Practices To Stay Young Forever - Transcript

Narrator: Coming up on this episode of the Doctor's Farmacy. Dr. Mark Hyman: Your thoughts, your feelings, your beliefs, everything that happens, your grief, joy, sadness, anger, they're all translated into biological signals that change your gene expression, impact your immune system, hormones, microbiome, brain chemistry, pretty much everything. Welcome to Doctor's Farmacy. I'm Dr. Mark Hyman. That's pharmacy with an F, a place for conversations that matter. If you want to learn how to live a long, healthy life, listen up because I'm going to talk about something that I love, which is a science of longevity, and my new book, Young Forever in today's Health Bite, which is little bites of health information that can help you live better and longer by taking small steps every day. So today we're going to talk about the science of helping you age in reverse and feel younger. It's based on my new book, Young Forever. Go to Now, as you've learned with my Health Bites on longevity, it's really the total exposum, the total sum of all the effects, inputs, things on your genes that determine your health and on your biology. So it's not your genes that really determine what happens, it's what you do to those genes. It's the food you eat, it's exercise, it's stress, it's your thoughts, your relationship, your feelings, the toxins, all of it washing over your genes. And the good news is that your genes aren't your destiny. They load the gun, but the environment pulls the trigger. And that's good news, because your daily behaviors, things like sleep, and stress management, self-care, connecting with others, community purpose, meaning, they're the single biggest factor driving your health and determining your health span and your lifespan. And a really important practice to stay young forever, sleep. Now we've neglected it and I neglected it for years as a medical student. I remember a surgery resident telling me sleep is optional. Basically real doctors don't sleep. I'm like, what? And I delivered over 500 babies. I worked the emergency room. I stayed up all night. I mean many, many nights without sleep. And I really learned firsthand the dangers of sleep deprivation on my health, and my mood, my energy. And it may seem not such a necessary thing, like why sleep? But it is really critical to health and longevity. And the whole idea that I'll sleep when I'm dead will actually lead you to have an early death. So don't do that. Now, what aspects of health does your sleep affect? Pretty much everything. Your metabolism, your weight, your mood, your brain function. Over the last hundred years, we've cut about an hour off our sleep every night, maybe up to two hours. 70 million Americans have sleep problems. And lack of sleep not only impairs our ability to focus, and learn and concentrate, but it's basically like being drunk during the day. It decreases our attention to detail or increase the risk of car accidents. And regularly sleeping less than seven hours a night has really profound negative effects on our heart, on our hormones, on our immune system and our brain. And the side effects include obesity, diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, anxiety, depression, alcohol abuse, stroke, and even certain types of cancer. So if you sleep less than seven hours a night, get in bed a little earlier. Make sure you get your sleep, because having less than seven hours of sleep a night increases your risk of death by 24%. Now, that's an easy way to extend your life. So what is sleep essential for? Basically healing, and repair, cleanup, cellular cleanup, longevity. It's when your body does all the repair functions, autophagy, and growth hormone production and repair and regeneration. There's a whole new system in your brain we've discovered, called the glymphatic system, like the lymph system in the brain, and it cleans up all the metabolic waste that accumulates over the course of a day. And if you don't get enough sleep, your brain's foggy, that's because you basically are having metabolic waste in there. Also, your muscles, your organs and your brain, you just need to repair every day. Your hormones and your circadian rhythms have to be reset and be in balance for health and longevity. And sleep and getting enough sleep is really critical for maintaining that balance. So if you want to understand the importance of sleep, I encourage you to check out a book. It's called Why We Sleep by Matthew Walker. He's going to be on the podcast soon, so listen up for that. So you may be saying, okay, great. Well, how do I improve my sleep? Well, it can actually be pretty easy. You just have to commit to daily practices. I was talking to a patient yesterday, and she was struggling with her sleep and wants on medications. I'm like, "Tell me about your day." She goes, "Well, I have two kids. I read in bed and I basically put them to bed, and then I work. And then I get on my computer, I do emails, I deal with all my obligations, commitments, and then I lay down and try to go to sleep." Well, of course that's not going to work because you're one, overstimulating your brain, two, you're activating all the things that you want to be calming down, and you're getting all the blue light from the computers, which is not great. So make sure you try to practice good sleep hygiene, which means regular rhythm, waking up and going to bed at the same time every day, using your bed for romance and sleep. Don't work in your bed. Don't do TV in your bed. That's terrible. I don't know why people have TVs in their bedroom, but it just should be banned. Create a nice environment. It's calming. I have a dark shade in my room. I have super quiet. So you want soundproof, light proof. Total darkness really helps because it affects your pineal gland. And get some nice colors and calm things. And get a comfortable bed, that's also important. We spend basically a third of our life in bed, so don't skimp on that. Also, I sometimes use earplugs or eye shades. If it's a noisy environment, I make sure I do that, especially. Get rid of all the blue light exposure, two, three hours before bed. Off the computer, phone. Or there's the settings on your phone, you can turn it to red light. Computer's a little harder, but you can do that. Wear blue blocker glasses, that's also great. Also, don't drink coffee after noon. And if you're really overstimulated by coffee, don't have it at all. It can really affect your sleep. Also, get a morning light. 20 minutes of bright light in the morning can have a huge impact on resetting your circadian rhythms, your pineal gland. You have light receptors in your eyes that go to your brain, and that releases certain chemicals and hormones that reset your circadian rhythms. They help with mood, longevity. I mean, red light is super important at night, because blue light at night often can increase cancer risks I've seen in animal studies. So it's a little worrisome. Don't eat late. I have an Oura ring and I use other sleep tracking devices, and it's interesting to see, if I eat late, I don't sleep well, my heart rate doesn't go down. If I drink alcohol, wine, I have a glass of wine, I think, oh, what's a glass of wine? It makes a difference. So try to cut down an alcohol or eliminate it and don't eat three hours before bed. Also, you can use herbs. Things like passion flower, valerian, helpful. Magnesium is great as well. I take a hot magnesium bath often almost every time I can, which is great. Epsom salt. And you can try my sleep masterclass, which is available at That's So what else matters in terms of lifestyle besides sleep? Well, self-care. Now, a lot of us put ourselves last on our to-do list. Bad idea. I have a lot to do. And I mean, my joke is on their tombstone nobody said, he got everything done on his to-do list. No. I actually am working on my to don't list, which is I think a better idea than working on my to-do list. And you've got to prioritize what matters first. Work is going to be there, but friends, family and the needs of others. Often, again, prioritized, but you often have to make time for self-care. And nourishing yourself and replenishing your own tank makes a big difference. So try to calm down your calendar. Don't over schedule. It's a lot. Building careers, raising families, taking work home. Self-care is gone on the back burner, and that's why we have such a mental health crisis, a sleep crisis, a stress crisis. So if you go to these blue zones, they're just having fun. They're enjoying life. They don't have a giant to-do list. And they're doing a lot of activities, but they're often in community and they're really, really wonderful. So I encourage you to realize that your ability to live a long, happy and fulfilled life is not really possible if you neglect your own wellbeing, and your mind and your spirit. One of the other things that I've learned, which is really remarkable from the science, is that your thoughts, your feelings, your beliefs, everything that happens to you, your grief, joy, sadness, anger, they're all translated into biological signals that change your gene expression, that impact your immune system, that impact your hormones, your microbiome, your brain chemistry, your neuroplasticity, your mitochondria. Pretty much everything is affected by your thoughts, and feelings and beliefs. So it's really important to get your mindset straight. So let's talk about what are the studies about that? Well, getting your mindset straight is super powerful. It has profound benefits on your health. And study after study is shown that, for example, repressed anger can predict who gets breast cancer and other cancers. If your emotions are inflamed, so is your biology. If your relationships are inflamed, so literally is your biology. Carolyn Mace, who's an author on medical intuitive, she said, "Your biography becomes your biology." So it's important to pay attention to your quality of your thoughts. Neuroscientist Candace Pert talked about the molecules of emotion. She was an NIH scientist. And she had incredible, incredible research showing how your immune cells listen to your thoughts and change by what you're thinking. So be careful of what's going on in there. And there's a lot of practices you can do to sort through that. What other things you could do to actually help nourish your spirit and help get your mind right? Well, simple practices. Self-compassion. Often we are so hard on ourselves, and if you literally recorded your inner dialogue, what you said to yourself about yourself, and you actually wrote it out and then gave it to people or told other people, or you've said that to anybody else, you wouldn't have any friends or family for very long. It's pretty scary what goes on in there and what we say to ourselves. So really loving yourself, having some compassion is really important. And often there's struggles we have with abuse and different things that make it difficult, but there are therapies and things that I talk about in Young Forever that can really help with that. So self-care, self-compassion, really, really important. By doing simple self-compassion exercises, it helps improving physical symptoms, mental health outcomes, blood sugar control, resiliency against certain kinds of cancers. So it's really powerful. Also, build your social networking community. It's super important. I'm not talking about on Facebook or Instagram, I'm talking about your true friends, your community of friends. It's important to build communities. It's important to build strong relationships. And it's been associated with an increased lifespan with better mental health, physical biomarkers of health, like blood pressure, your waist circumference or your belly fat, your overall weight inflammation. Your mindset's important too. So I think it's really key. Just another feature of spiritual health, which is really important, is the whole idea of how we see ourselves in our life. And people who ruminate, have negative thoughts tend to have poor life expectancy and poor mental health. And those who focus on positive thoughts, and future goals and rewards nearly have much better physical wellbeing and mental wellbeing. Also having a sense of purpose. You wouldn't think that is a big deal, but it can extend your life by five to seven years. So it increases telomere length, it slows telomere shortening. And chronic stress does the opposite. It causes telomere shortening, and more accelerated aging and increased oxidative stress. So everybody's got to find their own way to heal their mind, their heart and their spirit. And then there's some simple ways. Develop a growth mindset. Explore ways to learn, be curious about yourself in the world. Explore different avenues for personal development. Create a personal vision statement. What matters to you? What are your personal goals? What are your dreams? Think about that. Do stuff for others. I was recently in Rwanda and I got to go to little village, and I gave them a bunch of money to buy clothes. And I mean, these kids barely had clothes and they were poor. And I bought clothes for the entire school. I bought them for the village kids. And the lady who helped me do that, she sent me all these pictures. And it was just a simple act, but I got so much joy from it, so much happiness. And it's good for you. Discover what you love, discover your passions. Find time to do the things that you really love and that give you joy. Make sure you, again, as I said before, build community. Really important. Connect with friends or colleagues who inspire you. Do things that are inspiring. Listen to things that are inspiring. Watch things that are inspiring. There's so much bad news out there and it does affect us. Learn, read, learn about yourself. Learn about different ways of thinking, being, expand your mind. And learn to love and be kind to yourself. It's not as easy as it sounds, but it's super important. I mean, as I said, if we talk to our friends the same way we talk to ourselves, we find ourselves pretty lonely. And block out time in your schedule for self-care, when you can meditate, or exercise, or go on a walk, or be with a friend. It's really important. So final thought, optimists live longer even if they're wrong. So that's the good news. You don't have to be right. So I encourage you to do not just exercise and diet, which is really important, but focus on sleep, and your purpose, and self-care, and managing your stress and building community. Really, really important to do. So, I think that's it for today's Health Bite. I want you to go deep into the science on this. I want you to learn the practical aspects of this. I wrote the book Young Forever. Go to to get more information about the book and to get all the free bonus materials that come with it. I think you'll love it. And that's it for today's Health Bite. And if you love this podcast, share it with your friends and family. We'd love to hear from you. Leave a comment. Have you incorporated some of these things into your life? And we'll see you next week on The Doctor's Farmacy. Speaker 3: Hi, everyone. I hope you enjoyed this week's episode. Just a reminder that this podcast is for educational purposes only. This podcast is not a substitute for professional care by a doctor or other qualified medical professional. This podcast is provided on the understanding that it does not constitute medical or other professional advice or services. If you're looking for help in your journey, seek out a qualified medical practitioner. If you're looking for a functional medicine practitioner, you can visit and search their find a practitioner database. It's important that you have someone in your corner who's trained, who's a licensed healthcare practitioner, and can help you make changes, especially when it comes to your health.