Monthly Archives: April 2013

Nite Ize MeteorLight L.E.D Ball for juggling/joggling

One of the many things a lot of jugglers(and jogglers) have in common is finding ways to juggle any time, any place, and in any situation. While showering, while eating, you name it. It can be that addictive. But like many healthy habits, it’s a good addiction. It’s the main reason many of us took up joggling in the first place. For obvious reasons, it isn’t easy joggling at night(unless you’re a cat), even in areas where running is easy. One solution is to use LED light balls, like the ones made by Nite Ize.

About the size of a tennis ball, they bounce and are also well-built from durable rubber. The 2 easily replaceable 2016 3V lithium batteries are in the sturdy, removable core. Just remove the large plug, which doubles as an on/off button to get access to the batteries to replace them. The balls are about 4.8 ounces and have a rough exterior which makes them easier to grasp. Press down the on/off button for two seconds to turn them on, and do the same thing to turn them off. It takes a good deal of pressure to turn them on, which is good, since if you drop them there is little chance of them getting accidentally turned on or off.

They are great for joggling at night so as long as it is not too dark and you are familiar with the terrain. If conditions are very dark, juggling the balls while running will produce a blinding glare that will obscure your vision to the point that you can’t see what’s ahead. So be careful. This same exact product is also sold as a ball(with different packaging) for playing with your dog at night. They are water resistant, and come in 3 colors – red, green, blue, and there is also a color changing model.

Their price is reasonable, and I didn’t get mine for free. I’ve had these awesome orbs for several months, and although I don’t joggle with them very often they seem to be holding up pretty well. Compared to other light-up juggling balls, these seem to be built to last. The children in my area can’t get enough of these LED balls and seem to think I’m an alien from another planet when I joggle them in the park or along the streets at night. The light these things produce is only visible in a dark room or at night. They have some bounce, but I do not recommend these for bounce juggling unless you really know what you are doing.

LED technology just keeps getting more fun!


You can see the videos these images were taken from on the Wild Juggling Youtube page –


There is no magic in joggling


There are so many misconceptions surrounding joggling and the “Wild Juggling” blog, that it would be difficult to cover them all in one post. Now I would love to discuss the misconceptions about what joggling can do for your sex life. However, a more common yet disturbing misconception is how some people peddling quackery see me as some kind of natural ally, and have suggested through email that we guest blog on each other’s blogs. The truth of the matter is that I am no friend of quackery or as it is often called today, “alternative medicine”. There is nothing “alternative” I do that allows me to joggle for many miles every day. What falls under the label of “alternative medicine” is almost always unproven and therefore simply quackery. Sometimes the label “complementary” is used, or the hybridized “integrative”.

These labels are simply marketing terms for therapies based on prescientific ideas that have been justifiably disgarded by modern science. What do I mean exactly? I mean things like homeopathy, reiki, chiropractic, “energy” healing, acupuncture, and most supplements. To make the long story short, for homeopathy to work beyond its placebo effects, it would require overturning most of what we currently know about about physics and chemistry. That’s because one of the central tenets of homeopathy is that the more you dilute a medicine, the more powerful its effects. Another central tenet is “like cures like”, which means a substance that causes the symptoms of a disease in a healthy person will cure the same disease in a sick person. And don’t forget that substance has to be diluted many times over until none of the substance is left to increase its potency.

Example: If X causes allergies in healthy people, giving X to a person with severe allergies should cure their allergies. Sounds ridiculous, right? If you don’t believe me, visit the Wikipedia article on homeopathy or read about it on some homeopathy site. Nothing I said about how it is supposed to work is an exaggeration.

Reiki, a form of “energy” healing, is similarly nonsensical. Dr Steven Novella does a good job of exposing Reiki for the quackery that it is:

Reiki is therefore a form of vitalism – the pre-scientific belief that some spiritual energy animates the living, and is what separates living things from non-living things. The notion of vitalism was always an intellectual place-holder, responsible for whatever aspects of biology were not currently understood. But as science progressed, eventually we figured out all of the basic functions of life and there was simply nothing left for the vital force to do. It therefore faded from scientific thinking. We can add to that the fact that no one has been able to provide positive evidence for the existence of a vital force – it remains entirely unknown to science.

Acupuncture, and the theories that underpin Ayurvedic and traditional Chinese medicine are similarly based on discredited prescientific ideas(like vitalism described above), and have virtually no scientific evidence proving their efficacy. This is why mainstream medical doctors generally do not approve of their use, not because of some “big pharma” conspiracy or “closed mindedness”.

Unfortunately, many alternative(quack) practitioners love to muddy the waters, to confuse people about what “alternative” really means, and also engage in bait-and-switch tactics to get people to accept their bizarre, discredited ideas. They often do this by mislabeling practices that are fully endorsed by scientific medicine as “alternative”, like exercise or dietary changes. Funny thing is, just about all doctors recommend exercise to their patients if they are not already doing so due to its numerous proven health benefits. Alternative practitioners did not invent exercise, so this is not an example of alternative medicine getting vindicated. Mainstream doctors also recommend their patients eat more fruits and vegetables, and have been doing so for a very long time, so there is nothing “alternative” about dietary change either, except for diets mostly based on pseudo-science.

Physicians regularly prescribe supplements or nutritional therapies to their patients, so this isn’t necessarily “alternative”. Admittedly, many nutritional therapies/supplements are something of a gray area between scientific and alternative medicine; it is unwise in most cases to ingest megadoses of nutrients on a daily basis, since getting a lot more than what you need isn’t necessarily better. A lot of megadose vitamin therapies are based on pseudo-science, and are potentially dangerous unless prescribed by a doctor.

Herbs, which can be thought of as “natural drugs” are an interesting case in that they also sort of inhabit a grey zone. Some doctors may occasionally prescribe or recommend them for non-serious conditions like coughs, or upset stomachs in the form of teas, but beyond this most are unproven or at best the results from studies are inconsistent. That said, many medical scientists study plants to help them discover new drugs, because of the many powerful pharmacological substances in plants(a fairly high percentage of pharmaceutical drugs are based on plant chemicals).

In pharmaceutical drugs, these chemicals tend to be more powerful and more reliable due to their isolation and the controlled conditions in which they are manufactured; in herbs, they are often a lot less potent due to the presence of other natural chemicals that negate their effects and plants will vary greatly over how much of the active chemical they produce. So many people will swear that an unproven herbal supplement they take works, but this is almost certainly due to the placebo effect. When it comes to alternative medicine in general, the only benefit anyone experiences is the placebo effect.

Some alternative practitioners may point to Yoga as a form of “alternative” medicine that works. The reality is that Yoga, divorced from its spiritual underpinnings is really just a form of exercise, and as already noted exercise has been proven to be an effective health booster. Meditation is a form of relaxation and may help train the mind to focus better, so it is similarly not “alternative”. Chiropractic has as its backbone many pseudo-scientific ideas about the spine, but some of the better chiropracters may mix in some of the latest physical therapy techniques, rendering this form of alternative therapy something of a mixed bag.

So no, there is nothing “alternative” that I am doing that allows me to joggle, though I often experiment with things that are at least scientifically plausible or from the grey area between scientific and alternative medicine. I frequently post about how certain foods, nutrients, or dietary approaches may boost athletic performance, aid recovery, or prevent disease, but this is just nutrition or falls into the category of “home remedy”. Optimal sports nutrition is not “alternative”, and I cite published scientific studies whenever possible to show if something works or not.

I am not in tune with any “supernatural” forces. There is no reiki, energy healing, homeopathy, chakras, traditional Chinese medicine, vitalism, or even caffeine in my approach to joggling and fitness. It is just one of the many glorious end products of eating a healthy plant-based diet, getting enough sleep, and a ton of practice. The mind-set I have is one of scientific skepticism, not of being in tune with some kind of “spirit-force” or whatever they are calling it these days.

I will simply not use or recommend something if there is no evidence to support it and/or if it is scientifically implausible. In fact, I probably wouldn’t be able to joggle at all if I wasted my time doing things that are based on nonsense or pseudo-science. So skepticism prevents me from wasting my time doing useless things, besides things that are potentially harmful. Ultimately, as someone once said, skeptics are the garbagemen of bad ideas, and no where is skepticism needed more than in health and fitness.

For more info on quackery and alternative medicine visit:

Science-Based Medicine


Why do Kenyans and Ethiopians dominate distance running?

Now that it is marathon season, its time to ask the question that so many other people who are content to just finish the marathon rather than win it are asking. Why do east Africans, usually Kenyans or sometimes Ethiopians or other groups from east Africa win so many long distance races? Besides this, many distance records are currently held by east Africans.

I remain very fascinated by this phenomenon, but really have no idea how to explain it except to say it must be due to many different factors. It goes without saying that an extreme amount of training plays a very important role, but beyond this I really do not know enough about this to have an opinion on this matter. All I can really say is that more research needs to be done, and that I’m surprised that virtually none of these elite east African runners is a joggler.

In the mean time, some experts have tried to answer this question. Here are some interesting studies that look into this:

Kenyan and Ethiopian distance runners: what makes them so good?

Kenyan dominance in distance running.

Aerobic exercise capacity at sea level and at altitude in Kenyan boys, junior and senior runners compared with Scandinavian runners.

Mitochondrial haplogroups associated with elite Kenyan athlete status.

Were jugglers once a persecuted minority group?

Is this juggler hiding in the woods to escape persecution? Or does he just love juggling in the outdoors?

Is this juggler hiding in the woods to escape persecution? Or does he just love juggling in the outdoors?

Juggling has a very ancient history. In the very least it goes back to ancient Egypt, and it is probably as old as civilization itself. It probably doesn’t predate civilization since cavemen had no calories to spare for something like juggling.

The origins of jugglers aside, were we ever persecuted? According to “A History of Juggling” at Juggling Magic:

Jugglers went through some tough times – after the fall of the Roman Empire and the arrival of the Middle Ages, jugglers were sometimes persecuted and seen as dirty scoundrels or even thought to be witches.

“Dirty scoundrels”? Sounds like we had it really rough. Not quite like the Jews or heretics, but this does sound like bigotry that could inspire violence. However, not everyone agrees that jugglers were looked down on and persected in Europe during the Middle Ages.

According to Arthur Lewbel(2002) in “Research in Juggling History

Another modern misconception is that medieval church considered juggling to be a black art or a tool of the devil. In fact, I have never seen any evidence that the medieval church ever specifically persecuted jugglers or juggling. If anything, the examples in Fletcher [3] and the appearence of jugglers in the margins of illuminated manuscripts would suggest the Church’s approval of juggling.

This directly contradicts the first quote. Indeed, the first quote cites no evidence to back its claim that jugglers were persecuted in Medievel Europe. Now it is possible that they may have been persecuted briefly in a few areas but we have no evidence of widespread, systematic persecution. If anyone ever did persecute jugglers in Europe, it probably would have been radical Calvinists or Puritans due to their very austere, artless approach to Christianity.

"Ship of Fools" - By Hieronymus Bosch, depicting a jester in painting very rich in symbolism.

“Ship of Fools” – By Hieronymus Bosch, depicting a jester in painting very rich in symbolism.

Since there is some overlap between court jesters and jugglers, let’s look at what jesters went through during the same time period. Though being a court jester is not the same thing as being a juggler, some jesters were jugglers. This profession fell in and out of fashion during the Middle Ages, largely dying out by the 19th century as nobles turned more toward music and imperialism for entertainment. While it fell out of fashion at times, and some jesters were jailed for telling bad or inappropriate jokes, they weren’t systematically persecuted.

When the radical Puritan military leader Oliver Cromwell overthrew and executed King Charles II and became King himself of Britain in all but title, his court has no use for jesters or jugglers, unlike previous rulers. There is no evidence he persecuted jugglers, though it was harder to be an actor or performer in Cromwell’s Britain due to the Puritans’ belief that the performing arts were inherently “sinful” and “pagan”, leading them to shut down just about all the theatres. In many ways the situation in Britain after the radical Puritan “Roundhead” takeover was similar to Iran after Khomeini took over in 1979. On the other hand, at least Cromwell allowed the Jews to return to Britain, having been expelled a few centuries ago on the orders of an anti-Semitic monarch.

I haven’t done a lot of research, but in more modern times, it doesn’t look like Nazi Germany, the Soviet Union or any other murderous, oppressive regimes persecuted jugglers. I don’t believe I’ve ever heard anything about Stalin sending jugglers off to the Gulags. As an aside, if being bigoted against jugglers was more widespread, what would these bigots be called? “Anti-jugglites”? “Anti-jugglerites”?

So no, there isn’t any reliable evidence that jugglers were persecuted. If we were, would you pity us?

The incredible diversity of the Caucasus

Here is a great map showing the linguistic diversity of the Caucasus region:


Since this is only a map of the languages/ethnic groups, it doesn’t show the different religious groups of the region(mostly Christian and Muslim of various sects). Some ethnic groups are even divided by religion.

The Caucasus has long been a volatile region, similar to the Balkans. Also like the Balkans it is incredibly diverse and is also a frontier region of Europe. Unlike the Balkans, the Caucasus has so many languages that are non-Indo-European and are isolated and unique to the region(kind of like the Basques in Spain). The Caucasus mountains form something of an informal border between Europe and Asia/The Middle East – to the north is Europe, to the south is the Middle East.

Tolstoy’s last novel, Hadji Murat, was about the wars between imperial Russia and the Chechens and other Caucasian peoples. Much more recently, after the fall of the Soviet Union, for nearly two decades there was an almost non-stop war between the Russian Federation and separatists in the semi-autonomous Chechen republic. Though it is no longer a full blown war, there are still occasional skirmishes and attacks in the hilly areas of Chechnya.

The Soviet dictator, Joseph Stalin(his real surname was Dzhugashvili) was an ethnic Georgian who was born and raised in Georgia, one of the larger Caucasian ethnic groups. Among his many crimes, he also killed and relocated many Chechens en masse when he lead the Soviet Union.

While we are on the subject of mass murderers, I wonder why anyone would want to name their son after a brutal mass murderer like Timurlane.

I’m glad the cops finally caught one of the guys responsible for that horrific bombing in Boston. It helps to understand the part of the world they are from, to understand their motives, but this in no way exonerates them from responsibility. My heart goes out to all their victims, and the victims’ families.

High intensity interval cardio improves VO2max


One of those things many runners and other athletes are always trying to improve is their VO2max. Shockingly, this also happens to be true of jogglers. What is VO2max? It is our maximum oxygen uptake, or aerobic capacity, or the amount of oxygen an athlete can use. It is one of the most important determinants of athletic performance, since a high VO2max means you won’t run out of breath too quickly, among other things. Elite endurance athletes tend to have a very high VO2max, while sedentary people have low ones.

Most people’s VO2max can be improved with regular training. Even some athletes can improve their VO2max. Let’s see what the science has to say about this. According to the Department of Circulation and Imaging, Faculty of Medicine, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim, Norway in the study Aerobic high-intensity intervals improve VO2max more than moderate training:


: High-aerobic intensity endurance interval training is significantly more effective than performing the same total work at either lactate threshold or at 70% HRmax, in improving VO2max. The changes in VO2max correspond with changes in SV, indicating a close link between the two.

I realize this isn’t anything new. I can just hear the seasoned athletes reading this exclaiming: “I know this already!”. Indeed, it was high intensity interval training that allowed Roger Bannister to break the 4 minute mile in 1954. Even today, many runners use this method to improve speed and endurance. This may be well known, but for people new to running this info is important.

However, if you’ve never tried joggling before, you may be curious to know just how much stamina is required to run and juggle at the same time(I don’t have any actual numbers, but it does require “significantly” more stamina than running). If you take up joggling, your VO2max will play a very important role in how well you do, besides your coordination. When I first started learning to joggle, I very quickly tired out after about 30 seconds(not to brag, but today I joggled 3 balls for 35 minutes without a single drop, but dropped the balls several times while doing 4 ball joggling). I just didn’t have the stamina. I don’t know what my VO2max was when I was just a runner, but I’ll bet anything it is much higher now as a joggler.

Joggling 3 balls isn’t as much of a challenge as it used to be. So I’ve been doing 4 ball joggling, which requires even more stamina since my arms have to be even faster. I think my VO2max may be improving slightly due to my 4 ball joggling training, but I rarely go beyond 40 seconds joggling 4 balls without dropping.

Just so that you know, few things will make your heart pump faster than the early stages of joggling. I admit that it has even scared me a little. But this doesn’t happen anymore, I think my heart has adapted.

Once your juggling technique is solid, after joggling for many miles your legs will feel the burn more than your arms.


My thoughts are with the people of Boston

There isn’t a lot I can say that hasn’t already been said. I am angry that someone would do such a terrible thing to so many innocent people. I am also sad that a celebration of life was turned into a tragedy. My thoughts are with the victims and their families, and the people of Boston. Whenever I run, they will be in my thoughts. I will not let fear dictate whether or not I participate in marathons or other sporting events.

A sporting event like a marathon is one of the most life-affirming things a person can do. But fear is life-negating. We all die a little inside when we let fear prevent us from doing what we really want to do. Boston, you are in my thoughts and I know you will not surrender to fear. I hope the cowards responsible for this tragedy are quickly brought to justice and I also hope that the victims and their families will find closure.



Exercise recovery is just a bowl of cherries

Source: Wikipedia

Source: Wikipedia

The delicious spring weather has just been so perfect these days, allowing me to push myself to run faster while juggling 3 balls, as well as slowly improving my 4 ball joggling. All this speed means more strain on my muscles and connective tissues, so I am always on the lookout for something or other to maximize my recovery. Juggling while running for an hour or more can produce a lot of inflammation throughout the body, which can damage muscle tissue and hinder the body’s innate healing response. All else being equal, a joggler is likely more inflammed and worn out than a mere runner so we need to be a little more careful to ensure proper recovery.

I’ll assume we all know to get enough water before, during, and after a workout, as well as refueling with carbs and protein within 30 minutes after exercise. I usually drink a lot of fruit juice after long runs, along with some nuts or protein powder or will simply have a meal if its meal time. I’ve long believed that the phytochemicals in various fruit and vegetable juices can assist in recovery, due to their ability to protect tissues from inflammatory processes and free radicals. This is partially due to their antioxidant effects, but as I’ve said in previous posts, a lot more is going on. So to me, recovery has long been more than simply getting macro-nutrients, electrolytes, and proper hydration.

Which brings us to cherry juice. Some interesting studies on cherry juice suggest it may help speed recovery from both marathon running and strength training. According to the School of Psychology and Sport Sciences, Northumbria University, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK, in their study, the Influence of tart cherry juice on indices of recovery following marathon running:

The cherry juice appears to provide a viable means to aid recovery following strenuous exercise by increasing total antioxidative capacity, reducing inflammation, lipid peroxidation and so aiding in the recovery of muscle function.

This sounds good enough to the point that I may drink cherry juice more often after workouts. Now I realize it’s good to be skeptical and cherry juice may not work for everyone, and maybe the study is flawed, but this is just cherry juice, so there is little risk involved. I’m also very curious to see if it will do anything for me. Even if it doesn’t, I love tartness.

Here’s a study on Montmorency cherries from the Sports and Exercise Science Research Centre, London South Bank University, London, United Kingdom, Montmorency cherry juice reduces muscle damage caused by intensive strength exercise:

Montmorency cherries contain high levels of polyphenolic compounds including flavonoids and anthocyanins possessing antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects. We investigated whether the effects of intensive unilateral leg exercise on oxidative damage and muscle function were attenuated by consumption of a Montmorency cherry juice concentrate using a crossover experimental design.


Montmorency cherry juice consumption improved the recovery of isometric muscle strength after intensive exercise perhaps owing to the attenuation of the oxidative damage induced by the damaging exercise.

Now that’s some juice! This isn’t very surprising, since we all know fruit has a lot of health-promoting compounds. These flavonoids occur in many different fruits, so it is possible that you can get similar benefits from eating or drinking other fruits. For example, peaches and plums are very closely related to cherries, so they may have similar benefits. Blueberries are also loaded with potent flavonoids, though they are not related to cherries.

So grab some fruit or fruit juice after a long strenuous workout, especially the dark colorful ones like cherries or blueberries. Also make sure you get enough protein(I often eat a lot of almonds after workouts) and water. Faster, more complete recovery means being able to exercise on a more consistent basis. Outside of exercise recovery, go easy on sugary fruit juices. They’re okay after exercise because that’s when your muscles need to replenish their glucose.

Do it right, and exercise can be a bowl of cherries.

No pain no gain

Who hasn’t heard this a billion times? I’m sure many of you reading this have even said this phrase, or repeated it like a mantra to yourself during difficult runs or workouts. It’s such a cliche. But more importantly, is it true?

On this blog, I do my best to avoid making assumptions. I prefer using skepticism when it comes to health and fitness. No idea is beyond question. If this means overturning what is considered “wisdom” by many, due to lack of evidence, then so be it. If it means offending people, then so be it, though offending anyone isn’t the intent. This is why, for example, I almost never do any stretching exercises and do not advocate it. There is no unequivocal scientific evidence in favor of stretching when it comes to preventing injuries or improving performance. See my “You don’t have to stretch!” post for more info.

As for the “no pain no gain” idea, it really is an overly simple dictum, to the point that it’s rather difficult to evaluate in any meaningful sense. And surely, few people actually take it literally. Obviously, beyond a certain pain threshold, few of us can continue exercising.

The subjective nature of pain also renders this saying not particularly meaningful or helpful. Not to mention the fact that we all have unique biochemistries, unique fitness goals, unique history of injuries and illnesses, and unique personalities. And while challenging yourself physically is a worthwhile goal that boosts health in ways that no drug can compete with, we have to know our limits. And to a large extent, even our “limits” can be highly subjective.

Like many people, even I believe a little bit of soreness after an intense run is generally a good thing. Note the “generally”. Sometimes the amount of pain we feel can be misleading; sometimes we don’t feel any pain or soreness until the day after the heavy workout.

All this ultimately boils down to yet another cliche – “listen to your body”. Unfortunately, many of us aren’t very good listeners, and our body, as alluded to before, isn’t always the best communicator. Sure, we know when we feel too exhuasted to go on, but we don’t often deal with extreme exhaustion after exercise; there’s a large grey area, and little objective criteria with which to make proper assessments. There’s a “little” pain, and “too much” pain on opposite sides of a pain continuum with so much grey area in between. This is one of the reasons I don’t use caffeine or other drugs – they cloud our judgement to the degree that they can make it almost impossible to listen to our body’s with any accuracy.

Knowing our Vo2 Max can be helpful to some degree, but it isn’t all that accurate and there are many other measurements. There’s also the “talk test” – if you can’t hold a conversation while doing intense cardio, you “may” be pushing yourself too hard.

So what can we do? Perhaps a more reliable “test” is to pay attention to our heart rate. If it isn’t back to normal after even intense exercise, this is usually a good indicator you are overdoing it. Or you are out of shape. Being fit means your body and your heart should have adapted to your fitness program. If it still beats fast well after(an hour or more) working out on a consistent basis, this may be a useful warning sign.

Besides this, avoid working out if you are in any kind of pain beyond minor soreness. If your legs hurt, exercise your arms and vice versa. Try to avoid becoming addicted to exercise and don’t try pushing yourself to your limits every time you exercise. Do this maybe once a week or a few times a month. Question every bit of fitness advice you receive and go ahead and make your fitness routine uniquely you; don’t try to be someone else, just because your friend benefitted from some new fitness program, doesn’t mean you will too. It seems everyone is an “expert” when it comes to fitness. Be careful who you get advice from, consider their credentials and experience. Unfortunately, even some people with multiple degrees and certification will spout pseudo-science.

So while “no pain, no gain” may have some truth to it, don’t take it as a commandment. It may even be harmful to follow it too literally. Whatever the case may be, now that it is spring, take advantage of the outside weather and get back into shape! You don’t need a gym membership. A park or the woods is way better.

Another reason to get enough sleep

We are all aware of the fact that inadequate sleep makes it harder to function; we are only vaguely aware it could lead to some long-term health problems. For one thing, if we don’t get enough sleep, we are likely to end up looking like this:


Its effects on the brain are also well known, but many are unware of the role it plays in obesity and diabetes. Sleep deprivation can become part of a vicious cycle in which it is difficult to exercise, which in turn makes it difficult to get enough sleep(exercising during the day improves sleep quality at night), which makes it difficult to exercise, etc. But there is more to it that that.

So let’s see what our friends at the Department of Health Studies, University of Chicago, Chicago, IL, had to say about the Associations between sleep loss and increased risk of obesity and diabetes

Evidence is rapidly accumulating to indicate that chronic partial sleep loss may increase the risk of obesity and diabetes. Laboratory studies in healthy volunteers have shown that experimental sleep restriction is associated with an adverse impact on glucose homeostasis. Insulin sensitivity decreases rapidly and markedly without adequate compensation in beta cell function, resulting in an elevated risk of diabetes. Prospective epidemiologic studies in both children and adults are consistent with a causative role of short sleep in the increased risk of diabetes. Sleep curtailment is also associated with a dysregulation of the neuroendocrine control of appetite, with a reduction of the satiety factor, leptin, and an increase in the hunger-promoting hormone, ghrelin.

That sounds really scary. So if you are having trouble sleeping, dim your lights at night as much as possible since light can be stimulating; do not watch TV before bedtime or use your computer(unless you dim it a lot, like I did with my screen). Avoid spicy food, caffeine and alcohol as well. Alchol may help you fall asleep, but the sleep will be of poor quality. Sugary food is also out of the question. Avoid pills at all costs, you do not want to become dependent on them. Remember that it is during your sleep when your muscles grow the most. It is not a good idea to exercise within a few hours before bedtime, unless it is very light exercise.