Palo Alto, USA
Defining healthy sleep and circadian rhythms
While healthy sleep and circadian rhythms are an indisputable foundation for overall human health, how we define what constitutes “healthy” sleep and rhythms is often ignored. With the explosion of wearable and at-home devices that can record a variety of physiologic data, we are afforded an opportunity to gain a better understanding of what constitutes normal, healthy sleep. Furthermore, these device allow us to monitor longitudinal changes in sleep and circadian rhythms, how to specifically target these changes, and how these changes could lead to improved physical and mental health. My laboratory has been exploring the three parts of this equation – (1) What are the physiologic variables that provide the most insight? (2) What are the outcome measures associated with changes in these variables? and (3) How do we manipulate sleep and circadian rhythms in a personalized, actionable manner? Data from both tightly controlled laboratory and ecologically-relevant cohort studies will be discussed to delineate the capacity of the sleep and circadian systems and how these systems can be altered within the context of normal behavior.
Jamie Zeitzer is an associate professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences in the Division of Sleep Medicine at Stanford University, as well as a science specialist at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. He is a world-expert on sleep and circadian rhythms. He received his undergraduate degree in Biology from Vassar College, PhD in Neurobiology from Harvard University, and completed post-doctoral fellowships at UCLA and Stanford University. His studies have been ongoing for more than 20 years and yielded more than 100 peer-reviewed manuscripts on the impact of light on human biology, translational sleep physiology and pharmacology, and the interaction of sleep and circadian rhythms in a variety of disease states, including traumatic brain injury, bipolar disorder, breast cancer, dementia, and spinal cord injury. His current work examines novel ways in which light can be manipulated to optimize its clinical and biological impact on sleep and circadian rhythms. A parallel line of research aims at using modern statistical and engineering technology to discover new ways of harmonizing objective and subjective measures of sleep quality.