Thursday, September 29, 2022
HomeHealthDr. Craig Heller on Cool Palms and Temperature Regulation for Higher Efficiency...

Dr. Craig Heller on Cool Palms and Temperature Regulation for Higher Efficiency and Sleep

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Katie: Howdy and welcome to “The Wellness Mama Podcast.” I’m Katie from and, that’s wellness with an E on the tip. And this episode is rather a lot about temperature, sleep, studying, and much more. That is an thrilling one for me. I’m right here with Dr. Craig Heller, who’s a physician at Yale. He acquired his PhD from Yale in 1970. He did a post-doctorate fellowship on the Scripps Establishment of Oceanography. He joined Stanford College in 1972, the place he’s now the Lorry Lokey Enterprise Wire Professor of Biology and Human Biology. He’s held many positions at Stanford. And he’s performed a variety of analysis centered on the neurobiology of sleep, circadian rhythms and thermoregulation, together with on issues like mammalian hibernation, and temperature controls. And this is without doubt one of the causes I needed to have him on at the moment, to speak about an interesting…the Stanford cool mitt examine.

And we go deep on a variety of these matters, together with how he received into warmth trade analysis, the fascinating manner that the mind regulates physique temperature and the way this can be utilized to our profit for athletic efficiency, for sleep. He talks concerning the astounding examine the place they’d somebody go from 180 pull-ups over units…in units of 10, 10 units, to 618 by including a cooling protocol, and he offers some pointers for the way we are able to all experiment with this in our personal lives.

We speak rather a lot about temperature regulation and sleep hygiene, methods to enhance sleep that may be helpful to your youngsters as nicely. We discuss mild and circadian rhythms, and a lot extra. He was such a enjoyable interview for me. I’ve adopted his work for a very long time, and he’s capable of give some actually sensible functions for a few of his actually fascinating areas of analysis. I do know that you’ll get pleasure from this interview. I definitely did, and I’m excited to use a few of his concepts to my very own experimentation with athletic efficiency and in addition sleep. So with out additional ado, let’s be a part of Dr. Heller. Dr. Heller, welcome. And thanks so, a lot for being right here.

Craig: Effectively, my pleasure. Thanks for inviting me.

Katie: I’m very excited to speak with you. I’ve adopted your work and have so, many instructions I wish to go at the moment. However earlier than we bounce into the science aspect, I’ve notes in my present notes about some superb issues that you’ve performed. And I’ve to listen to a bit of bit about swimming on the North Pole and the truth that you probably did a thousand pushups in your sixtieth birthday. That’s unimaginable.

Craig: You bought my deepest secrets and techniques there. No, the journey to the North Pole was a Stanford alumni journey through which I used to be the college host and the speaker, and my daughter and I all the time had a pact that at any time when we took a hike and we got here to a brand new lake, we needed to bounce in. It didn’t matter what time of 12 months. So, after I had the prospect to go to the North Pole, I instantly referred to as her up and mentioned, okay, that is our likelihood. We’ve received to take a swim on the North Pole. And we did.

Katie: That’s superb. The farthest north I’ve been is the Lapland space of Finland. And we did the sauna after which received within the…it was 24-degree water, however transferring water. So, it wasn’t frozen. And that’s undoubtedly the coldest I’ve ever skilled. It was subsequent stage.

Craig: It’s fairly a shock. However zero is zero. No, freezing is freezing. So, whether or not you’re within the Sierra, Nevada, the place we hike rather a lot, or on the North Pole, it’s just about the identical chilly publicity.

Katie: That’s an excellent level. And it’s an excellent segue as a result of we’re gonna speak fairly a bit about chilly at the moment and, particularly, a few of your analysis round this. I really feel like there’s some base phrases we are able to outline after which delve into the specifics of what you discovered. However I’d love to listen to how you bought into this…sort of you’ve found a novel warmth trade property with sure areas of pores and skin. So, perhaps stroll us into how you bought into that analysis.

Craig: Effectively, it type of got here from a problem or a guess that a variety of my work needed to do with how the mind regulates physique temperature and that in fact was work with animals, together with hibernators. And in the future a good friend who’s an anesthesiologist challenged my colleague and I and mentioned, “Effectively, you assume, you realize, so, a lot about temperature regulation. I guess you couldn’t resolve an issue we have now within the restoration room.” “Effectively, what’s that?” Effectively, sufferers come into restoration very chilly, they’re hypothermic, and it takes them and it takes the nurses hours to get them to cease shivering and so they rip stitches, they even break tooth and the beds are virtually leaping up and down with the shivering. I mentioned to my good friend, you realize, “Effectively, that’s a trivial downside.” Effectively, no, it’s not a trivial downside. It’s a really troublesome downside as a result of while you’re hypothermic in anesthesia and also you’re popping out of anesthesia, you’re very chilly and also you constrict your entire blood vessels.

You retain the blood within the core of your physique, and due to this fact, it’s onerous to get warmth throughout the pores and skin. So, in case you use sizzling blankets, in case you use radiant heaters, it’s very onerous to rewarm these sufferers. So, we received the concept that, “Effectively, we might put an arm or a leg right into a chamber with a adverse stress, a vacuum, that might pull blood into that arm or leg. After which we might warmth that arm or leg and that might then ship warmth to the remainder of the physique.” So, my colleague, Dennis Gron, he constructed an equipment to do that. He took it over to the restoration room and, nicely, within the first affected person, there was no shivering. It was like 8 to 10 minutes and the affected person was again as much as regular. And we couldn’t perceive why this was unbelievably profitable.

And simply to make a protracted story quick, we ultimately came upon that it had solely needed to do with the hand, not the entire arm. After which we got here to the conclusion that what we had been coping with was a mammalian adaptation for warmth loss. In case you are a mammal, you may have fur. We’re uncommon mammals. When you have a fur coat, it’s nice within the wintertime, however in case you can’t take it off in the summertime, that’s an issue. So, mammals can have issues dissipating warmth in the summertime. So, the one areas of their physique that don’t have fur are the pads of the ft, the tongue, the nostril, the ears, and in primates, the higher a part of the face.

And what we found… We didn’t uncover it, however within the previous anatomical literature, there are particular blood vessels in these non-hairy pores and skin areas. And people blood vessels had been completely not understood as to what they had been for. And what they’re is that they’re shunts between the arteries and the veins. Usually, the blood goes from arteries by way of capillaries to veins, and capillaries are excessive resistance. So, what this shunt does is it bypasses the resistance so you possibly can ship massive volumes of blood by way of these pores and skin areas and, due to this fact, dissipate warmth. So, you possibly can inform immediately, while you shake somebody’s hand what his or her thermal standing is. You couldn’t inform that in case you touched his or her arm. So, we found this relatively basic mammalian adaptation for dissipating warmth. And we had been simply utilizing it in reverse to heat the sufferers within the restoration room.

Katie: And that is so fascinating to me. Simply out of curiosity, why are sufferers so chilly popping out of anesthesia? Is that this a aspect impact of the anesthesia itself after which the physique having to re-regulate?

Craig: Effectively, while you’re underneath anesthesia, you’re completely vasodilated. I imply, there’s no constriction of the blood vessels. And in addition, working rooms are typically chilly so the surgeons and the nurses don’t sweat. And in addition, they’re not clothed and perhaps they’re being irrigated with fluids. So, it’s quite common for physique temperature to drop throughout anesthesia.

Katie: That is smart. Okay. And so, I’ll butcher the pronunciation of this, however from what I’ve learn, these are the glabrous areas of pores and skin, the arms and the face?

Craig: Sure. Proper. It’s primarily non-hairy pores and skin. Now we expect we don’t have furry pores and skin, however we do. There are hair follicles in all of our pores and skin, besides these explicit areas. So, we’re uncommon mammals, however we have now the identical anatomical buildings.

Katie: They usually’re distinctive as a result of the blood can go straight from… They principally skip the capillaries, it will probably go straight from veins to arteries?

Craig: That’s proper. Goes truly from arteries to veins.

Katie: Arteries to veins. Obtained it.

Craig: Yeah. After which that cool blood goes proper again to the center, and from the center, it goes out to the muscle mass which are working. Okay? So, you’re cooling the muscle mass from the within out relatively from the surface in.

Katie: And so, with anesthesia, you guys discovered this innate capacity to heat, however on the opposite aspect of this equation, it has some actually cool implications due to its capacity to really cool, from what I perceive? And I do know there’s some superb analysis on this, however, primarily, I suppose my top-level understanding is it’s that warmth of the muscle mass that’s one of many limiting elements throughout train, it sort of results in that suggestions mechanism and tells us to cease and that we are able to sort of use this similar factor to our benefit within the different path?

Craig: You’re good. That’s an excellent rationalization. Yeah. Completely. One other characteristic of being mammals is we have now a excessive physique temperature. So, we’re up round 37 levels, that’s centigrade or 98.6 Fahrenheit. And once we train, our temperature goes up. And we don’t have a variety of scope. If we rise up to 40 levels, 39 or 40 levels centigrade or 100, 101 levels Fahrenheit, we’re in bother. That undoubtedly is a hazard zone for people. And that’s referred to as hyperthermia. So, it’s very straightforward with heavy train, and particularly within the sizzling setting… Consider ultra-marathoners in Loss of life Valley, you realize, they’re actually, actually taking it to the restrict and difficult their our bodies. So, if you will get that warmth out of the physique, the muscle mass can carry on working. And we found that as a result of we had been eager about seeing what the best parameters had been for extracting warmth.

In different phrases, what ought to the temperature be? What ought to the vacuum be? What must be the circulation fee? And so forth. We had a analysis assistant who was a gymnasium rat, and he would go to the gymnasium at night time after work. And so, we mentioned to him, “Why don’t you do your exercise right here within the lab, and that’ll elevate your physique temperature, after which we’ll see what are the most effective parameters for extracting that warmth.” So, he was doing pull-ups. He was doing 10 units of pull-ups to muscle failure with three-minute rests. After which on the finish of that collection of 10 pull-ups, we might measure his temperature and apply our prototype gadgets to extract the warmth. And in the future after we extracted the warmth, he went again to the pull-up bar and did the identical variety of pull-ups as in his first set and we mentioned, “Holy crow, what does that imply? The fatigue is gone.” And it needed to do with the temperature of the muscle. That’s what we found. So, we then began cooling him after each different set of pull-ups, and his efficiency plateaued to a sure extent. So, he elevated his work quantity dramatically from in the future to the following.

Katie: And I received to learn a abstract of that examine, and it was actually astounding to me as a result of this was not a small, similar to marginal enchancment. This was a drastic distinction in efficiency even with out a variety of relaxation days in between or any of the traditional belongings you would assume can be essential.

Craig: So, simply to provide the numbers, in that one explicit preliminary discovery, once we began cooling him after each different set of pull-ups, he went from a complete of 180 pull-ups, which is already superb, to 618 pull-ups in 10 units. It’s exceptional.

Katie: That basically, actually is astounding. That’s virtually what…virtually a 4X inference, which actually speaks to primarily understanding that it’s not essentially the muscle power that’s the limiting consider these exercises, it’s that warmth. And from what we are able to inform within the information, is that this a secure strategy to truly manipulate that, like cooling the physique truly lets the physique safely carry out at that stage?

Craig: Proper. You can’t decrease the physique temperature…why this system… These vessels will shut down if it will get too chilly. That’s why placing your hand in a bucket of ice water received’t work. It simply shuts down the warmth loss. So, it’s secure, from that regard, you possibly can’t induce hypothermia. So, the hazard is that in case you get to too excessive ranges of efficiency, you truly begin doing harm to your tendons and ligaments. So, it’s good to have coaches and trainers to guard towards that. However that’s on the excessive finish.

Katie: And possibly most of us in regular on a regular basis exertion should not hitting the higher limits of athletic capacity. That is only a actually superb software. And I might guess additionally, has simply vital implications to grasp for the extra excessive circumstances as nicely. Like, for example, somebody who’s hypothermic, you discovered, you possibly can heat them. If somebody is having perhaps warmth stroke, I might guess the identical is true, the best strategy to cool them is to chill the arms, ft, and face, however not overcool it. So, not ice water however cool water?

Craig: Completely. You might have it. And though that is for athletic coaching… So, you talked about rising power. Effectively, that’s for certain. What occurs is that while you improve your exercise, you improve your work quantity, the result’s a conditioning impact. This reaching of 618 pull-ups, that was over a interval of perhaps six weeks…six to eight weeks. However what you see is you see every day, you’ll be able to do some bit extra after which the remainder durations between bouts of train, that’s while you get the hypertrophy of the muscle, the improved conditioning. So, you undoubtedly have impact. I had a gaggle of freshman girls who had been doing an experiment that was a part of a seminar they had been in. So, we had them doing pushups. And a few of these freshman girls, not athletes, they received to over 800 pushups. They usually got here in in the future and so they mentioned, “Dr. Heller, you value us some huge cash.” Why? “We had a proper dance this weekend. All of us had to purchase new sleeveless attire.”

Katie: That’s so humorous. And I’m curious, do we have now any finest practices based mostly on the analysis you’ve performed of the most effective methods to include this? I work with some athletes in rising their athletic efficiency, I’m additionally personally on a journey of getting stronger and weightlifting, after which I’ve children who’re athletes. So, it makes me curious of, how can we use this in our personal lives? Like, are there finest practices for the way lengthy, or what temperature, or what that protocol seems like?

Craig: Sure, there are. To begin with, you could possibly examine… We’re simply popping out with a brand new machine that might be out there that’s now in type of beta testing in a variety of athletic groups, and with athletes, and with firefighters, and with navy particular forces. However you possibly can test it out on the web site,, And that provides you an thought of what’s out there now or will quickly be out there and the way it’s finest used.

However temperature is crucial. So, for athletes or individuals which are figuring out recurrently, we type of set the temperature between 12 and 15 levels centigrade, temperature of the water. However, for some individuals, that’s too chilly. So, an instance is we’ve labored with a variety of a number of sclerosis sufferers. And people with a number of sclerosis could be very temperature-sensitive. If the temperature goes up a bit of bit, both the room temperature, the out of doors temperature, or the physique temperatures, their signs are exacerbated. And with these people, the cooling vastly reduces their signs. They will return to regular functioning and never have to remain in air-conditioned locations. However, for them, in case you cool their palm or surfaces, these palms of the arms, beneath about 23 levels centigrade, then they’ll vasoconstrict. So, for these people normally about 20 levels was an excellent temperature.

Katie: Okay. So, sort of a rudimentary strategy to experiment with this appears like it could be to have cool water in that temperature vary and a cooler or one thing and check out placing the arms in between units or sprints or exercises?

Craig: So, that’s primarily like faucet water. Okay? Let me return to one thing you talked about about security. I feel that is actually an vital concern as a result of yearly there are highschool athletes that go into heatstroke within the late summer season, early fall, with athletic practices. Now, in each single faculty, you may have defibrillators, however what number of college students get coronary heart assaults? None. However many, many go into warmth sickness or warmth stroke yearly. And there are even fatalities attributable to heatstroke as a consequence of apply..not competitors, however apply.

So, I feel worrying about methods of quickly cooling these people is essential. Now, the advice for Nationwide Collegiate Athletic Affiliation is immersion in chilly water. And that completely works. That’s high quality in case you immerse the entire physique in chilly water, however you don’t essentially have chilly water tub out there each place. Whereas, in case you assault the glabrous pores and skin, you possibly can apply it instantly. Even at first contact with the affected person, you possibly can apply it and it’ll convey them again.

Katie: Yeah. And a few follow-ups associated to this, simply from a proportion perspective, I take into consideration like, while you take a look at another substance that we are able to use for athletic efficiency, even steroids, you’re not getting this type of enhancements. And it is a secure, non-invasive, non-injectable, non-supplement temperature regulation, and also you’re not even speaking about excessive temperature. So, even earlier than that is extra mainstream adopted, which I agree with you, this must be in faculties, it’s a factor I really feel like as people and fogeys, we are able to implement to assist our youngsters and to assist ourselves with coaching.

Craig: Yeah. Completely. And you place your finger proper on the crucial button, persons are prepared to attempt all kinds of issues that aren’t good for them. Efficiency-enhancing medicine, they’re completely unhealthy information. And this truly is far more efficacious than performance-enhancing medicine. Now, you talked about weight lifting, and we’re speaking about that type of power conditioning, but it surely’s additionally true for endurance sports activities. Now, with the present gadgets that we’ve constructed, we are able to’t take them outside and use them repeatedly. We are able to use them episodically. However we’re within the means of designing and constructing wearable methods. And this might be essential, for instance, for firefighters. And in addition, we received onto this as a result of we received emails from Ebola staff in Sierra Leone. They mentioned, you realize, “We’ve to care for these sufferers, and we go into the new zone in our PPE, private protecting tools, and we are able to’t be in there for greater than 15, 20 minutes. So, isn’t there one thing you are able to do?” So, that set us on the monitor of attempting to construct wearable methods.

Katie: Yeah. I can see so many potential makes use of, and I’m actually excited to maintain following the work you’re doing on this. I even have simply anecdotally observed, in myself, the identical is true in excessive chilly as nicely. Not within the working room, however I like doing chilly plunges typically for athletic restoration, and I’ve discovered that it’s my arms and my ft that restrict how lengthy I can get in there. And after I put on scuba gloves, like neoprene socks and gloves, I can get a lot extra muscle profit with out feeling as chilly and with out hitting that shiver level as quickly.

Craig: Proper. So, I guess while you come out, in a few minutes, you begin shivering. Yeah. So, what’s taking place is you’re dropping warmth from your entire peripheral tissue, your legs, your arms, and so forth. After which while you get out, your physique begins sending blood again into these limbs and it comes again into the core of your physique chilly. After which that’s while you see the extraordinary shivering.

Katie: That is smart. And, clearly, we’ve gotten to delve into the athletic and efficiency advantages of this, however there’s a lot extra associated to temperature than simply athletic efficiency. And I do know you’ve performed analysis in different areas as nicely and that there’s some crossover right here into the sleep world, which I feel might be an excellent segue. I do know I’m a giant fan of sleeping with a chili pad, which cools my sleep setting. And there’s to be some well-established information on sleep temperature affecting issues like deep sleep, for example, and sleep length and variety of wake-ups. However let’s simply begin broad and speak a bit of bit about your sleep analysis as nicely.

Craig: Effectively, the sleep analysis is kind of assorted. And very long time in the past, we did analysis on temperature and sleep, and what occurs to our regulation of physique temperature throughout sleep. Most not too long ago, my sleep analysis has to do with the function of sleep and circadian rhythms in studying in reminiscence. And particularly, we’re engaged on down syndrome, which is a situation that’s very, very…it’s the most typical genetic explanation for cognitive mental incapacity. And so, we’ve been working in that space. However going again to temperature, one of many attention-grabbing issues that was our first discovery was that, you realize, we have now two sleep states. We’ve REM sleep, fast eye motion sleep, which is one we have now vivid goals and nightmares. Okay? After which we have now non-rapid eye motion sleep, which is about 80% of our sleep.

And one of many attention-grabbing issues we discovered a very long time in the past was that in REM sleep, we don’t regulate our physique temperature. The interior thermostat is turned off. That’s only a aspect remark. Throughout non-REM sleep, we do regulate our physique temperature, however at a decrease stage than throughout wake. So, the thermostat within the mind is ready to a decrease stage while you fall asleep. Now, in case you fall asleep and also you’re feeling cool within the night, which is probably going, you’ll pull on numerous covers. Okay? And quarter-hour later, you get up sweating as a result of what’s occurred is you insulated your self to the temperature of your physique…to your regulated temperature earlier than sleep, your thermostat will get set down and now you’re too sizzling.

So, it’s true {that a} cool setting is a lot better for sleeping. And the explanation for that ties these two areas of analysis collectively. What occurs while you’re too sizzling in mattress? You stick out your arms otherwise you stick out your ft from underneath the covers, proper? So, in case you’re in a heat setting, that doesn’t assist. However in case you’re in a cool setting, that makes it potential to return again into the regulated temperature that your mind is telling you you ought to be at.

Katie: That is smart. And I’ve learn how there’s that…mammals have that adaptation of that our physique temperature does are likely to go up, I feel a bit of bit, throughout sleep, which I’ve heard it defined, it got here from sleeping on the bottom and the temperature on the bottom would convey your physique temperature down, so we developed that adaptation to warmth the physique. However now we’re sleeping in these temperature-controlled environments, and such as you mentioned, we get sizzling in the midst of the night time.

Craig: Effectively, yeah. Typically, temperature goes down with sleep. It goes down with the circadian timing of sleep as nicely. It comes again up and it begins coming again up within the morning earlier than you get up. Okay? So, temperatures typically decrease late within the day than round midday, however then while you fall asleep, it takes an additional dip. There’s an organization that I’ve been an advisor for referred to as Eight Sleep, and so they make a mattress which is temperature-controlled. However, as well as, you possibly can program it to a temperature cycle that finest matches your physique’s settings. Okay? And not too long ago, the San Francisco 49ers purchased these beds for all of their gamers, and so they love them. They are saying they’re getting a lot better sleep.

Katie: Having experimented with the temperature regulation at night time, I’ll say it spoils you although. Now after I journey, I miss having the ability to be cool at night time. However from understanding this, wouldn’t it be logical to then assume that if somebody wore simply the cool mitt throughout sleep, it could have an analogous and even doubtlessly larger impact, or would you not wish to put on that in sleep?

Craig: I feel it could have an impact. I don’t essentially know that it could be larger. The opposite factor is simply cooling earlier than you fall asleep. So, in case you used it earlier than sleep so it removed any extra warmth load that you’ve… Let’s say you probably did a exercise within the night, you’re going to go to mattress with an additional warmth load. So, in case you might take that warmth load away, it could facilitate your sleep.

Katie: That is smart. I’ve observed, and I don’t assume most individuals wish to do that, but when I get within the chilly plunge like an hour or so earlier than bedtime, my deep sleep numbers enhance, which is smart, in mild of what you simply mentioned, however I really feel like most individuals aren’t gonna be gung-ho about leaping into chilly water proper earlier than mattress. So, this could be a better, gentler strategy.

Craig: Yeah. Proper. I feel so.

Katie: And I feel sleep is a giant concern for mothers, particularly with children at numerous ages and what comes together with that. So, based mostly in your analysis, what are a few of these sensible issues we are able to pull that could be suggestions to assist enhance sleep high quality and length based mostly on what you’re seeing within the analysis?

Craig: Effectively, there was a giant sea change within the sleep medication world within the final decade or so. And 20 years in the past, the massive factor had been sleeping tablets, all kinds of various sorts of sleeping tablets. And plenty of of them are nonetheless out there now and are used and are literally prescribed for individuals who have severe issues. However these medicine have issues as nicely. You develop into acclimated to them, and due to this fact the doses need to go up, need to go up, need to go up. They usually have unwanted effects, okay? So, what has occurred within the sleep medication world within the final 10, 15 years, has been the rise of behavioral remedy, cognitive-behavioral remedy. And that’s used to enhance sleep hygiene. So, sleep hygiene appears like an odd idea, however it’s. It’s what you are able to do to enhance the standard of your sleep.

And there are straightforward issues comparable to have a scheduled bedtime. Don’t simply work till you are feeling as in case you don’t wish to work anymore after which go to mattress. , don’t do this. Have a scheduled bedtime. And don’t work, or don’t do issues that you’d usually be doing in the course of the day for the hour or hour and a half, two hours earlier than bedtime. Okay? One of many crucial issues is to not use computer systems as a result of computer systems have a variety of blue mild. And what blue mild does is, within the night, publicity to blue mild phase-delays your circadian system. So, it makes you react as if it’s not as late because it actually is. Okay? So, you don’t wish to phase-delay your circadian system. You need your circadian clock to favor sleep on the proper time.

One other factor is simply keep a selected sleep setting, and that is referred to as contextual conditioning, so that you simply solely affiliate the bed room with sleep and intercourse. That’s it, you realize? Not work, you don’t use your bed room as an workplace. Now, for individuals who reside in effectivity flats, that could be troublesome, however there are methods you are able to do it in establishing the room. And, in fact, the crucial factor is your personal conduct. Flip off the pc an hour earlier than mattress. Don’t attempt to be considering proper up till bedtime after which count on your mind’s gonna shut off and fall asleep.

Katie: And I’ve observed that mild manipulation within the morning additionally appears to have a giant affect on sleep patterns as nicely. And I inform individuals this rather a lot, it’s a free…appears so easy, and it has such a profound influence, simply going outdoors. Even when it’s a cloudy day, simply going outdoors while you get up, begins that clock.

Craig: Oh, yeah. Exterior mild, even on a cloudy day is lots of…no, 1000’s of occasions brighter than your inside mild. We don’t notice it as a result of our eyes quickly modify to the sunshine stage. However while you go outdoors, you get a lot, a lot better visible stimulation, mild stimulation. And early morning mild, together with train, is nice for preserving your circadian clock synchronized. Your circadian clock will not be working at precisely 24 hours. So, some persons are early, they’re larks, and different persons are owls, they have a tendency to run later on daily basis. However one of many methods you retain your clock in sync with the true world is that mild publicity within the morning.

Katie: And also you’ve additionally, from my studying, performed some work particular to insomnia. And it is a downside I hear from increasingly more people who find themselves seeming to expertise insomnia. Do you may have any insomnia-specific suggestions?

Craig: I’m not an knowledgeable on insomnia in any respect. And the first remedies or the beneficial remedies for insomnia are the cognitive behavioral remedy, establishing a sample of sleep so that you simply count on to sleep, you’re prepared for sleep, you’re in the best place for sleep on daily basis. Now, for people who find themselves actually, actually, you realize, horrible insomniacs, there are protocols which are used. So, one of many issues that’s used is a protocol through which the people are solely allowed to be in mattress for, let’s say, six hours or seven hours. Okay?

And so, day after day, they’re solely allowed to be in mattress for six hours. So, they’re gonna get a sleep debt. They’re going to get, you realize, stress for sleep. Okay. So, then enable them seven hours. Okay. So, ultimately, get to some extent the place while you go to mattress, you’re tuned to sleep. So, it appears counterproductive to deprive somebody of sleep who has insomnia, however that’s a manner of getting their system again in sync with the best way it must be functioning.

Katie: That is smart. I hadn’t thought of that strategy.

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You additionally talked about REM sleep being the time of goals and nightmares. And that is truly a breakfast dialog not too long ago at my home that I might love to have the ability to clarify to my children higher, however why can we dream? What’s taking place to our brains throughout your dream states?

Craig: Effectively, once we are in REM sleep, we’re paralyzed. There’s inhibition of all the instructions going out to our muscle mass. So, the supposed rationale for this, the evolutionary rationale, is that it prevents us from performing out our goals. Okay? So, performing out goals will not be sleepwalking. Sleepwalking happens in non-REM sleep. However performing out goals for somebody who has REM sleep problem, they’ll injure themselves or their sleeping companions due to violent actions. They will rise up from mattress and begin to run and run into one thing. They will do one thing very violent, like break furnishings or put their head by way of a wall. It’s unimaginable what individuals can do with REM conduct dysfunction. So, to stop that, or the explanation we don’t do that’s our muscle mass are primarily paralyzed throughout REM sleep.

And that additionally applies to a few of the sensory enter. So, what’s taking place within the mind throughout REM sleep is the mind is reactivated. So, in case you take a look at the electroencophilic REM, the EEG, the EEG of REM sleep seems similar to wakefulness as a result of the cortex of the mind, the considering cap of the mind, is reactivated. Okay? So, that reactivation is impartial of any suggestions from muscle mass and any sensory enter. So, it’s like placing the mind in impartial. It could actually simply freely affiliate. And that’s why we get these…what appear to be cheap goals once we’re dreaming, however then once we get up, we notice how weird they had been. They’re simply completely unrealistic. However they might have elements of issues that had been on our minds earlier than we went to sleep, issues that occurred the day earlier than. Nevertheless it’s a course of, I feel, of free affiliation of knowledge within the mind, not constrained by sensory suggestions from muscle mass and joints and from eyes and ears, and so forth.

Katie: And I don’t know if that is true, you possibly can verify or deny for me, however I’ve learn that typically while you’re falling asleep and you’ve got that have of like jolting for a second, that that’s the physique sort of testing to see if you’re going into that state of paralysis. Is that proper or is that city fable?

Craig: It’s in all probability a fable. And the reason being that besides in sure pathological circumstances, we don’t go into REM sleep instantly from wakefulness. We all the time enter sleep by way of non-REM sleep after which after… Effectively, once we go to mattress after about perhaps 60 minutes, we’ll have our first REM episode. Okay? After which it cycles all through the night time, about 5 cycles of non-REM, REM, non-REM, REM. And far more REM late within the night time, a a lot deeper non-REM early within the night time. So, what you’re fascinated with or speaking about might be this drowsy state or what we name stage one non-REM sleep in which there’s nonetheless some affiliation with wakeful expertise. And unexpectedly, you could notice you’re falling asleep after which you may have some temporary arousal that you simply return as much as wakefulness. So, it’s that difficult stage between wakefulness and sleep that isn’t steady, and that may end up in… One other factor it leads to is a giant phrase, hypnagogic hallucinations. So, it’s as soon as once more, type of like a dreamlike situation, but it surely’s not REM sleep.

Katie: Okay. That’s useful to grasp. And I’d love to speak a bit of bit extra about sleep phases. And perhaps now that issues like Oura rings and trackers have gotten extra widespread, individuals have extra information associated to their sleep. I’ve learn that deep sleep is a reparative state of the physique and that it’s an vital factor to ensure that we’re getting sufficient deep sleep. I’ve observed in my very own life, like I mentioned, cool appears to assist deep sleep in addition to not consuming too near bedtime, getting morning daylight. However is {that a} appropriate understanding, that we must be prioritizing this deep restfulness, and what are a few of the methods we are able to hopefully result in better-quality sleep?

Craig: Yeah. Effectively, you simply talked about one thing very attention-grabbing, and that isn’t consuming too late. That has one other impact, and that’s weight achieve. That the identical variety of energy eaten late has a a lot larger impact on physique weight than eaten earlier. So, to take care of physique weight, even with no food regimen or what have you ever, in case you take late eaters and you place them on a extra cheap schedule, like consuming at 5:00 or 6:00 within the night, you realize, 6:00, 7:00 within the night, they’ll shed extra pounds even with out imposing any dietary restrictions. So, that’s perhaps not what you had been considering, however there are many well being… Effectively, let me simply say this. To begin with, we spend one-third of our lives sleeping, however we don’t know why. So, I can’t provide you with any definitive reply.

I can provide you solutions which are partial, in different phrases, concepts about what sleep features are and why we all know that or why we expect that, however there’s nobody who can say sleep is for this explicit perform. It in all probability has many features. And we now are understanding that the evolution of sleep is far deeper than we thought beforehand as a result of our main manner of learning sleep has been the electroencephalogram. The electroencephalogram is simply good for mammals and birds which have a cerebral cortex. Okay? So, it wasn’t helpful for learning turtles, and fish, and snakes, and lizards, and different issues.

However now we’re starting to make use of totally different metrics for figuring out sleep and traits of sleep. And it appears the farther again we go within the evolutionary historical past, the extra proof we discover for sleep-like states. Now, whether or not they serve the identical perform in all animals, we don’t know. So, we’re just about restricted to learning… For useful research, we just about restricted to mammals, however there’s increasingly more research being performed on different species comparable to fruit flies, zebrafish. And these at the moment are widespread fashions for learning sleep.

Katie: Yeah. And shorter lifespan makes them simpler to review. That’s actually fascinating about… I do know there’s analysis behind that of not consuming near bedtime and I do know it’s not as socially enjoyable or straightforward to adapt usually to our regular life-style, however I do discover essentially the most distinction after I cease consuming by even like 4:00 or 5:00 within the afternoon. And in relation to like time-restricted feeding, doing that earlier within the day, which… it looks like physiologically our our bodies are designed to soak up and break down energy earlier within the day anyway, and we have now that longer digestive interval the place we expect we’re fasting, however we nonetheless have meals in our physique. And so, giving time for that earlier than sleep. And I really feel like several dialogue on sleep and temperature, I might be remiss to not ask, and I’ve a notice to ask you about hibernation and bears. I do know, completely a deviation, however I’m so curious simply to listen to a bit of bit about that.

Craig: Oh, yeah. So, I’ve performed a variety of work in my profession on hibernators, however virtually all small hibernators, as a result of you possibly can keep them within the lab. So, floor squirrels and chipmunks, and hamsters, and so forth. And we’ve performed rather a lot to indicate that hibernation is actually an evolutionary extension of sleep. That downward regulation of physique temperature throughout sleep is exaggerated in hibernators. And the opposite factor which isn’t exaggerated however dampened is the circadian system. As a result of the circadian system features to wake us up, it helps alertness relatively than sleep. So, there are animals that go into toper each day, so their circadian system continues to be waking them up on the finish of the sleep section. However in different animals which are true hibernators, they’ll go into toper for a lot of days, perhaps seven, eight days.

So, what we present in these animals is that the circadian system is dampened manner, manner, manner down. So, in a few of them, it nonetheless continues to perform and may very well be what brings them out of hibernation each seven days or so. However the query was all the time, what about bears? , individuals have argued whether or not bears hibernate or not. So, certain, they disappear within the winter, they go into their winter dens, however there was some proof that they had been nonetheless pretty heat. They weren’t actually in deep hibernation. So, fairly just a few years in the past, some colleagues and I made a decision we had been gonna reply this query. And one in every of my colleagues, Brian Barnes, was at College of Alaska the place bears are widespread. So, what we did is we constructed a facility at College of Alaska the place we might preserve bears over winter, and we might instrument them with EEG and EMG. So, electroencephalogram, electromyogram, electrooculogram, physique temperature, metabolism, and so forth and so forth, and examine all of them winter lengthy.

And it’s true that they… The place did the bears come from? There’s a “three strikes you’re out” legislation in Alaska that if a bear is an issue bear and it comes right into a neighborhood, will probably be trapped and brought away and launched. Effectively, it’s collared then, so that they know who’s who. And if the bear comes again 3 times then it’s eradicated, it’s euthanized. So, we requested the Alaska Fish and Sport to allow us to have a few these bears every winter. So, through the years, we’ve studied 18 bears. And this is a gigantic, huge quantity of knowledge as a result of, you realize, EEG is one thing which is being collected on a frequency of lower than a second, you realize, many occasions per second. So, you possibly can think about the quantity of recordings, the information information. So, we’re analyzing all of that now.

However what we discovered is the bears do go into toper, however they go down solely to about 32, 33 levels physique temperature. They don’t have these periodic arousals in the course of the winter just like the small hibernators do each 5, 6, 7 days, they arrive out of hibernation and return in once more. The opposite factor that’s attention-grabbing is that the small hibernators, as they enter hibernation, they lose REM sleep. They’ve then virtually steady what appears to be steady with non-REM sleep. And the bears have REM and non-REM sleep throughout hibernation. And the opposite factor is that they lose their circadian rhythms. Throughout the hibernation season, they not have a circadian rhythm and within the spring, that begins to return again. So, these are the types of issues we’re studying concerning the bears.

Katie: That’s so fascinating and doubtless very enjoyable analysis to get to do. That sounds thrilling.

Craig: Yeah. And it might have essential medical functions afterward as a result of within the induction of hypothermia, could possibly be a beneficial process to have the ability to use on stroke victims, coronary heart assault victims, individuals who have had traumatic accidents. However there’s rather a lot we don’t learn about how the human physique features at low temperature. So, if we learn the way the bears, one other massive mammal, how the bears have tailored to perform at a decrease temperature, that would have medical functions.

Katie: Effectively, I’m excited to maintain following your analysis on that. And some questions I wanna be certain that we have now time to get by way of, you talked about your analysis on studying and reminiscence, and I might love to simply hear what the objective is with that and the present state of what you’re taking a look at associated to studying and reminiscence.

Craig: Effectively, we got here to this due to a graduate scholar of a colleague. His identify is Fabian Fernandez. He’s now a professor at College of Arizona and he began investigating studying and reminiscence in a mouse mannequin of down syndrome. And the mouse mannequin has extreme studying deficits similar to people with down syndrome do. And Fabian got here up with the concept that… And we take into consideration the nervous system virtually as a puppet grasp pulling strings, you realize, the neuron fires, and the muscle twitches. And what Fabian mentioned is we have a tendency to consider the nervous system an excessive amount of by way of excitation, however what about inhibition? , inhibition is essential. So, the mind has to have a stability of excitation/inhibition. So, he thought perhaps it’s the inhibition which is simply too excessive.

So, the very first thing we did is we did research of sleep and circadian rhythms in these mice and we discovered there have been no dramatic variations in sleep. And truly, their circadian rhythms had been stronger. So, we knew that sleep and circadian rhythms are concerned in studying and reminiscence, however they didn’t appear to be the issue with the down syndrome mannequin mice. And what Fabian found is that if he enhanced inhibition within the mind… There are particular neurotransmitters, the chemical substances that talk between neurons. There are particular neurotransmitters that are inhibitory. So, he used medicine which mimic the exercise of these neurotransmitters. And lo and behold, the training was normalized. These animals that had extreme studying incapacity had been now functioning like their littermates who didn’t have the situation.

After which essentially the most exceptional factor on this analysis was {that a} short-term therapy with these medicine resulted in a really long-term normalization. So, it wasn’t simply, you realize, you’re taking the capsule and also you get an impact. No. The short-term therapy, two weeks of each day doses with the drug normalized the conduct for months. So, it modified the best way the mind was functioning. So, our problem has been, to begin with, doing as a lot characterization of those drug results as potential to have the ability to transfer it to the clinic, but additionally, to grasp what is modified within the mind. And that’s fairly sophisticated neurophysiology, which I don’t assume I might describe.

Katie: That’s actually thrilling although. What else is in the way forward for analysis for you? Like I mentioned, I comply with your analysis, so, I’m excited to listen to.

Craig: Effectively, we’re learning now one other gene, which is triplicated in Down syndrome. And this gene, its identify is USP 16. So, it’s not United Parcel Service, but it surely’s USP 16. And what this gene does is it’s very a lot concerned in figuring out when… You’ve heard of stem cells, cells that may turn into any sort of totally different cell. So, what this gene does is it performs a task in figuring out whether or not the stem cells differentiate after they divide or whether or not they produce one other stem cell. So, that’s referred to as renewal. So, are they maintaining the inhabitants of stem cells or are they taking place the pathway to differentiation? And the triplication of this gene in down syndrome mannequin mice has a giant impact on growth. So, the brains are smaller in all probability as a result of the neural stem cells have differentiated relatively than maintained themselves. Bone cells are affected.

So, the down syndrome mice have a a lot greater stage of osteoporosis-like signs, and that’s improved by eliminating this explicit triplication. The opposite strategy we’re taking is trying on the… There’s one other gene which may be very crucial, which is triplicated and that’s what’s referred to as the amyloid precursor protein gene. It’s very a lot concerned in Alzheimer’s illness. And people with down syndrome have early-onset Alzheimer’s, so we’re learning what the profit is by normalizing the APP gene in these animals. So, that’s the type of factor we’re doing. Within the case of the human efficiency, we proceed to review the function of temperature in muscle perform. And one of many issues we’re discovering now could be that the manufacturing of lactate by muscle is temperature-dependent. So, we all know there’s the parable that muscle failure, muscle fatigue, is attributable to lactic acid.

Effectively, it’s actually extra accurately lactate, which is produced, not lactic acid. However we all know now that lactate doesn’t trigger fatigue. You’ll be able to truly elevate blood lactate ranges and it doesn’t impact efficiency, however if in case you have excessive efficiency, you get an increase in blood lactate. So, might or not it’s that lactate doesn’t trigger fatigue, however fatigue causes lactate? And what’s it concerning the chemistry, the vitality chemistry within the muscle, that leads to that elevation of lactate? What we discover is that the lactate threshold, the brink of exercise that you simply begin seeing rise of lactate within the blood is a perform of physique temperature.

That if we begin individuals exercising in low physique temperature, they go rather a lot longer earlier than they begin exhibiting this improve in lactate. If they begin at a excessive physique temperature, lactate comes up in a short time. So, we’re learning primarily what the importance of that’s. So, it’s clearly a biomarker of fatigue, and if we might use that as a biomarker, we might maybe enhance conditioning protocols. We might design conditioning protocols that didn’t trigger fatigue so quickly.

Katie: Effectively, that circles again to the place our dialog began. I’m very excited to proceed following that work and in addition to experiment with this myself simply anecdotally as I attempt to get stronger and elevate weights, and with my children as athletes. Like I mentioned, I’ve adopted your work for some time, and it’s an absolute honor to get to listen to extra about it at the moment. A few final wrap-up questions. The primary being, if there’s a guide or a variety of books which have profoundly impacted your life, and if that’s the case, what they’re and why?

Craig: Effectively, I learn very extensively. So I can’t say anybody guide, however I have a tendency to love to learn novels as a result of they inform me about circumstances of the world, circumstances of life, that aren’t in my expertise. So, it broadens my data of what’s taking place in nature and on the planet. I prefer to learn books about unimaginable human performances like Arctic exploration or one thing that’s simply, you realize, superb as a result of that I get pleasure from studying about what the true limits are or aren’t for human efficiency. After which, maybe, this isn’t what you would possibly count on to listen to. One of many books that’s had a huge effect on my life is my very own guide. I’ve a textbook with different authors referred to as “Life: The Science of Biology.” So, we’re now going into our thirteenth version. So, why does this have such a big effect on me? It forces me, each few years, to replace myself in my discipline broadly. So, if I hadn’t had that guide to fret about, I in all probability would’ve narrowed, narrowed, narrowed my work and my pursuits and fallen manner behind in understanding different areas of my discipline, basically.

Katie: That’s undoubtedly a brand new advice. I’ll ensure that’s linked as nicely if I can discover it on-line and…

Craig: I’ll all the time sustain.

Katie: I like that. The place can individuals comply with you and your work in the event that they wanna continue to learn extra from you or see your analysis?

Craig: Effectively, that’s an excellent query. I don’t know. I’m not superb at maintaining a web site, however we’re constructing a web site now for our down analysis work and it’s primarily the Down Syndrome Analysis Heart at Stanford. So, that may be pulled up. And CoolMitt web site goes to be posting all of our work. It posts already the work that we’ve performed. So, you possibly can entry the scientific papers, the research that we’ve performed by way of that exact entry.

Katie: I’ll ensure that’s linked within the present notes. For you guys listening, And, maybe, we are able to do one other spherical in the future with some updates and analysis as issues go alongside. After which, lastly, any parting recommendation for the viewers at the moment that could possibly be associated to something we’ve talked about or fully unrelated life recommendation?

Craig: Positive. One bit of recommendation I give my college students is comply with your pursuits. Don’t let different individuals let you know what you ought to be doing. Comply with your pursuits as a result of it’s if you find yourself eager about what you’re doing, you’ll do your finest work. So then you definately would possibly ask, “What restrictions must be placed on that?” And that jogs my memory recommendation that I all the time gave my daughter when she was rising up and she or he hated it. And this got here from the musical, “Hair,” this previous musical of hippie days. And the quote from the musical was, “Do no matter you wanna do, be no matter you wanna be, simply as long as you don’t damage anyone.”

Katie: I adore it.

Craig: I believed that was superb recommendation. And the opposite recommendation I’d provide you with is sleep nicely. Sleep is vital. There are three pillars to well being, food regimen, train, and sleep. And we are typically fairly good about our food regimen and fairly spiritual about our train, however we’re all the time able to sacrifice sleep when there’s one thing else we expect we must be doing. And that’s not good.

Katie: Effectively, that’s an ideal place to wrap up. Thanks for sharing your time at the moment and for all of the work that you simply’re doing. This was such a enjoyable dialog, and I’m very grateful to you for being right here.

Craig: Thanks. I loved it. And I like speaking with you. You might be actually an excellent questioner. You perceive what we’re speaking about. Thanks.

Katie: Thanks. And thanks, as all the time, to all of you for listening, sharing your most precious assets, your time, your vitality, and your consideration with us at the moment. We’re each so grateful that you simply did. And I hope that you’ll be a part of me once more on the following episode of the “WellnessMama Podcast.”


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