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Lights Out

6
Feb

Lights Out

For time:
135 pound Thruster, 15 reps
Run 200 meters
95 pound Thruster, 20 reps
Run 400 meters
65 pound Thruster, 30 reps
Run 800 meters

I originally bought Lights Out on my iPad, but then that posed some problems when trying to read it at night from a back lite source. Reading it on a Kindle or hard copy is the better bet.

Lights Out

Growing up I had a bedtime until I graduated from high school.  Yup, all through high school I had to be in bed by 9:30pm (not including Fridays and Saturdays, thank goodness).  That meant that I got eight and half hours of sleep.  T.S. Wiley, author of Lights Out, wouldn’t be impressed.

For any CrossFitting, Paleo-minded, interested-in-health-and-wellbeing athlete, Lights Out is a must read.  As CrossFitters and a community, we have grown to make the connection between processed foods, excessive carbohydrate intake, hyperinsulinemia, and a host of autoimmune conditions and medical diseases.  In T.S. Wiley’s book Lights Out, he goes back one step further and makes the case that the average person’s massive and habitual lack of sleep is really the precursor to excessive carbohydrate intake and the conditions that result.  And he makes a compelling case.

Here are two of my favorite excerpts.  One is a statement on disease and the other is a hypothetical walk through of a family in the US.

– All diseases that are not caused by contagion and injury are born of immune dysfunction by way of metabolism.

– In the 1940s, TV was rare.  By the mid-1950s, three in ten households were receiving visible radio waves.  Even in the heyday of Nickelodeonderived programming, harried houseivew only occasionally poisoned their families with TV dinners.  Now the average family has two adults employed full-time and eats out or from the freezer case at least four nights a week.  If that’s the norm in a two-parent family, imagine how rarely the average single-parent household gets a home-cooked meal. 

Mom either picks up the kids at day care and they go out, or she calls the baby-sitter to start boiling the water for the pastsa.  It’s already at least 6:30PM by the time dinner (pasta, juice, or low-fat milk for the kids, plus bread, and dessert) is ready.  Mom needs a drink just to keep going and there’s still homework, baths, and “quality time” to accomplish.  If Mom cooks a read dinner from more than two of the recognized food groups, instead of feeding the next genreation Cheerios or pasta, it’s even later.  And if she does that, Mom needs two drinks.

Now it’s at least 9:00 or 9:30PM and she still hasn’t had a minute to sit and stare after work.  In the summer, this would actually be okay.  But the scenario we’re describing is during the school year, which means “dark time” in nature, so this single-parent family or working mother with a lazy or on the other hand even harder working “absent father” will endure at least five, maybe seven, extra hours of light in a twenty-four-hour period, day in and day out for seven months out of season every year, year in and year out, decade after decade – until Mom gets breast cancer, her little girl has acne and is too fat to find her image in Vogue, and Junior, who is only 5’5″, has asthma.  If our imaginary dad is present, he has clogged arteries, high blood pressure, and high blood sugar.  

And how this all happens is a complete mystery to medical science.

The book is available in paperback and in iBooks and Kindle.  Although, if we’re going to get back to a healthy sleep pattern, T.S. Wiley wouldn’t recommend you purchase it on a backlit device.

10 Responses

  1. Diane

    Hey Nicole! Welcome back! So, have you heard of F.lux (http://stereopsis.com/flux/)? It monitors where your computer is geographically and adjusts the brightness of your screen and tone of color to the time of day, so after sunset blue light goes away.

    1. Hey Diane, thanks! It’s good to be back. I have seen F.lux and love it! I can also tell a huge difference. I’m waiting for them to come out with a version for iPad! Until then, I just turn the auto brightness off and screen light way down.

  2. There’s a growing body of research that is suggesting (*suggestion* NOT causation) that the increase in artificial lighting at night may be a contributing factor to obesity. The link to the original article can be found in this shorter write-up by the Washington Post: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-checkup/post/artificial-light-and-obesity-epidemic-is-there-a-link/2012/08/29/1039d114-f20a-11e1-b74c-84ed55e0300b_blog.html
    In addition, neuroscientists have become interested in how lighting at night may possibly affect immunity and healing. I know of one group that is starting studies on lighting in hospitals. At night, there are lots of lights so that the staff can see what they’re doing (basically there are lights on in hallways, etc), and researchers are finding that this may affect recovery from surgeries and illness. So, one group is starting a study with reducing the lighting at night in one hospital they’re working in. We’re still waiting to hear the results on that.
    Interesting stuff. Back in the caveman days, “lights out” happened when the sun went down.

    1. I’ve read similar studies that showed that lights in the red spectrum allowed better sleep for people than those from blue. The study took a long shot and related it to caveman days where we would fall asleep to a fire. Hard to prove quantitatively but makes perfect sense to me.

  3. JakeDurling

    Alright, I know that I’m going to get blown up for this but I think this is borderline chimerical, or, at the very least, unrealistic. I get it, I believe it, I think it’s probably correct. But even without Baby Durling in the picture yet, there’s just not enough time in the day to workout, commute, work, commute, eat (a lot), prepare (food, clothes, etc.) for the next day, AND get 9+ hours of uninterrupted sleep in a pitch black environment. I’m sure that getting daily massages and taking at least one nap a day are clutch too but there’s just not enough time (or money, if one elects to take a job that allows for this much sleep) in our lives. So realistically, is it 6 hours? 7 hours? Does the book tell us where the tipping point is for doing really bad damage if we get less than a certain amount?

    1. Jake, a fair observation. The overarching goal of the book is to get you to think about sleep and how to maximize it in your environment. Most of us put sleep way down the line in our “top things we can do to be more healthy.” The first step would be to figure out how to maximize the sleep hours you do get – dark room, no electronics beeping and buzzing through the night, etc. The next step would be to look at lifelong factors and see what can be adjusted. I know from personal experience I thought sleeping 8+ hours would never be possible, especially when getting up at 4:30am a few times a week – but I found it is possible, it just has to become a priority – over tv, the game, browsing the internet, meal timing, etc. I actually found I gained a ton of efficiency – but it was easy to fall out of the habit as well.