Episode Transcript

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Katie: Hey 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 loads 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 accomplished lots of analysis targeted on the neurobiology of sleep, circadian rhythms and thermoregulation, together with on issues like mammalian hibernation, and temperature controls. And this is without doubt one of the causes I needed to have him on as we speak, to speak about a captivating…the Stanford cool mitt research.
And we go deep on lots of these subjects, together with how he bought into warmth change 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 in regards to the astounding research the place they’d somebody go from 180 pull-ups over units…in units of 10, 10 units, to 618 by including a cooling protocol, and he provides some pointers for a way we are able to all experiment with this in our personal lives.
We discuss loads about temperature regulation and sleep hygiene, methods to enhance sleep that may be helpful to your youngsters as properly. We discuss 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 is capable of give some actually sensible purposes for a few of his actually fascinating areas of analysis. I do know that you’ll take pleasure in this interview. I definitely did, and I 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 a part of Dr. Heller. Dr. Heller, welcome. And thanks so, a lot for being right here.
Craig: Effectively, my pleasure. Thanks for inviting me.
Katie: I am very excited to speak with you. I’ve adopted your work and have so, many instructions I need to go as we speak. However earlier than we soar into the science facet, I’ve notes in my present notes about some superb issues that you’ve got accomplished. And I’ve to listen to somewhat bit about swimming on the North Pole and the truth that you probably did a thousand pushups in your sixtieth birthday. That is unbelievable.
Craig: You bought my deepest secrets and techniques there. No, the journey to the North Pole was a Stanford alumni journey by which I used to be the school 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 12 months. So, once I had the prospect to go to the North Pole, I instantly referred to as her up and mentioned, okay, that is our likelihood. We have got to take a swim on the North Pole. And we did.
Katie: That is superb. The farthest north I have been is the Lapland space of Finland. And we did the sauna after which bought within the…it was 24-degree water, however transferring water. So, it wasn’t frozen. And that’s undoubtedly the coldest I’ve ever skilled. It was subsequent 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 loads, 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 as we speak and, specifically, a few of your analysis round this. I really feel like there’s some base phrases we are able to outline after which delve into the specifics of what you discovered. However I might love to listen to how you bought into this…sort of you’ve got found a singular warmth change property with sure areas of pores and skin. So, possibly stroll us into how you bought into that analysis.
Craig: Effectively, it form of got here from a problem or a guess that lots of my work needed to do with how the mind regulates physique temperature and that after all was work with animals, together with hibernators. And sooner or later a buddy who’s an anesthesiologist challenged my colleague and I and mentioned, “Effectively, you suppose, you already know, so, a lot about temperature regulation. I guess you could not clear up 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 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, you already know, “Effectively, that is a trivial downside.” Effectively, no, it is not a trivial downside. It is a very tough downside as a result of while you’re hypothermic in anesthesia and also you’re popping out of anesthesia, you’re very chilly and also you constrict all your blood vessels.
You retain the blood within the core of your physique, and subsequently, it is arduous to get warmth throughout the pores and skin. So, in the event you use scorching blankets, in the event you use radiant heaters, it’s totally arduous to rewarm these sufferers. So, we bought the concept, “Effectively, we may put an arm or a leg right into a chamber with a unfavorable stress, a vacuum, that might pull blood into that arm or leg. After which we may warmth that arm or leg and that might then ship warmth to the remainder of the physique.” So, my colleague, Dennis Gron, he constructed an equipment to do that. He took it over to the restoration room and, 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 could not perceive why this was unbelievably profitable.
And simply to make a protracted story quick, we finally discovered 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’ve got fur. We’re uncommon mammals. When you’ve got 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 ft, 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 means of capillaries to veins, and capillaries are excessive resistance. So, what this shunt does is it bypasses the resistance so you possibly can ship massive volumes of blood by means of these pores and skin areas and, subsequently, dissipate warmth. So, you possibly can inform immediately, while you shake somebody’s hand what his or her thermal standing is. You could not inform that in the event you touched his or her arm. So, we found this fairly 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 facet impact of the anesthesia itself after which the physique having to re-regulate?
Craig: Effectively, while you’re beneath 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 possibly they’re being irrigated with fluids. So, it is quite common for physique temperature to drop throughout anesthesia.
Katie: That is smart. Okay. And so, I could butcher the pronunciation of this, however from what I’ve learn, these are the glabrous areas of pores and skin, the palms and the face?
Craig: Sure. Proper. It 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 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 may go straight from veins to arteries?
Craig: That is proper. Goes really from arteries to veins.
Katie: Arteries to veins. Bought 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 are cooling the muscle groups from the within out fairly from the surface in.
Katie: And so, with anesthesia, you guys discovered this innate means to heat, however on the opposite facet of this equation, it has some actually cool implications due to its means to truly cool, from what I perceive? And I do know there’s some superb analysis on this, however, basically, I suppose my top-level understanding is it is that warmth of the muscle groups that is one of many limiting elements throughout train, it sort of results in that suggestions mechanism and tells us to cease and that we are able to sort of use this identical factor to our benefit within the different course?
Craig: You are good. That is a fantastic rationalization. Yeah. Completely. One other function of being mammals is we’ve got 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 lots 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 is referred to as hyperthermia. So, it’s totally straightforward with heavy train, and particularly within the scorching atmosphere… Consider ultra-marathoners in Demise Valley, you already know, 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 curious about seeing what the proper parameters have been for extracting warmth.
In different phrases, what ought to the temperature be? What ought to the vacuum be? What must be the movement fee? And so forth. We had a analysis assistant who was a fitness center rat, and he would go to the fitness center at night time after work. And so, we mentioned to him, “Why do not you do your exercise right here within the lab, and that’ll elevate your physique temperature, after which we’ll see what are the very best parameters for extracting that warmth.” So, he was doing pull-ups. He was doing 10 units of pull-ups to muscle failure with three-minute rests. After which on the finish of that collection of 10 pull-ups, we’d measure his temperature and apply our prototype units 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 subsequent.
Katie: And I bought to learn a abstract of that research, and it was actually astounding to me as a result of this was not a small, identical to marginal enchancment. This was a drastic distinction in efficiency even with out lots of relaxation days in between or any of the conventional stuff you would suppose can be crucial.
Craig: So, simply to provide the numbers, in that one specific preliminary discovery, once we began cooling him after each different set of pull-ups, he went from a complete of 180 pull-ups, which is already superb, to 618 pull-ups in 10 units. It is exceptional.
Katie: That actually, actually is astounding. That is virtually what…virtually a 4X inference, which actually speaks to basically understanding that it is not essentially the muscle energy that’s the limiting consider these exercises, it is that warmth. And from what we are able to inform within the knowledge, is that this a protected method to really manipulate that, like cooling the physique really lets the physique safely carry out at that degree?
Craig: Proper. You can’t decrease the physique temperature…why this system… These vessels will shut down if it will get too chilly. That is why placing your hand in a bucket of ice water will not work. It simply shuts down the warmth loss. So, it is protected, from that regard, you possibly can’t induce hypothermia. So, the hazard is that in the event you get to too excessive ranges of efficiency, you really begin doing harm 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 possibly most of us in regular on a regular basis exertion will not be hitting the higher limits of athletic means. That is only a actually superb device. And I might guess additionally, has simply necessary implications to know for the extra excessive circumstances as properly. Like, for example, somebody who’s hypothermic, you discovered, you possibly can heat them. If somebody is having possibly warmth stroke, I might guess the identical is true, the best method to cool them is to chill the palms, ft, and face, however not overcool it. So, not ice water however cool water?
Craig: Completely. You could have it. And though that is for athletic coaching… So, you talked about rising energy. Effectively, that is for positive. What occurs is that while 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 possibly six weeks…six to eight weeks. However what you see is you see every day, you’ll be able to do some bit extra after which the remaining durations between bouts of train, that is while you get the hypertrophy of the muscle, the improved conditioning. So, you undoubtedly 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 bought to over 800 pushups. And so they got here in sooner or later and so they mentioned, “Dr. Heller, you price us some huge cash.” Why? “We had a proper dance this weekend. All of us had to purchase new sleeveless attire.”
Katie: That is so humorous. And I am curious, do we’ve got any finest practices based mostly on the analysis you’ve got accomplished of the very 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 children who’re athletes. So, it makes me curious of, how can we use this in our personal lives? Like, are there finest practices for a way lengthy, or what temperature, or what that protocol appears to be like like?
Craig: Sure, there are. Initially, you may test… We’re simply popping out with a brand new machine that can be out there that is now in form of beta testing in plenty of athletic groups, and with athletes, and with firefighters, and with navy particular forces. However you possibly can test it out on the web site, coolmitt.com, C-O-O-L-M-I-T-T.com. And that offers you an concept of what’s out there now or will quickly be out there and the way it’s finest used.
However temperature is important. So, for athletes or individuals which are understanding frequently, we form of set the temperature between 12 and 15 levels centigrade, temperature of the water. However, for some individuals, that is too chilly. So, an instance is we have labored with lots of a number of sclerosis sufferers. And people with a number of sclerosis will be very temperature-sensitive. If the temperature goes up somewhat bit, both the room temperature, the out of doors temperature, or the physique temperatures, their signs are exacerbated. And with these people, the cooling enormously reduces their signs. They’ll return to regular functioning and never have to remain in air-conditioned locations. However, for them, in the event you cool their palm or surfaces, these palms of the palms, beneath about 23 levels centigrade, then they’ll vasoconstrict. So, for these people normally about 20 levels was temperature.
Katie: Okay. So, sort of a rudimentary method to experiment with this appears like it will be to have cool water in that temperature vary and a cooler or one thing and check out placing the palms in between units or sprints or exercises?
Craig: So, that is basically like faucet water. Okay? Let me return to one thing you talked about about security. I feel that is actually an necessary problem 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’ve 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 on account 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 high-quality in the event you immerse the entire physique in chilly water, however you do not essentially have chilly water tub out there each place. Whereas, in the event you assault the glabrous pores and skin, you possibly can apply it instantly. Even at first contact with the affected person, you possibly can apply it and it’ll deliver them again.
Katie: Yeah. And a few follow-ups associated to this, simply from a share perspective, I take into consideration like, while you have a look at every other substance that we are able to use for athletic efficiency, even steroids, you are not getting this type of enhancements. And it is a protected, 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 must be in colleges, it is a factor I really feel like as people and oldsters, we are able to implement to assist our youngsters and to assist ourselves with coaching.
Craig: Yeah. Completely. And you set your finger proper on the important button, individuals are keen to attempt all kinds of issues that aren’t good for them. Efficiency-enhancing medicine, they’re completely unhealthy information. And this really is rather more efficacious than performance-enhancing medicine. 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 units that we have constructed, we will not take them outdoor and use them repeatedly. We are able to use them episodically. However we’re within the means of designing and constructing wearable programs. And this can be essential, for instance, for firefighters. And in addition, we bought onto this as a result of we bought emails from Ebola staff in Sierra Leone. They mentioned, you already know, “Now we have to care for these sufferers, and we go into the new zone in our PPE, private protecting tools, 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 programs.
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 properly. Not within the working room, however I like doing chilly plunges generally for athletic restoration, and I’ve discovered that it is my palms and my ft that restrict how lengthy I can get in there. And once I put on scuba gloves, like neoprene socks and gloves, I can get a lot extra muscle profit with out feeling as chilly and with out hitting that shiver level as quickly.
Craig: Proper. So, I guess while you come out, in a few minutes, you begin shivering. Yeah. So, what’s taking place is you are dropping warmth from all your peripheral tissue, your legs, your arms, and so forth. After which while you get out, your physique begins sending blood again into these limbs and it comes again into the core of your physique chilly. After which that is while you see the extreme shivering.
Katie: That is smart. 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 accomplished analysis in different areas as properly and that there is some crossover right here into the sleep world, which I feel can be segue. I do know I am a giant 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, for example, and sleep length and variety of wake-ups. However let’s simply begin broad and discuss somewhat bit about your sleep analysis as properly.
Craig: Effectively, the sleep analysis is sort of various. 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 explanation for cognitive mental incapacity. And so, we have been working in that space. However going again to temperature, one of many fascinating issues that was our first discovery was that, you already know, we’ve got two sleep states. Now we have REM sleep, speedy 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 fascinating 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 facet remark. Throughout non-REM sleep, we do regulate our physique temperature, however at a decrease degree than throughout wake. So, the thermostat within the mind is about to a decrease degree while you fall asleep. Now, in the event you fall asleep and you are feeling cool within the night, which is probably going, you will pull on numerous covers. Okay? And quarter-hour later, you get up sweating as a result of what’s occurred is you insulated your self to the temperature of your physique…to your regulated temperature earlier than sleep, your thermostat will get set down and now you are too scorching.
So, it is true {that a} cool atmosphere is a lot better for sleeping. And the explanation for that ties these two areas of analysis collectively. What occurs while you’re too scorching in mattress? You stick out your palms otherwise you stick out your ft from beneath the covers, proper? So, in the event you’re in a heat atmosphere, that does not assist. However in the event you’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 smart. And I’ve learn how there’s that…mammals have that adaptation of that our physique temperature does are inclined to go up, I feel somewhat bit, throughout sleep, which I’ve heard it defined, it got here from sleeping on the bottom and the temperature on the bottom would deliver your physique temperature down, so we developed that adaptation to warmth the physique. However now we’re sleeping in these temperature-controlled environments, and such as you mentioned, we get scorching in the midst of the night time.
Craig: Effectively, yeah. Generally, 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 usually decrease late within the day than round midday, however then while you fall asleep, it takes an extra dip. There’s an organization that I’ve been an advisor for referred to as Eight Sleep, 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 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, wouldn’t it be logical to then assume that if somebody wore simply the cool mitt throughout sleep, it will have an analogous and even probably larger 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 larger. The opposite factor is simply cooling earlier than you fall asleep. So, in the event you used it earlier than sleep so it removed any extra warmth load that you’ve got… As an instance you probably did a exercise within the night, you are going to go to mattress with an additional warmth load. So, in the event you may take that warmth load away, it will facilitate your sleep.
Katie: That is smart. 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 smart, in gentle 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 neater, gentler method.
Craig: Yeah. Proper. I feel so.
Katie: And I feel sleep is a giant problem for mothers, particularly with children at varied ages and what comes together with that. So, based mostly in your analysis, what are a few of these sensible issues we are able to pull that is perhaps suggestions to assist enhance sleep high quality and length based mostly on what you are 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 large factor have been sleeping tablets, all kinds of various sorts of sleeping tablets. And lots of of them are nonetheless out there now and are used and are literally prescribed for individuals who have severe issues. However these medicine have issues as 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 uncomfortable side effects, okay? So, what has occurred within the sleep medication world within the final 10, 15 years, has been the rise of behavioral remedy, cognitive-behavioral remedy. And that is used to enhance sleep hygiene. So, sleep hygiene appears 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’re feeling as in the event you do not need to work anymore after which go to mattress. You recognize, do not do 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 important issues is to not use computer systems as a result of computer systems have lots 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 is not 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 keep a selected sleep atmosphere, and that is referred to as contextual conditioning, so that you simply solely affiliate the bed room with sleep and intercourse. That is it, you already know? Not work, you do not use your bed room as an workplace. Now, for individuals who reside in effectivity residences, that is perhaps tough, however there are methods you are able to do it in establishing the room. And, after all, the important factor is your individual conduct. Flip off the pc an hour earlier than mattress. Do not attempt to be pondering proper up till bedtime after which count on your mind’s gonna shut off and fall asleep.
Katie: And I’ve observed that gentle manipulation within the morning additionally appears to have a giant affect on sleep patterns as properly. And I inform individuals this loads, it is a free…appears so easy, and it has such a profound affect, simply going exterior. Even when it is a cloudy day, simply going exterior while you get up, begins that clock.
Craig: Oh, yeah. Exterior gentle, even on a cloudy day is tons of…no, 1000’s of instances brighter than your inside gentle. We do not understand it as a result of our eyes quickly modify to the sunshine degree. However while you go exterior, you get a lot, a lot better visible stimulation, gentle stimulation. And early morning gentle, together with train, is nice for holding 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 day by 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 you’ve got additionally, from my studying, accomplished some work particular to insomnia. And it is a downside I hear from increasingly more people who find themselves seeming to expertise insomnia. Do you’ve 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, establishing a sample of sleep so that you simply count on to sleep, you are prepared for sleep, you are in the proper place for sleep day by day. Now, for people who find themselves actually, actually, you already know, horrible insomniacs, there are protocols which are used. So, one of many issues that’s used is a protocol by which the people are solely allowed to be in mattress for, for example, 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, you already know, stress for sleep. Okay. So, then enable them seven hours. Okay. So, finally, get to some extent the place while you go to mattress, you’re tuned to sleep. So, it appears counterproductive to deprive somebody of sleep who has insomnia, however that is a method of getting their system again in sync with the way in which 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 just lately at my home that I might love to have the ability to clarify to my children 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 appearing out our desires. Okay? So, appearing out desires isn’t sleepwalking. Sleepwalking happens in non-REM sleep. However appearing out desires for somebody who has REM sleep problem, they’ll 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 means of a wall. It is unbelievable what individuals can do with REM conduct dysfunction. So, to forestall that, or the explanation we do not do that’s our muscle groups are basically paralyzed throughout REM sleep.
And that additionally applies to a number of the sensory enter. So, what’s taking place within the mind throughout REM sleep is the mind is reactivated. So, in the event you have a look at the electroencophilic REM, the EEG, the EEG of REM sleep appears to be like similar to wakefulness as a result of the cortex of the mind, the pondering cap of the mind, is reactivated. Okay? So, that reactivation is unbiased of any suggestions from muscle groups and any sensory enter. So, it is like placing the mind in impartial. It will probably simply freely affiliate. And that is why we get these…what appear to be affordable desires 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 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 do not know if that is true, you possibly can affirm or deny for me, however I’ve learn that generally while you’re falling asleep and you’ve got that have of like jolting for a second, that that’s the physique sort of testing to see if you’re going into that state of paralysis. Is that proper or is that city fantasy?
Craig: It is in all probability 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 means of non-REM sleep after which after… Effectively, once we go to mattress after about possibly 60 minutes, we’ll have our first REM episode. Okay? After which it cycles all through the night time, about 5 cycles of non-REM, REM, non-REM, REM. And rather more REM late within the night time, a a lot deeper non-REM early within the night time. So, what you are desirous about or speaking about might be this drowsy state or what we name stage one non-REM sleep in which there’s nonetheless some affiliation with wakeful expertise. And swiftly, chances are you’ll understand you are falling asleep after which you’ve got some temporary arousal that you simply return as much as wakefulness. So, it is that difficult stage between wakefulness and sleep that isn’t steady, and that can lead to… One other factor it ends in is a giant 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 know. And I might love to speak somewhat bit extra about sleep phases. And possibly now that issues like Oura rings and trackers have gotten extra common, individuals 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 necessary factor to ensure that we’re getting sufficient deep sleep. I’ve observed in my very own life, like I mentioned, cool appears to assist deep sleep in addition to not consuming too near bedtime, getting morning daylight. However is {that a} appropriate understanding, that we must be prioritizing this deep restfulness, and what are a number of the methods we are able to hopefully result in better-quality sleep?
Craig: Yeah. Effectively, you simply talked about one thing very fascinating, 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 larger impact on physique weight than eaten earlier. So, to keep up physique weight, even with no weight loss program or what have you ever, in the event you take late eaters and you set them on a extra affordable schedule, like consuming at 5:00 or 6:00 within the night, you already know, 6:00, 7:00 within the night, they’ll drop some pounds even with out imposing any dietary restrictions. So, that is possibly not what you have been pondering, 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 am unable to provide you with 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 predict that, however there isn’t any one who can say sleep is for this specific operate. It in all probability 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 barely 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 purposeful research, we just about restricted to mammals, however there’s increasingly more research being accomplished 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 check. That is actually fascinating about… I do know there’s analysis behind that of not consuming near bedtime and I do know it is not as socially enjoyable or straightforward to adapt typically 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 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 all dialogue on sleep and temperature, I might be remiss to not ask, and I’ve a observe to ask you about hibernation and bears. I do know, completely a deviation, however I am so curious simply to listen to somewhat bit about that.
Craig: Oh, yeah. So, I’ve accomplished lots of work in my profession on hibernators, however virtually all small hibernators, as a result of you possibly can keep them within the lab. So, floor squirrels and chipmunks, and hamsters, and so forth. And we have accomplished loads to indicate that hibernation is basically 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 fairly than sleep. So, there are animals that go into toper each day, so their circadian system remains to be waking them up on the finish of the sleep part. However in different animals which are true hibernators, they’ll go into toper for a lot of days, possibly seven, eight days.
So, what we present in these animals is that the circadian system is dampened method, method, method 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 recognize, individuals have argued whether or not bears hibernate or not. So, positive, they disappear within the winter, they go into their winter dens, however there was some proof that they have been nonetheless pretty heat. They weren’t actually in deep hibernation. So, fairly a number of years in the past, some colleagues and I made a decision we have been gonna reply this query. And one in every of my colleagues, Brian Barnes, was at College of Alaska the place bears are widespread. So, what we did is we constructed a facility at College of Alaska the place we 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, will probably 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, over time, we have studied 18 bears. And this is a gigantic, huge quantity of information as a result of, you already know, EEG is one thing which is being collected on a frequency of lower than a second, you already know, many instances per second. So, you possibly can think about the quantity of recordings, the information information. So, we’re analyzing all of that now.
However what we discovered is the bears do go into toper, however they go down solely to about 32, 33 levels physique temperature. They don’t have these periodic arousals in the course of the winter just like the small hibernators do each 5, 6, 7 days, they arrive out of hibernation and return in once more. The opposite factor that is fascinating is that the small hibernators, as they enter hibernation, they lose REM sleep. They’ve then virtually steady what appears to be steady with non-REM sleep. And the bears have REM and non-REM sleep throughout hibernation. And the opposite factor is that they lose their circadian rhythms. Through 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 in regards to 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 purposes in a while as a result of within the induction of hypothermia, may very well be a precious process to have the ability to use on stroke victims, coronary heart assault victims, individuals who have had traumatic accidents. However there’s loads we do not find out 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 purposes.
Katie: Effectively, I am excited to maintain following your analysis on that. And some questions I wanna be sure that we’ve got time to get by means of, you talked about your analysis on studying and reminiscence, and I might love to simply hear what the purpose 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 title 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 identical to people with down syndrome do. And Fabian got here up with the concept… And we take into consideration the nervous system virtually as a puppet grasp pulling strings, you already know, the neuron fires, and the muscle twitches. And what Fabian mentioned is we have a tendency to consider the nervous system an excessive amount of by way of excitation, however what about inhibition? You recognize, inhibition is essential. So, the mind has to have a stability of excitation/inhibition. So, he thought possibly 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 truly, 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 specific neurotransmitters, the chemical substances that talk between neurons. There are specific neurotransmitters that are inhibitory. So, he used medicine which mimic the exercise of these neurotransmitters. And lo and behold, the training was normalized. These animals that had extreme studying incapacity have been now functioning like their littermates who did not have the situation.
After which probably the most exceptional factor on this analysis was {that a} short-term remedy with these medicine resulted in a really long-term normalization. So, it wasn’t simply, you already know, you are taking the capsule and also you get an impact. No. The short-term remedy, 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, initially, doing as a lot characterization of those drug results as potential to have the ability to transfer it to the clinic, but in addition, to know what is modified within the mind. And that 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 title is USP 16. So, it is not United Parcel Service, nevertheless it’s USP 16. And what this gene does is it’s totally a lot concerned in figuring out when… You have heard of stem cells, cells that may become any sort of completely 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 is referred to as renewal. So, are they maintaining the inhabitants of stem cells or are they taking place the pathway to differentiation? And the triplication of this gene in down syndrome mannequin mice has a giant impact on improvement. So, the brains are smaller in all probability as a result of the neural stem cells have differentiated fairly than maintained themselves. Bone cells are affected.
So, the down syndrome mice have a a lot increased degree of osteoporosis-like signs, and that’s improved by eliminating this specific triplication. The opposite method we’re taking is trying on the… There’s one other gene which may be very important, which is triplicated and that is what’s referred to as the amyloid precursor protein gene. It is 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 is the form of factor we’re doing. Within the case of the human efficiency, we proceed to check 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 accurately lactate, which is produced, not lactic acid. However we all know now that lactate doesn’t trigger fatigue. You’ll be able to really elevate blood lactate ranges and it does not impact efficiency, however if in case you have excessive efficiency, you get an increase in blood lactate. So, may it’s that lactate doesn’t trigger fatigue, however fatigue causes lactate? And what’s it in regards to the chemistry, the vitality chemistry within the muscle, that ends in that elevation of lactate? What we discover is that the lactate threshold, the edge of exercise that you simply begin seeing rise of lactate within the blood is a operate of physique temperature.
That if we begin individuals exercising in low physique temperature, they go loads 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 carry weights, and with my children 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 as we speak. A few final wrap-up questions. The primary being, if there’s a guide or plenty of books which have profoundly impacted your life, and if that’s the case, what they’re and why?
Craig: Effectively, I learn very broadly. So I am unable to 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 is taking place in nature and on the earth. I wish to learn books about unbelievable human performances like Arctic exploration or one thing that’s simply, you already know, superb 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 count on to listen to. One of many books that is 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 in all probability would’ve narrowed, narrowed, narrowed my work and my pursuits and fallen method behind in understanding different areas of my area, normally.
Katie: That’s undoubtedly a brand new advice. I am going to ensure that’s linked as properly if I can discover it on-line and…
Craig: I am going to at all times sustain.
Katie: I like that. The place can individuals observe you and your work in the event that they wanna continue learning extra from you or see your analysis?
Craig: Effectively, that is query. I do not know. I’m not superb at maintaining an internet site, however we’re constructing an internet site now for our down analysis work and it is 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 have accomplished. So, you possibly can entry the scientific papers, the research that we have accomplished by means of that individual entry.
Katie: I am going to ensure that’s linked within the present notes. For you guys listening, wellnessmama.fm. And, maybe, we are able to 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 as we speak that may very well be associated to something we have talked about or solely unrelated life recommendation?
Craig: Certain. One bit of recommendation I give my college students is observe your pursuits. Do not let different individuals inform you what you ought to be doing. Observe your pursuits as a result of it is if you end up curious about what you are doing, you will 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 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 like it.
Craig: I believed that was superb recommendation. And the opposite recommendation I might provide you with is sleep properly. Sleep is necessary. There are three pillars to well being, weight loss program, train, and sleep. And we are typically fairly good about our weight loss program and fairly spiritual about our train, however we’re at all times able to sacrifice sleep when there’s one thing else we predict we must be doing. And that is not good.
Katie: Effectively, that is an ideal place to wrap up. Thanks for sharing your time as we speak and for all of the work that you simply’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 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 as we speak. We’re each so grateful that you simply did. And I hope that you’ll be a part of me once more on the subsequent episode of the “WellnessMama Podcast.”

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