How irisin burns fat and protects your brain

Minute 1: Save your sleep cycle this winter

Many of us did a celebratory sun salutation as we passed the winter solstice (December 21) last month. That means every day until next June will provide a little more daylight for us to pursue our favorite outdoor activities. The Old Farmer’s Almanac reminds us that “as the days get longer, the cold gets stronger,” meaning we still have to survive a lot more winter weather and limited daylight. The lack of sunlight can really throw off your circadian rhythm which can be bad for endurance athletes: “Study: how does lack of sleep affect running performance?” Researchers compared runners who got 2.5 extra hours of sleep to those who got 2.5 hours less, and not only did the runners who slept more perform better, they also had a lower rate of perceived exertion. The findings suggest addressing any sleep issues before increasing the intensity of your workouts for optimum results. That’s easier said than done when you’re unable to get adequate sunlight through the winter months. One tool that can help is a sunrise alarm clock. Here are “The 6 Best Sunrise Alarm Clocks to Help You Wake Up Energized.” Light exposure is the most significant cue for our sleep-wake schedules. Sunrise alarm clocks take advantage of this by gently introducing brightness at the start of your day, rather than relying on loud, jarring sounds to force you awake. They’re great for nighttime, too, as they can be dimmed and used to read before bed. That’s a whole lot better than reading off your phone, which emits a lot of stimulating blue light: “Why It’s Time to Ditch the Phone Before Bed.”


Minute 2: The hormone that protects your mind and body