This post is for notes and thoughts about the book “Lights Out: Sleep, Sugar, & Survival” by T.S. Wiley with Bent Formby, PhD.

Using evolutionary biology & biophysics, they posit that our sleep deficit (and the resulting hormone imbalance) is responsible for sugar cravings, obesity, and other “modern” diseases. I know I chronically feel tired, so I’m very interested right now in anything that will help me to feel healthier and release the stranglehold sugar has on my mind, body, and emotions.

According to them, “Sleeping controls eating, eating and stress control reproduction. Sleeping, eating, and making love control aging.” (p. 4)

They go on to say (after a bit of a conspiracy-theory type rant) the following:

“When we asked Dr Thomas Wehr, the head of the department studying seasonal and circadian rhythmicity at the NIH in Washington, whether he felt the public had a right to know that on less than 9.5 hours of sleep a night – i.e. in the dark – they will (a) never be able to stop eating sugar, smoking, drinking alcohol, and (b) most certainly develop one of the following conditions: diabetes, heart disease, cancer, infertility, mental illness, and/or premature aging, he said “Well, yes, they do have a right to know. They should be told; but it won’t change anything. Nobody will ever turn off the lights.”” (pp.5-6)

Interesting. I’ll let you know after I read more!

Chapter One Notes:

* Exercise –> triggers cortisol release (fight or flight.. running=flight)
* Extended exposure to light (i.e. changing natural light/ dark cycles) makes the body think it’s summer, which in nature kicks on the ‘mate now & store fat for the upcoming winter famine’ instinct
* The interplay of high cortisol, artificially extended “daylight”, sugar consumption and insulin response = fatty bodies
* Fat = health; Sugar = disease (I think they’re Paleo)
* Common Opinion –> eat less fat, exercise more & you’ll be healthy; Reality –> people are mostly fatter & sicker


More Ch. 1 Notes:
* Light & dark cycles govern prolactin & melatonin, which govern our immune systems
* Hyperinsulinemia – body’s chronic overproduction of insulin; only occurs with chronic high ingestion of carbs (impossible in nature, unless you lived somewhere that always had fruit/ veggies in season)
Insulin allows blood glucose into cells; insulin resistance means receptors no longer allow insulin to open them so no more glucose can enter the cells (protective mechanism)
“high insulin levels create the same state in the brain as alcohol does” (p.24)
“The spike of insulin after a binge [alcohol or sugar] makes the serotonin in the brain turn into melatonin and it’s lights out…. Sleep it off.” (p.24)

Chapter Two Notes:

* Excess light at night suppresses Melatonin
* Melatonin naturally suppresses sex hormones (estrogen/ testosterone; because it’s safest to breed in summer so babies are born in spring when food is plentiful)
* Excess light at night –> excess insulin, estrogen, testosterone –> diseases and endocrine disorders