MME: Better Mental Clarity: How to Leverage Exercise, Nutrition, and Sleep | Dr. Uche Odiatu

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Show Notes

What role does fitness, nutrition, and sleep play in shaping your productivity and mental clarity? Dive into this fascinating episode where the astute, Dr. Uche Odiatu, unravels the myth that excessive exercise yields better health outcomes, and underscores the value of simple physical activity for boosting productivity and brightening mental clarity. Prepare to have your presumptions shattered as you learn how sunlight, your sleep cycle, and even the food you consume can profoundly impact not only your physical health, but your mental fortitude as well.

In the whirlwind life of the 21st century, Dr. Uche shares his wisdom on the importance of balance - be it physical activity, diet, or sleep. We'll learn how nutrition recommendations can fluctuate, depending on individual health outcomes. The conversation culminates into practical guidance and easy-to-adopt habits for morning light exposure, bite-sized exercises, and sleep hygiene, changing how you perceive and manage your health, one small step at a time.

What You'll Learn in This Episode:

  • The myths and misconceptions about exercise and fitness.
  • The importance of balance in exercise routines.
  • The impact of sleep and circadian rhythms on your health.
  • How exposure to natural light can improve your health.
  • The role of nutrition in your overall health and individual responses to food.
  • How to implement positive changes—morning light exposure, bite-sized exercises, nighttime sleep hygiene — into your everyday life.

Listen now to gather these golden nuggets of information that can transform your perception about health and wellness, and help you foster a far healthier and content life while on the go.

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You can reach out to Dr. Uche Odiatu here:



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Episode Transcript (Auto-Generated - Please Excuse Errors)

Michael: alright, Uche, talk to us. What's one piece of advice you can give us this Monday morning?

Uche: Well, it was all a concept of, I really see the myth of fitness, the myth of exercise, the myth of taking care of yourself. Most people think of it as something as when you reach a rock bottom, right?

You're 45, someone had a heart attack or you're 15. You've had some bad news about your GI tract and you need a PPI. Few people think of fitness as something else other than just to look good for high school reunion or a college reunion. But you start looking at it as the ability to add productivity to give you mental clarity.

And the minute you sleep deeper, one of the benefits of being physically active is you sleep deeper. But all people who sleep deep Uh, better memories, which translates into, you know, better interaction, better communication, but also better sleep helps you process emotion. So the minute you process emotion, you have higher emotional intelligence, which also then allows you to be able to better communicate and not be stalemated.


Michael: So then what's the first step here when we, when we want to have like, I guess, better sleep, is it getting better with our nutrition or our fitness?

Uche: You know, it's everything. You'd be surprised. There's a thing called Zeitgeist. So Zeitgeist are cues that switches your circadian rhythm. The number one is light and dark cycle.

So the minute someone doesn't get outside in the morning and they just have darkness around in the room, part of the brain thinks you're messed up. And you start going down in your physiology, become more insulin resistant. So the whole idea being is though, depending on what kind of quality of sleepy ones and everyone wants top notch quality is to start having them a dimmer light as the evening goes on.

The worst thing you could do, um, after two hours after sundown is to have bright overhead lights. And the more successful the dentists are, the more pot lights they have, the more pot lights you have, the more your ancient brain thinks it's daylight. Which means you don't sleep deep, the media don't sleep deep, the memory worsens, and you're not able to process emotion, so emotional intelligence goes down, less able to impact people emotionally during conversations.

Michael: Interesting. Okay, so in the morning, we want to seek daylight or sun. Immediately, when we wake up,

Uche: almost any light, you got to think, and there's a book called Sapiens by, uh, Harari. He's a New York times bestseller. So Sapiens S C P I E N S. And he said, you and I are more like cavemen and cave women. You think you're, I'm a modern guy.

You're wearing my Prada, but really our physiology is as a 2 million year old physiology. So in the morning, if we were a tribe of 10, 15, 50, 15 or 50, 60, 70 people, the first time, left the cave. The only people that stayed inside the cave were the sick or the dying. The sick and the dying stayed inside the cave.

But on first light, everyone leaves. So that being said, if someone works from home, or if someone goes down to their, you know, their four car garage, takes their, you know, their Lexus to work, they park in an underground garage, the body gets no sunlight on them. They get no natural daylight. The body, our caveman brain then, thinks you're near death.

Near death is not a good physiology. It's not a good way to, you know, Get your nervous system getting ready for a big morning of crown preparations or a big morning of surgery. So first light in the day is ultra important. Almost important is getting a good night's sleep. That first light resets your circadian rhythm.

There's a part of your brain called the super charismatic nucleus. It's about 20, 000 neurons. And it's deep inside the brain. And when you get light on your skin or light on your eyes, that information goes through the optic nerve into those, into that brain region. And the brain goes, Oh, another day around to go around the sun.

And it starts pumping out alive hormones.

Michael: Okay. So those are the first things we want to do as far as when it comes to improving our ourselves is making sure sleep is good. Now, when it comes to the fitness part, where do we go with that

Uche: massive. This is massive. I think dentists realize, we see patients oftentimes from age 2 to 102, and I see people who look good.

They're 85, 90 years of age, they walk independently, they're into the chair, they can get up easily. They don't have aches and pains that are asking for the third pillow to keep their neck up as you're working on them. They don't ask to be propped up because they don't have post nasal drip. And if dentists are smart, if you're watching out for it, you start asking people, Hey, what do you have for breakfast?

How can you look good at 90 or at age 80? How can you be still owning those four restaurants? And you start realizing physical activity is one of the best predictors of a healthy lifespan and a healthy health span. So exercise scientists have now said more important than nutrition. Being physically active.

There's hundreds to thousands of studies to show how being physically active gives you a longer health span. Most people think of lifespan, which is basically how long you live. Few people think of health span. That's how long you live without having a disease or disability. So basically you want your health span to be as long as possible.

And if you are going to leave the planet, it's two or three days and then you're gone. Or, at 95, hella skiing off of Whistler and then you, then you go. That'd be a great way to go in a blaze of glory at age 95.

Michael: Yeah, that's true. So then, with that being said, with the fitness part, right? Cause I think it's easy to be like, okay, we're going to do this with our sleep, lower the light.

Right. And that's pretty instructional. And then, okay, we're going to get light immediately. But when it comes to fitness, I feel like there's so much, right? There's that strength training, there's cardio, there's anaerobic, aerobic, there's many, many different things we can do. And then we get injured too.

Right. And then that stops us. And so how can we, I guess, come up with something that will improve our life, but a specific plan.

Uche: Okay. And that's, those are legitimate complaints. You know, people, a lot of dentists are all or nothing. A lot of them think I was a great college athlete. I played hockey. I played lacrosse.

I played football or I was a power cheerleader. Unless I can train three hours a day, I'm not doing anything. So 77 percent of dentists, 77 percent of the general population are physically inactive. And mainly them being either they're on or off. They don't have a dimmer switch. The dimmer means, even though you might, you know, might own four practices, you might have a 12 chair office, you might have 52 staff, the body actually now, the exercise signs are now shown, exercise bites, which is basically two to three to four minutes of activity, could be as good or better for you than a 30 minute or 45 minute steady state program.

So they're called exercise bites, and that's basically using the new signs of interval training to tap into how the physiology is best strengthened, and you can get fit faster. with exercise bites where you have intense, then you relax for five minutes to an hour. So, you know, with that, that means, you know, going out to your car to get your lunch that you've been purposely misplaced or go outside to move your car for the parking lot or going upstairs to text someone at during a coffee break instead of staying up and looking at, you know, insurance reports.

And there's many ways to do that. So exercise bites, it's a little burst of activity with some spaced recovery in between.

Michael: Interesting. Is that what you do? Okay.

Uche: No, yeah, I really haven't worked out for an hour since I was like 28. I think I competed in a bodybuilding competition in Spain back then, but since that time, the last almost 30 years, I work out maybe 30, 45 minutes.

Sometimes it's as little as 20 minutes. I'll take three exercises. So if I'm doing legs, back and biceps, I will do three exercises. And rotate them and do about five or six sets each. And it'll take me about 15 to 18 minutes. And that's enough to get a full body pump. And if you're doing exercises with a full range of motion, you can really get an incredible workout and then you're done, you don't need this hour, two hour marathon of fitness.

You know, they've actually shown that steady state workouts are like MC hammer pants. They were cool back in the nineties, but they're very dated. Steady state exercise is a very dated affair.

Michael: Interesting. And do you have like a day for rest or anything like that? Or no, it's every single day you do this.

Uche: Good question. I think a lot of dentists and we're guilty of it, right? Smart people. I think a friend of mine calls it intellectual disease. We overthink exercise, we overthink nutrition, we overthink everything, and then you get what's called paralysis by analysis. A lot of dentists don't realize that we know more about nutrition than physicians.

We do about 30 hours in our four years. Average physician does zero.

Michael: Like,

Uche: I think 25 percent of medical schools have any kind of nutrition criteria for the graduating from medical school. One dentist one time was sitting in my lecture. He texted his son who just graduated from medical school. And he said, Hey, some, some dentists just told me That you guys didn't do any nutrition in medical school.

He goes, son, tell me something different. And the son said, dad, I did zero hours of nutrition in the last four years. Zero. So we know enough, we know enough nutrition to coach people chairside. my big thing is though, you really can't take patients on a journey. You yourself haven't been on. So you really got to look the part, you know, you can't smell like a drive thru and be very convincing chairside.

You know, if you're getting your fingertips are yellow from smoking instead of turmeric, then guess what patients are going, Hey, that disconnect. You're guiding me on this total patient journey and you look like John Candy or Elvis Presley the night before he died.

Michael: Interesting. Okay. So then that's the fitness and then the nutrition part real quick.

If you can let us know, because Ushi, I know you've heard this many times, right? Hey man, fruits at night are bad or carbs are bad or hey, well only the, you know, Mediterranean diet, all these things. And I feel like sometimes I see you and you're, you're eating what you want, whatever you want.

Uche: For sure. Um, a calorie is not a calorie.

food affects people very differently. there's a new device now called CGM, Continuous Glucose Monitoring. And if I eat a hot dog and you eat a hot dog, your blood sugar may not rise and might go up. And that depends on your age, genetics, how physically active you are, how rested you are, if you just had some physical activity beforehand.

If the hot dog is eating with some vegetables. What's your state of mind when you eat? If you're nervous and anxious and eating, the body responds very differently to the foods that you're eating. If you, if you're feeling guilty and you're eating fries, your body responds with a higher blood glucose spike than if you're feeling chill and relaxed, and I deserve these fries.

I just came back from an hour of skiing. So, it all depends on age, how much muscle you have, how well rested you are, what else you're pairing it. So, a calorie isn't just a calorie, it depends on who's eating it, when you're eating it, what you just did before, and your state of mind when you're eating it.

And that's why this, this can get very confusing, but my whole program is moderation rules the show. It's not just about looking great for eight weeks. inch by inch fitness is a cinch, but most people do such hard, uh, mega goals and activities. They fall off the wagon or as you said earlier, um, they get hurt.

So the only reason why I've been training now for over 40 years is because I haven't had any big injuries. But I do do the physio though. I do get the massage. I do get some acupuncture, you know, I take care of myself. You know, I have the red light therapy. I got a grounding mat. I got the SAD light. I do all of these things, take care of this, you know, high performance formula on a race car called the dentist's body.

Michael: Okay. Interesting. So if we could just three takeaways that we can do tomorrow, our listeners, and we start seeing our lives improve. What would those three things be?

Uche: I would say first thing in the morning, within an hour, I would say get outside and get some daylight. It's the best way to reset your brain.

And if you reset your brain first thing in the morning, you'll sleep deeper and better. You sleep deeper and better, you'll have a better brain, better memory, better, better mental processing. you can't get outside, I would say get yourself an SAD light. It's a 10, 000 lux light, which you plug in, they're about 100 to 200.

plug it in and have it on your, on your island as you look at your texts or your answering emails first thing in the morning. So I would say get some morning light. Second best is artificial light to get some physical activity in the day. It doesn't have to be an hour. It could literally be a coffee break.

Go down and walk to the Starbucks and get your coffee instead of having the Uber Eats send it to you at lunchtime. Go out to your car, do a little, you know, a 10 minute meditation, some quiet time at lunchtime and then walk back. Those little exercise bites is my number two. strategy for my busy professionals to take away third, I'd say nighttime have a sleep hygiene system where you slowly as the evening wears on you dim the lights because anytime you have really bright lights, the brain thinks the daylight at 11 o'clock at night.

If you're a successful dentist, you have 10 offices. We just did a full mouth rehab. You have 200 pot lights going on. Your ancient caveman or cavewoman brain says it's noon. And you might fall asleep because you're exhausted and you're still chewing on a retraction cord. Okay. What happens is you don't sleep as deep and your, your body makes 25 percent less melatonin.

So you have a weaker immune system. And because you don't sleep as deep, you slowly age at a more accelerated fashion each night. So morning sun, exercise bites, and dim the light as the evening goes on to treat this body like a high performance Formula One race car.

Michael: Beautiful, Uchi. I appreciate your time.

And if anyone has further questions, where can they find you?

Uche: Um, I'm on Instagram. If you go to at Fit Speakers, and you go, you know, Fit Speakers is the way to find me. If you just Google Uchi, U C H E, fitness dentist, I'm the only guy. Out of 260, 000 dentists in North America, there's only one Uchi fitness dentist.

So just Google Uchi fitness dentist. Direct message to me. My phone's available. I'm here to serve. It's my desire to help my colleagues live a more elegant, more physically fit life. And to make their health span as long as their lifespan. So they can leave the planet by hella skiing at age 97, 98.

Michael: Wonderful. Thank you so much, Uchi, for being with us. It's been a pleasure. And so much for coming with me on this Monday Morning episode.

Uche: My pleasure, Michael.