I’m excited to be here with Dr. Craig Heller, who is a doctor at Yale and he received his PhD in 1970. He joined Stanford University in 1972, where he is now the Lorry Lokey Business Wire Professor of Biology and Human Biology. He’s held many positions at Stanford and he’s done a lot of research focused on the neurobiology of sleep, circadian rhythms and thermoregulation, including areas like mammalian hibernation, and temperature controls. And this is one of the reasons I wanted to have him on today – to talk about the fascinating Stanford cool mitt study.
We go deep on a lot of these topics, including how he got into heat exchange research, the fascinating way that the brain regulates body temperature and how this can be used to our benefit for athletic performance and for sleep. He talks about the astounding study where they had someone go from 180 pull-ups to 618 pull-ups simply by adding a cooling protocol, and he gives some guidelines for how we can all experiment with this in our own lives. We also talk about light and circadian rhythms, and so much more. He was such a fun interview for me since I have followed his work for such a long time.
Episode Highlights With Dr. Craig Heller
- His experience swimming at the north pole and how he did 1000 pushups on his 60th birthday
- How he got into heat exchange research
- The way the brain regulates body temperature and how this can be used to our benefit
- How he discovered this on a bet and the far reaching implications of this
- Why temperature increases during exercise limit performance and how to use this unique heat exchange to increase performance
- How in research someone went from 180 pull-ups to 618 with just adding a cooling protocol
- What to know about hypothermia and hyperthermia (heat stroke)
- Protocol and temperature guidelines for using this in athletic performance
- His fascinating sleep research and how to improve yours
- Why we don’t regulate our body temperature during REM sleep
- How body temperature regulation comes into play during sleep
- Research backed ways to improve sleep
- Why outside light is so important, especially in the morning
- The reason he recommends not eating close to bedtime
- “Do whatever you want to do, be whatever you want to be, but don’t hurt anybody”
- His parting sleep advice
Resources We Mention
More From Wellness Mama
270: You Don’t Need More Sleep, You Need Better Sleep With ChiliPad
224: How to Use Sound and Music to Optimize Focus and Sleep With Brain.fm
Natural Ways to Help Kids Sleep
Natural Ways to Get Better Sleep (Even If You’re a Mom!)
Ice Bath Benefits: How Cold Therapy Improves the Body and the Brain
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