Episode 7: Body Clock, Sports and FIFA World Cup

Owaves Team Body Clock Podcast

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Ronaldo, goOOOOOAAAALLLLL!! How does he do it? Believe it or not, even our favorite athletes only have 24 hours in a day… Listen to Drs. Haroon, Sohaib and Royan discuss peak athletic performance and the body clock.

Transcript

Dr. Sohaib Imtiaz: Today we’ll be discussing sports and circadian rhythms. And first I think it’s important for us to recognize athletic performance and the implications of it and what it actually means. So athletes at the top level we’re talking about Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer, Usain Bolt, Renaldo Messi, all these big names, they’re always competing to get that extra 1 percent physiological advantage.

So for for the normal sports player, these 1 percents aren’t as important but when you’re competing at such a high level, all these 1 percents add up. So today is I think, a topic of discussion focuses on, is circadian rhythm important enough for athletes to be recognizing it as an influencing factor on their performance and their ability to reach peak performance? And with such high monetary value stakes nowadays on sports, globally for marketing companies and for atheletes, I think there’s massive implications of every edge they can gain. And as we’ll discuss in this show, circadian rhythm seems to be a massive factor in that. What do you guys think?

Dr. Haroon Kazem: Royan, what are your thoughts?

Dr. Royan Kamyar: Yeah, I think Sohaib, you hit the nail on the head that these 1 percent margins are basically the difference between, you know, gold or silver medal or basically not even showing up in the race. When you hit a certain level of athletic performance, one second or one millisecond can matter. I think the part I would add is that I do think there’s something that, you know, each of us can learn-even though we’re not Olympic athletes or World Cup athletes or professional athletes-from this discussion.

And that’s the part I’m interested in. You know, even though I’m not trying to win a gold medal or a silver medal in any particular race, I do want to be able to learn tips and insights that I can apply to my own life. I don’t need five or seven percent body fat to be happy and successful but I don’t want to develop prediabetes or diabetes and so some of these lessons in terms of physiological optimization I think can be adapted to the masses including ourselves.

Dr. Haroon Kazem: Yeah I got to agree with both of you. I mean, taking it from a high level perspective like the amount of like effort that goes into like you know finding ways to sort of you know beat beat the competition whether it’s performance enhancing drugs, whether it’s you know testing out the latest, greatest technologies in terms of athletic performance enhancement whatever it is like it’s-to me.

It’s very ironic that it could ultimately come down to the fact that like the most essential thing in the most simple thing is really one of the most effective things in terms of performance and that’s just getting enough sleep and managing the body clock. And I think this is gonna be an awesome show because this this study that we’re going to dive into in just a bit it really nails like you know the point in. And should we dive into that so far already or should we kind of discuss a bit more? Because I think there’s like so much stuff in this.

Dr. Sohaib Imtiaz: Yeah I think before we start, let me just roll off a few statistics that I was actually quite kind of astonished by. So, what I found was that they did a study which showed west to east travel across six time zones resulted in about 10 percent decrease in athletic performance. So, I mean, that’s quite-that’s an estimate because quite quantify we can’t get that exact. But just just for some more specific specific numbers for a two hundred and seventy meter sprint, performance fell by about 8 to 12 percent for a three k run.

It was about 8 percent and for muscle strength arranged for about five to eleven percent. So I think these statistics show how we talk we’re talking not even 1 percent in here we’re talking close to 10 percent and that impact even even as Royan pointed out for all of us if we’re even playing friendly you know tennis, swimming, football, these changes can have a massive impact.

Dr. Haroon Kazem: Absolutely. Absolutely.

Dr. Royan Kamyar: Right. Big big. I think the key the key there is to realize that these these things can accumulate over time, right? So even if it’s just on a daily level you don’t realize it. It’s so incremental and so infinitesimal you just don’t even know that these things are happening to your biology, to your body. The point is that it can accumulate over time, right? And we’re really in this era of chronic disease. My favorite analogy for this-which is this controversial experiment you guys might have heard about which is-you know, they take frogs and put them in boiling water and, you know, they jump out, right?

The frogs get in boiling water and they get out within milliseconds, they save their own lives by jumping out of the water. But if you take the same frog and you put it in lukewarm water and slowly boil it over time, it sits in there and it stays until it boils over and dies, right? So it’s a controversial study which obviously hasn’t been repeated in the modern era for obvious ethical reasons. But whether or not is true and repeatable, it teaches us an important lesson. The metaphor is there, that we’re really living in an era of chronic disease.

So even something as subtle as the air we breathe might be impacting our overall health. But what about these circadian impacts that haven’t even really been monitored or measured or quantified. You know, Sohaib, you were saying, a lot of these things are very difficult to quantify. So what we’re really trying to do is kind of tear open a new realm of science that’s really just emerging now and showing like, “look, you know, here’s the tangible effects. Here’s the canary in the coal mine a coal mine in a positive way, right? With these elite athletes. What an impressive performance. But what does that mean for us, the rest of us in the coal mine that aren’t on the extreme side of this but are feeling it at the more moderate mild levels every day for the rest of our lives?”

Dr. Sohaib Imtiaz: Yeah. I mean, if you look if you look at a weight lifter, say you’ve traveled and you’ve come and you’re not hitting the numbers. I mean a lot of people get-feel low low in mood if they’re not performing as well as they used to. And they start thinking of reasons. But if you’re not aware of this physiological impact of the jet lag or circadian rhythm shift it could just be due to that when you’ll be looking for different reasons and that can be keeping you down. So I agree with you. I think identifying the science behind physiology and circadian rhythms is very important to all of us.

Dr. Haroon Kazem: Agreed. And I think that’s what makes the this this new emerging science of you know managing the circadian rhythm and the body clock so important is that it touches on everything from our physiology, our psychology, our athletic performance, our social performance, you know, your work-life balance. I think all of it’s sort of tied together somehow and the one common denominator in all of it is that you typically notice that with poorly managed body clocks that you’re seeing poor results on all those different levels or at least not results that are good enough, where they should be.

And I think it’s definitely a long term goal-I believe-of Owaves and of science in general to be able to provide, you know, quantitative objective data that can, you know, clearly demonstrate that, you know, this is a really important thing and that maybe we’ve been overlooking it for a little bit too long but that’s what makes it so awesome that we do what we do, is that we can provide insight on such an easy thing, such an easy change for most people to make versus you know some of the other things when it comes to diet or lifestyle, nutrition, you know, work habits.

Those things are a lot more difficult to change but I think it’s awesome that you can just tell somebody, you know, like, “look at all these amazing benefits that come from just being a little bit more on top of that body clock, making sure that you’re getting your 7 to 9 hours.” And yeah, it’s I think we’re at about you know 10 minutes in and this study is going to be a very good example of that. The study that we’re going to focus on is the Stanford University study just for listeners to know exactly that want to back reference in case you guys want to read it. It’s not too long it’s really actually a really great read it’s called Circadian Rhythms and Enhanced Athletic Performance in the National Football League.

And this study primarily focused on the performance of East Coast teams versus West Coast teams, primarily when they played on Monday night football because of the primetime start that’s normally later in the day rather than the 10:00 a.m., 1:00 a.m. normal start times I believe like Monday Night Football is usually right around 6:00 p.m. Pacific, 9 p.m. Eastern and pretty massive, you know, effects. I thought it was pretty awesome just from the fact that, you know, the objective quantifiable data point that I was making earlier that you could use wins and losses in this case to, you know, very clearly demonstrate that, “hey there’s definitely a big difference here.” And I was shocked. I had no idea. It would have saved me a lot of money on-when it came to sports betting over the years. If I would have known to bet the right way.

Dr. Royan Kamyar: Like that Back to the Future episode, right? Where Biff gets the-what is it? The Guinness Book of Records?

Dr. Haroon Kazem: Yeah.

Dr. Royan Kamyar: He gets an almanac from like, 2020.

Dr. Harron Kazem: Yeah.

Dr. Royan Kamyar: He goes back in time and bets on all the winning teams.

Dr. Haroon Kazem: Yeah. If you walk away with anything from this podcast, don’t bet against the West Coast.

Dr. Royan Kamyar: So, you know, the reason why I thought this was an important article for us to base our discussion on is because, this actually was a hallmark study, right? So, it was done by Stanford University’s Sleep Disorders Clinic. It was published in the journal, Academic Journal of Sleep, right? Which is obviously a well regarded one in this category. And I think the Stanford Sleep clinic was really one of the first to start studying sleep and you know an academic, meaningful way.

And so they have a lot of the pioneers in this space, right? So this is, this was a study that really captured everyone’s attention. I mean everyone I mean, you know, not just the National Football League but Major League Baseball, you know, Olympic athletes, Olympic trainers. It really just made everyone aware in a powerful way that there is this hidden advantage that Haroon, you had discussed with regard to the body clock, with regard to circadian rhythms that was ultimately quantified here in terms of winning records from Monday night football games. And so what they found, really what the take home point is, is that the West Coast teams were playing at a biologically advantaged time.

They were playing around 6 p.m. in terms of their internal body clocks which basically, you know, the evidence suggests that your body is optimized for physical performance, for peak physical performance in late afternoon, early evening, right? And there’s some evolutionary theories why that’s the case, which we don’t have to get into now but are interesting. So the point being that the West Coast teams are playing at this in this optimal window while the East Coast teams were not. And not only were the East Coast teams not playing and their optimal body clock window, you’re playing at what would you argue to be argued to be a suboptimal time, which is late evening and even close to midnight, right?

Because it’s a three hour difference between, you know, West Coast of U.S. and East Coast and these guys are playing 9:00 p.m. to midnight is when the games usually end. Imagine if there’s overtime. And that’s really when the body temperature starts another and your body’s trying to shut down so everything that would increase physical performance, you know, like blood flow and, you know, muscle oxygenation et cetera is really hitting a dip at that point.

And that’s why even beyond Vegas odds and we know those guys care and are doing their homework with regard to which teams should be winning every Monday night, there’s obviously a lot of money at stake, they were missing this and so this obviously captured a lot of people’s attention. You know there’s a million, billion dollar industries on the line here, quite literally. And now since this study in 97 when it’s published, it’s still relevant because people are paying attention and I think the argument can be made that they should actually be paying more attention to this study and studies like this.

Dr. Haroon Kazem: Absolutely. I think the the stat that really sticks out to me the most and I quote from this study, overall West Coast team records since 1970 or four point four points better than East Coast team records. However, when West Coast teams play East Coast teams during Monday Night Football games, West Coast team records are 27 percent better than East Coast teams. I mean that’s massive. You’re talking more than 25 percent of the time. You know, that’s that’s a pretty big difference.

Dr. Sohaib Imtiaz: It’s just the league being decided on time, games being played, rather than ability, you’re saying.

Dr. Haroon Kazem: Yeah.

Dr. Sohaib Imtiaz: Which changes everything. It’d be interesting if they replicated this study for other sports and other countries as well because it seems this is a very comprehensive study from my reading on it and it seems like they try to rule out the effects of playing surface, home field advantages and they used logistical regression data techniques to try and isolate the circadian rhythm disruption side of the study which makes it even more prominent because I think a lot of the listeners could be arguing that there could be other factors at play: weather, temperature. But it seemed that they really tried to isolate this factor.

But my question from this study would be, so obviously most athletes, most human-as circadian rhythm show and as Royan mentioned-seem to perform best at that late afternoon period. However, because I’m quite certain genetics, I have read that there are differing phenotypes which kind of changes your circadian rhythm naturally, slightly and how do you think that would have an impact? Because say, people who are termed “night owls” generally they feel more alert later on in the day around, you know, they’ll be performing best say, 7:00 p.m. 8:00 p.m.. Would those athletes with those phenotypes be advantaged as well? I mean would the study have to take that into account as well, do you think?

Dr. Haroon Kazem: I think I think there’s-

Dr. Royan Kamyar: I think-no go ahead.

Dr. Haroon Kazem:No, Royan, please.

Dr. Royan Kamyar: Sure. Yeah. Okay. So basically, I was just gonna make a couple of points. One is, I think, yes, future versions of the study would include some sort of chronotyping, hopefully based on genetics, before delving into, you know, overall impact of timing on performance.

It’s just it’s hard to do that especially on an athlete by athlete level, right? So even the authors here mentioned that it would’ve been nice to do that but it’s just obviously a little bit harder. But that was kind of pre big data and, you know, before this type of data analysis could be done so quickly and so maybe I think the future version of the study would start moving in that direction.

Dr. Haroon Kazem: That would be great.

Dr. Royan Kamyar: Sorry. Just one more point I’d like to make is, you know, this whole concept of differentiating night owls versus morning light, morning larks based on phenotype in the human species is is very difficult. It’s actually mostly theoretical at this point. And the big reason why is because there are so many cultural environmental influences at play. And so, there’s a there’s a circadian biologists from University of Colorado, I wanna say Robert Wright, who’s really a bright bright guy and he’s one of the outside visionaries, the pioneers in this space because one of the things he does is he takes his human subjects camping, right?

So, Colorado’s knowing known for having sort of a great outdoors and a very active outdoors lifestyle. So he’ll take people out of you know our modern environments and study them in natural conditions or more natural condition conditions, let’s say. And they’re all these self describe night owls immediately turn into morning parks within a week being over. So it really confounds you know that sort of, at least user based phenotyping. And so trying to determine you know if you’re a night owl or morning lark or somewhere in between is very difficult in the modern era.

Dr. Sohaib Imtiaz: Exactly. And a lot of it as you’ve said is probably habitual. Probably because why did we not have night owls in the past but now we do, can it just be, as we’ve talked about in the past, technology keeping people awake and new habits forming” So does our body adjust to these shifts? I mean, some people would you say some athletes physiologically, would they cope better than others? Is there a variation between people naturally adjusting to the jet lag?

Dr. Haroon Kazem: I think that I think multiple factors probably play into like whether or not the athlete or even like the individual like regular person like yourself or myself could acclimate faster or slower. I think overall diet, nutrition, those things play like a key factor in determining like, how well are you going to be able to you know acclimate to this new time zone? And for listeners that aren’t as familiar with the the physiology and whatnot, so like, our systems are built where we have our sympathetic fight or flight system and then we have our parasympathetic rest and digest system and those are two systems that are constantly having to sort of do a yin and yang based off of how we make decisions, you know. Are you getting up at 11 o’clock at night right before midnight to go eat a snack or are you not?

Are you staying asleep so that your body can rest and just completely, you know, be in full recovery mode. Are you constantly anxious? Are you nervous? Are you turning on like this fight or flight system when you should be nice and relax because you’re not meditating at night? Or maybe you’re not doing simple exercises to sort of retrain that body clock and that circadian system. I definitely feel that we’re creatures of habit and, you know, I hear it from my patients all the time and they sort of, you know, present it with a very dire sort of like, “well, this is the way that I am. And so that’s not going to work for me” type deal where I strongly emphasize the fact that like, you know, we-it’s one decision at a time.

It’s one good decision at a time, right? And if what if you make one good decision, that leads to another, that leads to a bunch. Suddenly you’re living a different lifestyle and I feel like that applies very much so when it comes to managing the body clock and I feel like that’s a big part of it. And you know that’s a probably a bigger discussion than what we’re probably focusing on here. But I definitely feel that we have a lot of control. What do you guys think?

Dr. Sohaib Imtiaz: Yeah, so it’s applicable to the whole population but if we just take this study in isolation did they did they do anything about this? Have they-so if we’re saying the time these games are being played is having such an effect, do you think-do we do we have to almost biohack the sports coaches and, like you mentioned, acclimatization come come from the game a few days before, change their meal times, increase and decrease light exposure depending on the time of the game, trying melatonin supplements. So are we talking about players or athletes kind of bio hacking and adjusting and recognizing the circadian rhythm shifts in the time zone travel or is it something the league should take into account and schedule games, on point, no unfair advantage?

Dr. Royan Kamyar: Yeah. That’s happening, right? So the Golden State Warriors, who won the NBA championships, they had a sleep coach, dedicated sleep coaches actually.

Dr. Haroon Kazem: Okay.

Dr. Royan Kamyar: And so ESPN was tracking that. This knowledge so this study was published in 97 but obviously, the knowledge has increased. And we’re kind of making the point again that, you know, elite athletes, people who get paid and where millions and billions of dollars are at play are paying careful attention to this. But I really think that there’s implications for the rest of us which was why I think these topics are still worth discussing for quote unquote the average person.

So ESPN now has a threat that what they call it like a sleep alert and they actually have experts who predict odds of NBA teams winning games based on the schedule and the travel and the time zones. And they are accurate over 60 percent of the time, right? And so these things are still playing a role in major major league sports. And actually so the reason for the season, the reason why we’re talking about this now is because World Cup is going on and I don’t know how much internationally, you know, in the United States it’s a big deal and I know in Europe, you know, they’re very savvy about this too, especially given the northern.

But I think globally, I don’t know if people are really paying attention to this, you know, at least with regards to soccer, professional soccer and I would-based on this Monday Night Football study, I wonder how much it’s impacting World Cup results. I don’t know.

Dr. Haroon Kazem: On that note, I’m sure that the two of you guys, soccer fans like myself, were aware recently when the Iranian National Team played Portugal. The Iranian fans were gathered I guess like hundreds, maybe thousands of them outside of Portugal’s team hotel and they were basically like using the vuvuzelas and creating as much noise and racket as possible specifically to keep Cristiano Ronaldo awake. And it worked because he actually came out and acknowledged that “yeah, I see what you’re doing.” And he made the sign that I’m trying to go to sleep and they didn’t listen and they went the whole way through the night.

Dr. Royan Kamyar: That was classic. That was hilarious.

Dr. Haroon Kazem: Yes, I think the Iranians are onto it.

Dr. Sohaib Imtiaz: They know. I mean, that’s quite substantial. This this study what we discussed. So yeah, in the World Cup, I know England, so I go from an English perspective, I think England always tried to take these factors into account, they wanted teams which are quite analytical when it comes to things like this. One of the reports, I think one of our players was saying that he’s struggling to sleep.

That’s why I think they’re probably all utilizing things like melatonin etc. to adjust quicker. But England is one of the teams which was always very specific with temperature changes, they think about travel time so they choose where to book their hotel, so it’s close to a and b or where their stadium so it doesn’t affect their circadian rhythms. I hope it starts to show in the performance. But yeah in the World Cup, so I think one thing we should make clear obviously, north to south travel doesn’t have any effect. Is that correct guys?

Dr. Haroon Kazem: So it’s more longitudinal?

Dr. Sohaib Imtiaz: So it’s more, I think, west to east or east to west travel which seems to affect your circadian rhythm. Is that correct, Royan?

Dr. Royan Kamyar: Well, okay so, you know, it is gonna get complicated, right? Because the answer is actually no. That that is more clear differentiation, right? So basically, when you’re talking about circadian rhythms, you’re ultimately talking about, you know, relationship to the sun. So this is why in-northern latitudes, for example, have a much different experience with sunrise and sunset than anywhere on the equator, right? Because in the equator, you actually get pretty even halves generally from most of the year but depending on your latitude again, you might have sunrise happen-Geez-at like, you know, two or three in the morning or sunset happen almost around midnight, right? So that’s something famous-Scandinavia is famous for.

Dr. Sohaib Imtiaz: Yeah.

Dr. Royan Kamyar: And so-

Dr. Haroon Kazem: Exactly.

Dr. Royan Kamyar: Yeah. These are all cofounders. Not to confuse things but one thing that came up with-on this study, which I’m still trying to wrap my mind around, is, you know, they they mentioned possible cofounders, other explanations for the observed West Coast advantage demonstrate on Monday night football, right? That’s table one of the study.

Dr. Haroon Kazem: Yeah.

Dr. Royan Kamyar: And so they kind of go through them here and without getting us too far off track, one of the things that was listed was jet lag and then they have in parentheses circadian rhythm disruption. And the reason why that piqued my interest is because, you know, Sohaib, you had mentioned that you know one of the things that the English club does and which I think most professional football teams or excuse me, professional athletes in general by now have gotten the message on jet lag, right? Like jet lag is the most-

Dr. Sohaib Imtiaz: -Widely recognized.

Dr. Royan Kamyar: Yeah. And for the most part, it’s solved. I mean, you know, these sleep experts have that, those facts quote unquote down. You can you can see anyone that’s coached by a sleep expert can, you know, just glide through jet lag nowadays at a pretty impressive level. But it seems like there’s actually a separate role for the body clock still. And that’s the part that’s interesting and I think this study starts teasing apart but at least I personally have to do more research on. But basically, what that’s saying is just showing up to you know West Coast or East Coast a day or two before the game time, doesn’t mitigate this issue that they found with regard to the body clock.

Dr. Sohaib Imtiaz: Yes. So, irrespective, this time of day where we’re going to perform worse than, say, if we played earlier, mid afternoon. So-

Dr. Royan Kamyar: Sorry. Sorry. I think this actually gets back to one of your earlier questions which is how resilient is the body clock, right? I mean, can you just-if you show up and start living-right?-at a different time zone, how long does it take for you to really-and train your body clock to that new environment and if overcoming jet lag doesn’t get you there, then what does?

Dr. Sohaib Imtiaz: And I’m guessing some people are naturally better at it than others. And this comes more naturally to them, it’s easier for them, has less of a effect on their bodies. Some people, maybe.

Dr. Royan Kamyar: Right. And so what we know is that younger people are more resilient they’re more adaptable.

Dr. Sohaib Imtiaz: Exactly.

Dr. Royan Kamyar: As you get older, it becomes more difficult. And what they’ve found, in terms of aging the signs of aging-right?-one of the-there’s a huge argument being made from very credible scientists at places like MIT, Salk Institute, that one of the hallmarks of aging is the disruption lack of resilience of your body clock and that these things stopped playing a major role, and everything starts falling from there. But, you know, everyone has their own theories that as far as aging goes.

Dr. Sohaib Imtiaz: As you get older, you do sleep earlier and you do wake up earlier, don’t you? That’s a natural-signs of aging, But so are we saying-

Dr. Royan Kamyar: Sorry, sorry, just to complete that point you know really what happens is their sleep-wake cycle just gets diminished so you start, you stop seeing amplitudes, right? And everything is just, kind of get squished out which is why the natural sleep at night just becomes kind of a mess because they’re kind of half asleep during the day, unfortunately-right?-and half awake at night. So they don’t really get the deep sleep that they need.

Dr. Sohaib Imtiaz: That they need to recover and rejuvenate. So are we saying, so maybe disrupting your circadian rhythm more could even accelerate aging. I mean, that could be one of the hypotheses investigated in the future. And I think that’s a very good point.

Dr. Royan Kamyar: It’s being investigated now. It’s being investigated now. That question, there are arguments already being made.

Dr. Harorn Kazem: Sorry to interrupt. Doesn’t that have to do something with the telemirror length? Aren’t they identifying that, like, with not enough rest, that during like, cell mitosis and whatnot that telemirror length gets a little bit degraded over time or shorter and ultimately how that-I guess it’s a different conversation but-it’s even factored into like neurodegenerative diseases that they’re attributing.

Dr. Sohaib Imtiaz: Yeah exactly. I mean, longevity is the big thing in Silicon Valley right now as well. And circadian rhythms is one of the kind of the, kind of, niche parts of that.  Okay. So,so we’re saying, so, so with this World Cup for example, Renaldo is now 33. 4 World Cups ago, he was, you know, 20-19,20. So would it be more difficult for him to adapt to shifts in his body clock now than it would have been in 2006?

Dr. Royan Kamyar: Well that reminds us that, you know, we’ve got to wrap up in 15 minutes so we can see Renaldo lose to Uruguay..

Dr. Sohaib Imtiaz: Manchester United.

Dr. Royan Kamyar: No, I like Renaldo, it’s just, my ex-girlfriend lives in Portugal, so I have to throw some salt in that direction. Basically, you know, I think if you’re Renaldo or Tom Brady, right?-who’s I think 34 counting on 35 but just got out of a Super Bowl and you know Renaldo scored like pretty much-what four out of five goals for Portugal? And when these guys have trainers who are adept at the science-and for me that’s one of the frustrating things about, you know, being from the traditional medical side-right-which is-our knowledge of circadian rhythms is much less than professional sport trainers.

Dr. Sohaib Imtiaz: It’s very primitive.

Dr. Royan Kamyar: These guys know because, you know, since ’97 when this study came out and and you know around this, you know, so much science has been published with elite performance because again, these are canary-canaries in the coal mines in the positive direction, right? Circadian makes the difference between the winners and losers on the stage, so, you know, getting back to the Renaldo, he has trainers who, you know, there is a reason why, you know, Renaldo was so susceptible to the Iranian fans keeping them up at night because they know how important that is for his routine, for his recovery, and I would say, even his mindset, right?

Because these athletes are so sensitive about those factors, like they literally got in his mind and he didn’t score a game, that was only game he didn’t score a goal. And even the announcers were commenting on that. So, you know, the point is that when you have the right trainers and when you have the right knowledge and you implement that knowledge, I think you can keep a resilient body clock into your 30s, into your 40s, ultimately through 60s and 70s. I think that’s part of our mission, you know, through these discussions, through software that we’re building, etc. It’s to check our body clocks more resilient.

Dr. Sohaib Imtiaz: For the normal person. So, I mean, my question would be Owaves, what can always do for me? So, so as a normal person so would Owaves be able to tell me when to play a friendly tennis match or my friend or when I might perform better or when to go for a swim? Um, can it help me organize my day like that?

Dr. Royan Kamyar: Well and actually, Sohaib, this gets in to what we were talking about, even before we started the podcast, which is really what I think Owaves needs to do, is become sort of a digital version of whoever the heck Renaldo’s coach is, right? And you know he doesn’t just have one coach, you know? These guys have-

Dr. Sohaib Imtiaz: Many.

Dr. Royan Kamyar: Like, especially people like Renaldo-right?-where, you know, each one of his toes is worth a few million dollars.

Dr. Haroon Kazem: Yeah. That’s a discount.

Dr. Royan Kamyar: Right, right. That’s the best because he’s 33. It used to be 10 million dollars. I hate to think how much my toes are. Oh God. I think people would pay to get rid of them. Basically, I think, you know-where were we?-if we- if Owaves can become the digital version-whether through voice commands or nudges or interactions, whatever the case may be-that’s where we provide the most service.

And again, this knowledge is really, I think, at this at this point it’s just been almost unconsciously adopted by these professional trainers. I don’t think their steeped in the science of circadian rhythms in the sense that they can comment on the amplitude and phase of their athletes wavelengths, right? They don’t know what the Tao is or the periods are for the you know these different parameters that would be relevant for circadian science.

But because they’re on the field, literally, they have games on the line, they have careers on the line, they’re just intuitively, it’s like, almost like grandmother’s knowledge or wisdom coming through in these elite athletes and somehow we have to quantify that, break it down and see, you know, scientific bytes that we can provide through the software.

Dr. Haroon Kazem: Absolutely. I think the more quantifiable objective data that can be obtained regarding the matter, the better and I feel like the-especially in the world of professional sports, everyone’s constantly looking for the competitive edge and that even applies on the day to day level where a lot of times, you know, your your buddy looks at you and says like, “what’s your secret, man?”

Right? And a lot of the time, you know, there’s people who don’t necessarily want to tell their whole entire routine, right? Because maybe they’ve worked hard at it but the fact that the study shows here and it says like, I quote, it says, “President travel strategies employed by the NFL teams 4 West Coast and 9 East Coast teams surveyed demonstrates some use of circadian rhythm knowledge. West Coast teams now travel to the east coast two days prior to game time and most East Coast teams presently travel to the West Coast one day prior to game time.”

It goes to show, like, they know that there is a connection and ultimately the only, you know, 100 percent quantifiable data that you could really use is did you win or lose? And how often did you win and how often did you lose and are you coming from the East Coast or the West Coast?

And then comparing sleep times and I feel like that can even be done on an individual personalized basis in the sense of being able to use an app like Owaves, putting in the information as far as, how much sleep are you going for? What types of goals are you going for? Are you trying to- are we looking at performance here? Are you trying to like, you know, cut down on your mile time? What is it and how much sleep are you getting?

And I think that if a user could do that for at least, say, a couple of months or a few months and then be able to look back and say like, “wow look at that, when I manage my body clock, I excelled so much more on all these levels and oh what do you know. Look, now I lost weight. Now my BMI is down. Now my reps are up.” I feel like that right there is a big deal. And that’s something that can be brought down more to like the the-like we said quote unquote average person.

Dr. Sohaib Imtiaz: That would be very motivating and I think my conclusion from that would also be that we’ve looked at performance but I think we focused on obviously physiological performance so you’ll be able to max to lung capacity, your heart’s capacity to pump blood around the body, reaction times.

So there was a single point in the day where it’s going to be best but I think we need to also in the next episode probably look at decision making and psychological health that really touched on the mental side of things as well and how circadian rhythms is linked to that. So I think it leaves us nicely positioned to discuss the decision making and mental side of the game.

Dr. Haroon Kazem: Agreed.

Dr. Royan Kamyar: Yeah, I thought, Haroon, that was-I liked your point about, you know, kind of measuring wins and losses and, you know, it’s easy for an Olympian to figure out if they won or lost, right? I mean, either they crossed the line first or they didn’t. But how do we measure wins and losses, right? I mean, is my goal in life just to have a normal BMI? Is that really how I’m going to measure my my wins? How would you guys rate a win or loss-like, let’s say for today? How would you know if you won today?

Dr. Haroon Kazem: It’s a very, it’s a, it’s such, it’s a broad question, right? It’s so difficult because it’s so personalized. I mean-.

Dr. Sohaib Imtiaz: I think we all internally score things that went well and that didn’t go well and by the end of the day, if more things went well, it’s a positive day. But we don’t have a quantifiable way of actually doing that if if Owaves could come up with a scoring system which could help us. I’m sure I’m sure you’re developing that. I mean, it could it could make things a lot more objective for us.

Dr. Royan Kamyar: Yeah I think I think this is-you know, again, this is like a million, billion, trillion dollar question-right-which is: what matters?

Dr. Haroon Kazem: Yeah.

Dr. Sohaib Imtiaz: Yeah.

Dr. Royan Kamyar: You know, Clayton Christensen is that famous Harvard Business School professor who-

Dr. Sohaib Imtiaz: Love the guy.

Dr. Royan Kamyar: Right.  He’s the one that identified or really coined the phrase “innovator’s dilemma”-right-which is sort of the classic story about why incumbent businesses eventually lose to disruptive startups but you know towards the end of his, sort of, you know, as he was getting older, he started really having really wrapping his mind around this question about what matters.

When he tells a story it’s about like going to his Harvard, you know, class reunions and all these people who had these, you know, killer jobs and amazing wives and all these things going for them in their 20s and 30s, you know, he would see them at the-you know, whether it be 25 or 50 or 30 year reunion-and these guys were divorced, they were alone, they were-their kids didn’t like them, you know, they had all these problems. And so it really made him internalize the question of how you measure success.

And it’s something that we at Owaves are definitely, you know, Sohaib, as you mentioned thinking about in terms of “what is the ultimate service to the user?” I mean, do you really want to stick to the traditional health metrics-which we can, you know, blood pressure, weight, LDL, et cetera-or is there an opportunity here to actually kind of help define, redefine what matters? The challenge we run into here in terms of the brainstorm part of this, which you know maybe we can do, is ultimately this question seems very subjective-right-which has come up just now.

The challenge is actually this: if it’s subjective, that means that the user him or herself has to actually enter in-like, let’s say this, you know, mood or happiness one through ten. And that requires daily input from the user. And so getting that sort of outcome, that data point passively is a challenge and what some companies are trying to do, people like Microsoft-and obviously anyone with a smartphone. So Apple, Google-is do a facial recognition, voice pattern recognition and capture moods passively, quantitatively that way.

Dr. Sohaib Imtiaz: Wow. That would be so transformative because I think that that’s what it’s about.  I saw Babylon’s launch last week and they’re proving how an A.I., the A.I. system can beat family medicine doctors in the UK and part of their dashboard-I did see this, this, this picture of a face, they’d analyzed the mood. So I think you’re right. You’re on the right lines. I think capturing, subjectively measuring moods in a more objective manner and people’s feelings. I think I think that counts for a lot. And that’s-what people feel, we haven’t been able to quantify that. So yeah.

Dr. Haroon Kazem: Yeah. It’s-

Dr. Royan Kamyar: I don’t know! I think.-sorry. No go ahead, Haroon

Dr. Haroon Kazem: No, I don’t know I just I was just gonna say, it seems like it’s the age-the age old battle of like intertwining the quantifiable with the qualitative. It’s one of those things where, you know, at the university where I work at, it’s a naturopathic medical school. A lot of the students are very much geared towards qualitative descriptors in terms of grading and coming from more of like a sort of, you know, Western medicine background myself, my chiropractic school is very much known as like a medipractor school, it was one of those things where it’s still a battle to get, you know, student interns to understand, like there is a difference between quantifiable and qualitative but there is also a relationship between the two, where one definitely affects the other.

And it’s really learning to understand how to like, use the data from both worlds to combine to ultimately put towards like specific metric categories or metrics that, I guess, we would have to survey enough popular-enough of the population to see like-to answer your question Royan-like, “what really does matter to you? What are the top five or top 10 things that really matter to you, whether it’s like your mood or your health or your weight or your BMI or how many reps you on the bench press, you know?

Like, it’s one of those things where I guess, you know, it will always be different to a certain degree individual to individual., but I also think that for the vast majority there’s probably a lot of commonalities. And if we could identify those and be able to score those somehow and ultimately use either A.I. or use user input or maybe a combination of the two, that’s probably the best bet. Then again, you know, with A.I. nowadays I’m sure the robots will figure something better. What are your thoughts?

Dr. Royan Kamyar: I thought that was a nice summary. I think we can end there and go watch Ronaldo.

Dr. Haroon Kazem:  Heck yeah! Alrighty boys.

Dr. Sohaib Imtiaz: What makes Ronaldo happy: scoring a goal.

Dr. Haroon Kazem: I think it’s those dollar signs. The commas, all the commas.

Dr. Sohaib Imtiaz: Yeah.

Dr. Haroon Kazem: Awesome guys. I think that was an awesome show. I really like the idea of, you know, taking this conversation to now the psychosocial level and-

Dr. Sohaib Imtiaz: I wanna do that. I really enjoyed that.