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 lots 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 accomplished quite a lot 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 likely one of the causes I needed to have him on at this time, to speak about a captivating…the Stanford cool mitt examine.

And we go deep on quite a lot of these matters, together with how he acquired into warmth trade analysis, the fascinating method 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 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 provides some tips for the way we will all experiment with this in our personal lives.

We speak lots 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 take pleasure in 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: Effectively, 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 this time. However earlier than we leap into the science aspect, I’ve notes in my present notes about some wonderful issues that you’ve accomplished. And I’ve to listen to just a little bit about swimming on the North Pole and the truth that you probably did a thousand pushups in your sixtieth birthday. That’s unbelievable.

Craig: You bought my deepest secrets and techniques there. No, the journey to the North Pole was a Stanford alumni journey through which I used to be the college host and the speaker, and my daughter and I 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 possibility to go to the North Pole, I instantly referred to as her up and stated, okay, that is our likelihood. We’ve acquired to take a swim on the North Pole. And we did.

Katie: That’s wonderful. The farthest north I’ve been is the Lapland space of Finland. And we did the sauna after which acquired 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 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 lots, 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 this time and, specifically, 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…sort of you’ve found a novel warmth trade property with sure areas of pores and skin. So, perhaps stroll us into how you bought into that analysis.

Craig: Effectively, it kind of got here from a problem or a wager that quite a lot of my work needed to do with how the mind regulates physique temperature and that in fact was work with animals, together with hibernators. And someday a buddy who’s an anesthesiologist challenged my colleague and I and stated, “Effectively, you assume, you realize, so, a lot about temperature regulation. I wager you couldn’t resolve an issue we’ve got within the restoration room.” “Effectively, what’s that?” Effectively, sufferers come into restoration very chilly, they’re hypothermic, and it takes them and it takes the nurses hours to get them to cease shivering 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, “Effectively, that’s a trivial drawback.” Effectively, no, it’s not a trivial drawback. It’s a really tough drawback as a result of if you’re hypothermic in anesthesia and also you’re popping out of anesthesia, you might be very chilly and also you constrict your whole blood vessels.

You retain the blood within the core of your physique, and subsequently, it’s arduous to get warmth throughout the pores and skin. So, in case you use sizzling blankets, in case you use radiant heaters, it’s very arduous to rewarm these sufferers. So, we acquired the concept that, “Effectively, we might put an arm or a leg right into a chamber with a unfavorable strain, a vacuum, that might pull blood into that arm or leg. After which we might warmth that arm or leg and that might then ship warmth to the remainder of the physique.” So, my colleague, Dennis Gron, he constructed an equipment to do this. 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 brief, 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 have been coping with was a mammalian adaptation for warmth loss. If you’re a mammal, you have got fur. We’re uncommon mammals. You probably 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 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 means of capillaries to veins, and capillaries are excessive resistance. So, what this shunt does is it bypasses the resistance so you’ll be able to ship massive volumes of blood by means of these pores and skin areas and, subsequently, dissipate warmth. So, you’ll be able to inform instantly, 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 normal 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: Effectively, if 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 fingers and the face?

Craig: Sure. Proper. It’s basically non-hairy pores and skin. Now we expect 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 constructions.

Katie: And so they’re distinctive as a result of the blood can go straight from… They mainly skip the capillaries, it could possibly 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 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 means to heat, however on the opposite aspect of this equation, it has some actually cool implications due to its means to really cool, from what I perceive? And I do know there’s some wonderful analysis on this, however, basically, I assume my top-level understanding is it’s that warmth of the muscle groups that’s one of many limiting elements throughout train, it sort of results in that suggestions mechanism and tells us to cease and that we will sort of use this identical factor to our benefit within the different path?

Craig: You’re good. That’s an incredible rationalization. Yeah. Completely. One other characteristic 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 quite a lot of scope. If we stand up to 40 levels, 39 or 40 levels centigrade or 100, 101 levels Fahrenheit, we’re in bother. That undoubtedly is a hazard zone for people. And that’s referred to as hyperthermia. So, it’s very simple with heavy train, and particularly within the sizzling surroundings… Consider ultra-marathoners in Dying Valley, you realize, they’re actually, actually taking it to the restrict and difficult their our bodies. So, if you will get that warmth out of the physique, the muscle groups can carry on working. And we found that as a result of we have been fascinated about seeing what the suitable 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 movement fee? And so forth. We had a analysis assistant who was a gymnasium rat, and he would go to the gymnasium at night time after work. And so, we 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 sequence of 10 pull-ups, we’d 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 acquired 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 quite a lot of relaxation days in between or any of the conventional belongings you would assume could be obligatory.

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 wonderful, to 618 pull-ups in 10 units. It’s outstanding.

Katie: That basically, actually is astounding. That’s virtually what…virtually a 4X inference, which actually speaks to basically understanding that it’s not essentially the muscle energy 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 strategy to really manipulate that, like cooling the physique really lets the physique safely carry out at that stage?

Craig: Proper. You can not 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’ll be able to’t induce hypothermia. So, the hazard is that in case you 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 towards 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 means. That is only a actually wonderful instrument. And I’d guess additionally, has simply necessary implications to grasp for the extra excessive instances as properly. Like, for example, somebody who’s hypothermic, you discovered, you’ll be able to heat them. If somebody is having perhaps warmth stroke, I’d guess the identical is true, the simplest strategy to cool them is to chill the fingers, toes, and face, however not overcool it. So, not ice water however cool water?

Craig: Completely. You will have it. And though that is for athletic coaching… So, you talked about rising energy. Effectively, that’s for positive. 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 perhaps six weeks…six to eight weeks. However what you see is you see every day, you’ll be able to do some bit extra after which the remaining durations 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 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 acquired to over 800 pushups. And so they got here in someday they usually stated, “Dr. Heller, you price us some huge cash.” Why? “We had a proper dance this weekend. All of us had to purchase new sleeveless clothes.”

Katie: That’s so humorous. And I’m curious, do we’ve got any finest practices primarily based on the analysis you’ve accomplished 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 youngsters who’re athletes. So, it makes me curious of, how can we use this in our personal lives? Like, are there finest practices for the way lengthy, or what temperature, or what that protocol seems to be like?

Craig: Sure, there are. Initially, you would examine… We’re simply popping out with a brand new machine that will probably be obtainable that’s now in kind of beta testing in a variety of athletic groups, and with athletes, and with firefighters, and with navy particular forces. However you’ll be able to test it out on the web site, coolmitt.com, C-O-O-L-M-I-T-T.com. And that offers you an thought of what’s obtainable now or will quickly be obtainable and the way it’s finest used.

However temperature is vital. So, for athletes or folks which are figuring out recurrently, we kind 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 quite a lot of a number of sclerosis sufferers. And people with a number of sclerosis may be very temperature-sensitive. If the temperature goes up just a little bit, both the room temperature, the out of doors temperature, or the physique temperatures, their signs are exacerbated. And with these people, the cooling significantly reduces their signs. They will return to regular functioning and never have to remain in air-conditioned locations. However, for them, in case you cool their palm or surfaces, these palms of the fingers, under about 23 levels centigrade, then they may vasoconstrict. So, for these people often about 20 levels was an excellent temperature.

Katie: Okay. So, sort of a rudimentary strategy to experiment with this appears like it could be to have cool water in that temperature vary and a cooler or one thing and check out placing the fingers 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 necessary situation as a result of yearly there are highschool athletes that go into heatstroke within the late summer season, early fall, with athletic practices. Now, in each single college, you have got 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 follow..not competitors, however follow.

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 positive in case you immerse the entire physique in chilly water, however you don’t essentially have chilly water tub obtainable each place. Whereas, in case you assault the glabrous pores and skin, you’ll be able to apply it instantly. Even at first contact with the affected person, you’ll be able to 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 have 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 place your finger proper on the vital button, individuals are prepared to attempt all types of issues that aren’t good for them. Efficiency-enhancing medication, they’re completely unhealthy information. And this really is far more efficacious than performance-enhancing medication. Now, you talked about weight lifting, and we’re speaking about that kind of energy conditioning, however it’s additionally true for endurance sports activities. Now, with the present gadgets that we’ve constructed, we will’t take them outdoor and use them constantly. We will use them episodically. However we’re within the means of designing and constructing wearable techniques. And this will probably be essential, for instance, for firefighters. And in addition, we acquired onto this as a result of we acquired emails from Ebola employees in Sierra Leone. They stated, you realize, “We have now to deal with 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 monitor of attempting to construct wearable techniques.

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 fingers and my toes 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 if you come out, in a few minutes, you begin shivering. Yeah. So, what’s taking place is you’re dropping warmth from your whole 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 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 accomplished analysis in different areas as properly and that there’s some crossover right here into the sleep world, which I feel will probably be an excellent segue. I do know I’m a giant fan of sleeping with a chili pad, which cools my sleep surroundings. And there’s to be some well-established knowledge on sleep temperature affecting issues like deep sleep, for example, and sleep length and variety of wake-ups. However let’s simply begin broad and speak just a little bit about your sleep analysis as properly.

Craig: Effectively, the sleep analysis is sort 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 function of sleep and circadian rhythms in studying in reminiscence. And particularly, we’re engaged on down syndrome, which is a situation that’s very, very…it’s the most typical genetic explanation for cognitive mental incapacity. And so, we’ve been working in that space. However going again to temperature, one of many attention-grabbing issues that was our first discovery was that, you realize, we’ve got two sleep states. We have now REM sleep, fast eye motion sleep, which is one we’ve got vivid desires 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 interior thermostat is turned off. That’s only a aspect remark. Throughout non-REM sleep, we do regulate our physique temperature, however at a decrease stage than throughout wake. So, the thermostat within the mind is about to a decrease stage 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 lot 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 surroundings is significantly better for sleeping. And the rationale for that ties these two areas of analysis collectively. What occurs if you’re too sizzling in mattress? You stick out your fingers otherwise you stick out your toes from beneath the covers, proper? So, in case you’re in a heat surroundings, that doesn’t assist. However in case you’re in a cool surroundings, that makes it doable 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 likely to go up, I feel just a little 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 sizzling in the midst of the night time.

Craig: Effectively, 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 if 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’ll be able to program it to a temperature cycle that finest 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 once 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 could have an identical and even doubtlessly larger impact, or would you not wish to put on that in sleep?

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

Katie: That is smart. I’ve 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 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 neater, gentler method.

Craig: Yeah. Proper. I feel so.

Katie: And I feel sleep is a giant situation for mothers, particularly with youngsters at numerous ages and what comes together with that. So, primarily based 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 primarily based on what you’re seeing within the analysis?

Craig: Effectively, there was a giant sea change within the sleep medication world within the final decade or so. And 20 years in the past, the massive factor have been sleeping capsules, all types of various sorts of sleeping capsules. And lots of of them are nonetheless obtainable now and are used and are literally prescribed for individuals who have severe issues. However these medication have issues as properly. You grow to be acclimated to them, and subsequently the doses need to go up, need to go up, need to go up. And so they have unintended effects, okay? So, what has occurred within the sleep medication world within the final 10, 15 years, has been the rise of behavioral remedy, cognitive-behavioral remedy. And that’s used to enhance sleep hygiene. So, sleep hygiene appears like a wierd idea, however it’s. It’s what you are able to do to enhance the standard of your sleep.

And there are simple issues equivalent 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 recognize, 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 vital issues is to not use computer systems as a result of computer systems have quite a lot 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 wish to phase-delay your circadian system. You need your circadian clock to favor sleep on the proper time.

One other factor is simply preserve a selected sleep surroundings, 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 stay in effectivity residences, that may be tough, however there are methods you are able to do it in organising the room. And, in fact, the vital 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 anticipate 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 folks this lots, it’s a free…appears so easy, and it has such a profound influence, simply going exterior. Even when it’s a cloudy day, simply going exterior if you get up, begins that clock.

Craig: Oh, yeah. Outdoors gentle, even on a cloudy day is a whole lot…no, 1000’s of occasions brighter than your inside gentle. We don’t notice it as a result of our eyes quickly regulate to the sunshine stage. However if you go exterior, you get a lot, a lot higher visible stimulation, gentle stimulation. And early morning gentle, together with train, is nice for retaining your circadian clock synchronized. Your circadian clock isn’t operating at precisely 24 hours. So, some individuals are early, they’re larks, and different individuals are owls, they have a tendency to run later every single 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, accomplished 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 have got any insomnia-specific suggestions?

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

And so, day after day, they’re solely allowed to be in mattress for six hours. So, they’re gonna get a sleep debt. They’re going to get, you realize, strain for sleep. Okay. So, then permit them seven hours. Okay. So, finally, get to some extent the place if 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 method 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 desires and nightmares. And that is really a breakfast dialog lately 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: Effectively, once we are in REM sleep, we’re paralyzed. There’s inhibition of all the 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 desires. Okay? So, performing out desires isn’t sleepwalking. Sleepwalking happens in non-REM sleep. However performing out desires for somebody who has REM sleep problem, they will injure themselves or their sleeping companions due to violent actions. They will stand up from mattress and begin to run and run into one thing. They will do one thing very violent, like break furnishings or put their head by means of a wall. It’s unbelievable 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 a few of the sensory enter. So, what’s taking place within the mind throughout REM sleep is the mind is reactivated. So, in case you have a look at the electroencophilic REM, the EEG, the EEG of REM sleep seems to be similar to wakefulness as a result of the cortex of the mind, the considering cap of the mind, is reactivated. Okay? So, that reactivation is impartial of any suggestions from muscle groups and any sensory enter. So, it’s like placing the mind in impartial. It will probably simply freely affiliate. And that’s why we get these…what appear to be affordable desires once we’re dreaming, however then once we get up, we notice 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. However 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’ll be able to 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 sort of testing to see if you’re going into that state of paralysis. Is that proper or is that city fable?

Craig: It’s most likely a fable. And the reason being that besides in sure pathological circumstances, we don’t go into REM sleep instantly from wakefulness. We at all times enter sleep by means of non-REM sleep after which after… Effectively, once we go to mattress after about perhaps 60 minutes, we’ll have our first REM episode. Okay? After which it cycles all through the night time, about 5 cycles of non-REM, REM, non-REM, REM. And far more REM late within the night time, a a lot deeper non-REM early within the night time. So, what you’re interested 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 might notice you’re falling asleep after which you have got some temporary arousal that you just return as much as wakefulness. So, it’s that tough stage between wakefulness and sleep that isn’t steady, and that may end up in… One other factor it leads to is a giant phrase, hypnagogic hallucinations. So, it’s as soon as once more, kind of like a dreamlike situation, however it’s not REM sleep.

Katie: Okay. That’s useful to grasp. And I’d love to speak just a little bit extra about sleep phases. And perhaps now that issues like Oura rings and trackers have gotten extra standard, 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 necessary factor to make it possible for 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 a few of the methods we will hopefully result in better-quality sleep?

Craig: Yeah. Effectively, you simply talked about one thing very attention-grabbing, and that isn’t consuming too late. That has one other impact, and that’s weight achieve. That the identical variety of energy eaten late has a a lot larger impact on physique weight than eaten earlier. So, to take care of physique weight, even with no weight-reduction plan or what have you ever, in case you take late eaters and you place them on a extra affordable schedule, like consuming at 5:00 or 6:00 within the night, you realize, 6:00, 7:00 within the night, they may shed extra pounds even with out imposing any dietary restrictions. So, that’s perhaps not what you have been considering, however there are many well being… Effectively, 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 may give you solutions which are partial, in different phrases, concepts about what sleep features are and why we all know that or why we expect that, however there’s nobody who can say sleep is for this specific perform. It most likely has many features. And we now are understanding that the evolution of sleep is way deeper than we thought beforehand as a result of our main method of finding out 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 finding out 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 finding out… For practical research, we just about restricted to mammals, however there’s increasingly research being accomplished on different species equivalent to fruit flies, zebrafish. And these are actually standard fashions for finding out 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 usually to our regular way of life, however I do discover probably the most distinction once I cease consuming by even like 4:00 or 5:00 within the afternoon. And relating 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 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 all dialogue on sleep and temperature, I’d be remiss to not ask, and I’ve a word to ask you about hibernation and bears. I do know, completely a deviation, however I’m so curious simply to listen to just a little bit about that.

Craig: Oh, yeah. So, I’ve accomplished quite a lot of work in my profession on hibernators, however virtually all small hibernators, as a result of you’ll be able to preserve them within the lab. So, floor squirrels and chipmunks, and hamsters, and so forth. And we’ve accomplished lots to indicate 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 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 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 method, method, method 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 recognize, folks 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 couple 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 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 will likely be trapped and brought away and launched. Effectively, it’s collared then, so that they know who’s who. And if the bear comes again 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 knowledge as a result of, you realize, EEG is one thing which is being collected on a frequency of lower than a second, you realize, many occasions per second. So, you’ll be able to 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. 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 kinds of issues we’re studying concerning the bears.

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

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

Katie: Effectively, I’m excited to maintain following your analysis on that. And some questions I wanna be sure we’ve got time to get by means of, you talked about your analysis on studying and reminiscence, and I’d love to simply hear what the purpose is with that and the present state of what you’re taking a look at associated to studying and reminiscence.

Craig: Effectively, we got here to this due to a graduate scholar of a colleague. His title is Fabian Fernandez. He’s now a professor at College of Arizona and he began investigating studying and reminiscence in a mouse mannequin of down syndrome. And the mouse mannequin has extreme studying deficits similar to people with down syndrome do. And Fabian got here up with the concept that… And we take into consideration the nervous system virtually as a puppet grasp pulling strings, you realize, the neuron fires, and the muscle twitches. And what Fabian 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 recognize, inhibition is essential. So, the mind has to have a steadiness of excitation/inhibition. So, he thought perhaps 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 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 specific neurotransmitters, the chemical compounds that talk between neurons. There are specific neurotransmitters that are inhibitory. So, he used medication which mimic the exercise of these neurotransmitters. And lo and behold, the educational 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 outstanding factor on this analysis was {that a} short-term therapy with these medication resulted in a really long-term normalization. So, it wasn’t simply, you realize, you are taking the capsule and also you get an impact. No. The short-term therapy, two weeks of every day doses with the drug normalized the habits for months. So, it modified the best way the mind was functioning. So, our problem has been, to start with, doing as a lot characterization of those drug results as doable to have the ability to transfer it to the clinic, but in addition, to grasp what is modified within the mind. And that’s fairly difficult 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 comply with your analysis, so, I’m excited to listen to.

Craig: Effectively, we’re finding out now one other gene, which is triplicated in Down syndrome. And this gene, its title 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 sort of totally different cell. So, what this gene does is it performs a task in figuring out whether or not the stem cells differentiate after they divide or whether or not they produce one other stem cell. So, that’s referred to as renewal. So, are they maintaining the inhabitants of stem cells or are they 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 slightly 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 wanting on the… There’s one other gene which may be very vital, 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 finding out 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’s 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.

Effectively, it’s actually extra appropriately lactate, which is produced, not lactic acid. However we all know now that lactate doesn’t trigger fatigue. You may really elevate blood lactate ranges and it doesn’t impact efficiency, however you probably have excessive efficiency, you get an increase in blood lactate. So, might or not it’s that lactate doesn’t trigger fatigue, however fatigue causes lactate? And what’s it concerning the chemistry, the 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 folks exercising in low physique temperature, they go lots 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 finding out 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: Effectively, 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 carry 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 at this time. A few final wrap-up questions. The primary being, if there’s a guide or a variety of books which have profoundly impacted your life, and in that case, what they’re and why?

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

Katie: That’s undoubtedly a brand new advice. I’ll make it possible for’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 folks comply with you and your work in the event that they wanna continue to learn extra from you or see your analysis?

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

Katie: I’ll make it possible for’s linked within the present notes. For you guys listening, wellnessmama.fm. And, maybe, we will do one other spherical someday with some updates and analysis as issues go alongside. After which, lastly, any parting recommendation for the viewers at this time that could possibly 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 folks inform you what you need to be doing. Observe your pursuits as a result of it’s when you find yourself fascinated about what you’re doing, you’ll do your finest 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 harm anyone.”

Katie: I adore it.

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 typically fairly good about our weight-reduction plan and fairly non secular 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: Effectively, that’s an ideal place to wrap up. Thanks for sharing your time at this time 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 at this time. We’re each so grateful that you just 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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