Episode Transcript

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Katie: Hi there and welcome to “The Wellness Mama Podcast.” I am Katie from wellnessmama.com and wellnesse.com, that is 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 am right here with Dr. Craig Heller, who’s a physician at Yale. He obtained 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 is held many positions at Stanford. And he is achieved a whole 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 among the causes I wished to have him on at present, to speak about a captivating…the Stanford cool mitt research.
And we go deep on a whole lot of these matters, together with how he acquired into warmth change analysis, the fascinating means 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 research 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 discuss rather a lot about temperature regulation and sleep hygiene, methods to enhance sleep that may be helpful to your youngsters as effectively. We speak about mild and circadian rhythms, and a lot extra. He was such a enjoyable interview for me. I’ve adopted his work for a very long time, and he is capable of give some actually sensible functions for a few of his actually fascinating areas of analysis. I do know that you’ll get pleasure from this interview. I definitely did, and I am 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 am very excited to talk with you. I’ve adopted your work and have so, many instructions I need to go at present. However earlier than we soar into the science aspect, I’ve notes in my present notes about some wonderful issues that you’ve got achieved. And I’ve to listen to a bit of bit about swimming on the North Pole and the truth that you probably did a thousand pushups in your sixtieth birthday. That is unimaginable.
Craig: You bought my deepest secrets and techniques there. No, the journey to the North Pole was a Stanford alumni journey through which I used to be the college host and the speaker, and my daughter and I at all times had a pact that each time we took a hike and we got here to a brand new lake, we needed to soar in. It did not matter what time of yr. So, once I had the prospect to go to the North Pole, I instantly known as her up and mentioned, okay, that is our probability. We have got to take a swim on the North Pole. And we did.
Katie: That is wonderful. The farthest north I have been is the Lapland space of Finland. And we did the sauna after which acquired within the…it was 24-degree water, however transferring water. So, it wasn’t frozen. And that’s positively the coldest I’ve ever skilled. It was subsequent degree.
Craig: It is fairly a shock. However zero is zero. No, freezing is freezing. So, whether or not you are within the Sierra, Nevada, the place we hike rather a lot, or on the North Pole, it is just about the identical chilly publicity.
Katie: That is level. And it is a good segue as a result of we’re gonna discuss fairly a bit about chilly at present 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 might love to listen to how you bought into this…form of you’ve got found a singular warmth change property with sure areas of pores and skin. So, perhaps stroll us into how you bought into that analysis.
Craig: Effectively, it form of got here from a problem or a guess that a whole 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 sooner or later a buddy who’s an anesthesiologist challenged my colleague and I and mentioned, “Effectively, you suppose, , so, a lot about temperature regulation. I guess you could not remedy an issue we have now within the restoration room.” “Effectively, what’s that?” Effectively, sufferers come into restoration very chilly, they’re hypothermic, and it takes them and it takes the nurses hours to get them to cease shivering and so they rip stitches, they even break tooth and the beds are virtually leaping up and down with the shivering. I mentioned to my buddy, , “Effectively, that is a trivial downside.” Effectively, no, it isn’t a trivial downside. It is a very tough downside as a result of whenever you’re hypothermic in anesthesia and also you’re popping out of anesthesia, you’re very chilly and also you constrict your whole blood vessels.
You retain the blood within the core of your physique, and due to this fact, it is laborious to get warmth throughout the pores and skin. So, for those who use scorching blankets, for those who use radiant heaters, it’s extremely laborious to rewarm these sufferers. So, we acquired the concept that, “Effectively, we may put an arm or a leg right into a chamber with a adverse stress, a vacuum, that will pull blood into that arm or leg. After which we may warmth that arm or leg and that will then ship warmth to the remainder of the physique.” So, my colleague, Dennis Gron, he constructed an equipment to do this. He took it over to the restoration room and, effectively, 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 could not perceive why this was unbelievably profitable.
And simply to make a protracted story brief, 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. In case you are a mammal, you will have fur. We’re uncommon mammals. When you have a fur coat, it is nice within the wintertime, however if you cannot take it off in the summertime, that is an issue. So, mammals can have issues dissipating warmth in the summertime. So, the one areas of their physique that do not 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 did not 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 possibly can ship massive volumes of blood by these pores and skin areas and, due to this fact, dissipate warmth. So, you possibly can inform straight away, whenever you shake somebody’s hand what his or her thermal standing is. You could not inform that for those who touched his or her arm. So, we found this somewhat basic 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, whenever you’re below anesthesia, you are completely vasodilated. I imply, there isn’t any constriction of the blood vessels. And in addition, working rooms are usually chilly so the surgeons and the nurses do not sweat. And in addition, they are not clothed and perhaps they’re being irrigated with fluids. So, it is quite common for physique temperature to drop throughout anesthesia.
Katie: That is sensible. Okay. And so, I could butcher the pronunciation of this, however from what I’ve learn, these are the glabrous areas of pores and skin, the fingers and the face?
Craig: Sure. Proper. It is basically non-hairy pores and skin. Now we predict we do not have furry pores and skin, however we do. There are hair follicles in all of our pores and skin, besides these explicit areas. So, we’re uncommon mammals, however we have now the identical anatomical buildings.
Katie: They usually’re distinctive as a result of the blood can go straight from… They mainly skip the capillaries, it could go straight from veins to arteries?
Craig: That is proper. Goes truly from arteries to veins.
Katie: Arteries to veins. Received it.
Craig: Yeah. After which that cool blood goes proper again to the center, and from the center, it goes out to the muscle mass which might be working. Okay? So, you are cooling the muscle mass from the within out somewhat 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 wonderful analysis on this, however, basically, I suppose my top-level understanding is it is that warmth of the muscle mass that is one of many limiting elements throughout train, it form of results in that suggestions mechanism and tells us to cease and that we will form of use this identical factor to our benefit within the different route?
Craig: You are good. That is an ideal rationalization. Yeah. Completely. One other characteristic of being mammals is we have now a excessive physique temperature. So, we’re up round 37 levels, that is centigrade or 98.6 Fahrenheit. And once we train, our temperature goes up. And we do not have a whole lot of scope. If we stand up to 40 levels, 39 or 40 levels centigrade or 100, 101 levels Fahrenheit, we’re in hassle. That positively is a hazard zone for people. And that is known as hyperthermia. So, it’s extremely straightforward with heavy train, and particularly within the scorching atmosphere… Consider ultra-marathoners in Demise Valley, , 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 mass can carry on working. And we found that as a result of we have been eager about seeing what the best parameters have been for extracting warmth.
In different phrases, what ought to the temperature be? What ought to the vacuum be? What ought to be the move price? And so forth. We had a analysis assistant who was a fitness center rat, and he would go to the fitness center at evening after work. And so, we mentioned to him, “Why do not you do your exercise right here within the lab, and that’ll increase your physique temperature, after which we’ll see what are one of the 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 sequence of 10 pull-ups, we might measure his temperature and apply our prototype gadgets to extract the warmth. And sooner or later after we extracted the warmth, he went again to the pull-up bar and did the identical variety of pull-ups as in his first set and we mentioned, “Holy crow, what does that imply? The fatigue is gone.” And it needed to do with the temperature of the muscle. That is 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 sooner or later to the following.
Katie: And I acquired to learn a abstract of that research, and it was actually astounding to me as a result of this was not a small, similar to marginal enchancment. This was a drastic distinction in efficiency even with out a whole lot of relaxation days in between or any of the traditional stuff you would suppose can be essential.
Craig: So, simply to provide the numbers, in that one explicit preliminary discovery, once we began cooling him after each different set of pull-ups, he went from a complete of 180 pull-ups, which is already wonderful, to 618 pull-ups in 10 units. It is outstanding.
Katie: That basically, actually is astounding. That is nearly what…nearly a 4X inference, which actually speaks to basically understanding that it isn’t essentially the muscle energy that’s the limiting consider these exercises, it is that warmth. And from what we will inform within the knowledge, is that this a secure method to truly manipulate that, like cooling the physique truly lets the physique safely carry out at that degree?
Craig: Proper. You can’t decrease the physique temperature…why this method… These vessels will shut down if it will get too chilly. That is why placing your hand in a bucket of ice water will not work. It simply shuts down the warmth loss. So, it is secure, from that regard, you possibly can’t induce hypothermia. So, the hazard is that for those who get to too excessive ranges of efficiency, you truly begin doing injury to your tendons and ligaments. So, it is good to have coaches and trainers to guard towards that. However that is on the excessive finish.
Katie: And doubtless most of us in regular on a regular basis exertion will not be hitting the higher limits of athletic capability. That is only a actually wonderful software. And I might guess additionally, has simply essential implications to grasp for the extra excessive instances as effectively. Like, as an illustration, somebody who’s hypothermic, you discovered, you possibly can heat them. If somebody is having perhaps warmth stroke, I might guess the identical is true, the simplest method 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 might have it. And though that is for athletic coaching… So, you talked about rising energy. Effectively, that is for positive. What occurs is that whenever you enhance your exercise, you enhance your work quantity, the result’s a conditioning impact. This reaching of 618 pull-ups, that was over a interval of perhaps six weeks…six to eight weeks. However what you see is you see every day, you’ll be able to do some bit extra after which the remainder intervals between bouts of train, that is whenever you get the hypertrophy of the muscle, the improved conditioning. So, you positively have impact. I had a gaggle of freshman girls 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 girls, not athletes, they acquired to over 800 pushups. They usually got here in sooner or later and so they mentioned, “Dr. Heller, you value us some huge cash.” Why? “We had a proper dance this weekend. All of us had to purchase new sleeveless clothes.”
Katie: That is so humorous. And I am curious, do we have now any finest practices primarily based on the analysis you’ve got achieved of one of the best methods to include this? I work with some athletes in rising their athletic efficiency, I am 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 a way lengthy, or what temperature, or what that protocol seems to be like?
Craig: Sure, there are. Initially, you could possibly verify… We’re simply popping out with a brand new gadget that can be accessible that is now in form of beta testing in a lot of athletic groups, and with athletes, and with firefighters, and with army particular forces. However you possibly can 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 accessible now or will quickly be accessible and the way it’s finest used.
However temperature is essential. So, for athletes or folks which might be understanding recurrently, we form of set the temperature between 12 and 15 levels centigrade, temperature of the water. However, for some folks, that is too chilly. So, an instance is we have labored with a whole lot of a number of sclerosis sufferers. And people with a number of sclerosis will be very temperature-sensitive. If the temperature goes up a bit of bit, both the room temperature, the outside temperature, or the physique temperatures, their signs are exacerbated. And with these people, the cooling tremendously reduces their signs. They’ll return to regular functioning and never have to remain in air-conditioned locations. However, for them, for those who cool their palm or surfaces, these palms of the fingers, beneath about 23 levels centigrade, then they are going to vasoconstrict. So, for these people often about 20 levels was temperature.
Katie: Okay. So, form of a rudimentary method to experiment with this feels like it will 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 is basically like faucet water. Okay? Let me return to one thing you talked about about security. I feel that is actually an essential difficulty as a result of yearly there are highschool athletes that go into heatstroke within the late summer season, early fall, with athletic practices. Now, in each single faculty, you 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 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 is positive for those who immerse the entire physique in chilly water, however you do not essentially have chilly water tub accessible each place. Whereas, for those who assault the glabrous pores and skin, you possibly can apply it instantly. Even at first contact with the affected person, you possibly can apply it and it’ll convey them again.
Katie: Yeah. And a few follow-ups associated to this, simply from a proportion perspective, I take into consideration like, whenever you have a look at every other substance that we will use for athletic efficiency, even steroids, you are not getting this type of enhancements. And it is a secure, non-invasive, non-injectable, non-supplement temperature regulation, and you are not even speaking about excessive temperature. So, even earlier than that is extra mainstream adopted, which I agree with you, this ought to be in colleges, it is a factor I really feel like as people and fogeys, we will implement to assist our children and to assist ourselves with coaching.
Craig: Yeah. Completely. And you place your finger proper on the essential button, individuals are keen to strive all kinds of issues that aren’t good for them. Efficiency-enhancing medication, they’re completely unhealthy information. And this truly is far more efficacious than performance-enhancing medication. Now, you talked about weight lifting, and we’re speaking about that form of energy conditioning, nevertheless it’s additionally true for endurance sports activities. Now, with the present gadgets that we have constructed, we will not take them open air and use them constantly. We are able to use them episodically. However we’re within the technique of designing and constructing wearable methods. And this can 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 mentioned, , “We now have to care for these sufferers, and we go into the recent zone in our PPE, private protecting gear, and we will not be in there for greater than 15, 20 minutes. So, is not there one thing you are able to do?” So, that set us on the observe of attempting to construct wearable methods.
Katie: Yeah. I can see so many potential makes use of, and I am actually excited to maintain following the work you are doing on this. I even have simply anecdotally observed, in myself, the identical is true in excessive chilly as effectively. Not within the working room, however I really like doing chilly plunges typically for athletic restoration, and I’ve discovered that it is 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 guess whenever you come out, in a few minutes, you begin shivering. Yeah. So, what’s occurring is you are dropping warmth from your whole peripheral tissue, your legs, your arms, and so forth. After which whenever 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 is whenever you see the extraordinary shivering.
Katie: That is sensible. And, clearly, we have 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 got achieved analysis in different areas as effectively and that there is some crossover right here into the sleep world, which I feel can be segue. I do know I am an enormous fan of sleeping with a chili pad, which cools my sleep atmosphere. And there is 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 discuss a bit of bit about your sleep analysis as effectively.
Craig: Effectively, the sleep analysis is sort of diverse. 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 just lately, my sleep analysis has to do with the position of sleep and circadian rhythms in studying in reminiscence. And particularly, we’re engaged on down syndrome, which is a situation that is very, very…it is the commonest genetic reason for cognitive mental incapacity. And so, we have been working in that space. However going again to temperature, one of many attention-grabbing issues that was our first discovery was that, , we have now two sleep states. We now have REM sleep, speedy eye motion sleep, which is one we have now vivid goals and nightmares. Okay? After which we have now non-rapid eye motion sleep, which is about 80% of our sleep.
And one of many attention-grabbing issues we discovered a very long time in the past was that in REM sleep, we do not regulate our physique temperature. The inner thermostat is turned off. That’s only a aspect remark. Throughout non-REM sleep, we do regulate our physique temperature, however at a decrease degree than throughout wake. So, the thermostat within the mind is ready to a decrease degree whenever you fall asleep. Now, for those who fall asleep and you feel cool within the night, which is probably going, you may 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 are too scorching.
So, it is true {that a} cool atmosphere is a lot better for sleeping. And the rationale for that ties these two areas of analysis collectively. What occurs whenever you’re too scorching in mattress? You stick out your fingers otherwise you stick out your toes from below the covers, proper? So, for those who’re in a heat atmosphere, that does not assist. However for those who’re in a cool atmosphere, that makes it potential to come back again into the regulated temperature that your mind is telling you you ought to be at.
Katie: That is sensible. And I’ve learn how there’s that…mammals have that adaptation of that our physique temperature does are likely to go up, I feel a bit of bit, throughout sleep, which I’ve heard it defined, it got here from sleeping on the bottom and the temperature on the bottom would convey your physique temperature down, so we developed that adaptation to warmth the physique. However now we’re sleeping in these temperature-controlled environments, and such as you mentioned, we get scorching in the course of the evening.
Craig: Effectively, yeah. On the whole, temperature goes down with sleep. It goes down with the circadian timing of sleep as effectively. It comes again up and it begins coming again up within the morning earlier than you get up. Okay? So, temperatures usually decrease late within the day than round midday, however then whenever you fall asleep, it takes an extra dip. There’s an organization that I’ve been an advisor for known as Eight Sleep, and so they make a mattress which is temperature-controlled. However, as well as, you possibly can program it to a temperature cycle that finest matches your physique’s settings. Okay? And just lately, the San Francisco 49ers purchased these beds for all of their gamers, and so they love them. They are saying they’re getting a lot better sleep.
Katie: Having experimented with the temperature regulation at evening, I’ll say it spoils you although. Now once I journey, I miss having the ability to be cool at evening. However from understanding this, would it not be logical to then assume that if somebody wore simply the cool mitt throughout sleep, it will have an identical and even probably greater impact, or would you not need to put on that in sleep?
Craig: I feel it will have an impact. I do not essentially know that it will be greater. The opposite factor is simply cooling earlier than you fall asleep. So, for those who used it earlier than sleep so it removed any extra warmth load that you’ve got… To illustrate you probably did a exercise within the night, you are going to go to mattress with an additional warmth load. So, for those who may take that warmth load away, it will facilitate your sleep.
Katie: That is sensible. I’ve observed, and I do not 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 sensible, in mild of what you simply mentioned, however I really feel like most individuals aren’t gonna be gung-ho about leaping into chilly water proper earlier than mattress. So, this is perhaps a better, gentler strategy.
Craig: Yeah. Proper. I feel so.
Katie: And I feel sleep is an enormous difficulty for mothers, particularly with youngsters at varied 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 is perhaps suggestions to assist enhance sleep high quality and length primarily based on what you are seeing within the analysis?
Craig: Effectively, there was an enormous sea change within the sleep drugs world within the final decade or so. And 20 years in the past, the large factor have been sleeping capsules, all kinds of various sorts of sleeping capsules. 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 effectively. You change into acclimated to them, and due to this fact the doses must go up, must go up, must go up. They usually have uncomfortable side effects, okay? So, what has occurred within the sleep drugs world within the final 10, 15 years, has been the rise of behavioral remedy, cognitive-behavioral remedy. And that is used to enhance sleep hygiene. So, sleep hygiene feels like an odd idea, however it’s. It is what you are able to do to enhance the standard of your sleep.
And there are straightforward issues resembling have a scheduled bedtime. Do not simply work till you are feeling as for those who do not need to work anymore after which go to mattress. You realize, do not try this. Have a scheduled bedtime. And do not work, or do not do issues that you’d usually be doing in the course of the day for the hour or hour and a half, two hours earlier than bedtime. Okay? One of many essential issues is to not use computer systems as a result of computer systems have a whole lot of blue mild. And what blue mild does is, within the night, publicity to blue mild phase-delays your circadian system. So, it makes you react as if it isn’t as late because it actually is. Okay? So, you do not need 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 particular sleep atmosphere, and that is known as contextual conditioning, so that you just solely affiliate the bed room with sleep and intercourse. That is it, ? Not work, you do not use your bed room as an workplace. Now, for individuals who dwell in effectivity flats, that is perhaps tough, however there are methods you are able to do it in establishing the room. And, in fact, the essential factor is your personal conduct. Flip off the pc an hour earlier than mattress. Do not attempt to be considering proper up till bedtime after which anticipate your mind’s gonna shut off and fall asleep.
Katie: And I’ve observed that mild manipulation within the morning additionally appears to have an enormous affect on sleep patterns as effectively. And I inform folks this rather a lot, it is a free…appears so easy, and it has such a profound impression, simply going outdoors. Even when it is a cloudy day, simply going outdoors whenever you get up, begins that clock.
Craig: Oh, yeah. Exterior mild, even on a cloudy day is lots of…no, 1000’s of instances brighter than your inside mild. We do not understand it as a result of our eyes quickly regulate to the sunshine degree. However whenever you go outdoors, you get a lot, a lot larger visible stimulation, mild stimulation. And early morning mild, together with train, is nice for conserving your circadian clock synchronized. Your circadian clock is just not 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 daily. However one of many methods you retain your clock in sync with the actual world is that mild publicity within the morning.
Katie: And you have additionally, from my studying, achieved some work particular to insomnia. And it is a downside 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 professional on insomnia in any respect. And the first remedies or the really useful remedies for insomnia are the cognitive behavioral remedy, establishing a sample of sleep so that you just anticipate to sleep, you are prepared for sleep, you are in the best place for sleep daily. Now, for people who find themselves actually, actually, , 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, as an instance, 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 will get, , stress for sleep. Okay. So, then enable them seven hours. Okay. So, ultimately, get to some extent the place whenever you go to mattress, you’re tuned to sleep. So, it appears counterproductive to deprive somebody of sleep who has insomnia, however that is a means of getting their system again in sync with the way in which it ought to be functioning.
Katie: That is sensible. I hadn’t considered that strategy.
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You additionally talked about REM sleep being the time of goals and nightmares. And that is truly a breakfast dialog just lately at my home that I might love to have the ability to clarify to my youngsters higher, however why can we dream? What’s occurring to our brains throughout your dream states?
Craig: Effectively, once we are in REM sleep, we’re paralyzed. There’s inhibition of the entire instructions going out to our muscle mass. So, the supposed rationale for this, the evolutionary rationale, is that it prevents us from performing out our goals. Okay? So, performing out goals is just not sleepwalking. Sleepwalking happens in non-REM sleep. However performing out goals for somebody who has REM sleep problem, they will injure themselves or their sleeping companions due to violent actions. They’ll stand up from mattress and begin to run and run into one thing. They’ll do one thing very violent, like break furnishings or put their head by a wall. It is unimaginable what folks can do with REM conduct dysfunction. So, to forestall that, or the rationale we do not do that’s our muscle mass are basically paralyzed throughout REM sleep.
And that additionally applies to a number of the sensory enter. So, what’s occurring within the mind throughout REM sleep is the mind is reactivated. So, for those who 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 unbiased of any suggestions from muscle mass and any sensory enter. So, it is like placing the mind in impartial. It will possibly simply freely affiliate. And that is 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 parts 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 feel, of free affiliation of data within the mind, not constrained by sensory suggestions from muscle mass and joints and from eyes and ears, and so forth.
Katie: And I do not know if that is true, you possibly can affirm or deny for me, however I’ve learn that typically whenever you’re falling asleep and you’ve got that have of like jolting for a second, that that’s the physique form of testing to see in case you are going into that state of paralysis. Is that proper or is that city fantasy?
Craig: It is most likely a fantasy. And the reason being that besides in sure pathological circumstances, we do not go into REM sleep instantly from wakefulness. We at all times enter sleep by 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 evening, about 5 cycles of non-REM, REM, non-REM, REM. And far more REM late within the evening, a a lot deeper non-REM early within the evening. So, what you are enthusiastic about or speaking about might be this drowsy state or what we name stage one non-REM sleep in which there’s nonetheless some affiliation with wakeful expertise. And unexpectedly, you could understand you are falling asleep after which you will have some transient arousal that you just return as much as wakefulness. So, it is that tough stage between wakefulness and sleep that isn’t secure, and that can lead to… One other factor it ends in is an enormous phrase, hypnagogic hallucinations. So, it is as soon as once more, form of like a dreamlike situation, nevertheless it’s not REM sleep.
Katie: Okay. That is useful to grasp. And I might love to speak a bit of bit extra about sleep phases. And perhaps now that issues like Oura rings and trackers have gotten extra common, folks have extra knowledge associated to their sleep. I’ve learn that deep sleep is a reparative state of the physique and that it is an essential factor to guarantee that we’re getting sufficient deep sleep. I’ve observed in my very own life, like I mentioned, cool appears to assist deep sleep in addition to not consuming too near bedtime, getting morning daylight. However is {that a} appropriate understanding, that we ought to be prioritizing this deep restfulness, and what are a number 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 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 eating regimen or what have you ever, for those who take late eaters and you place them on a extra cheap schedule, like consuming at 5:00 or 6:00 within the night, , 6:00, 7:00 within the night, they are going to drop extra pounds even with out imposing any dietary restrictions. So, that is 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 do not know why. So, I can not provide you with 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 isn’t any one who can say sleep is for this explicit operate. 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 main means of finding out sleep has been the electroencephalogram. The electroencephalogram is just good for mammals and birds which have a cerebral cortex. Okay? So, it wasn’t helpful for finding out turtles, and fish, and snakes, and lizards, and different issues.
However now we’re starting to make use of completely different metrics for figuring out sleep and traits of sleep. And it appears the farther again we go within the evolutionary historical past, the extra proof we discover for sleep-like states. Now, whether or not they serve the identical operate in all animals, we do not 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 achieved on different species resembling fruit flies, zebrafish. And these are actually common fashions for finding out sleep.
Katie: Yeah. And shorter lifespan makes them simpler to review. That is actually fascinating about… I do know there’s analysis behind that of not consuming near bedtime and I do know it isn’t as socially enjoyable or straightforward to adapt typically to our regular way of life, however I do discover essentially the most distinction once I cease consuming by even like 4:00 or 5:00 within the afternoon. And with regards to like time-restricted feeding, doing that earlier within the day, which… it looks as if physiologically our our bodies are designed to soak up and break down energy earlier within the day anyway, and we have now that longer digestive interval the place we 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 every dialogue on sleep and temperature, I might 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 am so curious simply to listen to a bit of bit about that.
Craig: Oh, yeah. So, I’ve achieved a whole lot of work in my profession on hibernators, however nearly all small hibernators, as a result of you possibly can preserve them within the lab. So, floor squirrels and chipmunks, and hamsters, and so forth. And we have achieved rather a lot to indicate that hibernation is absolutely an evolutionary extension of sleep. That downward regulation of physique temperature throughout sleep is exaggerated in hibernators. And the opposite factor which isn’t exaggerated however dampened is the circadian system. As a result of the circadian system features to wake us up, it helps alertness somewhat than sleep. So, there are animals that go into toper every day, so their circadian system remains to be waking them up on the finish of the sleep part. However in different animals which might be true hibernators, they are going to 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 means, means, means down. So, in a few of them, it nonetheless continues to operate and may very well be what brings them out of hibernation each seven days or so. However the query was at all times, what about bears? You realize, folks have argued whether or not bears hibernate or not. So, 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 just a few years in the past, some colleagues and I made a decision we have been gonna reply this query. And one in all 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 research all of them winter lengthy.
And it is true that they… The place did the bears come from? There is a “three strikes you’re out” legislation in Alaska that if a bear is an issue bear and it comes right into a neighborhood, it is going to be trapped and brought away and launched. Effectively, it is collared then, in order that they know who’s who. And if the bear comes again thrice then it is eradicated, it is euthanized. So, we requested the Alaska Fish and Recreation to allow us to have a few these bears every winter. So, through the years, we have studied 18 bears. And this is a gigantic, huge quantity of knowledge as a result of, , EEG is one thing which is being collected on a frequency of lower than a second, , many instances per second. So, you possibly can think about the quantity of recordings, the info recordsdata. So, we’re analyzing all of that now.
However what we discovered is the bears do go into toper, however they go down solely to about 32, 33 levels physique temperature. They don’t have these periodic arousals in the course of the winter just like the small hibernators do each 5, 6, 7 days, they arrive out of hibernation and return in once more. The opposite factor that is attention-grabbing is that the small hibernators, as they enter hibernation, they lose REM sleep. They’ve then nearly 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 come back again. So, these are the kinds of issues we’re studying concerning the bears.
Katie: That is so fascinating and doubtless very enjoyable analysis to get to do. That sounds thrilling.
Craig: Yeah. And it may have essential medical functions in a while as a result of within the induction of hypothermia, might be a helpful 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 do not learn about how the human physique features at low temperature. So, if we learn the way the bears, one other massive mammal, how the bears have tailored to operate at a decrease temperature, that might have medical functions.
Katie: Effectively, I am excited to maintain following your analysis on that. And some questions I wanna ensure we have now time to get by, you talked about your analysis on studying and reminiscence, and I might love to simply hear what the aim is with that and the present state of what you are associated to studying and reminiscence.
Craig: Effectively, we got here to this due to a graduate scholar of a colleague. His identify is Fabian Fernandez. He is 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 nearly as a puppet grasp pulling strings, , the neuron fires, and the muscle twitches. And what Fabian mentioned is we have a tendency to consider the nervous system an excessive amount of when it comes to excitation, however what about inhibition? You realize, inhibition is essential. So, the mind has to have a stability of excitation/inhibition. So, he thought perhaps it is 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 did not appear to be the issue with the down syndrome mannequin mice. And what Fabian found is that if he enhanced inhibition within the mind… There are particular neurotransmitters, the chemical substances that talk between neurons. There are particular neurotransmitters that are inhibitory. So, he used 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 did not have the situation.
After which essentially 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’re taking the tablet and also you get an impact. No. The short-term therapy, two weeks of every day doses with the drug normalized the conduct for months. So, it modified the way in which the mind was functioning. So, our problem has been, to start with, doing as a lot characterization of those drug results as potential to have the ability to transfer it to the clinic, but in addition, to grasp what is modified within the mind. And that is fairly sophisticated neurophysiology, which I do not suppose I may describe.
Katie: That is actually thrilling although. What else is in the way forward for analysis for you? Like I mentioned, I observe your analysis, so, I am excited to listen to.
Craig: Effectively, we’re finding out now one other gene, which is triplicated in Down syndrome. And this gene, its identify is USP 16. So, it isn’t United Parcel Service, nevertheless it’s USP 16. And what this gene does is it’s extremely a lot concerned in figuring out when… You have heard of stem cells, cells that may grow to be any form of completely different cell. So, what this gene does is it performs a job in figuring out whether or not the stem cells differentiate after they divide or whether or not they produce one other stem cell. So, that is known as renewal. So, are they maintaining the inhabitants of stem cells or are they taking place the pathway to differentiation? And the triplication of this gene in down syndrome mannequin mice has an enormous impact on improvement. So, the brains are smaller most likely as a result of the neural stem cells have differentiated somewhat than maintained themselves. Bone cells are affected.
So, the down syndrome mice have a a lot larger degree of osteoporosis-like signs, and that’s improved by eliminating this explicit triplication. The opposite strategy we’re taking is trying on the… There’s one other gene which may be very essential, which is triplicated and that is what’s known as the amyloid precursor protein gene. It’s extremely 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 is the form of factor we’re doing. Within the case of the human efficiency, we proceed to review the position of temperature in muscle operate. And one of many issues we’re discovering now could be that the manufacturing of lactate by muscle is temperature-dependent. So, we all know there’s the parable that muscle failure, muscle fatigue, is attributable to lactic acid.
Effectively, it is actually extra appropriately lactate, which is produced, not lactic acid. However we all know now that lactate doesn’t trigger fatigue. You may truly elevate blood lactate ranges and it does not affect efficiency, however if in case you have excessive efficiency, you get an increase in blood lactate. So, may or not it’s that lactate doesn’t trigger fatigue, however fatigue causes lactate? And what’s it concerning the chemistry, the vitality chemistry within the muscle, that ends in that elevation of lactate? What we discover is that the lactate threshold, the brink of exercise that you just begin seeing rise of lactate within the blood is a operate of physique temperature.
That if we begin folks exercising in low physique temperature, they go rather a lot longer earlier than they begin displaying this enhance 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 is 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 did not trigger fatigue so quickly.
Katie: Effectively, that circles again to the place our dialog began. I am 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 mentioned, I’ve adopted your work for some time, and it is an absolute honor to get to listen to extra about it at present. A few final wrap-up questions. The primary being, if there’s a e book or a lot of books which have profoundly impacted your life, and if that’s the case, what they’re and why?
Craig: Effectively, I learn very extensively. So I can not say anybody e book, 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 information of what is occurring in nature and on the earth. I prefer to learn books about unimaginable human performances like Arctic exploration or one thing that’s simply, , wonderful 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 anticipate to listen to. One of many books that is had a big impact on my life is my very own e book. I’ve a textbook with different authors known as “Life: The Science of Biology.” So, we’re now going into our thirteenth version. So, why does this have such a huge impact on me? It forces me, each few years, to replace myself in my subject broadly. So, if I hadn’t had that e book to fret about, I most likely would’ve narrowed, narrowed, narrowed my work and my pursuits and fallen means behind in understanding different areas of my subject, on the whole.
Katie: That’s positively a brand new suggestion. I am going to guarantee that’s linked as effectively if I can discover it on-line and…
Craig: I am going to at all times sustain.
Katie: I really like that. The place can folks observe you and your work in the event that they wanna continue to learn extra from you or see your analysis?
Craig: Effectively, that is query. I do not know. I’m not excellent at maintaining an internet site, however we’re constructing an internet site now for our down analysis work and it is basically the Down Syndrome Analysis Middle at Stanford. So, that may be pulled up. And CoolMitt website goes to be posting all of our work. It posts already the work that we have achieved. So, you possibly can entry the scientific papers, the research that we have achieved by that exact entry.
Katie: I am going to guarantee that’s linked within the present notes. For you guys listening, wellnessmama.fm. And, maybe, we will do one other spherical sooner or later with some updates and analysis as issues go alongside. After which, lastly, any parting recommendation for the viewers at present that might be associated to something we have talked about or completely unrelated life recommendation?
Craig: Positive. One bit of recommendation I give my college students is observe your pursuits. Do not let different folks inform you what you ought to be doing. Observe your pursuits as a result of it is if you end up eager about what you are doing, you may do your finest work. So then you definately may ask, “What restrictions ought to be placed on that?” And that jogs my memory recommendation that I at all times gave my daughter when she was rising up and he or she hated it. And this got here from the musical, “Hair,” this 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 do not harm anyone.”
Katie: I adore it.
Craig: I assumed that was excellent recommendation. And the opposite recommendation I might provide you with is sleep effectively. Sleep is essential. There are three pillars to well being, eating regimen, train, and sleep. And we are typically fairly good about our eating regimen and fairly spiritual about our train, however we’re at all times able to sacrifice sleep when there’s one thing else we predict we ought to be doing. And that is not good.
Katie: Effectively, that is an ideal place to wrap up. Thanks for sharing your time at present and for all of the work that you just’re doing. This was such a enjoyable dialog, and I am very grateful to you for being right here.
Craig: Thanks. I loved it. And I really like speaking with you. You’re actually an excellent questioner. You perceive what we’re speaking about. Thanks.
Katie: Thanks. And thanks, as at all times, to all of you for listening, sharing your most beneficial assets, your time, your vitality, and your consideration with us at present. 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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