Bog! Welcome to this week's digest. This is a very special 'I'm finally back in LA' edition, where I stop sharing travel fables and give you exactly what you came here for... eclectic content that might make our lives better (without guilt tripping us too much for not doing it :D). This week's topics include sleep, waking up, calling out my bullshit, and Dave Chappelle. Enjoy!

xoxoxo <3
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"...who knows what could happen if people started work without a two-hour lag, during which their cognitive abilities are only shadows of their full selves" ~ Maria Konnikova

This is a new section, where I exploit you, the reader, for information related to a closely held belief that might help me (and others) change our minds.

My Bayesian Prior: I've been eating "Paleo" for ~6 years. This means lots of meat and vegetables, and yes, butter and coconut oil in my coffee for breakfast. All of the N=1 data has been great - low body fat percentage (~11-13%); low cholesterol; no more food comas after meals; never feel hungry; and delicious / sustainable. All good... right?

Complications: Three new data points this week: (1) US News' annual best diets ranking continues to exclude Paleo and Ketogenic (close relative) diets, apparently for lack of evidence. (2) I got my DNA sequenced for a 'Weight Loss Genetics Report' from Arivale / Helix, and the genetics test + follow-up coaching advice was to ditch high fat for high (complex) carbs. Apparently I am genetically predisposed to weight gain from fats and not from carbs. (3) When I shared with a friend (a HARVARD man o_0) what I have for breakfast (coffee + butter + coconut oil), his reply was "So you're telling me you will drink this artery clogging shit" (Harvard's school of public health says basically the same thing with less plebeian nomenclature).

The Ask: I already know all of the typical 'Paleo' counters to these complications, most of which are along the lines of 'conventional wisdom just hasn't caught up with the newer science'. I am way too deep in the weeds / too emotionally invested in the answer to objectively search outside my diet tribe bubble. I am optimistic that you, from the outside perspective, can see this with beginner's eyes and provide fresh perspective.

What data can you share to help me (and others) update our beliefs on the subject? THANK YOU FOR YOUR SERVICE!

ARTICLE - Snoozers Are, In Fact, Losers - A not-so-stunning, sleep-specific reminder that what is currently socially acceptable is often not what is biologically optimal, especially when you remember that we are all unique snowflakes with different biological optima. (Thank you AJ for sharing!) Complement with Researchers say this 5-minute technique could help you fall asleep more quickly (Spoiler: Write your to-do list, thoroughly and specifically, to get it off your mind and fall asleep) and Paul Graham's The Acceleration of Addictiveness.

My highlights:
  • The difference between one’s actual, socially mandated wake-up time and one’s natural, biologically optimal wake-up time is something that Till Roenneberg, a professor of chronobiology at Ludwig-Maximilians University in Munich, calls “social jetlag.” It’s a measurement not of sleep duration but of sleep timing: Are we sleeping in the windows of time that are best for our bodies? ...approximately a third of the population suffers from extreme social jetlag—an average difference of over two hours between their natural waking time and their socially obligated one.
  • Roenneberg and the psychologist Marc Wittmann have found that the chronic mismatch between biological and social sleep time comes at a high cost: alcohol, cigarette, and caffeine use increase—and each hour of social jetlag correlates with a roughly thirty-three per cent greater chance of obesity.
  • ...sleep timing, more than length or quality, affected how well students performed in class and on their preclinical board exams. It didn’t really matter how long they had slept or whether they saw themselves as morning people or not; what made a difference was when they actually went to bed—and when they woke up.
  • Wright concluded that much of our early morning grogginess is a result of displaced melatonin—of the fact that, under current social-jetlag conditions, the hormone typically dissipates two hours after waking, as opposed to while we’re still asleep. If we could just synchronize our sleep more closely with natural light patterns, it would become far easier to wake up.
  • ...who knows what could happen if people started work without a two-hour lag, during which their cognitive abilities are only shadows of their full selves

PODCAST - Waking Up #114: Politics and Sanity - Sam Harris + David Frum + Andrew Sullivan = white-guy-a-palooza. Seriously, though, well worth the full listen because: (1) They discuss a number of topics that intrigue me (e.g., hyper-partisanship, religion, marijuana legalization). (2) They have an old fashioned, back-and-forth conversation, including explicit rationale backing their views (so you can come to your own conclusions), and despite holding different view points. Any time I can hear smart people disagree without straw-man'ing and shouting over each other, I get all giddy (or maybe that's the legal marijuana...).

BLOG POST - Exploration for truth: The genius of Dave Chappelle - Arvind's thoughtful reflections on Dave Chappelle's recent Netflix special made my inner comedy nerd smile SO hard :D This is an epic breakdown of a comedy bit, and it is up to you to decide if Arvind's (ingenious? harebrained?) hypotheses are on the mark.

MUSIC VIDEO - Royal Blood - Out Of The Black - One of my favorite discoveries from the past few years, Royal Blood's music is intense and inspiring, and their video absolutely must be seen to be believed. I have so much love and appreciation for the absurdity, creativity, and fun of this video.

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