[0:00] Introduction/ nuts.com
[2:03] Camel Milk
[5:15] Introduction to this Episode
[10:35] Why Ben is Now Having Sex in the Morning and Coffee in the Afternoon
[11:39] Researched History on Chronobiology
[16:10] Chronotypes: Lions, Bears, Dolphins, Wolves/ Chronotype Quiz
[22:01] How Your Chronobiology Can Affect When You Should Take Supplements or Medications
[25:23] When Is The Best Time of The Day To Drink Alcohol and Coffee Based On Your Chronotype
[32:10] Why Thomas Edison Created The Most Disruptive Event in the History of Bio-time
[35:35] When is The Best Time to Have Sex and How to “Sync Up” With Your Partner Based on Chronobiology
[39:25] When is The Best Time of The Day For Cardiovascular Exercise, Yoga, and Weight Training
[51:00] Dr. Breus’s Most Potent and Effective Jet Lag Tips
[59:47] What’s The Deal with Daylight Saving Time
[1:04:11.6] End Of Podcast
Ben: (Ben is singing) Unique New York, unique New York. The Human Torch was denied a bank loan. The Human Torch was denied a bank loan. How now brown cow. The arsonist has oddly shaped feet. Oddly shaped… I guess any of you who have not seen Anchor Man with round burgundy are missing. Joke. It’s my warm up. So I warm up my voice. This is Ben Greenfield. Back at ‘yah with another podcast. Perhaps I’m a little too bored this morning. But not bored enough to not be shopping for nuts. That was a double negative.
Now seriously, I actually went to this website this morning. Nuts.com, nuts.com. The sponsor of today’s show, and I realized that not only can you get more than just nuts there like I’ve talked about before, right, seeds which are technically not a nut, herbs and spices, salts, this one is quite interesting. You can get a very wide assortment of salts there. Dried fruits and I’ve talked about some of their really good dried pears and dried figs, but check this out, they’ve even got mushrooms and truffles. Seriously, you can buy dried porcini mushrooms, or dried wood ear mushrooms, or I like this one, hen of the woods, hen of the woods. I could’ve used that from my voice warm up this morning. Maitakae, that’s also known as Maitakae.
So, you can actually get all these mushrooms ordered straight to your house along with nut, fruits, salts of wide variety. It’s a fun website. And here’s the cool thing. When you order from nuts.com, you actually can get a special package of 4 free samples. That’s a $15 value if you go to nuts.com/fitness. That’s nuts.com if I can spit it out. Nuts.com/fitness, you get 4 free samples with your order. You can get anything you want. Stay away from the chocolate covered ones because they’re too addictive. You don’t need that, you know. Okay.
This podcast is also brought to you by… don’t laugh because I’ve drank it. Camel milk. I’m serious. I’ve talked about before on the show how I like colostrum. This stuff called colostrum, it helps to heal the body and enhance muscle protein synthesis and wound healing, and cartilage formation. Well, camel milk operates very, very similarly. It actually tastes really good. They send me a bunch and I’ve put them in our refrigerator, and it disappeared fast. My kids loved it, I drink it, and camel milk is actually extremely biocompatible with the human body.
It has higher levels of amino acids than cow’s milk. It has naturally huge levels of electrolytes, it’s got high levels of immunoglobulins. It’s just antibodies that protect your immune system. It is extremely anti-inflammatory unlike the milk that you buy at the grocery store which is actually inflammatory, it’s got huge levels of lactoferrin which can prevent bacterial growth, and has some really cool antiviral and antifungal properties, and plays a very important role even in the healing of wounds. It stimulates cytokine production which helps to mediate and regulate immunity and inflammation.
The list goes on and on, and on, and the cool things is people who have allergies to whey in cow’s milk, or whey protein isolate, or cow’s milk in general, or dairy in general, they’re not allergic to camel milk because it only carries what’s called the A2 protein in dairy. It was called the beta casein protein in dairy. That’s the non-allergenic form.
So, this podcast is brought to you by… brace yourself, I’ll make this quick. One hundred percent raw, non-homogenized, Paleo-certified, gluten-free certified, facility of non-GMO feed, soy and corporate feed, no hormones or additives, pasture raised, product of the USA, farm bottled in Missouri, wooh hoooh! Camel’s milk. And you can get it at bengreenfieldfitness.com/camelmilk. Use code ‘Ben20’ for 20% off. That’s bengreenfieldfitness.com/camelmilk. Use code ‘Ben20’ for 20% off.
And finally, this podcast is brought to you by something that was smeared all over inside my mouth last night. Go where you want with that. Actually, MCT oil toothpaste. Not kidding. I’ve been using cacao mint. Delicious, cacao mint flavored MCT oil toothpaste with things like bentonite clay, and reinvigorating theobromine in it, and it’s got this really fresh taste, no fluoride, no xylitol, corn-free, soy-free, GMO-free, gluten-free, and it comes in this really cool metal, that’s right, the old school metal toothpaste tube. It even has like this reusable metal key that comes along with it that let’s you wind up the toothpaste from the tube. Seriously, this is like the Cadillac of toothpaste. It is made by Onnit, O-n-n-i-t dot com/ben10. Get you 10% off this toothpaste or anything else, O-n-n-i-t.com/ben10. Ten percent off supplements, foods, and MCT oil toothpaste.
Now, you are about to hear an interview that I found quite fascinating that made me start having sex in the morning, and drinking coffee at night. I leave you with that. Enjoy!
In this episode of the Ben Greenfield Fitness Show:
“If you time them and you stick to that time, your whole body is much more consistent. And it’s just like any machine, the more consistently you use it, the more it will produce for you.” “The biggest thing that I get from people is ‘I’m a lion, I’m up at 5:30. Why can’t I go for a run, Michael, and why shouldn’t I be working out and up. Nobody else is awake.’ That actually is a great time for you to be creative. That’s a good time for you to plan out your day. When you’re starting to get tired around 3:30, 4 o’clock in the afternoon, if you can, then go workout then. You’ll actually get an extra boost of energy that’ll help carry you through.”
He’s an expert in human performance and nutrition, voted America’s top personal trainer and one of the globe’s most influential people in health and fitness. His show provides you with everything you need to optimize physical and mental performance. He is Ben Greenfield. “Power, speed, mobility, balance – whatever it is for you that’s the natural movement, get out there! When you look at all the studies done… studies that have shown the greatest efficacy…” All the information you need in one place, right here, right now, on the Ben Greenfield Fitness Podcast.
Ben: Hey folks, it’s Ben Greenfield, and I have a question for you. It’s not a trick question, it’s not a cocktail party question, or maybe it is, but it is this: do you know your chronotype? Your chronotype? Until 2 weeks ago, not only did I not know my chronotype but I actually wasn’t quite sure what a chronotype was. And it turns out, I am what is called, based on the opinion of my guest today, and the research that he’s done, a lion chronotype. With actually a tendency to delve quite heavily into bear category. I’m right on the edge of being a lion.
And if you’re listening in, you might be a wolf, in which case Michael Breus is my podcast guest, as you should try working out at 6pm and not 6am or maybe you’re a lion like me in which case having a wine, or a beer, or a cocktail, pretty close to one of recording this episode between about 5:30 and 7:30pm, will minimize your chances of sleep disruption from alcohol, or you might be a dolphin which means you should actually schedule any big presentations or work tasks for around 4pm, or you could be a bear in which case if you shift dinner from like 6-7:30pm, could accelerate fat loss or stave off late night snacking. All sorts of interesting tips that I picked up when reading Michael’s new book called “The Power of When”, and actually it’s got quite a subtitle, “The Power of When: Discover Your Chronotype and The Best Type to Eat Lunch, Ask for Raise, Have Sex, Write a Novel, Take Your Meds, and More”. You’ve worn out anybody by the way that’s supposed to do all those things at the same time?
Michael: I really hope not.
Ben: It could be awkward.
Michael: I mean, you’d have to be having sex with your boss while eating lunch, typing and taking some form of medication. I guess it’s possible, but…
Ben: You could pull it off.
Michael: You might be able to, I…
Ben: You have to be equipped with one of those old school machines where there’s like the guy in the parade playing an instrument at the same time. That type of thing. Well Michael, I know you’re a sleep expert. You have a private practice where you worked with a lot of athletes and celebrities, and I know you trained sleep doctors. I think it’s kinda cool that you work with airlines, and hotel chains, and mattress manufacturers, and you developed CDs for hotels that help people fall asleep, and I know I think you’re on Dr. Oz Show this morning?
Michael: Yup. Actually yesterday I was on the Dr. Oz Show. Yeah.
Ben: So you get around when it comes to sleep and this book is kind of a cool, little, you know, I like this book that fall into the life hacking category. And this one definitely does. So, first of all of course, the most important question, are we – you and I, based on our chronotype, are we actually recording this interview at the correct time of the day?
Michael: Well, I’m a wolf. So this is a perfect time of day for me, and you’re a lion, so you’re moving more into the kinda groggy greatness. So like, this would be a great time, you won’t necessarily be super analytical right now, but you’ll be a lot of fun. You’ll be relaxed and you’ll be ready to take on new ideas, your brainstorming is great for you about this time of the day, but for me, this is my more ‘analytical kinda get to it.’ So actually, this is a perfect time between the two of us.
Ben: And I just finished carrying a sandbag around because I’ve got the page pull it over in your book where towards the end of the book, you have this cool, and if you’re gonna just skip the whole book, not that I recommend that and put to the very end of the book, there’s a master clock for each graphic, and you say that one of my best time as I train for strength is at 1600 hours which based on my non-military training calculations is 4pm. I actually just finished a sandbag-based workout, and you’re gonna be proud of me. Not for a TMI but I had sex this morning…
Ben: I’ve been having sex in the morning instead of in the evening. My wife loves it. She’s getting used to it. We actually matched up our chronotypes, and this is not super non-romantic based off of not reading the book, but we figured out that we actually have pretty enjoyable sex like between about 8 and 10am. She’s more of a wolf, I’m a little bit more of a lion, and then I also, because I learned in your book that lion releases so much cortisol in the morning that for me to be drinking coffee in the morning, I’m almost wasting the cortisol that coffee is giving me, so I switched 3 days ago, I ordered a bunch of bags of decaf. I switched to decaf, so now I’m doing a big cup of decaf coffee in the morning, and I’m having a little bit of coffee in the afternoon, after my nap when my energy kinda naturally slumps a little bit.
Michael: Right. See? You’re really taking this thing full bore. I love it!
Ben: Yeah. I like to implement. I’m a man of action. Where this stuff come from in the first place? ‘Cause I hadn’t heard of chronobiology that much. I know it’s not like a woo concept but what’s the research history on this stuff?
Michael: Sure! So, approximately 15 years ago was when we started to see research in this particular come out. And chronotypes are nothing new in a certain sense. Everybody out there has heard of chronotypes. So, everybody out there has probably heard of early bird or a night owl, right? And that’s a popular vernacular for what I call a lion or a wolf. So here is kinda how the whole thing started out, is I’ve been practicing for 16 years. I’ve been actively practicing as a sleep specialist, I’ve a PhD in Clinical Psychology, and I’m board certified in clinical sleep disorders, and my specialty is insomnia. And I enjoy working with my insomnia patients. It’s hard, but it’s good work.
In about 2 and a half, 3 years ago, I had a couple of patients and quite frankly my techniques won’t working. And I’m not a big drug guy, supplements I think can be used sparingly but it can be quite effective, but I’m not a big pharmaceutical fan. And so, I try to do everything without that, and whatever I tried on this one woman in particular, didn’t work very well.
And so, I’m kinda like a dog with a bone. I wanted to dig in and check it out. And so, I said, “Why, explain more to me,” and she said, “It’s not that I have a hard time falling asleep, and it’s not that I have a hard time staying asleep,” she said, “I sleep at the wrong times,” and I was like, “Alright, hold on. I got a 12 year old, and I got a 14 year old, and both of them do the same thing. If it was up to them, they’d go to bed at 1 and they’d sleep until 11, right?” And so, I started talking with her about it, and I said, “Well, if you could have your ultimately work schedule, what would it be?” And she said, “I wouldn’t get into work until like 9 and I would stay until 7.” And I said, “Well, what’s going on at work?” and she said, “I’m about to get fired.” And she was serious.
I called her boss and he said he’s feed up with that she came in late all the time. She would fall asleep in the morning meetings. She wasn’t being productive. He didn’t know what was wrong with her, but he liked her as a person. And he thought that she was a great employee and he wanted to keep her, but he just wasn’t sure if he’s gonna be able to.
So I said, “Let’s do an experiment,” I said, “Let’s have her come in 2 hours later and leave 2 hours later, and let’s do this for 7-10 days and see what happens.” And at the end of the 10 days, we spoke and he said, “She is alert. She is responsive, she is productive, she gets involved in meetings now. I don’t have to worry about her at all.” He said, “It’s fantastic.”
And I was really surprised ‘cause I talked to some of her family members and they’re all like, “Oh, mom’s so much nicer person to be around now.” She got along better with her family, with her partner, with her kids, like it was unbelievable.
And so I said, “Okay, so there must be a little bit more to this and that’s why I really started to dig in to the literature because we know that the ‘early bird types’ and the ‘late night types’ only make up about 15% of the population in each one of those categories. So there’s 70% of the population that were still out there.
Ben: Really? So there’s no people that are ‘early birds’ or ‘night owls’ but I guess I’ve always thought everybody was either an ‘early bird’ or a ‘night owl’, and what you’re saying is not the case.
Michael: Nope. That is not the case actually. So it turns out that this is based on genetics. The PER3 and the PER2 genes, the length of those genes determines your sleep drive and also determines the timing of your sleep. And that’s all what a chronotype is. It’s a classification of the timing of your sleep patterns.
Ben: Would that influence sleep length as well? Like is that the gene responsible for guys like Bill Clinton, saying that he can sleep 4 hours and he’s just fine?
Michael: Right, exactly.
Michael: And you could actually if you really wanted to, you could go and test it. I mean, it wouldn’t probably cost a gazillion bucks, but you could definitely go in and do some of that kind of genetic work.
Ben: You can’t just do a 23andMe or something like that?
Michael: I actually did a 23andMe and I didn’t see it on there, but I wanna get in touch with them, and see if we could ‘cause that would be really cool. Be able to tell your sleep genes… that’ll be a lot of fun. I know that they do one thing for restless legs syndrome and periodic limb movements genetically, but I don’t know if they’ve…
Ben: Ahh! Why can’t they do the useful stuff?
Michael: I know, right. (chuckles)
Ben: I mean, not that I’m [15:45.7] ______that they’re insensitive by a restless leg syndrome, but seriously this sleep thing would be super interesting.
Michael: Yeah, for sure. For sure. So, I started digging into the literature trying to figure this stuff out. And so what I discovered was that historically that was the only two things that ever got measured, was early morning and a late evening. And it was called the morningness or an eveningness sort of productivity, and I just didn’t buy it. I didn’t think it was the only thing that was out there, and so digging more, and digging more, and what I discovered was there was actually 4 types.
So, there’s early morning people that I call a lion, and that’s what you are. And so my lion’s actually, and I developed an assessment tool so that people could figure this out. So anybody that’s listening if they wanna go to thepowerofwhenquiz.com, you can figure out what – it’s free, you can get the report, you get the whole thing. But my lions are very interesting people. So, they’re my early risers, they’re my go-getters. These are the COOs. Often times they’re my entrepreneurs. These are the people that like to go from A to B to C and like to get it done and accomplish tasks. They love to work and what’s interesting is on the social side of things, sometimes they feel a little alienated because they can’t stay up that late. A lot of my lions get to bed at 9:30 at night and they’re like dinner to movie? Are you kidding me? Like they can barely make it through dinner.
Ben: Yeah. Yup.
Michael: And so, that in of itself is kinda interesting aspect to lions. And a lot of people have what we call lion envy. They wish that they could get up that early and be that productive, and not miss on sleep.
Ben: I have whatever opposite line envy would be is when my wife is able to sleep in and what I mean with sleeping in means like 8am, my wife is able to sleep until 8am and I’m up at 5:30am wishing I hadn’t gone to bed at midnight.
Michael: Yeah, you’re the classis lion by every strange imagination.
Ben: Right, right.
Michael: So lions are my early folks, then in between are my bears. And so bears are more extroverted, they’re this affable, lovable character type of person. These are the people that you sit down with on lunch and they’ve always got a funny story to tell, or they know all the gossip at work. Bears like to get things done but they like to play as well. So bears have a really decent work/life balance if you will. They like to play hard, they like to work hard. These are the people who are standing at the keg passing out the beer or buying drinks at the bar but they’re really the glue that kinda keeps society together.
Then we have the late night people which I call wolves. And I chose wolf as a representation ‘cause wolves are actually the very nocturnal creatures. And they hunt at night, they’ll loners. And my wolves are my loners. These are the people that are highly creative. These are my artists, and my writers, and my actors, and my musicians. They’re very introverted people generally speaking because you know what? Society really doesn’t know what to do with these people, right?
Ben: Yeah. Well, I actually have two friends who had fallen into that category.
Ben: Both of which have been on this podcast. Tai Lopez, who when I go and visit him in LA, it’s so annoying because I found it hard to hang out with him ‘cause he has breakfast at like 2pm, and then he will be getting ready for dinner at about 10:30pm, right, to head out for dinner.
Ben: And while I’m wearing my blue light blocking glasses, taking melatonin and you know, (laughs) curling up to go to bed. And then, Tim Ferriss is another guy who will begin writing book at midnight, and write from midnight until 4am or 5am when he says he has the most productivity, and again, I’ve always and I’ve even been guilty of telling these guys that perhaps they’re breaking their circadian rhythms, but it sounds like what you’re saying is that that is their chronobiology.
Michael: It is actually. They’re actually believe it or not, they’re following their circadian rhythms. Now, some people are super, super wolves. Tim Ferriss sounds like he would kind of be a super wolf because he does all that stuff super late at night, but it’s pretty interesting, there’s a fourth category also by the way, and I call them dolphins.
And I use dolphins as a representation because many people don’t know but dolphins sleep unihemispherically. So half of their brain is asleep while the other half is awake and looking for predators and swimming. And I thought that was a great representation of my insomnia patients, and so these are my highly intelligent people, type A personalities for sure, but sometimes they’ve got a little bit of obsessive compulsiveness to them, and they can’t get out of their own way. They’re obsessed with the details, a lot of times they’re not as productive as they want to be because they’re getting frazzled by the morning. And they’re not great sleepers by the way, and so their sleep deprivation can really take a toll on them.
So anyway, got to the point of creating this assessment tool which is again the quiz and once I had the quiz, and I could kinda figure out what people were, I had remembered that this woman, her family said that they liked her better that she was in a better mood and she was nicer, and she was more productive, and all these things. So I said, if I know your chronotype, then I actually know your hormone balance going on a 24 hour cycle because we know that hormones actually work on a fairly fixed circadian rhythm depending upon what the hormone is: testosterone, estrogen, progesterone. Neurotransmitters is the same way, serotonin, epinephrine, norepinephrine.
So then I decide to match those substances with activities for your chronotype. And I thought just this will be kind of a fun interesting exercises, and it turned out to be, I literally found over 350 studies out there that have started to look at different aspects of this. So this is a super, well documented thing, and the research is really been only going on for about the past 15 years which is when I started to practice. So it’s kinda been something that I’ve been keeping my eye on the outside of it, and the really interesting research that’s going with this that I think really kinda spike everybody’s interest was the research with cancer patients. And so, what they discovered was that if they supply people with chemotherapy at very particular times in their circadian cycle, it was actually more effective.
Ben: Interesting. Yeah, I remember that part in the book where you talked about, you have a section in the book that is the best time to take medications, and also the best time to be vaccinated. And I know that there are a few people probably who are trying to scream and leave through the podcast right now saying, “There’s no good time to get vaccinated.” Mercury. But in terms of this idea behind how people respond best to medications, or to supplements, how does that work exactly?
Michael: And so, I’m glad you actually brought that point up. So number 1, I’m not a vaccination person, but there are a lot of people out there who do get vaccinated, and so the reason that I have that in the book is for those people who wanna walk down that path, at least I wanna show them the research that’s been there. My feelings about that are not proposed based on the fact that I have it as a category here in the book. But you’re very astute to realize that what I’m trying to accomplish here is get people to understand that there actually is a right time to actually take medications, and to do these types of things, so it’s kinda fascinating. I’m gonna turn to that section in the book right now because it’s so chock full of stuff. Honestly, if I try to keep 250 studies in my head…
Ben: It’s an extremely intense book. Page 160 for example, so my method when I take a book, and if you guys follow me on Snapchat, you know this because as I read, I read 5-10 books a week, and I’m constantly underlining, and then I take photos on Snapchat for anybody who follows me on Snapchat, you always see what I encircle first. And bengreenfieldfitness.com/snapchat is my unashamed promo that I’m gonna throw in right there. But anyways, you have on page 160 for example, the best time to take a pill.
Michael: Yes. Absolutely. So when you take a look at those types of things, different medications are… let me back up for a second. So when you look at doctors historically and they say, “Take this twice a day,” what do people generally do? They take it in the morning when they wake up, and they take it in the evening when they go to sleep. And if they say, “Take it three times a day,” what do they do? They take it with breakfast, lunch, and dinner. You know, the number one, when you look at the half-life of the medications and you start to understand what’s going on. Number one, disease doesn’t work on that schedule, right?
Disease has a circadian rhythm of its own. All disease has different circadian rhythms of their own in which they are growing and then they subside, and then they grow, and they subside. And so, being able to look at the situation that’s going on and placing the appropriate pharmaceutical supplement, what have you in conjunction with the situation can actually help the situation in terms of healing. So it gets really interesting really quickly, when you look at things like I’ve got in here something on arthritis. We know the joints are stiff between 8 and 11am ‘cause your immune system goes into overdrive at night increasing inflammation, right? So, we understand more about why we’ve got stiff joints in the morning. Things like asthma attacks are actually on a very circadian cycle. They happen between 4 and 6am, so if you have children who have asthma, be sure that you’ve got a puffer on their night stand because you may wake up in the middle of the night and hear them gasping and it’s 4 o’clock in the morning.
Ben: Sorry to interrupt but if you look at something like the realm of natural remedy. And so like arthritis or asthma from what I understand both can respond relatively well to something like fish oil. Does this mean for example, if you’re more susceptible to arthritic attacks or the effects of asthma in the wee hours of the morning, but you’re taking say, fish oil with breakfast, you might shoot it to…
Michael: Actually, dude, you’re right there! You get it! Exactly. You should be taking a fish oil at night.
Ben: I could have written the book. I’m tellin’ you right now.
Ben: What about the one about… I believe you talked about like mice and their response to ethanol. Like a poisonous ethanol solution and how they responded depending on the time of the day that they were injected with this solution in a different way based on their circadian biology.
Michael: Yeah. So alcohol is really interesting in general. So, there’s a reason that they call it happy hour (laughs) because your circadian rhythms are such that you will actually be happier when you have ethanol in your system at a particular time. So, there was a really interesting study where they took I think it was mice actually, and they gave them alcohol in early morning, and then they look at them across a period of time. Actually I think these were humans, and what they found was is that, if you wanna be buzzed all day, drink 2 bloody marys and 2 mimosas in the morning, and you will stay buzzed much longer than if you drank 2 mimosas in the afternoon or evening. And some of that has to do with your metabolic process and some of that has to do with your circadian rhythmicity, and how are you processing the alcohol, where is it going in your head, what’s going on in your head, that kinda stuff.
So, it’s pretty amazing actually (chuckles). There’s almost nothing, my favorite one is coffee because so many people drink coffee. And you already said, you’ve switch to decaf in the mornings because you’re starting to realized that you can actually, ‘cause all you’re doing is double dipping your cortisol so much more powerful than caffeine, and that what’s wake you up in the morning. So, if you wait to have your cup of coffee about maybe 2, 2 and a half hours after you wake up, you’ll be surprised ‘cause that’s when the cortisol is coming down, and then it can give you that lift again and then you’re so much better off.
Ben: But that’s because I am a lion. What about like a wolf? Would that mean that a wolf would want to have their caffeine when they wake up even if that’s noon?
Michael: No, and it wouldn’t. They would really wanna wait this 2 and a half hours ‘cause it’s here where it gets interesting. So the cortisol rhythm is the same in terms of when it starts when you wake up, but you’d wake up at different times is based on your chronotype, right? So a lion can wake up at 5:30, whereas a wolf might wanna wake up at 8 or 8:30, right? And they, you take 2 hours…
Ben: Okay, got it. So, no matter what chronotype you are, you wait a couple of hours at least for the cortisol to subside. So like mid-morning or if you wanted to like early afternoon for example, which is actually what I’ve been doing, would be your coffee time.
Michael: It’s kind of like when you’re running a race, okay? So if you even watched like the Olympics were just done, and you watched them and you notice how on some of them, they’re staggered and they’re starched, as they go around the corner, there’s one person and then 10 yards there’s another one, and then 10 yards another one before the gun goes off, that’s kind of like chronotypes. And so the lion is all the way at the front and wolf is all the way at the back, and once the thing yells start, then you kind of follow your chrono-rhythm like with cortisol and again we start to see a dip about 2 hours after anybody wakes up depending upon the time you wake up.
Ben: Interesting. And then back to wolves, even though every circadian type, every chronotype should wait to have the coffee, you mentioned how alcohol in particular is quite detrimental to the wolf. Why is that?
Michael: So when you take a look at wolves in general, number one is, so okay. So, let me back out for a second. And so when you look at a wolf in general, these are the people, just to remind everybody, like to get up late, their like the Tim Ferriss’s of the world, they’re up late, late, late at night. And so, one of the things that happens with wolves in particular is that their ability to metabolize alcohol is less because there’s enough time in the day, right? And so they’re drinking late and they’re staying up late and then they have to wake up the next day at their normal time.
And so, a lot of times they have to metabolize all the alcohol out of their system which is part of the reason that they have a hangover. Also, we know that alcohol keeps you out of the stages 3 and 4 sleep which is the physically restorative sleep. Also alcohol is a diuretic and especially for wolves who are not big water drinkers to begin with, they’re already a little bit dehydrated. They drink alcohol, you know, once you break the seal, you start peeing, you’re gonna be peeing all night long, you become dehydrated, you fall asleep where in some cases pass out, and then you’re kind of on this wheel because your brain isn’t getting through all the alcohol quick enough because you have to get up at a particular time. So wolves kinda have the worst of all of the categories as far as drinking is concern.
Ben: Got you. And it’s part of that based off of this enzyme that you talked about. This alcohol dehydrogenase?
Michael: Yes. Absolutely.
Ben: Okay. So basically you would make more alcohol dehydrogenase in the evenings versus the mornings, so you break down alcohol more quickly in the evenings no matter what chronotype you are, but if you are a wolf, just because of your lifestyle that alcohol is gonna be hanging around in your bloodstream more at night. And so, of all the chronotypes, a wolf would wanna be the most careful with their alcohol consumption?
Michael: That’s exactly right. And that explains why when people drink earlier in the day, it actually last longer.
Ben: Okay. Got it. Now, I wanna back out for a second because there were couple other questions that I wanted to ask you when you were talking about just a whole lion, bear, dolphin, wolf thing in the first place. First is that, this quiz. You of course have the quiz and I’ll link to it by the way. Everything you guys are listening to, just go to bengreenfieldfitness.com/powerofwhen, and I’ll link to everything that Michael and I talked about. But in addition to the quiz you talked about, I guess a more scientific way of potentially determining your chronobiology based on temperature. Can you go on to how one would do that?
Michael: Sure. So if you wanna get really into it, you can start taking your regular temperature, and what we see is we know that the core body temperature rise and falls at very particular times. And that’s what actually runs your sleep cycle. So many people out there may not realized that your sleep cycle is completely based on your core body temperature cycle. So if you wanted to, you could actually get your temperature every hour that you’re awake, and throughout the night right before you’re about ready to go to sleep. And what you start to see is you start to see the fall in core body temperature and then you can actually match up to your chronotype.
Ben: Okay. And you have instructions for that in the book?
Michael: I do.
Ben: By using a basic oral thermometer.
Michael: Yeah, you can use that or an ear thermometer’s probably a little bit more accurate. The most accurate would be a rectal thermometer but I don’t think anybody’s out there gonna do that.
Ben: Well, I mean honestly, if you’re not drinking a cup of coffee anyways, a rectal thermometer might be a good pick-me-up in the morning.
Ben: When you wake up it’s like the coffee enema we’ve talked about before on the show.
Michael: Oh dear. Not going there…
Ben: Okay. Yeah, we don’t go there for now. I won’t ask you about whether it’s better for a wolf or a dolphin to stick coffee up their butt.
Michael: I will not answer that question.
Ben: But, I do want to ask you, and this has nothing to do with sticking coffee up your butt, about Thomas Edison.
Michael: Oh yeah.
Ben: Because you talk about when you discuss the history of bio-time and kinda like how we went to all this in the first place, you say that the most disruptive event in the history of bio-time occurred in 1879 with Thomas Edison. What exactly was that and why?
Michael: Yeah. It was the event of the light bulb. So, what he did was he made it so that everybody could change their bio-time socially, right? And so as soon as we have the light bulb, you could stay up late. You could work, you could party, you could hang out with your friends, you could do all these different things. And so everything became very, very different at once when the light bulb was invented.
The second big thing that affected bio-time quite a bit was the event of mass transportation across long distances. The ability to fly, trains, steam engines, things like that where your brain started in one time zone, your body ends up in another one and your brain hasn’t have the chance to catch up yet. Naturally, your body will catch up approximately one time zone per day, but having being able to go from LA to New York, and cross three time zones, your brain doesn’t necessarily have a chance to catch up.
So the light bulb was certainly the most disruptive. And what’s really interesting is if you look back at Thomas Edison’s quotes about sleep, you find that he said, You know that “As the future comes forward men will need less and less sleep,” he thought sleep was a complete waste of time which I find fascinating because now when you look at the research, sleep is arguably the most critical thing other than eating that you can do, and obviously breathing. But you can’t do anything without a good night sleep. It affects every organ system, every disease state. If you’re thinking about wellness, if you’re thinking about health, if you’re thinking about any of those things, you can’t do it without sleep.
Ben: That would be interesting to see if he had that gene you’re talking about that PER gene.
Michael: I know.
Ben: So maybe he didn’t give a crap about sleep ‘cause he can’t get away with 4 hours of sleep a night. By the way…
Michael: Maybe he was like a lion that had a very low sleep drive and he was like a Donald Trump. He only sleep in 3, 4 hours a night.
Ben: Have you heard about how people who have that gene that makes it so, they’re able to I guess go through their normal 90 minutes sleep cycle. I guess from what I understand they achieved that sleep cycle more quickly and go through more sleep cycles during the night. Have you heard that they also tend to have more lucid dreaming and night terrors or is that just urban legends?
Michael: You know, I actually don’t know the answer to that question. It’s definitely something that we can think through. Lucid dreaming is a skill set that you can and almost anybody can develop. I’ve had lucid dreams before, and it’s funny I oftentimes have people asked me, is there a way to train yourself to become a lucid dreamer? And there are a couple of people on the internet who claimed to be able to do that. I’ve never try any of their course or anything like that. I would argue that the people that would probably be the most likely to be lucid dreamers through the chronotypes would probably be wolves, and that would be because wolves have a tendency to sleep more than all of the other chronotypes. They just sleep at their own times.
Ben: Okay, got it. That make sense. Okay. So I wanna ask you some more questions about chronobiology.
Ben: Obviously, you talked about a lot of stuff in the book when it comes to everything from like you mentioned, like vaccinations and you get in to things that honestly, we probably won’t talk about on this show like asking for a raise or negotiating at work. Not that that stuff is not important, but I wanted to kinda focus on more on the health related stuff.
Ben: So, let’s start with this. Let’s start with the good stuff. If you have a whole sex chart in the book.
Michael: I do.
Ben: Like I mentioned and the best time to have sex. So, get into this.
Ben: Why is it that different people have a different best time to have sex?
Michael: So first of all, we need to look at when are people actually are having sex on a regular basis and what’s really interesting is roughly 72% of the time actually is not because people are feeling desirous, it’s that they’re already in bed, their work schedule is consistent with their bed partner or their bed partner just happens to be available. So literally only…
Ben: Guilty as charged.
Michael: Right! You know, you get in bed, you got less clothing on, your partner’s right there and you’ll like, “Hey, you’re interested? Hey, sure! You’re interested? Alright let’s go.”
Ben: Right. I’ll just slide my hand over here. It’s so easy, and you’re not wearing anything and yeah, I hear ‘yah.
Michael: (laughs) Right and it works. Here’s what’s fascinating. So, what are the hormones that you need for sex? You need testosterone, estrogen, progesterone, vasopressin, oxytocin, and cortisol, right? You want all of those fairly in order to have good amount of sexual activity. And what do you want to have low? Melotonin. So what do you think is the profile of an individual at 11 o’clock at night? The exact opposite.
Michael: The exact opposite. Your melatonin is high and all of those other things are low. So you know, I’m thrilled that you’re having sex at early in the morning, right? Because that actually makes more sense to do it that way.
Ben: Now, what about for like a wolf? Like that wouldn’t be true for wolf, right?
Michael: I know, that’s the cool part. That’s why I made the chart. Because a lot of people aren’t necessarily married to a person or having sex with the person that is of their same chronotype. So that’s why I actually created the matrix. Now, I will tell you one thing that the research share that was very interesting is quite frankly, men really don’t care to have sex whenever they’re offered. As opposed to women, women have much greater variable in terms of that.
Lions which is what you are, have their strongest sexual desire in the morning. Which by the way shouldn’t be a big surprise because what happens to most men early in the morning, right? They wake up with morning erections. So their testosterone is high, we’re starting to see already signs of that happening. So, if you’re a wolf, what do you do, right? Well, if you’re a wolf, you might be somebody that can have sex at night but if you’re married to a lion, then maybe what you do is you have it later on Saturday mornings. So, 10 o’clock, 11 o’clock in the morning. If you don’t have kids running around, it makes it a lot easier to be able to do stuff like that.
The other thing that you can do is you can have sex at night, just have it a little bit earlier in the evening depending upon your bed partner. So, you’re a lion and you said that your wife is a wolf? Is that correct?
Ben: Uhmm, yup.
Michael: So you’re gonna be getting tired. What time do you normally naturally get tired? 8:30?
Ben: Hold on. I have to shift to the wrong part of your book ‘cause I’m looking at the fight with your partner, compatibility chart. I need to find… which I’m not joking. There’s actually has one in there. I need to go to the sex with your partner. Okay, so you’ve got a heterosexual couple, male lion and female… I think my wife tested as like a bear with a high, high tendency towards a wolf status, right, like almost a wolf but not quite type of thing. So, it looks like in this book, I have to remind myself to…
Michael: It would be 9pm or 7:30am.
Ben: Yup, 9pm or 7:30am would be the ideal time for sex, and I’ve tried both of those and I mean, gosh, you’re actually pretty accurate with that.
Ben: So, it’s where your book gave me permission to talk to my wife a little bit more about morning sex. So super interesting.
Michael: So in and of itself the book is worth it just for that, right?
Ben: Uhmm. Yeah, and you of course have the masturbation rhythm in there as well. So let folks get the book if you wanna delve into that.
Ben: Okay. So, the next one that I wanted to ask you about that I catch on briefly here was weight training. Weight training. Like the best time for different types to weight train and why.
Michael: Yeah. When you look at training, well, first of all there’s training for strength, right? And then there’s more cardio, there’s yoga, I actually go into yoga in this one as well, so it just kinda depends upon what your flavor is.
Ben: So let’s say like hypertrophy muscle growth strength training. That type of thing.
Michael: Okay. So for looking at hypertrophy like sort of what is the muscle growth rhythm if you will. There was a study out of Finland that showed us that muscles grow actually at almost any time, but the strength of the muscles actually change with circadian rhythm. So muscle volume increased in morning training and in afternoon training, but there’s something called the muscles strength rhythm. And this is actually very, very interesting, so I’m actually gonna read you, I’m gonna take up a piece from the book and it actually looks at your testosterone versus cortisol ratio.
So what you wanna have is a ratio that’s actually working, so right here it says, “It’s not the concentration of testosterone matters but the ratio of cortisol to testosterone. So the ratio of C to T that is most favorable for strength is afternoon for lions, early evening for bears, late evening for dolphins and wolves in terms of working out.
Ben: Okay, got it.
Michael: So what you want is lower testosterone, higher cortisol, and where does that happen during the day? Also what’s interesting for wolves out there is your pain tolerance actually gets worse and worse the later you go. This is part of the reason why a lot of my wolves are not people who like to workout because it hurts them more. Their pain tolerance is less and less, and when you’re strength training, you’re ripping muscle and so there is a decent amount of injury that can go on if you’re not careful obviously.
Ben: So you want a low C over T. You want a low cortisol to testosterone ratio to optimize your time of day for strength training.
Michael: That’s correct.
Ben: Okay. So a dolphin is 8pm, a lion is like a morning person. It’s not contrary to what you might think the morning, but actually 2:30-5pm, a bear is 4-7pm, and then a wolf is 6-7pm.
Michael: And so here’s the couple of things to think through on this. The biggest thing that I get from people is, I’m a lion, I’m up at 5:30 while can’t I go for a run, Michael? And why should I not be working out then? Nobody else is awake. That’s actually a great time for you to be creative, that’s a good time for you to plan out your day. When you’re starting to get tired around 3:30 to 4 o’clock in the afternoon if you can and go workout then, you’ll actually get an extra boost of energy that help you carry through ‘till 9:30, 10 o’clock at night.
So what I do is I use exercises to the leverage to be able to keep lions awake a little bit longer. So that’s one of the reasons that I don’t want them working out in the morning. I want them working out in the afternoons or evenings. Also, to be honest with you, nobody should be working out at 6am and I’ll tell you why.
Your muscles aren’t warm, your joints aren’t stretched out, you have a highest proclivity for injury, hurting yourself early in the morning. Unless you’re a super stretcher and you can really get your joints rolling. and stuff like that, and you’re doing like a 35, 40 minutes stretch before you run, or lift, or whatever else that you do, you have a far greater likelihood to hurting yourself by working out in the morning.
Ben: Okay. Got it. What do you do in the morning?
Michael: What I do in the morning is I have actually a whole morning routine, so I’m kind of interesting. I’m a wolf with a very short sleep cycles. So I only need 6 and a half hours of sleep. So I go to bed at midnight, and I’m up at 6:30. And there’s pros and cons to that but both my kids have to wake up about that time for school, and my wife likes to sleep in, and so I actually getting the kids ready. So I’m laying up their clothes, getting breakfast ready, and so I get them off to school, and then when I come back, it’s around 7:30, then I start to do email because that’s my time to try to do more creative-ish types of stuff. Not necessarily analytical stuff, and then I would go and workout around 9:30, 10 o’clock, and a lot of times it works out really well for me, but when…
Ben: But that’s not… by working around 9:30, 10 o’clock isn’t in the book.
Michael: I understand. When I perform my task…
Ben: Okay. I’m just calling you out man.
Michael: You’re welcome to do so.
Michael: When I perform my best in terms of get my best strength when I run my fastest times, it’s always, always in the evenings.
Ben: Yeah, yeah. I’ve noticed the same thing, and you know what the sad thing is that a lot of athletic competitions that involves strength training actually take place in the morning.
Michael: (laughs) I know!
Ben: It’s super annoying because they’ve done other research that have shown that… I don’t know if you’ve seen this, athletes who trained at the same time of the day as when their competition’s is going to take place are generally going to do better in that competition compared to athletes that trained at a different time of day.
So my method ‘cause I’ve been competing in varying events and events that do indeed involves strength for over a decade, what I’ll do is I train when my body temperature peaks, and testosterone peaks, and grip strength peaks, and reaction time peaks, and I do my hard training in the afternoon to the early evening, but when the race is rolling around generally about one to two weeks out, I start to throw in some hard morning sessions just to get my body used to getting its ass out of bed and going hard in the morning despite at that being, you know, based off of what you’ve written in your book, and what I’ve kinda noticed in the literature unfavorable for a chrono-biology.
Michael: Yeah, and you’re right to do so. Like it actually makes a lot of sense to do it that way.
Ben: Is it different with cardio though?
Michael: It can be a little bit different with cardio. It depends upon what you’re trying to do with the cardio, so there’s a couple of different rhythms like have a whole section on go for a run which is kinda I think it all equate to cardio. If you’re trying to burn fat, then actually you might wanna workout in the morning because if you workout on a fasting stomach, there’s no place for your body to get the energy from other than your fat stores.
And so, being able to eat up some fat, then you might wanna be working out earlier in the morning. Again, if you gonna do that then you gonna wanna stretch really well, you gonna warm yourself really well, you really have to be careful because my biggest concern is people getting injured in the morning, right? But you know, if you’re trying to get your best time, then what you’re gonna be looking at again is for a lion, you know at 5:30, dolphins actually do great exercising in the morning but it’s…
Ben: Five thirty, five thirty PM…
Michael: Sorry, 5:30pm, yes. I apologize, 5:30pm.
Ben: Okay, got it.
Michael: But my dolphins workout great in the mornings around 7:30 in the morning because with dolphins who are a little on the neurotic side, they’re not great sleepers in general. This is a great way to start your day.
There’s a lot of people out there when they exercise, when the endorphins, [46:10.1] ______ kick out, that runners high, if you will, that actually can set them up for a really good day. And dolphins can use that because it calms them down. Whereas, my wolves, I’m still telling them, you know what? I really think it makes more sense for them to work out at night. And again, it’s hard to get them to do anything in the mornings.
Ben: Yeah. My go-to has always been easy aerobic cardio, and for me it’s actually usually these days, the sauna. So I do like hot/cold contrast. I do about a half hour of sauna, and then I do like an icy cold plunge after the sauna to kinda clear the head, but also to increase the one thing I do that cardiovascular aerobic exercise in the morning has been shown to increase and that’s a brain derived nootropic factor…
Ben: … for enhanced neuro firing the rest of the morning, and I get what you’re saying in the book about the potential for more joint impact, less warm joints injury, et cetera from chronic repetitive motion in the morning from most chronotype except that dolphin chronotype that you talked about, but I think it depends. Like for me, there’s a difference between pounding the pavements for 30 minutes and getting my heart rate up with say like yoga and deep breathing, and the sauna for 30 minutes.
Michael: Absolutely, absolutely. I totally agree with you and actually I have a whole section on yoga as well. So like when you’re gonna be the most flexible, when you’re gonna be the most relaxed, when you’re gonna have kind of the most mind, what I called the mind/body connection. First of all, a lot of people don’t even understand how important yoga can be in a conditioning regimen and it’s actually very hard physically to be able to do. And so understanding that, is really good. I know a lot of people like to do yoga at sunrise but again especially if you’re doing more advanced yoga, or you’re getting into really deep poses, you have to be very, very careful because it’s super easy to get hurt just because your body is not warm.
Ben: Uhm, you just destroyed everybody’s sun salutation, Ben.
Michael: I’m not saying don’t do them, I’m just saying, do yourself a favor, Ben. Stretch out!
Ben: (chuckles) You have to rename them. Rename them. Afternoon moon salutations.
So, another thing I wanted to ask you speaking of the moon, is sleeping in. You are not a fan of sleeping in and I actually, I don’t really have this problem anymore ‘cause I just wake up at the same time whether it’s a Saturday or a Sunday, or Monday, days ending in ‘Y’, I’m pretty much up at the same time each morning, but you are not a fan of this whole weekend sleep in thing. Why is that?
Michael: I’m not. So the data now shows that if you sleep in more than 30 minutes, you can actually shift your circadian rhythms and so, you stay up late Friday night, sleep in Saturday, stay up late Saturday, and sleep in Sunday, you end up with Sunday night insomnia and what we call social jetlag, right? And so, you now doesn’t want to go to sleep when it’s Sunday night, and it certainly doesn’t wanna wake up no matter what your chronotype is.
So the consistency with your sleep system and your circadian rhythms in particular love consistency. And the anchor is your sleep and your food times, right? And so when you wake up what I would have people do when they wake up in the morning is pull their feet over the side of the bed and take 5-10 really good solid deep breaths. Get the respiration going, increase your heart rate. Reach for a glass of water because again you’re dehydrated and do it while getting direct sunlight exposure, so it cuts off that melatonin process. So maybe in front of a window, walk outside, preferably wear a robe. I would have to tell people that ‘cause you’ll never know, and then kinda start your day, right.
And so, understanding how you kind of move yourself through your day then when you’re having your meals, is what continues to guide your circadian rhythm. So by doing that process in the morning, we stop the melatonin faucet and get you going depending upon whatever time you wanna wake up. Lions might be 5:30, in wolves that can be 8:30, same process can apply, but then when you have your meals, if you time them and you stick to that time, your whole body gets much more consistent. And it’s just like any machine, the more consistently you use it, the more it will produce for you.
Ben: And I guess that’s where napping comes in handy. Like I’m taking my kids to a fight tonight and it’ll last like 11:30. They’ll sleep on the way home and frankly because they’re 8 years old, they’ll sleep until 11 if I don’t get them out of bed. But me, I’ll wake up at 6. I guarantee tomorrow morning, so that’s where something like for me to settle down for a nap at like 1 or 2pm, or something like that will help rather, so what you’re saying that’ll be better strategy than me just say, like waking up at 6 and then falling back to sleep until 8.
Michael: Oh yeah, you’ll be miserable if you wake up at 6 and fall back to sleep ‘till 8. I mean, I don’t know if you do that anymore, but every time I try to do that I feel like crap all day.
Ben: Rarely, rarely. I have occasionally done it when like on vacation in some remote island where you just don’t care, and you can go out on the beach at noon and have a cocktail.
Ben: So, another thing that you talked about is jetlag, and I know you’ve worked like I mentioned with hotels, with airlines, et cetera, and whenever I get a sleep researcher on, so many people listen to the show travel or deal with a lot of the effects of jetlag, what are some of your jetlag tips? Your jetlag systems?
Michael: Okay. So there’s a couple of things that if you’re…
Ben: And feel free to dive into the nitty-gritty detail by the way.
Michael: Sure! So a couple of things that straight out of the gate is you know, some people are gonna be more effective by jetlag than others. And remember the direction of travel tells you a lot. East is least and West is best, okay? And so if you’re traveling East, you’re basically telling your body to go to bed earlier, which is fine for a lion, but doesn’t work very well for a wolf. If you’re traveling West, all you’re doing is asking your body to stay up later which is relatively easy for most people. Lions might have a little bit of a hard time with it but all the other chronotypes can do it.
So direction of travel has something to do about it. Length of travel also has something to do with it. Hydration turns out to be one of the biggest factors in terms of the amount of jetlag that you’re gonna have on the backend as well as light exposure. Now, I actually work with a guy who created a jetlag app. It’s gonna be coming out soon. Plug in your times of travel, plug in your current sleep regimen and it’ll ask you a few questions about your chronotype, and he will actually tell you when you should use caffeine, melatonin, and light therapy in order to reduce your jetlag.
And me personally, I’ve gotten my jetlag down to roughly a day depending upon that length of travel. So I do a lot of work in Denmark and so that’s a 14-hour flight from LA, and so it’s quite a difference in terms of time zones. I think it’s 8 or 9 times on differences and I can get there and be rolling in a day, and I can get home and be rolling in a day just by strategically putting my light therapy, right? So it cuts off the melatonin then place the melatonin like a melatonin supplement and using caffeine sparingly.
Ben: What’s the name of this app? Or it’s just not…
Michael: It’s not out yet, but when we get it, I’ll definitely make sure that I let you know about it and we can do a whole podcast on jetlag if you want.
Ben: That’d be sweet. It sounds like a pretty killer. So you’re just basically saying hydration and light are the two biggies.
Michael: Hydration and light are the two biggies for me. I try not to drink alcohol in the air. There’s so many reasons why it’s not such a great idea but one thing…
Ben: Oh man, a glass of wine and a Valium for a flight to Hong Kong, you know, I would do that.
Michael: It’s funny that you say that. So I had a patient who came in, and he had gotten Ambien from his medical doctor and he ask me, you know, can I use it? I was like, yeah of course, you can use it, but I said be careful. I said, the biggest thing you have to make sure of is wait ‘till the plane takes off.
Ben: Oh yeah.
Michael: And he was like, why? And I’m like, just trust on this anyway. So, they’re on the taxi way and he’s sitting in first, and he gets a glass of wine and he pops his Ambien, right? ‘Cause he thinks he’s ready to go, and they get delayed. And they keep refilling his glass of wine ‘cause you know, when first it’s all they do. And they send 3 glasses of wine, later he realized he hasn’t fallen asleep, so he pops the second Ambien, right? So now they ends up with mechanical difficulties. They roll it back and they literally had to put this guy in a wheelchair to get him off the plane.
Michael: An Ambien and alcohol just… (laughs)
Ben: I get what you’re saying. I can kinda sort one of that because… put earmuffs on your kids, parents. Occasionally when I will go on long flights, I’ll do slightly higher doses edibles like 15-20 mgs of a good CBD-rich THC indica blend, and I had one in which I took it about 40 minutes before. So you go through security, right, it’s in your system, got on the plane and then they had one of those mechanical issues where they actually de-board the plane.
And so I’m just like wandering around the gate high, out of my mind. I did make it back on to the plane but I was wandering around the airport mostly standing in the little news aisles where they have crunchy snacks, and just deliberating which crunchy snack to buy next. You know, the sugar snap piece versus the dark chocolate covered-almonds versus the crunchy bananas versus anything that looked good.
Michael: here’s what’s interesting when you look at things like CBD and THC, and air travel and things like that, right, is number one, you wanna actually if you’re looking at this and you’re trying to figure this out. Let’s see you’re in a state where medical marijuana is legal or you have the prescription, or let’s say it’s even recreational and you wanna utilize this in a particular way for you. So number one, know your strains. You need to understand if you’re an indica-based or are you sativa-based. Sativas gonna give you more energy, indicas make you more sleepy.
So, when you’re taking it and you’re going into a long flight, do you wanna fall asleep in the beginning of the flight or do you wanna fall asleep in the end of the flight? So again, thinking about this and being strategic with it can actually be very beneficial. You really wanna avoid THC when you’re up in the air, and the biggest reason is because the oxygen isn’t that great ‘cause all that’s happening is the air continuous to get re-circulated a lot of carbon dioxide up there. So you are ready not getting great air, and so when you’ve got THC onboard with that, it can make you very disoriented very quickly.
Ben: Yeah. I actually disagree with you because the only time that I will watch a movie ever is when I’m on an airplane, and so if I have a Trans-Atlantic flight and I have some THC in my system, any of those like new super hero movies are amazing. Amazing to watch.
Ben: We digress though. I’m making myself sound like a pothead. I’m really not, but I have used that to help long flights go by before. You also mentioned before we turn away from jetlag about how you can cure jetlag through the stomach. What do you mean by that?
Michael: So I worked with the NASA sleep specialist. His name is Smith Johnston. He’s an amazing, amazing researcher. And they looked at fatigue counter-measures because on the space station which is where most of his people are, and he has to keep tabs on them, the date changes every 45 minutes, right? Like they’re moving around every 45 minutes is a sunrise and sunset for them. And so, it’s very, very different and if you become disoriented up there, that’s how people die.
You can’t make mistakes in space. It’s not like being terrestrial, and so a lot of the things that he was talking about was in this. And so what he is talking about here was, here it is, “I recently took a dream vacation in Hawaii, a 5 hour time difference from Boston going West. I followed the NASA Bruce Plan to the letter and I felt a lot better after 2 days which fully functional on day 3 of the week long trip.” And so what some people will do is they’ll actually start eating on the schedule of the place that they’re going, and that actually helps…
Ben: Eating on a schedule of the place that you’re going before you get there or when you get there?
Michael: Before you get there. So, as an example, if you’re going to China, then you start eating on a schedule that would be consistent with the times that you would eat in China.
Ben: Okay. Got you. Which is pretty simple Math. So you just go to Google and you say what time is it here, and it is one day before or two days before, or how do you do it?
Michael: Usually I tell people to start doing it 3-4 days before, and it actually works out very well, and it’s one of the easier ways to help with really like Trans-Atlantic like big flights that kinda jetlag, that can actually be very helpful as well. I agree.
Ben: Yeah. I’d recommend to you guys, if you get the book read pages and you travel. Read pages 315 and 316 ‘cause you have all sorts of stuff in here like wearing sunglasses all day until the flight when you’re traveling West. But then, when you’re traveling East, when you get off the plane, wearing sunglasses so that light is not disrupting your circadian rhythm.
And I mean like for me, I don’t know about you Dr. Breus, but I’ve found light, food, and exercise to be the biggest triggers. What do you call them? [58:54] ______? Yeah, [58:56] ______. That’s my fancy word of the day like things that trigger your circadian biology, like if you exercise at your regular time of the day, when you get to your destination, eat at a regular time when everybody else is eating at the destination and if you must fast until that occurs, fast until it’s time and then exposure to a whole bunch of light when it’s light where you’re traveling, and extreme limitation of light up until that point.
Michael: Yeah, yeah. You got it.
Ben: Sweet. I could go work for NASA now, right?
Michael: Yeah. You want me to find you a job? I mean, I could tell Smith all about you.
Ben: Yeah, I’m happy unless I get to go to space. I’ll take you on. So, the last thing that I wanted to ask you because it’s something we have not touch upon that much before on the show, but something that I’ve kinda always wondered but you as a sleep researcher I’m sure would be very well informed on this, daylight savings time.
Ben: I’ve always wondered what that does to the body ‘cause technically it is kinda like flying out of a time zone. Is it just not a big deal at all ‘cause it’s only an hour or what’s the deal with daylight savings time?
Michael: The number one day for traffic accidents is the day after we lose an hour of sleep every year in America. The number one day for morning traffic accidents.
Michael: So, I would argue with you that it’s not the best idea. First of all, there’s several States that don’t even participate in daylight savings. I lived in Arizona for 10 years and there’s enough sun there. We don’t have to have any more daylight, so we don’t even participate in daylight savings. But you know, it was an agrarian concept I believe set forth by Ben Franklin. If I’m not mistaken to be able to have more sunlight to be able to work more, to be more productive. And you know, now we don’t necessarily need it.
I personally, I think daylight savings is a waste of time. I’m not sure why people do it, and it’s great because what you know, one time of the year, you get an hour more sleep and one time of the year, you lose an hour of sleep. And so, that’s the bad part. And so for me, I don’t like daylight savings time, I’m always very cautious that next Monday, because that is the number one time for traffic accidents. So I would say, it’s pretty detrimental.
Ben: Interesting. Have you done research on daylight saving times and like what it is, your biology or anything like that?
Michael: They really haven’t. It’s just like going one time zone basically. And so, we know that the body will self-adjust within a day. So there really hasn’t been a ton of research in that area in particular other than the driving statistics.
Ben: Okay. So just basically stick to your usual schedule, have your meals at a regular time, exercise at a regular time, get lots of light in the morning, limit light at night, and you’ll generally adapted to daylight saving times more quickly.
Michael: Yes. Stay off the road.
Ben: Okay. Got it. Cool. I mean, the book is jam-packed. I mean, you have over 50 different activities in here about falling in love, calling your friend, like I mentioned fighting with a partner, seeing a therapist, pigging out, having a snack, learning something new, memorizing, playing games, bench watching TV shows, buying stuff. I mean, you go on and on, so it’s really interesting.
Like I mentioned, the little things I’m implementing now that I’ve read the book, some of the stuff that I was already doing, right? I was already training for strength in the evening for example, but shifting to decaf coffee in the morning and then regular coffee later on in the day, having sex in the morning instead of sex in the evening or at least sex in the early evening if I am gonna have sex in the evening and once my blood pressure goes to the roof, I guess I know when I need to take my blood pressure medication too.
Ben: Goes even that and when you get vaccinated. Dr. Breus, thank you so much for writing this book and for coming on the show and sharing all these stuff with us.
Michael: No! Thanks for having me. I was excited to talk with you because I enjoy your depth and the way you like to get into things, I think it’s fun, and I think it’s interesting. I think it’s great for your listeners. So thanks for having me on the show. It’s been a blast.
Ben: Awesome! If you guys wanna get the book or get access to the quiz, or anything like that, go to bengreenfieldfitness.com/powerofwhen, that’s bengreenfieldfitness.com/powerofwhen, and until next time. I’m Ben Greenfield, porky in the afternoon because I’m a lion, along with Dr. Breus, signing out from bengreenfieldfitness.com. Have a healthy week!
You’ve been listening to the Ben Greenfield Fitness Podcast. Go to bengreenfieldfitness.com for even more cutting edge fitness and performance advice.
Do you know your chronotype?
Until two weeks ago, I didn’t.
Turns out, I’m a “lion” chronotype (with a strong tendency to delve into “bear” chrono-typedness).
You might be a wolf, in which case you should try working out at 6:00pm and not 6:00am. An early morning run for you might feel like punishment, while an early evening run will provide an enjoyable pick-me-up.
Or maybe you’re a lion, in which case having a wine, beer or cocktail between 5:30pm and 7:30pm will minimize the chances of sleep disruption from alcohol.
Or perhaps you’re a dolphin, which means you should schedule any big presentations or work tasks for around 4:00pm, when you’re most awake, most alert, and even most confident.
You could also be a bear, in which case shifting dinner from 6:00pm to 7:30pm can actually accelerate fat loss and stave off late-night snacking.
You’ll find all the science, the studies, and the facts behind this type of new chronotyping research in the new book “The Power of When: Discover Your Chronotype-and the Best Time to Eat Lunch, Ask for a Raise, Have Sex, Write a Novel, Take Your Meds, and More“.
A growing body of research actually proves there is a right time to do just about everything, specifically based on your biology and hormones. As Dr. Michael Breus – the author and today’s podcast guest – presents in his groundbreaking new book The Power of When, working with your body’s inner clock for maximum health, happiness, and productivity can be easy, exciting, fun and pay off big dividends.
For example, since reading this book, I’ve even cut out caffeinated morning coffee and replaced it with decaf, started prioritizing morning and afternoon sex instead of evening sex, and shifted my fiction-based creative writing from 8:00pm to 8:00am. The Power of When presents a unique program for getting back in sync with your natural rhythm by making minor changes to your daily routine based on your unique “chronotype”.
In the book, after you’ve taken Dr. Breus’s “Bio-Time Quiz” to figure out your chronotype (e.g. are you a Bear, Lion, Dolphin or Wolf?), you then find out the best time to do over 50 different activities, from when to exercise to have sex to take supplements to ask for a raise to eat breakfast to take a nap and much more.
So you can consider this book the ultimate “lifehack”.
Dr. Breus, Ph.D., is a Clinical Psychologist, a Diplomate of the American Board of Sleep Medicine and a Fellow of The American Academy of Sleep Medicine. With a specialty in Sleep Disorders, Dr. Breus he is one of only 163 psychologists in the world with his credentials and distinction.
In addition to his private practice, where he treats athletes and celebrities alike, Dr. Breus also trains other sleep doctors and consults with major airlines, hotel chains, mattress manufacturers and retailers to provide the optimum sleep experience for their customers. For example, an audio relaxation CD he designed for the Crowne Plaza Hotels helps millions of people fall asleep each year, and for over 14 years Dr. Breus has served as the Sleep Expert for WebMD and frequently pens “Sleep Matters” a column in WebMD magazine. He also writes The Insomnia Blog, which appears regularly on WebMD, The Huffington Post, The Dr. Oz Blog, Psychology Today, MedPedia, Organized Wisdom, Travora Travel, and Furniture Today, and has been interviewed on CNN, Oprah, The View, Anderson, and The Doctors and The Dr. OZ Show.
During our discussion, you’ll discover:
–Why I’m now having sex in the morning and coffee in the afternoon…[10:35]
-The fascinating history of chronotyping and chronobiology…[11:50]
-Why it is that guys like Tim Ferriss and Tai Lopez operate extremely well in the wee hours of the night…[18:30]
-Why Thomas Edison created the most disruptive event in the history of bio-time…[32:10]
-Whether chronotyping is based on scientific research or simply cute, easy-to-remember animals…[30:25]
-When the best time of day is to drink alcohol and to drink coffee based on your chronotype…[25:40 & 27:20]
-A simple, scientific, biological way to determine chronotype based on a seven dollar piece of home health equipment…[31:35]
-When the best time to have sex is, why and how to “sync up” sex times with your partner based on their chronobiology…[35:35]
-When the best time of day is for cardiovascular exercise vs. yoga vs. weight training…[39:25 & 47:20]
-How your chronobiology can affect when you should take supplements or medications…[22:00]
-Dr. Breus’s most potent and effective jet lag tips…[51:00]
-Why Daylight Savings Time day is the #1 day that traffic accidents occur…[59:50]
-And much more!
Resources from this episode: