, you know, have a little bit of adult fun right there. But also, you know, go to the bathroom, maybe make a snack, do some reading.
[26:21] Write a letter.
[26:22] There's a lot of writing and creation and creativity that happens. In fact, there's some evidence that this is actually a very creative time for people, and I still know some writers who will wake up in the middle of the night during this time sort of naturally, because, again, it sort of happens--it's somewhere programmed into us, it seems to be--and they get their best ideas, and they scratch them down and then go back to sleep and then wake up the next day and work on them. Well, it turns out there's a very natural process of this, and 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" meaning usually time spent to yourself working with your family, getting things done--and then you go back to sleep, sleep another couple hours, and 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 common. You 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, maybe because it was a matter of luxury to be able to sleep through the night, where you could block out all your windows and live in a totally dark room, and maybe it was because it's hard to organize your servants coming in to help you to do all these things that you normally would, to coordinate their schedule with yours, so it was easier just to sleep through the night, and then make them show up when you're ready the next day. Whatever it was, it trickled down from the aristocracy, and then really got started going with industrialization when people started having to abide by certain processes and schedules that demanded shifts--work 12 hours. If you're working 12 hours, there's no time for the specific middle-of-the-night waking. You needed all the time we could to sleep. And eventually, this practice died out, and we don't talk about it anymore.
[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 what are we gonna do? But as part of industrialization, we had the introduction of that lightbulb, 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 could get their workers to actually work now that they had this artificial light source.
[28:21] Exactly, and I think if we reintroduced this sort of segmented sleep that was natural for so long of our human history, that that time, that hour or two that we used to have with ourselves, with our partners, with our family, with our neighbors, would instead be devoted to email.
[28:41] Well, David, this brings us to the modern world. 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 and worse over the years. The Demands Of Modern Life [28:56] Today in America, we get somewhere between 1 1/2 and 2 hours less sleep than we did just 50 years ago, and about 1/3 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? Have we found something better to do with our time? Or is there something that compels us to sleep less and less and less?
[29:26] Well, in one simple phrase, Daniel, we have no choice, because our economy demands it. The modern business world depends on very specific schedules, and though in some industries, we're starting to get a little bit looser with when you can come in and flexible working hours, that is not the norm at all, and that'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--8:00, whatever--and you have to be there, lest you risk being fired. This is true for teachers, 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 these demands are made without any thought towards how much sleep we need.
[30:10] And in many cases, the rule is that there is no rule except what the boss man demands of you, like in our episode "Logistics of Slavery," 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, and their boss says, "Nope. Get back out there, deliver more cargo, or I'm firing you and taking back the truck that you paid tens of thousands of dollars into." 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 health, and, you know, beyond those short-haul truckers, there are over 2 million big rig trucks on the road in the United States every day. Are they getting enough sleep?
[31:00] I think we know the answer to that.
[31:02] And that's a public health problem, because if you think about how heavy a truck is, I mean, they outweigh the average car by over 26 times, if we're talking about a 40-ton truck versus a typically 3,000-pound sedan or something, and close to 30% of all commercial truck drivers in the United States have sleep apnea.
[31:21] That makes me wonder, Daniel, how many of them don't even realize that they have sleep apnea in the first place? I know you mentioned that's a big problem earlier on in this episode.
[31:29] Well, we would expect around 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 fragmented sleep, they're sleep deprived, their reaction times are suffering, they're not as alert as they could be, they're at risk of microsleeps, where they just fall asleep for 5 to 10 seconds at a 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 schedules.
[31:57] And, I mean, the government does recognize that this is a problem. There are mandatory sleeping hours for things like truckers, but so often times, these things are ignored or fibbed 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.
[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 ACGME, imposed new rules on resident physicians--these are new doctors in residency--to limit the number of hours they could work in a shift. [32:54] They reduced the hours from 30 to 16 amid evidence that resident physicians running on low sleep were a public health risk. Some of the evidence for this includes these facts. Physicians who work over 24 hours make serious diagnostic mistakes 400% more often. They accidentally stick themselves with needles and stab themselves with scalpels 73% more often, which makes me curious how often they're doing that in the first place. [33:21] And in addition, when they drive home from work, they wreck their cars 170% more often. But despite these types of interesting factoids, David, in July of last year, the ACGME reversed their decision to limit resident physician working hours by increasing that cap back up to 28 hours.
[33:43] "Why?" you might ask. Well, I mean, there's a number of reasons here, and one thing we don't want to understate is the fact that having the same doctor care for the same patient is good for the patient overall. There's a lot of evidence out there that keeping the same physician treating the patient without switching up into someone else is a great way to make sure that patient is doing okay and recovers faster. But this has to be balanced with the mistakes a physician 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 for each resident slot they have, Medicare compensates that hospital up to $130,000. The hospitals then compensate their residents through salary, which is often much lower, at around half that amount, meaning the hospital gets to keep the rest, in addition to whatever profit the residents bring in themselves. But restricting the hours that residents can work mean hospitals have to pay more for staff. As we'll discuss when we get to our episode on the healthcare system in a few weeks, hospitals themselves are a big part of the reason healthcare costs have risen so dramatically, and this may be just another tactic in their efforts to improve the bottom line at the expense of our health and safety.
[35:05] Our doctors are sleep-deprived, David. Our 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 populations for the negative consequences of sleep deprivation, well, they too have to conform to a system, like you mentioned, David, about having to get to high school so early, a system that denies them the sleep they need to succeed in the very system trying to help them fulfill their future potential. People under the age of 18 have higher 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.
[36:18] Well, 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 route, so I was on there for a while as we slowly drove to school, but so I'm up at 6:15, and I got my routine--my shower, my eat breakfast, whatever--down to, like, 30 minutes, so I was waking up every day 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 desperately in need to sleep, that means I would have had to have been going to bed at 7:45 the night before.
[36:52] Well, David, it's clear that you got your nap before math class, because that checks out.
[36:57] I'll have you know I'm really good at math.
[36:58] I'm guessing, David, that you weren't able to get to sleep at 7:45 each night.
[37:02] No. It didn't exactly mesh with my schedule, especially even worse so because, as I've mentioned, I'm one of those night owls, so oftentimes, I would try and go to bed at a reasonable time--maybe, like, 10:00--but then I would lie in bed for an hour or two trying to fall asleep, even though I was exhausted. My brain just wouldn't let me. And so this meant I often was operating on maybe six hours of sleep a night, which is just not healthy at all for a developing mind.
[37:27] And it's probable that that had significant impacts 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," end quote. But despite this, less than 1/5 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 schools 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.
[38:21] This was like my bus. Yeah.
[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 mentioned, if they want to get 10 hours of sleep, well, it's just not practical for them to go to bed at 7:00 in the evening, especially if they have extracurriculars, they're trying to study, prepare for college applications, and maybe they're are part of the football team, 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 brain's important function of preserving memories, but this is having an even bigger impact on adolescents who need this additional sleep. In laboratory settings, sleep deprivation has resulted in a 40% decline in a person's ability to remember facts, and poorly rested individuals also suffer in other areas of learning like creativity, meaning that our sleepwalking youth are retaining barely half of what they could be in school.
[39:17] And all these problems are in addition to the many other things we've already talked about in 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 levels; things like the sugar in their food, in their lunches. All of these add up, in addition to this sleep deprivation, that allow students to perform far from their true potential. But making a shift 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.
[40:05] Does that mean that if we can move school start times later, we can finally get rid of those corny jokes where any time a teenager says they're turning 16, everyone in the room says, "Ha! Guess I'll stay off the road, then!"
[40:16] No. Those are in the Constitution.
[40:18] Oh, yeah. If that's the case, David, this is a benefit we can all get behind the wheel on.
[40:24] You're not allowed to talk on this show anymore. But don't worry, listeners, because California has read this science. They've looked at the facts.
[40:33] They've listened to Ashes Ashes.
[40:35] They've listened to Ashes Ashes. You're not allowed to talk. And just this month, a week and a half ago, a bill passed 41 to 30 mandating that California Public Schools move their start time to--now, I'll let you take a guess here, Daniel. This is the only thing you're allowed to say. Do you want to guess?
[40:52] 8:25 a.m.
[40:54] Wrong again, Daniel. It's actually at least 8:30, 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 various newspapers talking about, "Hold up! Whoa, whoa, whoa! 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 cascades throughout society. Like, how can we have a proper economy when children are gonna be 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, dooming our children to, like, horrible brain diseases and obesity and..."
[41:40] One of the opponents of this change was the California Teachers Association, and I found a post by them on their website talking about the desire to move school times back, and one of the things they brought up in opposition of it is, well, parents on their way to work are still gonna 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?
[42:06] Well, I mean, as silly as that is, I guess that also does defeat the purpose of waking these kids up later if they're just gonna be woken up at the same time and then dropped off at school.
[42:15] True, but it also highlights the symbiotic relationship here between school and the needs of the economy to employ students' parents, right? I think you mentioned at 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.
[42:35] That's right. That's a huge portion of school. And we will tackle the school topic, rest assured, listeners. There is so much there to talk about, and 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 asleep, though I think more and 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 need, and it is a need, just the same as water, just the same as eating right. Sleeping 8 hours a day is a very important need, but one that is increasingly incompatible with the society that we've built. But 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. Just 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, take a 20-minute nap in the middle of the day, and then get back to work so your productivity remains high." These are not replacements for a full night's healthy 8 hours of sleep. These are stopgap solutions in order to maintain the status quo while we dramatically impact our health by affecting our sleep. Circadian Disruption
[43:53] Well, David, speaking about the way our current society is incompatible with our needs for sleep, it's not just the fact that we have to sleep in irregular schedules now. It's not just the fact that we have compressed our perhaps more natural segmented sleep into one shorter but continuous sleep. It's also all the stimulation and many other things that we've introduced into our lives in order to function within the society that disrupts our sleep and affects what is the master clock in our bodies that regulates pretty much every function in our bodies, and that's the circadian rhythm. David, every organ we have, and 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 light, other naturally occurring stimuli, and the patterns of our behavior to regulate itself.
[44:46] I really want to key in on one of those things you mentioned there, Daniel. That's 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 beats down on us throughout the day is not the same color all day long, and in fact, when 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, it's very red, it's very yellow. This is called a low-kelvin light. Now, it's maybe 2,700 K, 3,200 K. But throughout the day, as the sun goes up, or if clouds come in, that light temperature shifts from being this warm, rich orange to almost blue to a very clean white, and this is a high-kelvin light. It's, like, 5,600 K to 6,300 K, and when I say "K," I mean kelvin. Depending on, you know, what type of day it is, what the clouds, whatever. And your body's sensitive to this, and it's like, "Oh, it's the middle of the day, middle of the daylight right now. I'm gonna be hungry, and these types of things, blah, blah, blah." And then, as the sun starts to set, as it moves past high noon, down lower and lower in the sky, that light starts getting warmer and warmer and warmer again, and this activates all sorts of chemical reactions in your body, this circadian rhythm. It lets it know, "Oh, it's starting to get late. The light is getting warmer. It's getting back down to those very low kelvins--3,200 K, whatever--and it's time to start preparing the body for sleep, because soon, there won't be any more light. [46:14] And, as always, we've fucked up this system, because the lights that we surround ourselves with once the sun goes down--namely our screens, our televisions, our computers, our phones--well, the light they emit is typically set at 5,600 kelvin, that same high-noon blue. This disrupts our circadian clock and throws our bodies into a loop. We think, biologically, that it's the middle of the day. Our body isn't preparing our cells for sleep, and our whole biophysical system that depends on the regulation of light is thrown out of whack.
[46:48] And it's not just our cell phones and 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 disrupts the circadian rhythm. Blue light is one of the higher-energy lights on the visible spectrum. It affects our eyes in 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 explicitly blue, like someone's neon car lights--as 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--our street lights, the lights that are in our energy-efficient office buildings--even though they look white, they are actually outputting a whole bunch of this high-energy blue light that is confusing our body into not knowing what time of the day it is, and it's literally all around us all the time, David.
[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 examined the effects of low exposure of light at night for a large sample of elderly people. They found that having a small amount of light in the home in the evening and during sleep resulted in a 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 novel and viable way to prevent depression. Of course, so many of us don't actually sleep in a dark room, especially if you live in the city like I do, where they've installed new ultra-bright LED lights on the streets right outside my window. Even with my blinds closed, it still creeps in. It's bright. But also within our rooms, we have phones next to our bed. They have notification lights. You get a text message, the light turns on. These things all creep into our environment, and even when we're sleeping, our eyes are closed, this is still having a tangible effect on our bodies.
[48:53] And it's important to point out that the light measured in this study that looked at these elderly people, these depressive symptoms dramatically increased for these people with as little as 5 lux of light. That's 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.
[49:14] I understand.
[49:15] Well, okay, David, right? It's a small amount of light.
[49:18] I just realized that 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 or my air quality sensors.
[49:28] Right. You have an air quality sensor that measures...
[49:31] You're measuring PM 2.5.
[49:30] Vox. All this stuff. I have a...
[49:35] You've sent your water off to New York...
[49:37] To get tested for lead.
[49:39] Yeah. I have a sensor that tells me how loud sound is. It reads off the decibels. I have a light meter that, like, reads the light levels around me.
[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?
[49:55] I don't know. I've never actually measured it at night.
[49:58] Well, maybe you should.
[49:59] Yeah. I'll check that.
[50:00] Measure tonight, and let's report back next week.
[50:02] I'll do that. Sure.
[50:04] And you know, David, we mentioned that the circadian rhythm, it's not just about regulating when we fall asleep, but literally impacts 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, well, it has a lot of negative effects on the body. There was a paper that came out from the Harvard T.H. 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 are 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--our biology and our health--well, 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, all to become more efficient, all to be more productive, and all to add more to the bottom line of the companies that now benefit the most from the way we live our lives. [51:20] 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 where the sun rises, the sun falls--and we divided it 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, "Oh, 7:00. 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
[52:15] The issue, Daniel, is that we've created this system that is wholly incompatible with what is healthiest to each and every one of us, whether that's the sleep that we so sorely need--8 hours unbroken every night, with many researchers saying maybe even as much as 8 1/2 or 9; for the children, for the young, sleep hours of 10, 12, 16; the ability to fill our bodies with wholesome nutrients, natural foods, things that aren't processed and laden down with sugar; the ability to breathe fresh air, free off pollution, particulate matter, harmful organic compounds, or CO2 that clouds our brains; the ability to drink water that is fresh and clean, not filled with plastics or toxins or other chemicals. [52:57] So much of the very basic needs of our life--breathing, sleeping, eating, drinking--have been trashed and made incompatible with our health because of the systems that we've created to maintain our modern way of living. Our world is wholly incompatible with what is healthy, it's wholly incompatible with human life, and though we can survive in this less-than-ideal climate, it is a life that is filled with these diseases that we list off endlessly in every episode--diabetes, cancer, heart disease, obesity. All these things are brought on by the conveniences of our life. These are the sacrifices we made to live a modern lifestyle. And these sacrifices are made all the worse by our society's inability to deal with these problems responsibly, and in many nations, like here in the United States, really, to leave each of us alone individually to deal with these health defects that are [inaudible] of our collective choices. [53:53] And that is not only irresponsible, but downright evil, and this is a topic we'll explore more in the coming weeks, especially as we tackle this healthcare question, but the crux of this idea is that life as we know it is not compatible with what 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 air like this, because the systems that enable this pollution, the systems that enable these 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 health.
[54:41] David, I think that's a world that I would be happy to dream about at night. What Can We Do?
[54:46] But in the meantime, there are things that we can do individually to help our own personal sleep.
[54:52] That's right, David, and you mentioned how many companies promote naps throughout the day, and a lot of these companies are a 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 naps, because it really does make us 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 of 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 their on-the-job performance, and can even double their alertness.
[55:37] As should be obvious by now with our extensive conversation of the harmful blue light that occurs, avoid screens in your bed. When it's nighttime, try and not use your phone, don't watch television or use your laptop. Instead, take this time to work on other things or spend time with family and friends. But barring 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 so that their effect is as intense as possible.
[56:05] But it's not just the blue light that's affecting our sleep, but the way we associate our bed in our minds. We want our beds to be associated in our minds with sleep, with rest, 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. It's 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've fallen into these extracurricular bed activities.
[56:36] And two 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, any time after about noon. And yes, you know, many of us are practiced at falling asleep at night even though we took caffeine--you know, "I had caffeine with dinner, and I can still fall asleep fine." Great. Congratulations. Remember, falling asleep is not the same as maintaining a good night's sleep, and there are numerous studies that caffeine and alcohol disrupt the reparative brain waves and rhythms that restore our memory, strengthen those neurons throughout the night, and so even though you might fall asleep easily despite having drank 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.
[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 wasted 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. You know, we like to say "we'll sleep when we're dead" when we want to say that we'd like to live more meaningfully.
[57:55] Or how about so many entrepreneurial stories about, like, "Oh, you know, work now, grind away. Sleep is something that we'll just 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 that's something that needs to be really driven home despite these narratives of personal growth and success coming from these. It is maybe growth, it is maybe success, but you're paying for that with the debt of your life.
[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, and perhaps 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 insomnia in patients has four 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 two: get up at the same time every single day so that your brain can start getting used to some kind of habitual pattern.
[59:06] Of course, this is something made more difficult because of our work week versus weekends, but trying to rectify the difference in our schedule--this is something that's really important to focus on.
[59:15] Number three: don't get in bed unless you're sleepy, again, going back to that association we want our beds to have in our minds. We want our bed to be a place of sleep. Which brings us to number four: 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 shifts 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, and 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.
[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 instead to what is healthy for all of us, acknowledging that some of us need to sleep late and stay up late, that some of us need to wake up early, that there are differences in the amount of sleep that we need and how we need to acquire that sleep, and that our schedules throughout our day should remember this, because sleep is as important as food, it's as important as water, it's as important as shelter, and without those other critical components, we cannot be healthy, and we cannot live up to the potential that we all have.
[1:00:44] As always, that's a lot to think about, and think about it we hope you will.
[1:00:48] You can learn more about all of these topics, read detailed information on these studies, as well as a full transcript of this episode on our website at ashesashes.org.
[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 us with a friend or giving us a review. Also, we have an email address. It's firstname.lastname@example.org. And we encourage you to send us your thoughts, positive or negative. We'll read them, and we appreciate them.
[1:01:23] You can also find us on your favorite social media network at ashesashescast. Next week, we're turning back towards the environment with a deep look at the deep blue. We hope you'll tune in for that, but until then, this is Ashes Ashes.