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

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Katie: Whats up 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 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 number 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 right now, to speak about an enchanting…the Stanford cool mitt examine.

And we go deep on a number of these matters, together with how he bought 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 in regards to the astounding examine the place that they had 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 a way we will 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 kids as properly. We speak about gentle 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 get pleasure from this interview. I actually 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: Nicely, 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 need to go right now. However earlier than we leap 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 slightly 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 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 leap in. It didn’t matter what time of 12 months. So, once I had the prospect to go to the North Pole, I instantly referred to as her up and stated, okay, that is our likelihood. We’ve bought 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 bought 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 right now and, particularly, a few of your analysis round this. I really feel like there’s some base phrases we will outline after which delve into the specifics of what you discovered. However I’d love to listen to how you bought into this…type of you’ve found a singular warmth trade property with sure areas of pores and skin. So, perhaps stroll us into how you bought into that analysis.

Craig: Nicely, it kind of got here from a problem or a wager that a number 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 in the future a buddy who’s an anesthesiologist challenged my colleague and I and stated, “Nicely, you suppose, you realize, so, a lot about temperature regulation. I wager you couldn’t resolve an issue we’ve got within the restoration room.” “Nicely, what’s that?” Nicely, 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 enamel and the beds are virtually leaping up and down with the shivering. I stated to my buddy, you realize, “Nicely, that’s a trivial drawback.” Nicely, no, it’s not a trivial drawback. It’s a really tough drawback as a result of while you’re hypothermic in anesthesia and also you’re popping out of anesthesia, you might be 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 arduous to get warmth throughout the pores and skin. So, if you happen to use sizzling blankets, if you happen to use radiant heaters, it’s very arduous to rewarm these sufferers. So, we bought the concept that, “Nicely, we may put an arm or a leg right into a chamber with a unfavorable strain, a vacuum, that may pull blood into that arm or leg. After which we may warmth that arm or leg and that may 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, properly, 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 discovered that it had solely needed to do with the hand, not the entire arm. After which we got here to the belief that what we have been coping with was a mammalian adaptation for warmth loss. If you’re a mammal, you will have fur. We’re uncommon mammals. When you have a fur coat, it’s nice within the wintertime, however if you happen to 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 have been completely not understood as to what they have been for. And what they’re is that they’re shunts between the arteries and the veins. Usually, the blood goes from arteries by 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 by these pores and skin areas and, due to this fact, dissipate warmth. So, you may inform immediately, while you shake somebody’s hand what his or her thermal standing is. You couldn’t inform that if you happen to touched his or her arm. So, we found this reasonably common mammalian adaptation for dissipating warmth. And we have 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: Nicely, while you’re beneath 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 palms and the face?

Craig: Sure. Proper. It’s primarily non-hairy pores and skin. Now we predict we don’t have bushy 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’ve got the identical anatomical buildings.

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

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

Katie: Arteries to veins. Acquired it.

Craig: Yeah. After which that cool blood goes proper again to the center, and from the center, it goes out to the muscle tissue which might be working. Okay? So, you’re cooling the muscle tissue from the within out reasonably from the skin 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 truly 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 tissue that’s one of many limiting elements throughout train, it type of results in that suggestions mechanism and tells us to cease and that we will type of use this similar factor to our benefit within the different path?

Craig: You’re good. That’s an amazing clarification. Yeah. Completely. One other function of being mammals is we’ve got 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 number of scope. If we rise 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 referred to as hyperthermia. So, it’s very simple 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 may get that warmth out of the physique, the muscle tissue can carry on working. And we found that as a result of we have been involved in seeing what the proper parameters have been for extracting warmth.

In different phrases, what ought to the temperature be? What ought to the vacuum be? What must be the move charge? And so forth. We had a analysis assistant who was a gymnasium rat, and he would go to the gymnasium at evening 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 very best 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’d 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 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 in the future to the following.

Katie: And I bought to learn a abstract of that examine, and it was actually astounding to me as a result of this was not a small, identical to marginal enchancment. This was a drastic distinction in efficiency even with out a number of relaxation days in between or any of the traditional stuff you would suppose could be mandatory.

Craig: So, simply to provide the numbers, in that one specific 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 think about these exercises, it’s that warmth. And from what we will inform within the knowledge, is that this a secure method to really manipulate that, like cooling the physique really 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 gained’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 if you happen to get to too excessive ranges of efficiency, you really 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 usually are not hitting the higher limits of athletic capability. That is only a actually superb software. And I’d guess additionally, has simply necessary implications to know for the extra excessive circumstances as properly. Like, as an illustration, somebody who’s hypothermic, you discovered, you may heat them. If somebody is having perhaps warmth stroke, I’d guess the identical is true, the best method to cool them is to chill the palms, ft, and face, however not overcool it. So, not ice water however cool water?

Craig: Completely. You have got it. And though that is for athletic coaching… So, you talked about rising power. Nicely, that’s for positive. 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 perform a little bit extra after which the remainder intervals 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 ladies who have been doing an experiment that was a part of a seminar they have been in. So, we had them doing pushups. And a few of these freshman ladies, not athletes, they bought to over 800 pushups. They usually got here in in the future 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’ve got any greatest practices based mostly on the analysis you’ve performed of the very best 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 youngsters who’re athletes. So, it makes me curious of, how can we use this in our personal lives? Like, are there greatest practices for a way lengthy, or what temperature, or what that protocol appears to be like like?

Craig: Sure, there are. To begin with, you possibly can test… We’re simply popping out with a brand new system that will probably be accessible that’s now in kind of beta testing in plenty of athletic groups, and with athletes, and with firefighters, and with army 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 thought of what’s accessible now or will quickly be accessible and the way it’s greatest used.

However temperature is important. So, for athletes or individuals which might be understanding usually, we kind 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 number of a number of sclerosis sufferers. And people with a number of sclerosis might be very temperature-sensitive. If the temperature goes up slightly 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, if you happen to cool their palm or surfaces, these palms of the palms, under about 23 levels centigrade, then they may vasoconstrict. So, for these people normally about 20 levels was an excellent temperature.

Katie: Okay. So, type of a rudimentary method to experiment with this feels like it could 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 primarily like faucet water. Okay? Let me return to one thing you talked about about security. I believe that is actually an necessary 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 will 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 apply..not competitors, however apply.

So, I believe 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 if you happen to immerse the entire physique in chilly water, however you don’t essentially have chilly water tub accessible each place. Whereas, if you happen to 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 deliver them again.

Katie: Yeah. And a few follow-ups associated to this, simply from a share perspective, I take into consideration like, while you take a look at some other substance that we will use for athletic efficiency, even steroids, you’re not getting this sort 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 oldsters, we will implement to assist our youngsters and to assist ourselves with coaching.

Craig: Yeah. Completely. And you set your finger proper on the important button, individuals are keen to attempt all kinds of issues that aren’t good for them. Efficiency-enhancing medication, they’re completely dangerous information. And this really is rather more efficacious than performance-enhancing medication. Now, you talked about weight lifting, and we’re speaking about that kind of power conditioning, however it’s additionally true for endurance sports activities. Now, with the present gadgets that we’ve constructed, we will’t take them outside and use them repeatedly. We are able to use them episodically. However we’re within the technique of designing and constructing wearable programs. And this will probably be essential, for instance, for firefighters. And in addition, we bought onto this as a result of we bought emails from Ebola employees in Sierra Leone. They stated, you realize, “We now have to care for these sufferers, and we go into the new zone in our PPE, private protecting tools, and we will’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 observe of making an attempt 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 properly. 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 ft that restrict how lengthy I can get in there. And once 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 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 extreme 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 properly and that there’s some crossover right here into the sleep world, which I believe will probably 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 knowledge on sleep temperature affecting issues like deep sleep, as an illustration, and sleep length and variety of wake-ups. However let’s simply begin broad and speak slightly bit about your sleep analysis as properly.

Craig: Nicely, the sleep analysis is sort 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 reason behind 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’ve got two sleep states. We now have REM sleep, fast eye motion sleep, which is one we’ve got vivid goals and nightmares. Okay? After which we’ve got 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 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 stage than throughout wake. So, the thermostat within the mind is ready to a decrease stage while you fall asleep. Now, if you happen to 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 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 palms otherwise you stick out your ft from beneath the covers, proper? So, if you happen to’re in a heat setting, that doesn’t assist. However if you happen to’re in a cool setting, that makes it attainable to return again into the regulated temperature that your mind is telling you try 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 believe slightly bit, throughout sleep, which I’ve heard it defined, it got here from sleeping on the bottom and the temperature on the bottom would deliver 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 sizzling in the midst of the evening.

Craig: Nicely, yeah. Usually, temperature goes down with sleep. It goes down with the circadian timing of sleep as properly. 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 extra dip. There’s an organization that I’ve been an advisor for referred to 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 not too long ago, the San Francisco 49ers purchased these beds for all of their gamers, they usually love them. They are saying they’re getting a lot better sleep.

Katie: Having experimented with the temperature regulation at evening, I’ll say it spoils you although. Now once I journey, I miss with the ability to be cool at evening. 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 the same and even probably greater impact, or would you not need to put on that in sleep?

Craig: I believe it could have an impact. I don’t essentially know that it could be greater. The opposite factor is simply cooling earlier than you fall asleep. So, if you happen to 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, if you happen to may take that warmth load away, it could facilitate your sleep.

Katie: That is smart. I’ve seen, and I don’t suppose most individuals need 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 gentle 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 believe so.

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

Craig: Nicely, 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 have been sleeping tablets, all kinds of various sorts of sleeping tablets. And plenty of of them are nonetheless accessible now and are used and are literally prescribed for individuals who have critical issues. However these medication have issues as properly. You develop into acclimated to them, and due to this fact the doses should go up, should go up, should go up. They usually have uncomfortable side 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 feels 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 simple issues resembling have a scheduled bedtime. Don’t simply work till you are feeling as if you happen to don’t need to work anymore after which go to mattress. You already know, don’t try this. Have a scheduled bedtime. And don’t work, or don’t do issues that you’d usually be doing through the day for the hour or hour and a half, two hours earlier than bedtime. Okay? One of many important issues is to not use computer systems as a result of computer systems have a number of blue gentle. And what blue gentle does is, within the night, publicity to blue gentle 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 need 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 just 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 dwell in effectivity residences, that may be tough, however there are methods you are able to do it in establishing the room. And, after all, the important factor is your individual 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 seen that gentle manipulation within the morning additionally appears to have a giant affect on sleep patterns as properly. And I inform individuals this rather a lot, it’s a free…appears so easy, and it has such a profound impression, simply going exterior. Even when it’s a cloudy day, simply going exterior while you get up, begins that clock.

Craig: Oh, yeah. Outdoors gentle, even on a cloudy day is lots of…no, hundreds of occasions brighter than your inside gentle. We don’t understand it as a result of our eyes quickly regulate to the sunshine stage. However while you go exterior, you get a lot, a lot higher visible stimulation, gentle stimulation. And early morning gentle, together with train, is nice for holding 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 each day. However one of many methods you retain your clock in sync with the actual world is that gentle publicity within the morning.

Katie: And also you’ve additionally, from my studying, performed some work particular to insomnia. And this can be a drawback I hear from increasingly people who find themselves seeming to expertise insomnia. Do you will have any insomnia-specific suggestions?

Craig: I’m not an skilled 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 just count on to sleep, you’re prepared for sleep, you’re in the proper place for sleep each day. Now, for people who find themselves actually, actually, you realize, horrible insomniacs, there are protocols which might be 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, strain for sleep. Okay. So, then enable them seven hours. Okay. So, ultimately, get to a degree the place while you go to mattress, you might be 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 method.

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

Craig: Nicely, once we are in REM sleep, we’re paralyzed. There’s inhibition of the entire instructions going out to our muscle tissue. So, the supposed rationale for this, the evolutionary rationale, is that it prevents us from appearing out our goals. Okay? So, appearing out goals just isn’t sleepwalking. Sleepwalking happens in non-REM sleep. However appearing out goals for somebody who has REM sleep problem, they’ll injure themselves or their sleeping companions due to violent actions. They’ll rise 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 by 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 tissue are primarily paralyzed throughout REM sleep.

And that additionally applies to a number of the sensory enter. So, what’s taking place within the mind throughout REM sleep is the mind is reactivated. So, if you happen to take a look at the electroencophilic REM, the EEG, the EEG of REM sleep appears to be like 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 tissue and any sensory enter. So, it’s like placing the mind in impartial. It will possibly 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 understand how weird they have been. They’re simply completely unrealistic. However they could have elements of issues that have been on our minds earlier than we went to sleep, issues that occurred the day earlier than. Nevertheless it’s a course of, I believe, of free affiliation of knowledge within the mind, not constrained by sensory suggestions from muscle tissue 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 while you’re falling asleep and you’ve got that have of like jolting for a second, that that’s the physique type of testing to see if you’re going into that state of paralysis. Is that proper or is that city delusion?

Craig: It’s most likely 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 by non-REM sleep after which after… Nicely, 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 evening, about 5 cycles of non-REM, REM, non-REM, REM. And rather more REM late within the evening, a a lot deeper non-REM early within the evening. So, what you’re fascinated by 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 understand you’re falling asleep after which you will have some transient arousal that you just 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 leads to is a giant phrase, hypnagogic hallucinations. So, it’s as soon as once more, kind of like a dreamlike situation, however it’s not REM sleep.

Katie: Okay. That’s useful to know. And I’d love to speak slightly bit extra about sleep levels. And perhaps now that issues like Oura rings and trackers have gotten extra in style, individuals 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 necessary 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} appropriate understanding, that we must be prioritizing this deep restfulness, and what are a number of the methods we will hopefully result in better-quality sleep?

Craig: Yeah. Nicely, you simply talked about one thing very attention-grabbing, 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 keep up physique weight, even with no weight-reduction plan or what have you ever, if you happen to take late eaters and you set 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 may shed pounds even with out imposing any dietary restrictions. So, that’s perhaps not what you have been considering, however there are many well being… Nicely, 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 offer you any definitive reply.

I can provide you solutions which might be partial, in different phrases, concepts about what sleep features are and why we all know that or why we predict that, however there’s nobody who can say sleep is for this specific perform. It most likely 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 major 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 purposeful research, we just about restricted to mammals, however there’s increasingly research being performed on different species resembling fruit flies, zebrafish. And these are actually in style 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 simple to adapt typically to our regular life-style, however I do discover probably the most distinction once 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’ve got that longer digestive interval the place we predict 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’d 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 slightly bit about that.

Craig: Oh, yeah. So, I’ve performed a number 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 performed rather a lot to point out that hibernation is de facto 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 reasonably than sleep. So, there are animals that go into toper every day, so their circadian system continues to be waking them up on the finish of the sleep section. However in different animals which might be true hibernators, they may 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 at all times, what about bears? You already know, individuals have argued whether or not bears hibernate or not. So, positive, they disappear within the winter, they go into their winter dens, however there was some proof that they have been nonetheless pretty heat. They weren’t actually in deep hibernation. So, fairly a number of years in the past, some colleagues and I made a decision we have been gonna reply this query. And considered one 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 may hold bears over winter, and we may 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. Nicely, 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 Recreation to allow us to have a few these bears every winter. So, over time, we’ve studied 18 bears. And this is a gigantic, huge quantity of information 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 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 through 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. In the course of 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 in regards to the bears.

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

Craig: Yeah. And it may have essential medical purposes afterward as a result of within the induction of hypothermia, might be a invaluable 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 how the bears, one other huge mammal, how the bears have tailored to perform at a decrease temperature, that might have medical purposes.

Katie: Nicely, I’m excited to maintain following your analysis on that. And some questions I wanna be sure that we’ve got time to get by, you talked about your analysis on studying and reminiscence, and I’d 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: Nicely, 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 identical 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 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 already know, 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 really, their circadian rhythms have 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 have 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 realize, you’re taking the tablet and also you get an impact. No. The short-term remedy, 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, initially, doing as a lot characterization of those drug results as attainable to have the ability to transfer it to the clinic, but additionally, to know what is modified within the mind. And that’s fairly difficult neurophysiology, which I don’t suppose I may describe.

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

Craig: Nicely, 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, however 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 type of totally 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 referred to as renewal. So, are they maintaining the inhabitants of stem cells or are they happening 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 most likely as a result of the neural stem cells have differentiated reasonably than maintained themselves. Bone cells are affected.

So, the down syndrome mice have a a lot increased stage of osteoporosis-like signs, and that’s improved by eliminating this specific triplication. The opposite method we’re taking is trying on the… There’s one other gene which may be very important, 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 kind 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.

Nicely, it’s actually extra accurately lactate, which is produced, not lactic acid. However we all know now that lactate doesn’t trigger fatigue. You possibly can really 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, may it’s that lactate doesn’t trigger fatigue, however fatigue causes lactate? And what’s it in regards to the chemistry, the power 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 just 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 displaying 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 may use that as a biomarker, we may maybe enhance conditioning protocols. We may design conditioning protocols that didn’t trigger fatigue so quickly.

Katie: Nicely, 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 elevate weights, and with my youngsters 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 right now. A few final wrap-up questions. The primary being, if there’s a e-book or plenty of books which have profoundly impacted your life, and if that’s the case, what they’re and why?

Craig: Nicely, I learn very broadly. So I can’t say anybody e-book, 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 information of what’s taking place in nature and on the earth. 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 actual 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 e-book. 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 huge impact on me? It forces me, each few years, to replace myself in my subject broadly. So, if I hadn’t had that e-book to fret about, I most likely would’ve narrowed, narrowed, narrowed my work and my pursuits and fallen manner behind in understanding different areas of my subject, basically.

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

Craig: I’ll at all times sustain.

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

Craig: Nicely, 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 primarily 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 performed. So, you may entry the scientific papers, the research that we’ve performed by that exact entry.

Katie: I’ll be sure that’s linked within the present notes. For you guys listening, wellnessmama.fm. And, maybe, we will 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 right now 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 comply with your pursuits. Don’t let different individuals inform you what try to be doing. Observe your pursuits as a result of it’s when you find yourself involved in 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 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 find it irresistible.

Craig: I assumed that was superb recommendation. And the opposite recommendation I’d offer you is sleep properly. Sleep is necessary. There are three pillars to well being, weight-reduction plan, train, and sleep. And we are usually fairly good about our weight-reduction plan and fairly spiritual about our train, however we’re at all times able to sacrifice sleep when there’s one thing else we predict we must be doing. And that’s not good.

Katie: Nicely, that’s an ideal place to wrap up. Thanks for sharing your time right now and for all of the work that you just’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 at all times, to all of you for listening, sharing your most precious assets, your time, your power, and your consideration with us right now. We’re each so grateful that you just did. And I hope that you’ll be part of me once more on the following episode of the “WellnessMama Podcast.”


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