Learnings from Circadian Rhythm Conference
In April, I got the chance to accompany my wife to a conference on circadian rhythm and metabolic disease (she was presenting a groundbreaking poster on the role of circadian rhythm genes in sebocyte skin cells). The Chancellor of UCLA has a lab studying circadian rhythm science, and I got the chance to hear him speak about his research. The conference took place at the Bruin Woods retreat center in Lake Arrowhead, which was a beautiful location that featured many cool outdoors-y activities like hiking, kayaking, archery, rock climbing, etc. (too bad it wasn't summer time!), and the food was really good too.
While most of the talks were highly technical, I was able to follow some of them and learned a lot about the importance of the circadian rhythm in affecting practically all biological functions. On the flip side, I learned how irregularities in one's rhythm can disrupt and cause many common diseases, especially diabetes (irregular rhythm is stronger indicator of diabetes than weight/BMI!). What that means for you: go to sleep on time to stay healthy!
From an "eastern medicine" standpoint, these findings make sense, as the circadian rhythm is what allows us humans to stay in sync with nature around us. And I can see how in our 24/7, work-a-holic, always-online world, circadian rhythms and "synchronization with nature" can get more easily disrupted.
Below are some of the main lessons I took away from the conference sessions. Here's a recent WSJ article on the topic as well.