Meet Mark

Let me introduce myself. My name is Mark Sisson. I’m 63 years young. I live and work in Malibu, California. In a past life I was a professional marathoner and triathlete. Now my life goal is to help 100 million people get healthy. I started this blog in 2006 to empower people to take full responsibility for their own health and enjoyment of life by investigating, discussing, and critically rethinking everything we’ve assumed to be true about health and wellness...

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Category: Sleep

Dear Mark: Melatonin Supplementation, Overcoming Previous Poor Health, and Is HIIT Too Stressful for Women?

For today’s edition of Dear Mark, I’m answering three questions from readers. First up, what’s the deal, exactly, with melatonin supplementation? Is it harmful? Dangerous? Will it impair our body’s own production of melatonin? Second, a reader wonders whether his past poor health decisions are sabotaging his health today. Even if he’s feeling great now, shouldn’t he worry about the permanent effects from all that pizza he ate and sleep he didn’t get back in the day? And finally, some people recommend against sprinting or high intensity interval training for women. Is it true? Should women only go gently into the gym to tread lightly on ellipticals and avoid all that sweaty, icky fast stuff?

Let’s find out:

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The Definitive Guide to Napping

In most Western nations, napping is a sign of weakness. Those who do it — or, even worse, need it — are slothful wastes of resources who can’t hack it in the “real world.” They lack grit, determination, and stick-to-itiveness. They’re getting old. Why nap when you can put in more hours, be more productive, make (your employer) more money? Naps are for babies and senior citizens and other non-productive members of society. They simply aren’t tolerated in able-bodied adults.

Yeah: as much as people are willing to pay lip service to the importance of a solid eight hours every night (actually sleeping that many hours is another thing entirely), most do not seriously entertain the value of napping. That’s a real mistake, because not only do humans have a long and storied tradition of snoozing in the middle of the day, there are also huge benefits to naps. Far from being anti-productivity wastes of time, a well-timed nap can boost cognitive function, improve work output, and make you healthier, happier, and a better employee (and person).

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Dear Mark: The Linoleic Acid Content of Phosphatidylserine, and Optimal Sleeping Position/Location

For today’s edition of Dear Mark, we’ve got a two-parter. First up, what’s the deal with phosphatidylserine, one of the (most crucial) ingredients in Primal Calm? It’s a derivative of linoleic acid-rich oil, so what’s it doing in one of my supplements? Find out if you need to worry about undue levels of linoleic acid from taking Primal Calm. Then, are there any benefits to sleeping on one’s back as opposed to on one’s side? And how about sleeping outdoors under the stars and being woken up by the birds — is there any reliable reason that would improve the quality of our sleep and help us wake up more energized?

Let’s find out:

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How We’re Setting Our Kids Up to Be Fat, Sick, and Unhappy

I’ve been on a bit of a “children’s health and wellness” kick lately, with a couple posts discussing the importance — and, unfortunately, dearth — of free play and exploration in our children’s lives. Some of you have speculated via email that Carrie and I have something to announce, but that’s definitely not the case. This is simply an important topic for everyone with a stake in the future of this world. The mental, physical, and spiritual health of our children today will determine our trajectory through history in the decades to come. If a fat, sick, and unhappy generation takes the reins of this planet, nothing good will come of it.

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Dear Mark: Moonlight and Melatonin, Exercise Non-Responders, and Is Weight Loss Impossible and Unhealthy?

For today’s edition of Dear Mark, we’ve got three questions and three answers. First, the full moon sure is pretty and big and bright at night, but can it produce (or reflect, rather) enough light to disrupt our melatonin production? Should we be blocking out moonlight, too? Next, do exercise non-responders exist? If not, what else can explain the curious case of a lifelong heavy lifter who has nothing – physique-wise – to show for it? And finally, a recent article in Slate makes the claim that weight loss is basically impossible and not even all that good for you. Is the author right? Is the author wrong? See my thoughts on the matter down below.

Let’s go:

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25 Ways to Improve Your Insulin Sensitivity

Insulin does a lot of important things for us. It pulls glucose from the blood and fritters it away into our cells to be burned for energy or stored as glycogen. It prevents hyperglycemic toxicity to neurons, pancreatic cells, the arterial walls and the generation of excessive levels of reactive oxygen species. It even promotes muscle protein synthesis and helps augment muscular hypertrophy, especially following resistance training. Clearly, we need insulin. Without it, we’d die, as type 1 diabetics readily do without an exogenous source.

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