Dr. Craig Heller on Cool Hands and Temperature Regulation for Better Performance and Sleep


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Katie: Hey and welcome to “The Wellness Mama Podcast.” I’m Katie from wellnessmama.com and wellnesse.com, that’s wellness with an E on the top. And this episode is so much 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 health care provider 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 carried out loads of analysis targeted 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 present, to speak about an interesting…the Stanford cool mitt examine.

And we go deep on loads of these matters, together with how he obtained into warmth change 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 provides some pointers for the way we are able to all experiment with this in our personal lives.

We speak so much about temperature regulation and sleep hygiene, methods to enhance sleep that may be helpful to your kids as nicely. We speak about 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 purposes for a few of his actually fascinating areas of analysis. I do know that you’ll take pleasure in 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 likewise sleep. So with out additional ado, let’s be part of Dr. Heller. Dr. Heller, welcome. And thanks so, a lot for being right here.

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

Katie: I’m very excited to talk with you. I’ve adopted your work and have so, many instructions I wish to go at present. However earlier than we bounce into the science aspect, I’ve notes in my present notes about some superb issues that you’ve got carried out. And I’ve to listen to somewhat 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 wherein I used to be the school host and the speaker, and my daughter and I at all times had a pact that every time 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 possibility to go to the North Pole, I instantly known as her up and stated, okay, that is our probability. We’ve obtained 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 obtained within the…it was 24-degree water, however shifting water. So, it wasn’t frozen. And that’s undoubtedly the coldest I’ve ever skilled. It was subsequent degree.

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 so much, 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 present 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…form of you’ve found a novel warmth change property with sure areas of pores and skin. So, possibly stroll us into how you bought into that analysis.

Craig: Properly, it type of got here from a problem or a wager that loads of my work needed to do with how the mind regulates physique temperature and that after all was work with animals, together with hibernators. And someday a good friend who’s an anesthesiologist challenged my colleague and I and stated, “Properly, you assume, you understand, so, a lot about temperature regulation. I wager you couldn’t resolve an issue we have now within the restoration room.” “Properly, what’s that?” Properly, 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 they usually rip stitches, they even break tooth and the beds are virtually leaping up and down with the shivering. I stated to my good friend, you understand, “Properly, that’s a trivial downside.” Properly, no, it’s not a trivial downside. It’s a really troublesome downside as a result of if you’re hypothermic in anesthesia and also you’re popping out of anesthesia, you’re very chilly and also you constrict all your blood vessels.

You retain the blood within the core of your physique, and due to this fact, it’s laborious to get warmth throughout the pores and skin. So, in case you use scorching blankets, in case you use radiant heaters, it’s very laborious to rewarm these sufferers. So, we obtained the concept that, “Properly, we might put an arm or a leg right into a chamber with a detrimental stress, a vacuum, that will pull blood into that arm or leg. After which we might warmth that arm or leg and that will 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 finally 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 could 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 toes, 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 outdated 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 via capillaries to veins, and capillaries are excessive resistance. So, what this shunt does is it bypasses the resistance so you may ship massive volumes of blood via these pores and skin areas and, due to this fact, dissipate warmth. So, you may inform straight away, if 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 slightly 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: Properly, if you’re below anesthesia, you’re completely vasodilated. I imply, there’s no constriction of the blood vessels. And likewise, working rooms are usually chilly so the surgeons and the nurses don’t sweat. And likewise, they’re not clothed and possibly 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 could butcher the pronunciation of this, however from what I’ve learn, these are the glabrous areas of pores and skin, the palms and the face?

Craig: Sure. Proper. It’s basically 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 specific areas. So, we’re uncommon mammals, however we have now the identical anatomical buildings.

Katie: And so they’re distinctive as a result of the blood can go straight from… They principally skip the capillaries, it may possibly go straight from veins to arteries?

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

Katie: Arteries to veins. Acquired it.

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

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

Craig: You’re good. That’s an awesome 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 after we train, our temperature goes up. And we don’t have loads of scope. If we stand up to 40 levels, 39 or 40 levels centigrade or 100, 101 levels Fahrenheit, we’re in hassle. That undoubtedly is a hazard zone for people. And that’s known as hyperthermia. So, it’s very straightforward with heavy train, and particularly within the scorching setting… Consider ultra-marathoners in Loss of life Valley, you understand, they’re actually, actually taking it to the restrict and difficult their our bodies. So, if you may get that warmth out of the physique, the muscle groups can carry on working. And we found that as a result of we had been concerned about seeing what the precise 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 health club rat, and he would go to the health club at night time after work. And so, we stated 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 someday 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 stated, “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 someday to the subsequent.

Katie: And I obtained 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 loads of relaxation days in between or any of the conventional belongings you would assume can be mandatory.

Craig: So, simply to provide the numbers, in that one specific preliminary discovery, after 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 actually, actually is astounding. That’s virtually what…virtually a 4X inference, which actually speaks to basically 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 knowledge, is that this a secure option to truly manipulate that, like cooling the physique truly lets the physique safely carry out at that degree?

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 may’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 in opposition to that. However that’s on the excessive finish.

Katie: And doubtless most of us in regular on a regular basis exertion should not hitting the higher limits of athletic capability. That is only a actually superb device. And I might guess additionally, has simply essential implications to know for the extra excessive circumstances as nicely. Like, as an example, somebody who’s hypothermic, you discovered, you may heat them. If somebody is having possibly warmth stroke, I might guess the identical is true, the best option to cool them is to chill the palms, toes, and face, however not overcool it. So, not ice water however cool water?

Craig: Completely. You’ve got it. And though that is for athletic coaching… So, you talked about rising power. Properly, that’s for certain. What occurs is that if 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 possibly 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 remaining intervals between bouts of train, that’s if you get the hypertrophy of the muscle, the improved conditioning. So, you undoubtedly have impact. I had a bunch 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 obtained to over 800 pushups. And so they got here in someday they usually stated, “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 greatest practices based mostly on the analysis you’ve carried out 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 greatest practices for the way lengthy, or what temperature, or what that protocol seems like?

Craig: Sure, there are. Initially, you possibly can verify… We’re simply popping out with a brand new gadget that might be accessible 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 may test it out on the web site, coolmitt.com, C-O-O-L-M-I-T-T.com. And that provides you an concept of what’s accessible now or will quickly be accessible and the way it’s greatest used.

However temperature is crucial. So, for athletes or folks which are understanding frequently, we type of set the temperature between 12 and 15 levels centigrade, temperature of the water. However, for some folks, that’s too chilly. So, an instance is we’ve labored with loads of a number of sclerosis sufferers. And people with a number of sclerosis might be very temperature-sensitive. If the temperature goes up somewhat bit, both the room temperature, the out of doors temperature, or the physique temperatures, their signs are exacerbated. And with these people, the cooling enormously reduces their signs. They’ll 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 palms, under about 23 levels centigrade, then they’ll vasoconstrict. So, for these people often about 20 levels was an excellent temperature.

Katie: Okay. So, form of a rudimentary option to experiment with this seems like it will be to have cool water in that temperature vary and a cooler or one thing and check out placing the palms in between units or sprints or exercises?

Craig: So, that’s basically like faucet water. Okay? Let me return to one thing you talked about about security. I feel that is actually an essential situation as a result of yearly there are highschool athletes that go into heatstroke within the late summer time, early fall, with athletic practices. Now, in each single faculty, you could 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 as a result of heatstroke as a consequence of observe..not competitors, however observe.

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 superb in case you immerse the entire physique in chilly water, however you don’t essentially have chilly water tub accessible each place. Whereas, in case you assault the glabrous pores and skin, you may apply it instantly. Even at first contact with the affected person, you may 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, if 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 this can be 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 colleges, it’s a factor I really feel like as people and fogeys, we are able to implement to assist our children and to assist ourselves with coaching.

Craig: Yeah. Completely. And you place your finger proper on the crucial button, individuals are prepared to strive all kinds of issues that aren’t good for them. Efficiency-enhancing medication, they’re completely unhealthy information. And this truly is way more efficacious than performance-enhancing medication. Now, you talked about weight lifting, and we’re speaking about that type of power conditioning, nevertheless it’s additionally true for endurance sports activities. Now, with the present gadgets that we’ve constructed, we are able to’t take them outdoor and use them repeatedly. We are able to use them episodically. However we’re within the means of designing and constructing wearable programs. And this might be crucial, for instance, for firefighters. And likewise, we obtained onto this as a result of we obtained emails from Ebola employees in Sierra Leone. They stated, you understand, “We have now to deal with these sufferers, and we go into the recent zone in our PPE, private protecting gear, 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 programs.

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 seen, 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 palms and my toes 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 wager if you come out, in a few minutes, you begin shivering. Yeah. So, what’s occurring is you’re shedding warmth from all your peripheral tissue, your legs, your arms, and so forth. After which if 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 if 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 carried out 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 an enormous fan of sleeping with a chili pad, which cools my sleep setting. And there’s to be some well-established knowledge on sleep temperature affecting issues like deep sleep, as an example, and sleep period and variety of wake-ups. However let’s simply begin broad and speak somewhat bit about your sleep analysis as nicely.

Craig: Properly, the sleep analysis is kind of different. 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 lately, my sleep analysis has to do with the position 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 commonest genetic explanation for cognitive mental incapacity. And so, we’ve been working in that space. However going again to temperature, one of many fascinating issues that was our first discovery was that, you understand, we have now two sleep states. We have now 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 fascinating issues we discovered a very long time in the past was that in REM sleep, we don’t regulate our physique temperature. The inner thermostat is turned off. That’s only a aspect remark. Throughout non-REM sleep, we do regulate our physique temperature, however at a decrease degree than throughout wake. So, the thermostat within the mind is about to a decrease degree if 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 a number of 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 scorching.

So, it’s true {that a} cool setting is significantly better for sleeping. And the rationale for that ties these two areas of analysis collectively. What occurs if you’re too scorching in mattress? You stick out your palms otherwise you stick out your toes from below 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 come back again into the regulated temperature that your mind is telling you you need 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 inclined to go up, I feel somewhat 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 stated, we get scorching in the course of the night time.

Craig: Properly, yeah. Generally, 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 usually decrease late within the day than round midday, however then if you fall asleep, it takes an extra dip. There’s an organization that I’ve been an advisor for known as Eight Sleep, they usually make a mattress which is temperature-controlled. However, as well as, you may program it to a temperature cycle that greatest matches your physique’s settings. Okay? And lately, the San Francisco 49ers purchased these beds for all of their gamers, they usually love them. They are saying they’re getting significantly 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 with the ability to be cool at night time. However from understanding this, would it not be logical to then assume that if somebody wore simply the cool mitt throughout sleep, it will have the same and even probably greater impact, or would you not wish to put on that in sleep?

Craig: I feel it will have an impact. I don’t essentially know that it will be greater. 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 got… 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 will facilitate your sleep.

Katie: That is smart. I’ve seen, 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 stated, however I really feel like most individuals aren’t gonna be gung-ho about leaping into chilly water proper earlier than mattress. So, this may be a better, gentler method.

Craig: Yeah. Proper. I feel so.

Katie: And I feel sleep is an enormous situation for mothers, particularly with children at varied 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 may be suggestions to assist enhance sleep high quality and period based mostly on what you’re seeing within the analysis?

Craig: Properly, there was an enormous sea change within the sleep medication world within the final decade or so. And 20 years in the past, the large factor had been sleeping drugs, all kinds of various sorts of sleeping drugs. And lots of of them are nonetheless accessible now and are used and are literally prescribed for individuals who have severe issues. However these medication have issues as nicely. You turn out to be acclimated to them, and due to this fact the doses should go up, should go up, should go up. And so they 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 seems 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 corresponding to have a scheduled bedtime. Don’t simply work till you’re feeling as in case you don’t wish to work anymore after which go to mattress. You realize, don’t try this. Have a scheduled bedtime. And don’t work, or don’t do issues that you’d usually be doing throughout 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 loads 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 particular sleep setting, and that is known as contextual conditioning, so that you simply solely affiliate the bed room with sleep and intercourse. That’s it, you understand? Not work, you don’t use your bed room as an workplace. Now, for individuals who stay in effectivity flats, that may be troublesome, however there are methods you are able to do it in organising the room. And, after all, the crucial factor is your personal habits. 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 seen that mild manipulation within the morning additionally appears to have an enormous affect on sleep patterns as nicely. And I inform folks this so much, it’s a free…appears so easy, and it has such a profound impression, simply going outdoors. Even when it’s a cloudy day, simply going outdoors if you get up, begins that clock.

Craig: Oh, yeah. Exterior mild, even on a cloudy day is a whole lot…no, hundreds of occasions brighter than your inside mild. We don’t understand it as a result of our eyes quickly alter to the sunshine degree. However if you go outdoors, you get a lot, a lot larger visible stimulation, mild stimulation. And early morning mild, together with train, is nice for maintaining your circadian clock synchronized. Your circadian clock just isn’t working at precisely 24 hours. So, some individuals are early, they’re larks, and different individuals are owls, they have an inclination 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, carried out some work particular to insomnia. And this can be a downside I hear from an increasing number of people who find themselves seeming to expertise insomnia. Do you could have any insomnia-specific suggestions?

Craig: I’m not an skilled on insomnia in any respect. And the first remedies or the advisable remedies for insomnia are the cognitive behavioral remedy, organising a sample of sleep so that you simply count on to sleep, you’re prepared for sleep, you’re in the precise place for sleep on daily basis. Now, for people who find themselves actually, actually, you understand, horrible insomniacs, there are protocols which are used. So, one of many issues that’s used is a protocol wherein 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 understand, stress for sleep. Okay. So, then permit them seven hours. Okay. So, finally, get to some extent the place if 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 way in which it must be functioning.

Katie: That is smart. I hadn’t considered that method.

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You additionally talked about REM sleep being the time of goals and nightmares. And that is truly a breakfast dialog lately at my home that I might love to have the ability to clarify to my children higher, however why can we dream? What’s occurring to our brains throughout your dream states?

Craig: Properly, after we are in REM sleep, we’re paralyzed. There’s inhibition of the entire instructions going out to our muscle groups. So, the supposed rationale for this, the evolutionary rationale, is that it prevents us from performing out our goals. Okay? So, performing out goals just isn’t sleepwalking. Sleepwalking happens in non-REM sleep. However performing out goals for somebody who has REM sleep problem, they will injure themselves or their sleeping companions due to violent actions. They’ll stand up from mattress and begin to run and run into one thing. They’ll do one thing very violent, like break furnishings or put their head via a wall. It’s unimaginable what folks can do with REM habits dysfunction. So, to stop that, or the rationale we don’t do that’s our muscle groups are basically paralyzed throughout REM sleep.

And that additionally applies to among the sensory enter. So, what’s occurring 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 unbiased of any suggestions from muscle groups and any sensory enter. So, it’s like placing the mind in impartial. It may well simply freely affiliate. And that’s why we get these…what appear to be cheap goals after we’re dreaming, however then after we get up, we understand how weird they had been. They’re simply completely unrealistic. However they could 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 groups and joints and from eyes and ears, and so forth.

Katie: And I don’t know if that is true, you may affirm or deny for me, however I’ve learn that typically if you’re falling asleep and you’ve got that have of like jolting for a second, that that’s the physique form of testing to see in case you are going into that state of paralysis. Is that proper or is that city delusion?

Craig: It’s in all probability a delusion. And the reason being that besides in sure pathological situations, we don’t go into REM sleep instantly from wakefulness. We at all times enter sleep via non-REM sleep after which after… Properly, after we go to mattress after about possibly 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 way more REM late within the night time, a a lot deeper non-REM early within the night time. So, what you’re enthusiastic about 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 swiftly, chances are you’ll understand you’re falling asleep after which you could have some transient arousal that you simply return as much as wakefulness. So, it’s that tough stage between wakefulness and sleep that’s not steady, and that can lead to… One other factor it ends in is an enormous phrase, hypnagogic hallucinations. So, it’s as soon as once more, type of like a dreamlike situation, nevertheless it’s not REM sleep.

Katie: Okay. That’s useful to know. And I’d love to speak somewhat bit extra about sleep levels. And possibly now that issues like Oura rings and trackers have gotten extra fashionable, folks have extra knowledge associated to their sleep. I’ve learn that deep sleep is a reparative state of the physique and that it’s an essential factor to be sure that we’re getting sufficient deep sleep. I’ve seen in my very own life, like I stated, cool appears to assist deep sleep in addition to not consuming too near bedtime, getting morning daylight. However is {that a} right understanding, that we must be prioritizing this deep restfulness, and what are among the methods we are able to hopefully result in better-quality sleep?

Craig: Yeah. Properly, you simply talked about one thing very fascinating, and that’s not consuming too late. That has one other impact, and that’s weight acquire. That the identical variety of energy eaten late has a a lot greater impact on physique weight than eaten earlier. So, to take care of physique weight, even with no eating 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 understand, 6:00, 7:00 within the night, they’ll drop some weight even with out imposing any dietary restrictions. So, that’s possibly not what you had been considering, however there are many well being… Properly, let me simply say this. Initially, we spend one-third of our lives sleeping, however we don’t know why. So, I can’t offer you any definitive reply.

I can provide you solutions which are partial, in different phrases, concepts about what sleep capabilities are and why we all know that or why we expect that, however there’s nobody who can say sleep is for this specific perform. It in all probability has many capabilities. And we now are understanding that the evolution of sleep is way deeper than we thought beforehand as a result of our main manner of learning sleep has been the electroencephalogram. The electroencephalogram is just 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 completely 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 an increasing number of research being carried out on different species corresponding to fruit flies, zebrafish. And these are actually fashionable fashions for learning sleep.

Katie: Yeah. And shorter lifespan makes them simpler to check. 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 probably the most distinction after I cease consuming by even like 4:00 or 5:00 within the afternoon. And in terms of like time-restricted feeding, doing that earlier within the day, which… it looks as if 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 every 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 somewhat bit about that.

Craig: Oh, yeah. So, I’ve carried out loads of work in my profession on hibernators, however virtually all small hibernators, as a result of you may keep them within the lab. So, floor squirrels and chipmunks, and hamsters, and so forth. And we’ve carried out so much to indicate that hibernation is absolutely 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 capabilities to wake us up, it helps alertness slightly 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 part. However in different animals which are true hibernators, they’ll go into toper for a lot of days, possibly 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 at all times, what about bears? You realize, folks 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 frequent. 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” regulation in Alaska that if a bear is an issue bear and it comes right into a neighborhood, it is going to be trapped and brought away and launched. Properly, it’s collared then, in order that they know who’s who. And if the bear comes again thrice 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, over time, we’ve studied 18 bears. And this is a gigantic, monumental quantity of information as a result of, you understand, EEG is one thing which is being collected on a frequency of lower than a second, you understand, many occasions per second. So, you may 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 throughout 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 fascinating 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 now not have a circadian rhythm and within the spring, that begins to come back 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 crucial medical purposes afterward as a result of within the induction of hypothermia, might be a useful process to have the ability to use on stroke victims, coronary heart assault victims, individuals who have had traumatic accidents. However there’s so much we don’t learn about how the human physique capabilities at low temperature. So, if we learn how the bears, one other huge mammal, how the bears have tailored to perform at a decrease temperature, that might have medical purposes.

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

Craig: Properly, 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 understand, the neuron fires, and the muscle twitches. And what Fabian stated is we have a tendency to consider the nervous system an excessive amount of when it comes to excitation, however what about inhibition? You realize, inhibition is essential. So, the mind has to have a stability of excitation/inhibition. So, he thought possibly it’s the inhibition which is just 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 compounds that talk between neurons. There are particular neurotransmitters that are inhibitory. So, he used medication 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 probably the most exceptional factor on this analysis was {that a} short-term remedy with these medication resulted in a really long-term normalization. So, it wasn’t simply, you understand, you’re taking the tablet and also you get an impact. No. The short-term remedy, two weeks of day by day doses with the drug normalized the habits for months. So, it modified the way in which the mind was functioning. So, our problem has been, to start with, doing as a lot characterization of those drug results as potential to have the ability to transfer it to the clinic, but in addition, to know 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 stated, I observe your analysis, so, I’m excited to listen to.

Craig: Properly, 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, nevertheless it’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 form of completely different cell. So, what this gene does is it performs a job 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 known 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 an enormous impact on improvement. So, the brains are smaller in all probability as a result of the neural stem cells have differentiated slightly than maintained themselves. Bone cells are affected.

So, the down syndrome mice have a a lot increased degree of osteoporosis-like signs, and that’s improved by eliminating this specific triplication. The opposite method we’re taking is wanting on the… There’s one other gene which may be very crucial, which is triplicated and that’s what’s known 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 check the position 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 brought on by lactic acid.

Properly, 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 when you’ve got 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 ends in 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 folks exercising in low physique temperature, they go so much 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 basically 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: Properly, that circles again to the place our dialog began. I’m very excited to proceed following that work and likewise to experiment with this myself simply anecdotally as I attempt to get stronger and raise weights, and with my children as athletes. Like I stated, I’ve adopted your work for some time, and it’s an absolute honor to get to listen to extra about it at present. A few final wrap-up questions. The primary being, if there’s a ebook or a variety of books which have profoundly impacted your life, and in that case, what they’re and why?

Craig: Properly, I learn very broadly. So I can’t say anybody ebook, however I have a tendency to love to learn novels as a result of they inform me about situations of the world, situations of life, that aren’t in my expertise. So, it broadens my data of what’s occurring in nature and on this planet. I prefer to learn books about unimaginable human performances like Arctic exploration or one thing that’s simply, you understand, superb as a result of that I take pleasure in studying about what the true limits are or aren’t for human efficiency. After which, maybe, this isn’t what you may count on to listen to. One of many books that’s had a big impact on my life is my very own ebook. I’ve a textbook with different authors known as “Life: The Science of Biology.” So, we’re now going into our thirteenth version. So, why does this have such a huge impact on me? It forces me, each few years, to replace myself in my subject broadly. So, if I hadn’t had that ebook 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 subject, usually.

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

Craig: I’ll at all times sustain.

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

Craig: Properly, that’s an excellent query. I don’t know. I’m not superb at maintaining an internet site, however we’re constructing an internet site now for our down analysis work and it’s basically the Down Syndrome Analysis Middle 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 carried out. So, you may entry the scientific papers, the research that we’ve carried out via that exact entry.

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

Craig: Certain. One bit of recommendation I give my college students is observe your pursuits. Don’t let different folks inform you what you need to be doing. Comply with your pursuits as a result of it’s if you end up concerned about what you’re doing, you’ll do your greatest work. So then you definitely may ask, “What restrictions must be placed on that?” And that jogs my memory recommendation that I at all times gave my daughter when she was rising up and he or she hated it. And this got here from the musical, “Hair,” this outdated 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 harm anyone.”

Katie: I adore it.

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

Katie: Properly, that’s an ideal place to wrap up. Thanks for sharing your time at present 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’re actually an excellent questioner. You perceive what we’re speaking about. Thanks.

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


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