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by Rhonda Patrick, Ph.D.

#065 Dr. Satchin Panda on Circadian Insights into Exercise Timing, Melatonin Biology, and Peak Cognition


Dr. Satchidananda (Satchin) Panda is a professor in the Regulatory Biology Laboratory at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies. His work focuses on chronobiology, the study of the day-night cycles that drive the multifaceted activities of the human body, using genetic, genomic, and biochemical approaches. He is an expert on circadian rhythms and a pioneer in the field of time-restricted eating. A priority for Dr. Panda when designing his studies is to identify strategies that positively impact public health.

Circadian rhythms, the body’s 24-hour cycles of biological, hormonal, and behavioral patterns, modulate a wide array of physiological processes, including the body’s production of hormones that regulate sleep, hunger, and metabolism, ultimately influencing body weight, performance, and susceptibility to disease. Circadian rhythmicity may have profound implications for human healthspan.

When and how much we sleep, eat, or exercise (and these activities’ effects on our health) are intrinsically linked to our circadian rhythms.

In this episode, Dr. Panda and I discuss...

  • 05:31 - How circadian rhythms influence human health.
  • 12:30 - How seeking bright light in the morning and avoiding it in the evening can help us sleep better.
  • 20:40 - How the ability of supplemental melatonin to counteract evening bright light exposure varies.
  • 26:16 - How understanding the relationship between melatonin and insulin secretion might help us decide when to eat.
  • 33:15 - How shift work, jet lag, and modern lifestyles contribute to altered circadian rhythms and metabolic dysfunction.
  • 45:10 - How naps might aid with afternoon sleepiness and sleep loss.
  • 47:05 - How we can tailor our indoor lighting environment to promote healthy circadian rhythms.
  • 51:20 - How time-restricted eating (eating within a narrow time range) can be beneficial.
  • 01:02:13 - How Dr. Panda’s ongoing study uses a smartphone app to track when people eat.
  • 01:03:41 - How most people are unaware of their eating patterns.
  • 01:07:58 - How Dr. Panda incorporates his research findings into his own life.
  • 01:16:21 - How our circadian rhythms dictate when we should exercise – and how caffeine provides a workaround.

Read the full show notes to learn more: https://www.foundmyfitness.com/episodes/satchin-panda-3

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by Rhonda Patrick, Ph.D.