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September 23, 2022

You Can't Spell GAINZZZ Without ZZZ's


A short GAINZZZ thread, about sleep.

This is no news to most of you, but I just figured this out. Yes, I know, I should have known this from far earlier.

The human brain is not designed to be awake past midnight.

[A] new research review, recently published in the journal Frontiers in Network Psychology, suggests that staying awake past midnight may have implications that stem beyond needing an extra cup of coffee the next day. In fact, the study authors suggest that the mind simply isn't "designed" to be awake into the wee hours of the night.

While prior studies have explored the effects of sleep deprivation on cognition, the new research focuses more specifically on what happens to the human brain when it's awake past midnight.

The resulting "Mind After Midnight" hypothesis states that the mind isn't set up to operate as it does in the daytime, and as a result, we're more likely to make impulsive and even "risky" decisions.

In the new review, researchers analyzed a large number of studies investigating the effects of nocturnal behavior on the mind and how the body's circadian rhythm might influence brain function.

The paper revealed that numerous physiological activities occur in the brain (when awake during nighttime) to contribute to poor cognition. The authors highlighted that being awake during the night is associated with an increased risk of:

suicide and self-harm
engaging in violent behaviors
use of alcohol and illicit substances
higher food intake

According to the researchers, our molecular levels, neuronal activities, and responsivity are attuned to our "usual behavior" of wakefulness during the day. At nighttime, however, these same parameters are attuned to the "usual behavior of sleep."

"If we are awake at these times, neurophysiology is prone to foster behavioral dysregulation, especially when these time-of-day effects are combined with sleep loss or disruption," the study authors wrote.

I was listening to Ya Boi Zach a few months ago, and he said he'd made an effort to go to sleep earlier, and it had really improved his life. I remember him specifically saying, "You may think you're naturally a night-owl, but you're not; no one is naturally a night-owl."

A big reason to sleep earlier is that the body is programmed to release growth hormone during sleep, with its biggest pulses occurring before midnight. I've heard that the body produces most growth hormone (which has anti-aging effects and is generally a good thing) between 10pm and 2am at night, during sleep. So if you're not sleeping at this time, you're missing out.

I started making an effort to be asleep by 12 (or 12:30) and it's been an upgrade in my life. I really have to be asleep by 11pm. That's the next step. Maybe night owls generally have that sickly, NeverTrump appearance because they're missing out on growth hormone during the night.

So I don't know, if there are any "night-owls" out there, maybe try telling yourself, as Zach told me, "You're not really a night-own, you're just in the habit of sleeping at the wrong time," and see how it works.

One bit of advice from Andrew Huberman about readjusting a sleep schedule, which 100% works: If you get up earlier than usual, and want to set that as a new wake-up time, make sure you go outside and get strong sunlight when you first wake up. There are neurons in your optic nerve which act as "zeitgebers" or time-setters, and key on strong sunlight. Once you do that for just two or three days in a row, your body will in fact reset itself so that that time becomes the new natural wake-up point, and your body and brain will also begin shutting down earlier to accommodate the new wake-up point.

That really works.

Here's a good What I've Learned about sleep routines:

I'm taking two of the supplements he mentions, Theanine and Glycine. I started taking them at around the same time so I can't tell you which is more important. But I can say that since I started taking them, my Fitbit sleep tracker tells me that my deep sleep and REM sleep have gone up from around 60-75 minutes a night on average to 80-110 minutes. Last night I got almost two hours of both. And those are the stages of sleep that are most important (and which people get less of as they age).

I suspect that Theanine is the more important of the two as far as deep sleep and REM. But glycine is supposedly important for getting more uninterrupted, "efficient" sleep. I need both so I take both.

Lowering the temperature at night definitely works. No question on this one. I don't know if you really have to get down to 64 or 65 like he says, but I put the thermostat down to 69 at night. (69!)

I just got chamomile and I'll see how that works.

Oh here's something I tried to stop having to go to the bathroom so much during the night: Obviously, stop drinking, mostly, except to wet your mouth, two or three hours before bedtime. But also, if you have to take pills or supplements or night, take them three hours before bed, instead of at bedtime. (Some supplements or pills, like a sleeping pill, must be taken closer to bedtime, but anything than can be moved earlier, should be moved earlier.)

I think your body has to work to digest them and that results in having to pee. Having shifted my pill-time earlier, I think I'm doing that peeing before bed, and less after I go to sleep.

Eh, give it a try. I think I'm on to something. This works.

I'm generally continuing my GAINZZZ though I still haven't started lifting again.

My experiment with weighting down my arms with 8 pounds of weights (each)H when I go out on hikes does seem to be working. It's essentially a low-weight but high-time-under-tension farmer's walk. It definitely is giving me some GAINZZZ in the shoulders.

But we're not here to talk about my minor GAINZZZ. We're here to talk about yo' GAINZZZ.

So what are your GAINZZZ? Any PLANZZZ for a new program or RECCOMENDATIONZZZ for the group?

Sing it, sister. White people are why I'm fat too.

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posted by Ace at 04:07 PM

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