Tara Youngblood, sleepme's Chief Scientific Advisor, was recently a guest on Dr. Mindy Pelz's The Resetter podcast to discuss “the recipe for effective sleep.” In the episode of Dr. Mindy Pelz's and Tara discussed topics, including:
- Sleep: Quality Over Quantity
- The Recipe For A Good Night’s Sleep: Understanding Your Environment
- The Hormonal Benefits Of A Cool Bed
- Understanding How Our Bodies Repair & Reset During Sleep
Tara suggests that the majority of people who struggle with sleep do so because of the societal belief that sleep is a waste of time. She recommends that people need to rejuvenate their love for sleep and not think about sleep as a negative in the context of their lives.
For example, hunter-gatherer communities slept six to seven hours a night, while people in Europe slept in segments before the industrial era. When we start prioritizing the quality of our sleep rather than the quantity, a shift occurs.
Tara suggests aiming for at least two hours of deep sleep and two hours of REM sleep within a 24-hour period.
Table of Content
You can either follow the podcast while reading the transcript below, or you can click on the links to explore the topics they discuss.
- Sleep Quality Over Quantity
- The Recipe For A Good Night’s Sleep: Understanding Your Environment
- The Hormonal Benefits Of A Cool Bed
- Understanding How Our Bodies Repair & Reset During Sleep
Full Transcript of Dr. Mindy Pelz's Podcast with Tara Youngblood
Dr. Mindy Pelz
And I just want to start off by thanking you, Tara, for coming here, coming to the Resetter podcast. This is probably the most needed conversation that I've ever brought to my listeners, so I'm so grateful to have you here. So, welcome.
Aw, thanks for having me. I agree. I'm a big fan of sleep.
Dr. Mindy Pelz
Which is really funny. So this is something that I say all the time with fasting is, I say fasting is like sleep. It's a healing state you can put yourself in, but not just like sleep. Just because we know sleep is good doesn't mean everybody knows how to do it, which sounds so crazy and I feel the same thing about fasting. So let's start off with that. Why are so many people struggling with their sleep?
I think a lot of it is just knowing the basics of what's required and honestly letting going some of these myths and being less stressed about sleep. So we have this hate relationship as a society right now is sleep and it takes away our lives, it shortens our day, we have to give in to sleep, but if we can find a way to fall back in love with this time that we give to ourselves and to our body to heal and find a way within a 24-hour period to get eight hours.
And if it means you have to take naps, if it means you need to take other time, whatever that looks like, it actually is just about getting good quality sleep within a 24-hour period. And if you can't at least try to build up on sleep or create some sleep resilience or elasticity in your life, so over the course of a week or a couple weeks, you really are making sure that you're fully recovering.
I know people do marathons or we have athletes that they can't always hit those eight hours, but make sure you find the time within a two-week period to really create resilience in your life for sleep.
Dr. Mindy Pelz
Oh my gosh, I'm so happy you said that because this has been something that's been weighing on my mind, which is as I've moved through menopause, I don't know what it takes to get more than seven hours. If I get seven hours of sleep, I feel like I'm a rockstar. If I get six hours of sleep, I'm like, "Wow, okay, that was great." And if it was six continuous hours, I feel even more proud of myself.
And that's after massive amounts of magnesium, getting my ChiliPad exactly right. And so then when I look at the research, I'm like, okay, wait, I'm supposed to be getting a lot more. I should be getting eight, nine hours. So what I just heard you say is take a nap and if you get them in different chunks throughout the 24-hour period, that's okay.
Absolutely. We actually didn't evolve to sleep eight hours. If you look at hunter-gatherers, there's a great study out of UCLA that was done on hunter-gatherers over the course of a year. They on average, actually slept closer to that six to seven hours. They actually didn't have a word for insomnia, so they literally just slept more relaxed and better, but they didn't always sleep in one segment.
Even in Dickens, I was just talking about Charles Dickens because my son's reading it in English class and I'm like, "Yeah, we'll talk about first sleep and second sleep." We didn't sleep in one segment prior to the industrialized age when factory workers needed to have one bucket of sleep and we kind of made that happen.
But in Spain, even still today, they have a late dinner so that they can come home and nap in the late half of the day, sort of four to seven, and then they'll wake up and have dinner at nine and 10 and they may stay up until two or three in the morning and socialize.
And that was actually pretty normal across Europe, again prior to the industrial age. So if your body and yourself, your genetic history comes from that European descent, chances are your body was used to sleeping in segments anyway and it should be able to do that again if you need to do that in order to just get enough sleep to feel good.
Dr. Mindy Pelz
That rocks my brain. Thank you for that. I feel like you just freed me because I'm like nine o'clock time to go to bed and then I get into bed and I'm trying to ... sometimes I can't get my body to relax again. This is something new that's happened through the menopausal journey.
And then I wake up at two in the morning and each little pattern of difficulty of sleeping, getting to sleep or staying asleep, I've had to find new hacks and it's so freeing to think, oh my God, maybe I don't have to have it be continuous. So that was amazing. Tell me what the total amount of sleep then I would want in a 24-hour period.
Sleep Quality Over Quantity
When you get into time of sleep, it's really important to think about quality of sleep. And so again, it's about how long you stay in bed. It's easy to kind of lay in bed for eight hours and then you wake up and you're like, well, I didn't sleep. I was just laying in bed for eight hours.
And so we need to make sure that we're really thinking about deep sleep and REM sleep and really getting quality sleep and you need at least two hours of deep sleep and two hours of REM in that 24-hour period is ideal. And it's really hard to get deep sleep. And I will talk about temperature and sleep. I know when we get to the ChiliPad, but it is possible to still get that. But deep sleep as we age gets harder and harder to get naturally.
So when you're aging, by the time you're 80, 90, you may only be getting a couple minutes or no deep sleep hardly at all, which is why they feel so tired, which is why there's cognitive loss, why lack of sleep and specifically lack of deep sleep is attached to every disease of the elderly.
So it's really important as we look at that total amount of time to kind of take a step back and saying, even if you're not wearing a tracker, you should wake up feeling rested. And if you're not and you're still spending that time in bed, then you really need to look at some of those quality metrics, how can you improve the quality of that eight hours.
Eight hours is a good round number, but in everything, there's 8 billion of us. Eight hours is there's not one number for all of us. There's not one diet plan, there's not one amount of fasting. We talked about those things. There's not one sort of number that's going to make every single human feel amazing. That's ridiculous.
We are a bell curve of different types of sleep, just like everything else about us as humans. No two of us are the same. So if you and your girlfriend don't have the same sleep patterns, one of you can nap. The other one has to do it all at night, that's normal. And men and women are very different on how they tend to sleep. So if you and your partner have different sleep habits, that's all really actually very normal.
Because the research, it was easy to research how long people were in bed became the metric for a really long time. When you have no science, when they had no sleep trackers, they could tell how long someone was in bed.
So that was an easy way to study sleep. And we've really only been studying sleep in that kind of in- depth studies for like 25 years now. It was all pretty loose before that. So when you think about the scheme of research into human, what we do, sleep is really baby in its research and what we know about how it works.
And so it's important to think that all of that study is that eight hours in bed comes from all we could do is watch you sleep and tell you if you were sleeping eight hours, then well, that must have been good. So that's where some of those metrics come from.
But it's the really basic end of the science. Once you start looking into the last five years, people are going to talk about deep sleep and REM sleep and quality metrics of sleep much more in those studies because they could start to measure that using sleep tracking and brain waves and those kinds of things while people were sleeping and it wasn't as possible 25 years ago.
Dr. Mindy Pelz
I think you make such an important point. I see this a lot in my community where people want to know, tell me the absolute, what should I be eating for my microbiome, how long should I be fasting, what exercise is best for me? And I think it's really interesting that when we look at the research right now on all of these lifestyle habits that support our health, we are like an infant in understanding the impact that our daily habits have on chronic disease and longevity.
So, I want to make sure that my listeners don't lose sight of the fact that when we look at sleep, I think it's fascinating that we don't have enough research on what second sleep and first sleep, I saw that study come out a couple of years ago. We don't have any research on light. I mean, I am excited to talk about what we're now learning about temperature of the bed.
All of this is so brand new because we're just starting to research it. And I think that's really important that now we take the research, we take the understanding and we play with the principles and we become our own N of one, I think is a powerful way to look at the emerging information.
So talk to me a little bit, you have a really interesting TED talk and I love the title of it is The Recipe for An Effective Sleep. Talk to me a little bit about what is the recipe. If you were sitting down with somebody and you were just like, here's the recipe for a good night's sleep, what would that recipe be?
The Recipe For A Good Night’s Sleep: Understanding Your Environment
Yeah, so I have to say I love to cook. And no two people are going to have the same potato salad or whatever you're making, everyone's got their own version of what that is. So that's kind of why I like recipe is you have to come up with being your own scientist. So we talk about the pillars of sleep even when we coach our athletes, and it's important to look at each of the three pillars.
It's kind of like the three basic ingredients when you come to sleep. One is your behavior, so what are you going to do during the day where and how do you do things during the day that's going to affect your sleep.
The next is mindset, which is whether you're stressed out, feeling anxious, are you feeling peaceful, that's where that meditation, gratitude, all of those kinds of things come into play as far as what is your mindset when it comes to sleep, being in love with it, respecting it, is going to make it way easier to go to sleep than hating it and dreading it and putting it off.
And then obviously that environment. And the reason environment is so important in your brain, sleep is really old. And when we think about that as far as evolutionary part, it's an involuntary kind of response to go to sleep. So the smallest organisms, even just a larva with no brain whatsoever, recognize that they have to have an on/off session, they have to have sleep even though it doesn't look exactly like ours. It actually is still a different type of on/off.
Even marine larva will go up to the surface for light and warmer part during the day, and then when it cools off and the light goes away, they'll go to the further down depths where they can camouflage and disappear.
So when you think about it, your environmental controls are an easy way to trigger yourself to go to sleep that you don't have to think about because your brain automatically recognizes those changes in light and temperature. But then when you think about it, we've done everything in our modern lives to remove any change of light and temperature.
And so we've actually made it much harder for ourselves to go to sleep by having the comfort of being able to turn on a light at any moment and having this consistency in our temperature.
So our microclimates within our homes are all sort of regulated and they don't change at night, they don't get cool and they don't slow down and be more dim as the evening goes on, we aren't dimming our lights and kind of like, oh, it's fireside time now versus bright light of first thing in the morning.
So, we've actually sort of sabotaged those triggers. And so our brains are now stuck with "I don't know when it's supposed to go to sleep," but all of those triggers will release melatonin when you can trigger them. So a change of temperature will trigger the release of melatonin. That's exactly how that mechanism works in your brain. So melatonin is released when there's a change of temperature.
Clifford actually discovered this in 2003, so it's been a long time since it's there. So it's not new science, but how it's evolved and how people have recognized how it can work is been where the evolution has come. But those neurons are absolutely triggered by a change of temperature for some people, again, back to that wide spectrum light may be more powerful than temperature.
But in the hunter-gatherer studies, all of those all validated that it was a change of temperature that sort of really late in the evening cooling down, the sun's gone down, they didn't go to sleep the moment the sun went down, they went down as it dimmed, and that change of temperature was what triggered them to go to sleep.
Dr. Mindy Pelz
Oh my, I'm so happy you said this because I had a discussion with a woman who has a sleep podcast and we were debating or having a fun conversation about the fact that the temperature might have been how we were primarily conditioned to go to sleep because we slept on the ground and we probably slept with a cowhide or an animal hide on top of us on a cold ground.
So everything that we look at from fasting to food to the way our nervous systems work, moving in and out of sympathetic, parasympathetic, all of that is primarily driven. So it makes sense to me once I wrap my head around the idea that, oh my gosh, my ancestors fell asleep because of the coolness on the ground and that when my body goes into my bed and gets a cool experience, it actually triggers something primly within me that tells me to go to sleep that I might not be getting if my mattress isn't cool.
Do you feel like that's an accurate hypothesis?
Yeah, and just to clarify what is going to happen with that because people are like, well, I heard if you warm up or take a warm bath, that can do that. So it can for some people. Most menopausal women, because we're sort of hot-blooded right now, this is not going to work, but you'll see studies where putting on warm socks or warming up will help you go to sleep.
What's happening there is that change of temperature of warming your extremities actually causes that sort of circulation in your body, which will still trigger that change of temperature. So it's important to remember again, that wide spectrum of us way over here are some people that need a warm-up to fall asleep. And honestly, when Todd and I invented this, I was absolutely me. I wanted that warmth and nesting to start my sleep process and then cool down after that.
So it's important to know that that is absolutely okay and that's a good part of a lot of people's process to fall asleep. But the other extreme of it, and this is people with more extreme menopausal women can use this. Terry Wahl with MS has used this process as well, if you follow any of those people. But anyone with a neurodegenerative disease may have to go more extreme on that cold.
They can use something like the ChiliPad or they can use 20 minutes of ice bath, which isn't lovely, but when you get out of it, you'll be pumped up, so do it like an hour before you go to sleep. But about an hour after doing a ice bath like that, you'll be knocked out like an elephant tranquilizer and you'll get really great deep sleep.
Deep sleep loves it cold because our body is trying to drop two degrees core body temperature in that first half of the night. So by really forcing that, if your brain or your body isn't normally allowing that, you can actually get really great deep sleep and sort of hack it by making sure your body's cold enough to achieve that deep sleep. But those are the extremes.
Warm fuzzy socks and warming up to the cold ice bath. Most of us are in the middle as we go through our lives, certainly with women, even just in your cycles. So if you're still having cycles throughout your cycle, you're going to find that you're in different spots on that spectrum as well.
So it's important to say not every night is the same as you go through your cycle, you're going to be warmer as you kind of end that cycle, you're going to be like, well, I'm hot right now. What I set it at earlier in the month may not be the same if you're setting a ChiliPad.
Dr. Mindy Pelz
One of the things I love about the ChiliPad is the fact that you go, you can make the temperature change throughout the night, and I have three different programs on there, and one of them is exactly what you just said. I recently was like, "Wow, I kind of like it warm when I first get in, but then I can't fall asleep to that." So then if I set it within 30 minutes of getting in to start to go down into the colder temperatures, it really is true.
Once that temperature goes down, like boom, I'm out. It's the craziest thing I've ever experienced. So I love that you said that because again, now you're giving me freedom. Okay, I'm going to get in when it's warm and then I'm going to cool it down. So there's so much to learn about what we can do with temperature to control our sleep.
And to that point, something that I've been wanting to tell all of you at Sleepme, is that literally, I'm pretty sure that my ChiliPad saved my marriage. And let me tell you why. During the pandemic, I was like at the height of my hot flashes at night, and I just needed my room completely cold, and our oldest daughter had moved out of the house.
Our son was a senior in high school, and it was the pandemic. It was a lot of stress, and I just said, okay, I'm going to take the guest room and I'm going to make the air conditioning so cold in there that I can finally sleep. And it started to work, but I was in a separate room from my husband and I literally slept in this separate room for a year.
And there was this part of me that was like, "I don't feel like this is great for my marriage, but I'm getting good sleep, which makes me a more enjoyable person, which helps my marriage the next day."
Then when I got ahold of a ChiliPad, you literally, that product brought me back into my bedroom, made me able to sleep in a room with my husband, he could sleep with his temperature, I could sleep with my temperature and I'm happily sleeping back in my bed again. And it literally was so freeing. So I have to start off by saying thank you for that because I'm pretty sure that the ChiliPad saved my marriage.
Oh, that's awesome to hear. Yeah, that's exactly why it was invented. So my husband and I sleep at different temperatures. He is like a total furnace, and so you can almost feel the heat coming off of him, like it's crazy. And so exactly the same thing. His uncle invented the waterbed, and so if you've ever been on a waterbed when it didn't have the heater in it, water is really good at pulling heat off of anything really just because of its specific heat capacity from a science perspective.
And so there's not as much water as a waterbed, it's just tubes or membrane that's on your bed, depends on what style of pad you have, but it really isn't a lot of water, but that amount of water is just enough to pull the heat out or add whatever heat you want.
Remember, we're 98 degrees Fahrenheit, so I get people all the time, "I don't want to have it like that cold. I have it at 86." Well, that's still cooler than your core body temperature. And so it doesn't have to be a lot of change in order to still give your body that freedom to cool two degrees cooler. You just don't want it hot in the middle of the night.
The Hormonal Benefits Of A Cool Bed
Dr. Mindy Pelz
So let's talk a little bit about the hormonal piece to the ChiliPad because what we know about menopause is that estrogen, you're going to start to lose estrogen. And when you're in those perimenopausal years, the 40-plus, the estrogen goes high, then she goes low, she's all over the place, but when she goes low, it triggers the hypothalamus to turn up the heat, which is why we get the hot flashes and we get the night sweats, which, during my menopausal journey, I never had it during the day, but I only had the sweats at night.
And I see this as happening at younger and younger ages. I'm even seeing this at 35-year-olds and early 30-year-olds telling me that they're getting night sweats. So talk a little bit about what we know when we cool down the bed.
Does it stop that trigger that estrogen is having on the hypothalamus to turn up the heat or are you still turning up the heat, you just don't feel it and it's not waking you up? How does it tie in to that change of estrogen in our sleep?
Yes. We actually just did a study that was published in September. I think officially came out in August, but then was published in September. We did it in partnership with Wake Forest University. We had a bunch of women sleep on it who were in full hot flash mode, so not perimenopause but full menopausal mode. We did find that they actually had less hot flashes during the day as well.
Dr. Mindy Pelz
And so what it really talks about is that there's always an order of operations where your body's going to have to prioritize. Sleep is going to have a higher priority than just sexual hormones and in the scheme of what it's doing, so it's going to prioritize sleep. So if you can get the cooler part to go to sleep, it's not going to trigger the hot flashes the same. So you may still have some of those slight symptoms, but you're not going to be aware of it if you can achieve deep sleep.
So once you're in deep sleep, you can recover, you're going to actually have less symptoms during the day because that sleep time allows your body to actually manage hormones better. All of those hormones are managed during some of that sleep process.
And so it actually is an over ... over the whole 24-hour period, you're going to have relief if you can sleep better. And so if we can mitigate any hot flashes that would pop up, mitigate that system from overheating or feeling those sorts of changes by talking to your brain about let's get great sleep first, it's like, right, we're getting great sleep.
Then while we're sleeping, it can manage through and heal and do that sort of normal hormonal balance that it should do during sleep as it moves between the various systems that it needs to do.
Every system during sleep is sort of managed from cardiovascular to hormonal systems, digestive systems, everything sort of healing is really focused about happening at night. Even your memories are filed, a lot of that's focused.
So if you can get great sleep, no matter what you're going through, we have seen this with cancer patients, I talked about it with neurodegenerative diseases, you'll have less symptoms overall if you can just get sleep and that temperature can tell your brain to say, let's just sleep, forget about all the other shit that's going on and just sleep.
Understanding How Our Bodies Repair and Rest During Sleep
Dr. Mindy Pelz
Amazing. You ignited a thought in my brain about the systems repairing as we are sleeping. So the way I had always learned this was when the sun goes down, melatonin kicks in and the body starts to prepare itself to repair, to reset, and to go through each organ system.
And that usually starts around two hours. The way I learned it go starts around two hours after the sun goes down. So getting into bed a couple hours after the sun goes down is key for repairing your whole bodily systems.
But then what I'm also hearing you say is we also have evidence that just getting good chunks of deep sleep and good quality sleep is going to help with that repair. And it's not necessarily the time. That to me is an evolved thought from what we originally were taught. I mean, this is like 20, 30 years ago.
So when we go in, we get our temperature to that right place, is there an order in which the body repairs? Does it go brain, liver, sex hormones? Does it have an order or does it just completely repair itself when that temperature is set or does the temperature set deep sleep that then now we've got the repair going on? Speak a little bit more about that because I think we're pretty ignorant when it comes to what the repair actually looks like when we're sleeping.
So there's actually ... it is systematic. I don't believe they know if there's a specific order. Generally, the brain is cleansed. This is why deep sleep or lack of it is attached to Alzheimer's and cleaning out those proteins that cause Alzheimer's. Most Alzheimer's patients will not see their brains being cleared.
But actually when you fall asleep and get into deep sleep when the first things that happens is your spinal fluid washes your brain, good brainwashing, and that's really required to keep your brain healthy, because of the brain-blood barrier, there's not a lot of other times or ways in which your brain can be cleaned.
And so this what's taking those toxins out, making sure your brain's really healthy, it's when memories are filed, that sort of priority is given often to the brain and the cardiovascular systems. So, those are often the first things to get repaired.
Once it gets past that, I think it's what's needed based on the individual human, but those are both sort of recognized things that happen is that both of those systems are kind of looked at because they're highly needed on a functional basis if your brain's not working or your cardiovascular system isn't working, you're not doing anything the next day.
So those are the sort of high priorities of sleep for your body to heal. But almost every system is touched during sleep in order to try to heal it and make it better. But that's how your body's been programmed so you can go through your day.
Even your memories when you think about it, what happened during the day, all gets filed, you just put those files on your desk all day. Oh, that's interesting. That's interesting. And then at night, over a two- week period, it's usually decided whether last Tuesday's lunch was something you need to remember or it wasn't important.
But if you got in a big fight with your husband or there was some trauma that happened, then that'll keep going and you're like, okay, we might need to have that in there to keep kind of refreshing and keep that in long-term memory. But last Tuesday's lunch, if it was just sort of last Tuesday's lunch usually gets lost and two years from now you won't remember what last Tuesday's lunch was.
Dr. Mindy Pelz
Yeah. Talk about the difference between deep sleep and REM sleep. The way I'd always learned it was deep sleep is detox, REM sleep is more brain repair. And where does temperature fit in to those two pieces of sleep and how do we make sure we not only get great deep sleep but that we get good REM sleep?
Yeah, so it's really kind of to take a step back, your body has a clock that's really called your circadian rhythm is what you'll hear it sort of referred to. And that clock is just like your computer clock. It's like any other clock in your life that manages your appointments and however you manage that. Your body kind of manages it with the same clock and your temperature has a pattern that it does on a daily basis based on that clock.
In that 24-hour period, you'll have periods where it's higher and then you'll have it periods where it's lower. In the middle of the night, it's about two degrees cooler than your average core body temperature, and then it warms back up as you go to the morning. So if you think about it in terms of sleep, and we work even with shift workers, there's a dip in the afternoon that makes you a little bit cooler as well.
So that's where if you are tired afternoons or a good time, or if you're a shift worker during the day, that's your window for deep sleep versus in the evening your deep sleep windows in the first half, if you go to sleep first thing in the morning, it's going to be in the second half of your sleep because of that dip. So trying to manage those temperatures based on when you're sleeping is important to kind of match it to that circadian rhythm or clock. That makes it ideal.
But you also get blood pressure when you should have a bowel movement, when you should work out, when you should do creative versus high cognitive load. All of that's managed in that clock circadian rhythm system, and we kind of take it all for granted.
But the more you know about your circadian rhythm, the more powerful you are about when you can have the best time of the day to do different things. But it is tied to sleep and most often talked about with sleep.
But when I talk about deep sleep in the first half of the night, it doesn't mean you just have deep sleep in the first half of the night. If you pull up a sleep tracker, you'll see you dip in and out of deep sleep, you'll still get a little bit of REM sleep in the first half of the night. It's not just a straight line of here's your deep and then bloop, it turns to REM sleep.
It's more of like a possibility or probability window. You'll get more deep sleep in the first half of the night, you're going to get more REM sleep in the second half of the night. And so deep sleep likes it cooler, REM sleep likes it warmer as you kind of come up out of that valley.
So from a temperature perspective, they really do have different profiles of what they're doing. Our latest product actually will tie that. So using our sleep tracker, it actually has an AI relationship called Hiber that recognizes when you're in each of those states and will warm it or cool it slightly in order to enhance that sleep state.
But if you want to think about what is deep sleep, what is REM sleep, it's usually defined by your brain waves. So REM sleep looks a lot like awake, and that's where a lot of people thought that was the only time we dreamed because if you do remember your dreams ever, it's because REM sleep is so close to being awake. And when you wake up, those are the dreams you most often remember because your brain is almost awake when it's doing that.
And then just like deep sleep, you would assume your brain waves are slowed down as they get further and further into deep sleep. And so we want to have that sort of slowing down of your brain, just like a heart rate. Your resting heart rate will also slow down.
The deeper you are in deep sleep, you'll get a lower-resting heart rate if you're getting good, effective deep sleep. So those are all ways in which you can sort of measure that slowing down or the recovery part of your body. Just think about it. Just everything is more chill, more slowed down in deep sleep.
Dr. Mindy Pelz
Oh my God. So again, you're connecting dots for me. So, thank you. Thank you for this discussion in general. But typically, I'll wake up at two or three in the morning, not all the time. I've got some hacks now that I've been working with and I find that I actually have to change the temperature of my ChiliPad when I wake up at two or three in the morning. And so is that because maybe my brain is shifting into REM sleep and so it needs a different temperature?
Dr. Mindy Pelz
To bring it up.
Absolutely. You're now too cold and you'll absolutely right. So you're coming out of that. When you come out of the valley. We have a lot of people that do that. Even younger people are athletes that'll use it.
They'll actually cannibalize their REM sleep if they stay cold too long. So as we get older, we just wake up. But the sort of younger athletes because they're so physically involved, they'll actually just have mostly deep sleep then and not get much REM sleep.
So they have to find that balance. And that is absolutely that sort of middle of the nighttime, somewhere around two to three to change your temperature a little bit warmer, and it may take some experimentation to be honest, of how much warmer that is for you.
And depending on what you're going through, again, there may be times in your cycle that that's a different temperature. So it's important to kind of keep in mind what's the best one for you. But it is usually warmer than deep sleep. And think about as the planet's warming up, even though the sun isn't up yet, that is coming around, it often starts to change the temperature, you start to warm up as that planet warms up, even that pre-dawn is a little bit warmer than the coldest part of the night usually.
So you're starting to see that warmth happen and your body's looking to just match that planet. It just wants to be part of the planet when it does that. All of those things that we can't see, we really do entrain to the rhythm of the planet, whether it comes from that pulsing EMFs to the temperature to the light, even the sounds that happen are always in which our brain is like, okay, am I in sync? And it wants to be in sync to get great sleep.
Dr. Mindy Pelz
So the other cool feature, and so with that, I mean, what I love is you can set it however, I can set it. Once I started to see the pattern two or three, I just made sure that I set it so the temperature naturally went up or at two or three, so then I didn't wake up.
The other really cool feature that you guys have, and this is the greatest way to ever wake up, is to raise. I can program an alarm and instead of something beeping in my ear, I just warm my bed up. And I have found that it gently wakes me out of my sleep, and there's no snooze to hit. It gets to a point where it's getting so warm that I'm like, okay, I'm ready to get out of bed. It's the most beautiful way to wake up that I have ever experienced. So talk to me about what's going on in my body with that.
Yeah, it's basically you're turning off sleep. So when we think about, and again that Clifford Saper, who found those sleep switches called it a sleep switch. You can literally Google sleep switch and that's what he called it. So if you think about flipping on a light bulb or turning on sleep and causing a cooling to do that or that change of temperature to do that, you also want to change of temperature to turn off sleep. And it's important as a sleep mechanism.
I often will have a balloon when I'm doing talks to kind of explain that sleep has to be fully deflated so it can fully inflate and we want to turn off sleep just as much as we want to turn on sleep. And so if you snooze your alarm a lot or sort of wander through your morning and don't turn off sleep, your body's like, "I don't know when we actually ended that. So I don't know, are we starting the sleep count towards the nighttime or not."
And so what you do in the morning and warming up is just such a powerful way. You actually get a release of cortisol, which is good cortisol, I know it gets a bad name for stress and all sorts of things, but it's great in the morning to give your brain that boost. And if you do warm awake, you can actually put off your caffeine for about 90 minutes because you'll get a good boost of cortisol that should last between 60 to 90 minutes.
Then take your caffeine if that's what you like to have your coffee or tea in the morning, and you'll actually continue that boost of like, wow, you can combine that with sunlight around 9:00 AM which is at peak time to get great light into your body. Again, triggering all those things.
And then you can really sort of fully burst into your day, your cognitive self will feel like it's ready to work out, it's ready to do whatever it is you do for your job or whatever it is, your sort of heaviest cognitive load administrative tasks you need to do, it'll be primed-ready for all that.
Dr. Mindy Pelz
Yeah, it's crazy to me. I did not know that temperature affected cortisol like that. And see a lot of women as they go through menopause, they can't do coffee as much. They become very sensitive to caffeine. We know that cortisol is actually going to, if it spikes at the wrong time or it's out of control or you have dysregulation, your menopausal symptoms are going to be so much worse, even your insulin resistance.
So in the Menopause Reset, and even in Fast Like A Girl, I write a lot about the hormonal hierarchy. And what I see in my community so much is this desire to manage insulin because people want to lose weight.
But what they don't realize is that in order to manage insulin, you have to manage cortisol. So what I just heard you say is tracking, making sure that your temperature pattern is right as you're sleeping and waking up can have a really dramatic effect on cortisol regulation.
And do we have any evidence that now that can also lead to insulin sensitivity and can help you with your blood sugar regulation and your weight loss desires?
I don't have any research on that, and I would love for that to be ... the research unfortunately often ends in that sort of like this is when cortisol released, and like I said, this is the impact it has. And so little research for sleep in particular is done on women. I could do a whole soapbox on testing.
Most of those sleep research, again, it's taken years to hunt down the research on women and make that happen, but most of it, back to early research was done on young college men that sleep great and are completely different than girls.
Dr. Mindy Pelz
That's where that early sleep research, you really have to keep it with a grain of salt because it was just done on the available people at the time, which was predominantly young men.
Dr. Mindy Pelz
You know what you need to do. I don't know if you've done this. It'd be fun to do with my community. Have you ever done a hormone test and then put the ChiliPad and do a 90-day, 60-day experience to see if women of all ages, if we know their hormonal profile and then we set the temperature for their night's sleep and then recheck their hormones in another 90, 60, 90 days if we would start to see a big hormonal shift?
It was in the research study done with Wake Forest, they started that. We really needed to do a subsequent study, but that's where the early results on that if they could follow them over the course of a year, but it really shows the power of being able to sleep and what sleep does as a regulatory reset for our all hormonal challenges. But you will see there was a couple women that had sort of a Hashimoto's or some of those things that go a little bit beyond regular sort of challenges and autoimmune disease.
You start to see that a lot of their symptoms beyond just the menopausal ones will start to improve. Again, it does help with cortisol levels if you could get great sleep. If you get deep sleep, it totally resets that. So it's a huge way we want to end up totally relaxed during deep sleep, and it gives your body a break from being sort of that pumped-up fight or flight all the time.
Dr. Mindy Pelz
Yeah. And what about fertility? Since Fast Like A Girl came out, I've had more women that are in their early thirties reach out to me that are struggling to put their hormonal picture back together.
And many of them are married, they're wanting to start families, they don't have regular cycles. Some of them don't have cycles at all, and we're working with food and fasting to help in cycling that to be able to get their cycle back on track.
But do we have any research or even anecdotal evidence that if we can use the temperature or something like a ChiliPad at night, that it can actually not only balance these hormones but could help with fertility? Do we have any signs or any evidence that fertility improves with that?
So the only research I have, which is done again on men in the armed forces, but one of the things that happens when you're really stressed out for men is that their testosterone levels tank and they really have a hard time because of that. So what we did is increase their sleep. Just sleep was able to radically change their testosterone levels of just getting regular sleep.
And again, I wish there was a study that I could speak to, anecdotal evidence of people that I've talked to and have worked with on improving their cycles, especially women that are in sports. So a lot of women in sports do lose their cycles when they're really working out that hard. And sleep will actually help alleviate that from happening.
So again, if you're pushing your body really hard, you're going to lose your cycle. But when they sleep better, the Santa Clara women's soccer team we worked with and did a bunch of studies with them and overall, their sort of health on their cycles and just performance overall improved, but their cycles definitely were more regular.
Everything about them was more sort of in tune and more across the board even, which is good, we want that balance of life when they got great sleep. So again, it's not sort of direct evidence, but the power of sleep is amazing. We need that on/off.
You think about whenever your even electronics get wonky, I kind of use it all the time, you have to reset, you have to turn it on and turn it back off. And by doing that, our bodies need that and it needs it to be done really regularly and get that deep sleep. When we do that, everything gets better.
And so again, as that sort of three-legged stool of fitness and diet. Sleep has to be there in order to help keep the other two to work better. They all work better. We eat less nasty calories when we sleep. We work out more when we sleep. Everything is better when you sleep.
Dr. Mindy Pelz
Yeah, it's so true. By the way, I know that you guys did it with Santa Clara University. My son goes to Santa Clara University.
And he's a soccer player. Yeah, he's a soccer player. He doesn't play on the team there, but he's got friends, women that are on the soccer team, and he said that to me, he's like, "Mom, hey, do you know that they now have ChiliPads like you?" And that was the first time that I realized, wait a second, this might not just be for menopausal women, there's a whole application to this amazing pad that's allowing me to sleep.
There's a whole nother application. So it's interesting that you just said that because for any athlete, we're back at cortisol goes up, and if cortisol's up all day long, those sex hormones are going to start to go down. Did you guys do a write-up or anything on what you discovered with the Santa Clara women?
Yeah, it wasn't published in a journal, but you can go to our website and see what the results were.
Dr. Mindy Pelz
Yeah, that'd be awesome.
So that was really very powerful. The other thing that's really interesting is mental health is very tied to sleep. Every mental illness is tied comorbidity with sleep. And so we've done a lot of work with veterans with PTSD, and again, the profile from sort of a sleep perspective when you have a mental illness is you get very little deep sleep. Your brain gets stuck in REM and in that sort of almost awake date because night terrors, everything that looks like you're awake in a brain state.
So it's really important to still get deep sleep. And again, that temperature overrides what's going on in your prefrontal cortex a little bit and says, Hey, why don't you just go to sleep? And so a lot of our veterans with PTSD will sleep better and they won't eliminate all PTSD, but they'll get a good night's sleep.
And the work they do during the day on improving that and thinking through whatever they need to with their therapist, it's amazing difference. It's night and day difference, like a 90% improvement rate versus it takes just a lot longer recovery time for a lot of them.
And again, I talked about Terry Wahl's and MS. Again, the power of sleep no matter what's going on is amazing. And if you can bypass all the stuff that prevents us from sleeping, we almost are our worst enemies when it comes to sleep. If we can bypass that and just get better sleep across the board, there's less symptoms, whatever's going on in your life.
Dr. Mindy Pelz
Oh my God. So talk a little bit about... one of the things I've seen with menopausal women is that as we lose progesterone, our ability to relax becomes very difficult. And so it's really nice to have a glass of wine at night and that can start to slow us down and prepare us for sleep. But what we know about the research of alcohol is that long-term chronic alcohol drinking is not good on the brain.
So we have any evidence as far as have women been able to drink less? Can it help you repair from your glass of wine habit that you have every night? Because I see this as a really big hurdle for a lot of menopausal women is I know I'm not supposed to drink my glass of wine, but it is the thing that relaxes me and gets me into bed. What can we know about using a ChiliPad to help overcome that?
So this is probably my favorite hack ever when it comes to the ChiliPad and really the Dock Pro. This was a big part for me and why we pushed harder on those temperature barriers. So our latest one has ... you can get wake colder than you can on previous ones. And part of the reason is exactly that America loves to have a drink in the evening, and sleep can be the biggest party-pooper out there because when you drink alcohol, it increases your metabolism and makes you hotter.
So when we think about what we just talked about, that temperature profile, if I just gave you something that's going to make you hotter when you're trying to get deep sleep, you're not going to get deep sleep, even if it helps you relax and overcome that anxiety and try to get you to fall asleep, it's going to really destroy your sleep once you're asleep. So it can mitigate the results of alcohol because my husband loves bourbon, which is even more so than wine, and he already sleeps profile hot.
So yes, even our big linemen that they're basically doing the equivalent because they're working out late at night, those evening games, whatever that is, they're super hot already, and then they've just increased it late at night. So that late at night right before you go to bed to increase your metabolism is a killer for sleep. It's terrible. But if you can crank down your Dock Pro and freeze yourself out, you do not have that same problem, you're actually still able to get deep sleep.
Now, the long term effects of more than one glass in, you're like having bottles of wine, that affects your liver and other things. I can't fix all of that, but I can mitigate the results of heating your body up from a glass of wine or two, and you're able to sleep cooler and still get great sleep.
So if that's a handicap that you need because it's just a great tool sometimes, any of those tools, we want to ... again, not have bottles of wine or over time if you can use it less and you can train your brain to say, well, now it's time to go to sleep, it's time to relax, you can train yourself to down-regulate, just like we train ourselves to fast or do other things or work out at a certain time, you can train your brain to start relaxing.
Weighted blankets are another huge way that a lot of people have been able to give up a little bit of that glass of wine. So try a weighted blanket when you're watching TV or reading a book or whatever you do in the evening to down-regulate already, try covering up with a weighted blanket and see if you can skip your glass of wine. It's actually crazy. I know.
Everyone's like, "I don't see how it works." My husband was like, "Totally, there's no way that can work. I don't think that a weighted blanket is ever going to do it." He sleeps religiously with one now, and it started for autistic children. And it is really simple. It's just a blanket with extra weight on it, but it does release serotonin. A lot of the same things that happen when you drink a glass of wine, you're going to get with a weighted blanket with no side effects. And so it is it a great alternative to try. It's worth the try.
Dr. Mindy Pelz
Yeah. I have a funny story about that because I have a weighted blanket too. And we were going on a one summer on a vacation to Lake Tahoe, and we're packing up the car and I'm literally packing the weighted blanket and I'm taking the ChiliPad off of my bed with my Dock Pro, and I'm like, "Okay, come on. Here we go." And my husband looks at me, I'm like, "Oh, we're going for a week. I am not messing my sleep up. I need to make sure that I've got all my amenities."
You guys need to come up with a travel one because when I get into a hotel, the first thing I do is turn the temperature way down. I gather all the pillows and put them on top of me to try to get the room cold enough and get enough weight on top of me to let me go to sleep.
And it's crazy how that works. And I think that it's primal. I go back to the cave woman, she slept on the ground, it was cold, and she had an animal hide on top of her, and that was how we were primally designed to signal to go to sleep.
For our athletes, we do that. Actually, I've had more conversations with TSA agents on my weighted blanket because even if ... I'll often travel, we do have travel cases, but they don't travel great at this time. We absolutely are working on a travel version at some point, but the weighted blanket I've cut in half, so at least it just covers the half of my body and it can still go on my carry-on.
So I have a quarter of my carry-on goes to my weighted blanket, and then the rest is everything else that I put in there. But then it almost always, I get pulled over on the side and they're like, "What the hell do you have in there?" I'm like, "It's just a weighted blanket. Go ahead, take it out, feel it, touch it. We'll put it back." But now I'm kind of used to like, all right, I just have to talk to the TSA agent. But it's not like it's not allowed. It just flags them as something weird.
But yes, I travel with my weighted blanket. And then the other things you can do, again, training your brain, just like anything else, if you train it to sound, if you train it to smell, those are also all primal. So our most popular item with our athletes is actually Lavender pillow spray. And when you think about your professional baseball players and football players at least, a lot of these big super macho guys are using lavender pillow spray like ruthlessly.
Dr. Mindy Pelz
But again, when you've trained your brain that it smells like home, smell is extremely powerful in transporting us wherever we are. If you have any smell that transports you back to "I smell the cookies and I think of Grandma's kitchen" or whatever that is, smell is really, really powerful. And if your brain thinks that you're at home, even if all your tools aren't exactly there, but if you can get the sound and the smell to be the same when you travel, you'll actually have a pretty good sleep on the road.
I've tried to perfect that over the years because between myself and the athletes I work with, we have to figure that out because every hotel ... I don't understand when they're selling a bed for the night that you can't sleep in them. They're terrible places to sleep.
So in the final minutes that we have, talk a little bit about what ... if you go to your website, you're looking at the different products, you have Dock Pro sleep system, you have the OOLER I think was the original one. So talk about a little bit about the difference of that and then what's the difference between your product and some of the other products that are out there? I've been so pleased with your product. I don't know much about the other ones, but talk ab about the differences there.
Yeah, absolutely. So our original product, if you think about your old time thermostat where you set it and forget it, a lot of the dial ones and you set it to one temperature and it just state that there. So, the original ChiliPad, the cube is absolutely that way. It's one temperature. And again, if you're just going to leave it on super cold, a lot of people find that that's enough.
And again, if you don't have a huge body mass because again it's thermal regulation, so big room air conditioner is not going to work. Our little room air conditioner going to work for a big room. Think about it in terms of that, on how cold you think you're going to want to get. It's a great baseline model and a lot of people, again, if you don't have a lot of temperatures you're going to do, you just know you need to be cold, then that works for a lot of people.
It has a remote, so it's super easy. No app if you're not an app person. It's that way it works. The OOLER does have an app and it's programmable, almost like a programmable thermostat. So it's going to have a similar sort of pad profile. So think about small-room air conditioning versus large-room air conditioning or just what you're trying to get out of it, how cold you want it to get.
And then the Dock Pro obviously has the most amount of cooling capacity, has a very different design pad, which allows the thermal regulation to really make that bed cold and as cold as you want it to get. For the most part, most people can't sleep on all the way cold. And even our NFL lineman, we kind of designed it for the 375-pound NFL lineman dude putting off heat. So it's going to be able to power through that.
The differences between ours and other products out there, others will even... we have a sleep tracker that will go with the Dock Pro as I mentioned, and then it'll change the temperature dynamically throughout the night. So our sleep tracker is the only one in the world that's doing that actively at night based on your sleep profile that night because every night is different. So even if they've looked back at the previous night and then tried to superimpose that, which is what some of the others will do, it's not the same.
You didn't have the same day day to day. And so it's going to give you a very different sort of experience when it comes to that active AI, working on helping you sleep. We like to think about it as GPS. So when you pull up Google yesterday's map experience and what accidents happened on the freeway yesterday isn't going to really help you get home today. And so that in-real-time is a big part of the difference.
I think the other temperature profile is really similar, but the biggest part for me, and this is where the physicist is, it's really important to keep EMFs out of your bed. EMF is an electromagnetic field and everyone's like, oh, what is that, what does it mean? But it's stuff we can't see but it's really electronic interference. So when there's a constant stream of electronic magnetic fields interfering with your body and your space, and that's why people keep electronics out of your bedroom, it's really a lot about keeping EMFs out.
Now it's crazy because the earth pulses in fields that are very similar, but the pulsing part actually is good for us, but a continuous stream is not, and it's kind of alternating current versus direct current. You obviously don't want to have a direct current, you want to have an alternating one because it's actually more gentle and it's what your body is used to from the planet. But EMFs are bad.
We keep EMFs out of the bed so there's no electronics in the bed for us. And that's really what separated us. We're able to put in airplane mode. So if you're sensitive, if you've ever had a traumatic brain injury, you have neurodegenerative diseases at all, you're going to be very sensitive to EMFs. And if you haven't heard about them, it's worth Googling it and kind of doing your own research on what those effects are and kind of managing that.
For a lot of people it may not matter, but if you're sensitive to it, you're going to actually feel the difference of having a high amount of EMFs in your bed versus someone that may not register. That was always important to me to make sure that we do not have any of that. Again, bed should be for healing. So we want to make sure we've created a space that first of all, does no harm, only helps.
Dr. Mindy Pelz
Yeah. You talked about the AI piece of this and I'm just now experimenting with the sleep tracker and seeing what it's giving, the data gives me in the morning. But what you just got me thinking about was this idea that actually what you guys have created is a sleep partner where your bed and your body are starting to get to know each other so that the environment in your bedroom is perfect for not only sleeping well, but for repair.
You've said this a couple of times about the AI of the sleep tracker, and I think that is so important. I don't want people to miss that. I don't know another tool that has your bed as a partner in making sure that you are getting the most reparative sleep that you possibly can.
I think you guys are geniuses, by the way, and I can't even imagine all the number of diseases that you'll prevent, the number of the mental health problems, the suffering that people have during the day when we can start to get the bed in partner with the body and the brain.
We've changed, we changed the trajectory of health for all ages. So, I just grasped that right now and you're talking about that tracker, I'm like, "That is brilliant." So, thank you, really. Not only did you save my marriage, I'm now seeing that you have the potential to really prevent chronic disease. So really appreciate you all for that and for your hard work and the way that you've thought this through. What a game-changer. So thank you.
Oh yeah, I'm thrilled. Thank you.
Dr. Mindy Pelz
I want to finish on this. I could talk about this forever because I really ... Terry, I do honestly want you to know that of all the biohacks I've done, this one has been the most profound. When I see you guys, your booze at conferences, when I see anybody on your team, I'm like, thank you, thank you, thank you. It is in my top three of the most important things I've done for my physical and mental health and my relationships, through my menopausal journey.
I have so much gratitude for you. So please pass that along to everybody on your team.
I want to finish up on this. This season we are doing a lot on self-love and so I'm asking all of my guests, what's a self-care practice that you have outside of sleep that you do on a daily basis? And then the other part of that is, what do you think your superpower is in the world? We have too many people that talk about what they're not good at.
And I really want people to stand up and talk about what they're really good at and what they contribute, what their superpower does to contribute to this amazing world we live in. So self-care, practice, and superpower.
So the self-care practice actually started during the pandemic, and I've talked about it a lot. So stress, we've mentioned it is sort of the biggest enemy. It is the enemy of sleep, it's the enemy of everything in our lives really. And it actually comes from BJ Fogg. I heard a talk from him years ago on the power of tiny habits and what a small change can do, and even 30 to 60 seconds a day of meditation, gratitude, breathing, whatever that looks like for you, down-regulation is extremely powerful for watching cortisol out of your system and reducing stress.
And so my sort of self-love habit is we use the restroom seven times a day on average, sometimes more, sometimes less. But attaching a new habit to something you're already doing is extremely powerful to anchor that and make it happen again and again.
So next time you're in the restroom, this is what I do. I close the door and I take 30 to 60 seconds and I will rotate between doing breathing or gratitude. If it's really tough and I'm like, "I'm not sure I can get into breathing right now," but I'm going to at least stop and be grateful for whatever's happening in the day or my family or find a moment, but taking 30 to 60 seconds every day, one of those restroom stops has to involve 30 to 60 seconds.
That is just about me. And again, in that moment, you're doing something that you have to do for you. We all have to do it. Take an extra moment, don't be on your phone, just be soft. It's been life-changing on reducing the stress I have when it comes to nighttime when I climb into bed. It's phenomenal. It's super simple, but it really works and it's fabulous.
And then I guess my superpower ... I love finding a way to take something, well, like sleep and the AI and simplifying it and making it easy. For me, it is; it's revolutionary if we talk about self-driving cars and all the way in which we can use AI to deliver for us. We're unconscious during sleep. And so we need something to be thinking for us, Hey, what's the best way to do this?
And so when I look at the patterns and design and what's important to me, it's really important to get people to a place where they can heal. And I love the idea from a little girl of being a healer, like, ah, I just want to be a healer, whatever that looks like.
And so for me of creating devices or things or habits or helping out, I get talks, all of that, the big why is to find a place where people can heal and that sort of place of healing and delivering that is what I love. It's my why, but I believe especially attached to the technology I invent, that is my superpower.
Dr. Mindy Pelz
Amazing. Well, we are all benefiting from your superpower, so I really appreciate you. How do people find your product or follow some of the research you all are doing?
Yeah, it's just sleep.me. So if you think about sleep for yourself, that's it, that's the entire website thing. So just go to sleep.me and you'll find there's tons of blogs and different information and the research. You can explore all of that there.
Dr. Mindy Pelz
Beautiful. Well, again, from the bottom of my heart, thank you so much and I'm going to say thank you from all the menopausal women who have benefited from your product, but hopefully, people are seeing too that this goes way beyond menopause. So super grateful for you, Tara. And again, really tell everybody over there just what a huge fan I am. This has definitely been a game-changer. So we have all benefited from your superpower. So grateful for you.
Aw, thank you. Thank you for having me. This has been fabulous.