Health Skills: Satchin Panda teaches you how to adjust your inner clock


Here’s a weird sentence: even if you eat poorly or barely exercise, you can still improve your health. Sounds too good to be true? It might be. If you want to improve your health, you can keep your diet and workout, but you have to focus on when you do them. Dr. Satchin Panda’s clients improved various problems: weight, diabetes, heart disease, digestive problems, sleep and the immune system. Seems like magic, but you only have to listen to your inner clock.

After reading this book:

  • You know how circadian rhythms work
  • You know how to improve different ailments with proper timing
  • You have a list of inspiring case studies

Something specific I really like

This book is about doing things at the right time, things like exercise, work, sleep, and eating. This makes planning your day a lot easier. For example exercise, according to the book, it’s best to do a light workout right after waking up, like jogging or walking (ideally outside, because light exposure is very important). An early workout prepares your brain for deeper learning. For vigorous exercise (strength training or intense aerobics), it’s best to plan workout between 3.00 p.m. – 6 p.m. Then your muscle tone begins to rise and you minimize the risk of injury. Also, exercise can reduce your appetite (you might eat less at dinner).

Another thing I really like

The time to do anything depends largely on light; it’s the main conductor of your inner clock. When it’s dark, your body starts your nightly processes (sleep and repair), or when light, your body starts daily processes (alertness and enhanced muscle tone). Since the invention of electricity, we turned our days into nights and nights into days, disrupting our circadian rhythm. The graph below describes the effects it’s having on our bodies (it’s from the book).

Luckily there are ways to soften the effects of modern light exposure. You can use apps that limit blue light, emitting from your devices, which is synonymous with daylight, and light bulbs that are emitting red light, which is similar to nighttime.

Quotes I want to remember

If you’re aiming to get maximum benefit from exercise with minimum injury, afternoon is the best time to exercise.

Your optimal brain function is highest between 10:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m.; that’s when you should notice that your best work or learning is done.

Too little physical activity: reduces the production of the muscle hormone that promotes sleep.