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‚ÄčThe Melanie Avalon Podcast Episode #33 - Chilipad

Tara Youngblood is a fusion scientist and a visionary leader in the future of sleep driven health combining multiple disciplines, including Alternative Medicine, Physics, and Sleep Diagnostics. She works with leading international researchers to further studies on cold therapy and its impact on sleep, and she wrote and published the leading white paper connecting more than 70 research papers to the effects of temperature on sleep quality and as an expert in sleep science, she is a highly regarded and sought-after international speaker. Tara‚Äôs research has led to more than a dozen patent filings, and she is the co-founder, along with her husband Todd, of Kryo, Inc., inventers of the ChiliPad‚ĄĘ. At Kryo she contributes to the strategic direction and daily operations of the company and she also serves as the Chief Science Officer. Tara is also a wife and mother, a passionate global traveler, and has spearheaded multiple community philanthropic activities and international relief trips. Tara is continually seeking new opportunities to improve the quality of life by those most affected with sleep disorders. She and her family sleep soundly at their home in Charlotte, NC.


LEARN MORE AT:

https://www.chilitechnology.com/

SHOWNOTES

01:30 - CHILIPAD: Sleep at your perfect Sleep Temperature - Say goodbye to Night Sweats Or Shivery Evenings! Use the code MA25 for 25% Off the Chilipad, Or the code MA15 At chilitechnology.com for 15% off their Ooler!

02:00 - LISTEN ON HIMALAYA!: Download The Free Himalaya App (Www.himalaya.fm) To FINALLY Keep All Your Podcasts In One Place, Follow Your Favorites, Make Playlists, Leave Comments, And More! Follow The Melanie Avalon Podcast In Himalaya For Early Access 24 Hours In Advance! ‚Äč

02:15 - Paleo OMAD Biohackers: Intermittent Fasting + Real Foods + Life: Join Melanie's Facebook Group To Discuss And Learn About All Things Biohacking! All Conversations Welcome!

02:30 - Follow Melanie On Instagram To see the latest moments, products, and #AllTheThings! @MelanieAvalon

02:40 - SLEEP REMEDY: Sleep Remedy Is The Ultimate Sleep Supplement, Developed By Dr. Kirk Parsley After Years Of Research To Naturally Restore Sleep To The Sleep-Deprived, Insomniac Navy Seals. Rather Than Knocking You Out With Drugs, Sleep Remedy Provides The Necessary Neurotransmitters And Nutrients In The Perfect Amounts To Naturally Support Your Body's Sleep Process. Use The Code MELANIEAVALON at DocParsley.com For 10% Off!! You can also Get 25% Off Their New Lavender Version At MelanieAvalon.com/Sleepremedylavender 

‚ÄčThe Melanie Avalon Podcast Episode # 3 - Dr. Kirk Parsley

03:40 - BEAUTY COUNTER: Non-Toxic Beauty Products Tested For Heavy Metals, Which Support Skin Health And Look Amazing! Shop At Beautycounter.com/MelanieAvalon For Something Magical! For Exclusive Offers And Discounts, And More On The Science Of Skincare, Get On Melanie's Private Beauty Counter Email List At MelanieAvalon.com/CleanBeauty!

08:45 - Tara Youngblood's History: Fusion Scientist To Cold And Sleep Expert!

11:45 - What Is Sleep? The Stages Of Sleep 

14:15 - What Does It Mean If You Wake Up Between Sleep Cycles?

15:15 - Sleep Medications As Hallucinogens 

17:15 - Meditation Vs. Sleep

18:45 - Are We Dormant During Sleep?

20:00 - Sleep And Chronotypes

21:00 - The Genetics And Evolution Of Night Vs Morning People 

25:00 - Do Night Owls Have Longer Circadian Rhythms?

26:15 - Gender And Circadian Rhythm 

26:45 - Natural Temperature Fluctuations 

27:55-  Body Temperature And the Hypothalamus 

29:30 - What Temperature Is Best for Instigating Sleep?

31:20 - The Importance Of Feeling Safe

31:40 - Blue-light Blocking Glasses For Sleep, Stress, And Health! Go To BluBlox.com And Use The Code melanieavalon For 15% Off!

34:05 - JOOVV: Red Light And NIR therapy for ‚Äč Fat Burning, Muscle Recovery, Mood, Sleep, And More! Use The Link Joovv.com/melanieavalon With The Code MelanieAvalon For A Free Gift From Joovv, And Also Forward Your Proof Of Purchase To Contact@MelanieAvalon.com, To Receive A Signed Copy Of‚Äč What When Wine: Lose Weight and Feel Great with Paleo-Style Meals, Intermittent Fasting, and Wine

35:50 - Environmental Temperature Vs. Body Temperature Vs. Perception Of Temperature

Lifespan: Why We Age - and Why We Don't Have To

40:30 - Should You Use Sleep Trackers?

43:30  - Warming Up/Saunas Before Sleep

47:30 - temperature for Naps

49:00 - How The Chilipad Works

Reprogram Your Sleep: The Sleep Recipe that Works

‚Äč

TRANSCRIPT

Melanie Avalon:
Hi friends. I've been so excited about today's episode. I've been looking forward to it for quite a while. I am here with Tara Youngblood. She has one of the coolest titles ever. She is a fusion scientist, which just sounds really amazing. But her forte, she's really involved in the future of sleep and how it relates specifically to temperature, which is awesome. She does work in alternative medicine, physics, sleep diagnostics. She works with leading international researchers. 

Melanie Avalon:
She actually wrote and published the leading white paper connecting more than 70 research papers to the effects of temperature on sleep quality, which is awesome. I came to know her through her company ChiliPad. ChiliPad makes a device which we will be talking about in this podcast which is one of the things that truly revolutionized my life personally. I mean that from the bottom of my heart and I don't know what I would do if somebody took it away from me now. Thank you so much for being here Tara. I'm really excited to dive in deep with you today. 

Tara Youngblood:
Yeah, I'm excited to be here. I'm self labeled as a sleep geek so I can talk sleep all day. 

Melanie Avalon:
Two things that I'm obsessed with, sleep and the benefits and the power of cold therapy, which if somebody were to ask me what lifestyle hack or lifestyle environmental factor did I find personally most beneficial for my life, I think it actually would be cold therapy. I can't even express just intuitively the feelings I get from that. And so, combining that with sleep and the implications there is just profound to me. 

Tara Youngblood:
I absolutely agree. I'm sure we'll get into the depths of the science of it, but for anyone that hasn't tried it and it sounds... the immediate response I get when I mention cold therapy a lot is like, "Oh that sounds cold than it is." But there are huge benefits involved if you can talk your brain into doing it. 

Melanie Avalon:
Yeah, I love it. It finally got a little bit cold here in Georgia these past few days. It just feels so good to me when it happens, when it does get a little bit colder, I can go outside in shorts and a tee shirt and I'm just like, "Yes." I know that can sound a little bit crazy, but even things like cold showers. I've just always intuitively felt that there was something going on there and now I feel the research and the science really does support that. To start things off, I'm dying to know, did you start with an interest in cold therapy and sleep and something else entirely? What is your background and what led you to where you are today, as well as developing the company ChiliPad? 

Tara Youngblood:
As you mentioned in the title, fusion scientist, fusion actually has nothing to do with sleep. It's the energy that the sun does. Fusion is sort of the opposite of what happens in a nuclear reactor, which is fission. Originally when I graduated I had hoped to bring fusion and a cleaner energy to the world. But fusion is a very tough process. It's been described as holding jello with elastic bands trying to make it happen. It's coming back around. There's a few more places that are really working out. There's some hybrid reactors in China, but unfortunately I was not a huge pursuant when I graduated. 

Tara Youngblood:
I kind of fumbled around trying to figure out what my life's passion would be if it wasn't going to fix the world's energy. In about 2007, my husband and I came up with the idea for the ChiliPad. Now, his uncle invented the waterbed. We had brought other products to market. So at that point it was an idea that was more about comfort and adjusting thermostat similar to... honestly the idea came from micro-climate control in cars where a driver and a passenger can have different temperatures. We slept at very different temperatures so that seemed like a good solution. 

Tara Youngblood:
But once we started playing around with temperature, we would get calls of, this was life changing and it's making a really big difference. I as a scientist couldn't resist, well, what was really happening here? What's happening in our bodies that makes this really work. I had always struggled with sleep and insomnia. Figuring out what would become sort of my recipe for sleep and how to hack sleep and how to use this temperature in the most effective way really became my absolute passion. It's all I worked on thousands and thousands of research papers and books in trying to get to the heart of how this mechanism works in the brain. That's sort of where I spent the last 10 plus years on. 

Melanie Avalon:
I mean, it's kind of perfect because I know you said that initially you were interested in fixing the energy production or energy crisis of the world, but I feel like in addressing people's sleep, that's a roundabout and almost more direct way of addressing energy issues because it's our personal energy, health. 

Tara Youngblood:
It is. It's been a fun transition that way. It kind of still feels like it fulfills that original passion about changing the world's energy, absolutely. If we sleep better, we have better energy all the way down to our cellular level. 

Melanie Avalon:
I love that so much. I guess we can get a foundation here to start with as far as sleep goes. I know sleep itself, we could talk for like 10 hours. I will put a link in the show notes. I had a very in-depth conversation with Dr. Kirk Parsley who is a sleep expert. We did go deep into sleep there. I'll link there for listeners to listen as well. So, sleep and the various sleep stages. I guess independent even of temperature, are there any foundational ideas that you'd like to put out there as far as what you see sleep to be? Because I know people often say that we don't even know still what sleep is. So, what is your perspective of sleep? 

Tara Youngblood:
Yeah. To sort of add on to that, sleep is a brand new science. It's hard to believe that something we do for a third of our lives is so brand new as a field in medicine, as a field really in research and studying. I like to talk about it in terms of, you can actually go to school and get degrees in nutrition or fitness or sports medicine, but up until 2013 I think was the first one that there was actually an undergraduate degree you could get in sleep or sleep disorders and technicians. It's really that brand new. And yes, it's so evolving and there's all sorts of new information coming out all the time, which I think makes it, for me anyway, as a scientist, super exciting to be part of all that new research. 

Tara Youngblood:
But sleep itself is, there's parts of it that are really basic and there's parts that are elusive. We're really trying to find out about the basic parts of sleep that will help you to understand so you can get the most out of this podcast. Generally sleep is broken up into REM sleep, which is rapid eye movement. Most people have heard of that. That's the stage where honestly your eyes are moving and a lot of your brainwave activity actually mimics being awake. Sort of a high level of where your brain activity is because again, it's very similar to being awake. 

Tara Youngblood:
The other part of sleep has been kind of grouped into this non-REM sleep. In that you can break it down. There's lots of different ways to describe it. I think the easiest way is just light sleep and deep sleep. These three different types of sleep happen throughout the night. It's always hard. People show me their trackers all the time and say, "Well, my cycle isn't a 90 minute cycle." When you look at the pictures online of what an ideal sleep cycle looks like, light sleep goes down to deep and comes back up to REM and it's in this 90 minute bucket of cycle. 

Tara Youngblood:
We're all so individual. So if your sleep tracker doesn't look like it's in night, sneak tidy, 90 minute increments, that doesn't mean you're a bad sleeper. It just means we're all a little bit different that way. But those cycles exist throughout the night and that's pretty good overview I think of that's what's happening while you're sleeping. 

Melanie Avalon:
I actually have a question about those sleep cycles. This is something I wonder all the time. Say a person goes through a given amount of sleep cycles in the night, will sleep be any more or less "refreshing" if the person is aware of waking up between cycles. Like say a person has three 90-minute cycles and they seemingly sleep through all three of them and they don't consciously wake up at any point compared to a person who wakes up seemingly every 90 minutes or so. Does that mean their sleep quality is not as good as the person who doesn't remember waking up in between the cycles? 

Tara Youngblood:
When you wake up in between your cycles or throughout the night, that's called fragmented sleep. Depending on how fragmented that sleep is, the more it is, the worse it is for what you feel like in the morning. The one caveat with that is that Ambien, a lot of those sleep medications that you can get through prescription, they actually are hallucinogens. And so, they will actually block out the fact that you wake up between those cycles so that your sleep is fragmented so you won't have a conscious sense that you're waking up during those times, but you still won't feel as rested. That's where that mismatch comes from. So, if you're without medication, you're waking up, yes, it's going to be bad on your sleep. And even if you're taking an Ambien-type drug, you may still get fragmented sleep, you just won't remember that it is. So that fragmentation is really important. 

Tara Youngblood:
I do think that the research is showing that deep sleep and REM sleep are the two sleep stages that will have a biggest impact on that feeling of being rested and recovery. Deep sleep actually a little bit more than REM sleep. And that's just on their functions of what they do for recovery. Deep sleep is really focused on a lot of that physical recovery. It's memory, it's high level cognitive, but it's not prefrontal cortex as much. Whereas it's not really about your conscious state. 

Tara Youngblood:
Having those balance is important because REM sleep, a lot of what's sort of worked on or repaired during there is, it's your emotional state. That's where a lot of your dreams and things like that are happening so you can recover emotionally as well as your ability to manage risk, lives in that REM sort of state as well. And a lot of this is pretty new research. They're trying to tag these two different sleep stages, but the overall feeling of you wake up, you feel amazing, some of it is based on duration based on who you are and how old you are. But the biggest factor is that quality and it's trying to aim for that two hours of deep sleep and two hours of REM sleep in your ideal sleep window. 

Melanie Avalon:
That's really fascinating. And actually there's another question that's been haunting me. I've been doing a lot of research on meditation actually for an upcoming episode and I've heard it posited that we cannot both be "asleep or resting" in both our mind and body at the same time because from an evolutionary perspective we need to be able to respond to the environment. And so, it was positing that while we're sleeping at night, it's actually our body is still "awake" but our mind is resting compared to meditation where our mind is awake and our body is resting. Do you have thoughts on that at all or is it not that simple? 

Tara Youngblood:
I would say it's quite that simple and here's the thing, it's tied a little bit more to that sleep state. A lot of meditations can achieve similar brain waves to mimic deep sleep, for example, so that there is a crossover on what your brain is doing. That's generally a higher level person that has done meditation for a long time, has great control. There'll be able to choose that state more easily than someone that just puts on headspace and gives it a turn. So, I think that there's a pretty wide, I like to use the word spectrum, but there's a pretty big spectrum in what meditation is and what it can do. It's a very powerful tool, but it only mimics and can be compared to sleep in what your brain waves are doing and what recovery from stress and some of those other factors that happen during sleep. It can mimic that. 

Tara Youngblood:
There's a lot of postulation on the fact that whether we're dormant or not in sleep. The interesting thing about sleep from an evolutionary perspective is that it was such a vital part of our body systems that across the board all mammals, for example, have carried this need to sleep. It goes into birds, and even reptiles need that off time. This idea of big shutdown is so important to our bodies that it doesn't really matter if we're shut down or not. 

Tara Youngblood:
I think one of the ways in which that's actually managed evolutionary wise is in the fact that we have different chronotypes and we have different body clocks on when it's ideal for us to sleep. When you look at a morning person's schedule as compared to a night person's schedule, they're going to be offset. And I think that that's how evolution actually took care of that dormant state on how dormant we are. Part of that goes into, during deep sleep, we're probably the most dormant. That's the start of our sleep cycle. And so, when you... like I said, you're still going through all those different sleep cycles, but that window for deep sleep, the probability of deep sleep is much heavier in the first half of the night. 

Tara Youngblood:
But that clock starts for that chronotype at a certain time and it changes. So, as a morning person, it's more like between 9:00 and 10:00 versus a night owl, that can be between 1:00 and 2:00, as late as that on the other end of the spectrum. And when you stagger sleep throughout a human tribe or a herd of people, the risk of dormancy becomes way less. There's always someone that is in a higher state of awareness than others. In REM sleep, which is much more that second half of the night, it's much easier to wake up and have small disturbances. So your risk of full dormancy isn't quite the same. So it's not across all sleeps. It's pretty specific and I think that how we've evolved evolutionary wise actually manages it pretty well. 

Melanie Avalon:
Oh my goodness, you made me so happy. I'm so happy to know that. It sounds like you subscribe to the idea that there are night people. I am haunted by night owls. 

Tara Youngblood:
It's actually genetics. There's actually, it's called PER3. There's a gene that governs night owls and morning people, what's called our chronotype. That is absolutely true. It's genetics. You can take questions that'll get you to what that answer is, but the length of that gene absolutely determines when you should go to sleep, what's your body clock setting is on when it starts and stops. To me that's one of the biggest, most powerful pieces of information that anyone wanting to manage their own health needs to know beyond sleep, beyond anything. 

Tara Youngblood:
This clock measures, you can tell when your highest blood pressure is going to be to when you should go to the bathroom to when you should eat big meals versus small and exercise, be most creative, be most productive, highest cognitive load. All of those windows are attached to this genetically-driven clock that exists in our bodies. And once you know when your clock is looking for different things, all of the health initiatives that you will work on in your life will be more effective. 

Melanie Avalon:
Okay. I'm breathing a sigh of relief just because I am such an extreme night owl and I want to be a morning person so bad. I'm kind of lived with this sense of guilt that I shouldn't be a night person or I should be a morning person. It's funny, I'll talk to my mom about how I feel. "I'm trying to be a morning person." She's like, "Melanie, you're a night person. Accept it. It's okay."

Tara Youngblood:
I am so all about that. There's such a sense of damnation around sleep. I feel like the biggest part of my mission is to provide hope around this dilemma of sleep because we've designed our workforce, our lives are all supposed to be around this normalized: this is how everybody's supposed to live, this is how everyone's supposed to work, this is everybody's schedule. It just doesn't apply to everybody. We're a spectrum of human beings. We're not a single human that functions all in the same way. And as soon as you state, "Everyone needs eight hours," everyone doesn't need eight hours. It's not true. It's just not true. 

Tara Youngblood:
Now, some people will need eight hours, but some people will need a lot less and some people may need even a little bit more. Some people can take naps and some people can have a polyphasic schedule where they're napping on and off and they only sleep three or four hours. But most of us couldn't do that. But certain people can. And it's really, you're missing out on so much information when you give one data point as this is the way it's supposed to be and sleep is all focused... all the tips, all the information are focused on a single data point of, this is the way it's supposed to be. 

Melanie Avalon:
I am loving this. Okay. I did have one quick followup question before circling back to the temperature aspect of things. You're mentioning that evolutionary benefits to the different chronotypes. So from the evolutionary perspective, is it because there would be certain types of people that have these different rhythms so they would always be somebody awake like in the "tribe"? Is that the reasoning? 

Tara Youngblood:
There is. There's limited studies because obviously there's not that many tribal hunter gatherer type societies to look at, but there has been some really great research on how they slept and how they managed those different things. Although there's limited studies on it, there are studies and that's what the studies would point to for sure. Obviously I haven't lived with a caveman so I couldn't tell you for sure, but it would make sense to me why there would be a divergence in when we go to sleep and how much sleep we need. That all makes sense. Because if we have to sleep, if that's a mandated part, if it's as mandated as breathing and eating and sex and all of those mandated parts of our structure of our day, it would make sense that we'd have to find a way to, as a herd, prevent ourselves from being eaten during that time. 

Melanie Avalon:
That's fantastic. And then what about the idea that the "night owls" that they have a naturally longer circadian rhythm and that's what perpetuates that staying up later? Is there science there as well? 

Tara Youngblood:
The night owls, I mean, all of it's linked to the length of that gene. And so, the fact that your circadian rhythm as a night person doesn't seem to be in sync is really more a benefit or a factor of figuring out, when do you need to sleep. So depending on the night owl, and again as soon as you get into the night owl spectrum, the flexibility on your schedule is amazing. As someone that's such a morning person, my schedule as a morning person has so much less flexibility in it. I'm really in trouble. So even when I travel, I don't take naps well. Those sort of things that a night owl can do and mess with and figure out, I'm guessing that your schedule is actually not longer, it just has different flexibility in it.

Tara Youngblood:
As a female, it also may have... there's limited evidence because they don't study females and sleep very much. It's one of my other pet peeves. But I'm guessing that your cycle, your lunar cycle is also messing with your night owl schedule because your flexibility changes. Circadian rhythm is tied to core body temperature and that's affected as well in how you react to different things. Your core body temperature fluctuates with your lunar cycle for women and that can also mess with what you're looking for in sleep. 

Melanie Avalon:
Fantastic. Oh, I am loving this, loving this conversation. Okay. So glad we did circle back to the temperature because that's obviously a huge part or a huge factor here. So, independent of sleep even, well, this is a question for you because we're talking about how even with sleep cycles that they can be so different between individuals. When it comes to temperature fluctuations during the day and night, is there a general template or trajectory that temperature naturally follows for any given person as it goes throughout the day and night? And does that also relate to their personal circadian rhythm? 

Tara Youngblood:
Yes. Your temperature fluctuates throughout the day. And again, it depends on whether you're a morning person when that lowest point is. It's sometime in the middle of the night. Obviously as a morning person, my middle of the night is more 2:00 to 4:00. As a night person, your middle of the night may actually be what the modern world likes to talk about, is more like 6:00 or 7:00, which a lot of people will be like, "Oh, I should be waking up then." It can even go later than that depending on when that person goes to sleep and when their sleep drive starts.

Tara Youngblood:
So, your temperature in your brain is part of your hypothalamus, which is the oldest part of your brain, not because that part of your brain's older, like you chronologically in your body, but is evolutionary wise. That's where your heartbeat, your breathing, your unconscious, involuntary responses live. Temperature lives there. The temperature cues and also the light cues where people will talk about lighting and sleep also live in that same spot. 

Tara Youngblood:
But the neurons, they're called VLPO neurons. They are actually excited or triggered. It's been called or coined a sleep switch by Clifford Saper out of Harvard. So if you want to geek out on those neurons, you can follow him. But that sleep switch is actually attached to a change of temperature. So when your body registers, just like it's got a little thermal sensor like you would imagine in a device. When that sets off it says, "Oh, there's a change of temperature. It's getting colder. I really should be thinking about going to sleep." Your hypothalamus then says, "Awesome." These neurons are triggered. So I release melatonin. I release other sort of sleep hormones that are going to start settling you down for sleep. 

Tara Youngblood:
Jerome Siegel, out of UCLA, first really tied this really tightly to a hunter gatherer study ironically that it wasn't light that was the heavier trigger for this going to sleep, it was temperature because the light had already started to dim, and that dimming of the lights can help and certain people are going to be more sensitive to that. It goes to the spectrum. But for a lot of people, the temperature is actually a much heavier weighting in your body of a trigger on when to start that sleep.

Melanie Avalon:
And so that temperature, the colder temperature instigating the sleep patterns, what is that actual temperature because it seems like freezing temperatures for example seem to be more stimulating, at least for me personally. Is it just a cooler temperature, is it a very cold temperature? Is there a spectrum? 

Tara Youngblood:
There is a spectrum. If you think about the hunter gatherer, they weren't in a constant temperature environment. Part of where we are today, we don't really think about temperature as if we were living outdoors. We're think about our temperature when we live in a constant environment. I think the average temperature that people keep their houses in in the US is between 68 and 72, and that temperature is the same all year round all day. There isn't any change. Very likely you'll go from that temperature being in your house to that temperature being at your office and it doesn't elicit any change. 

Tara Youngblood:
I think we started out this conversation of sort of the discomfort that you can imagine with cold therapy. But that discomfort, that change of temperature, it doesn't have to be a significant one. It can be a few degrees for some people. Again, back to that spectrum, it may be a lot more. Some people actually will be triggered by warming up as a climate to their sort of cocoon of their bed. There's definitely a personal part of what change of temperature will trigger that sleep state. But if you think about it, all of us will intrinsically, if you ask someone, because this is a big question I get asked is what temperature do I need to set my ChiliPad at or where do I need to start? 

Tara Youngblood:
Really it boils down to, well, what makes you feel comfortable? What's going to... we're looking for the release of serotonin, which is a reduction in anxiety. It's a feel good factor that helps lawless to sleep. And so, you want to create a change of temperature, but you want to create one that feels good because we want to feel safe to fall asleep. Partly it does go back to, well, if I feel safe and I feel good, then it's the right temperature and I go to sleep. That all makes sense based on our conversation so far. 

Melanie Avalon:
Okay. I love that. Yeah. I actually keep my apartment at 64 all the time. 

Tara Youngblood:
We keep our house cooler too. I think it's better. 

Melanie Avalon:
Yeah. I love it. But when I moved to Atlanta from LA, I was in the summer and I was keeping it 64 and I got my first electric bill and I was like, Oh my goodness gracious. That was a fun time. I do have a question about the hypothalamus and the body temperature and sleep. What is the difference between the environmental temperature that you're experiencing versus how you feel on the inside versus the actual body temperature? Because I feel like there's so many different situations. You could have a person who feels really hot, but they're in a really cold environment. You could have a person who is in a hot environment, they feel cold. You could have a person who feels hot, but actually their body temperature might be lower, a hot flash type situation. So when the hypothalamus is interpreting these temperatures, is it interpreting all of these factors? Is it more based on your actual literal body temperature, more on the environment? What's the nuance there?

Tara Youngblood:
Yeah, so it is. It's really hard. You have to separate. To put it in perspective, it's not that different than your house. Your thermostat, that's what's located in your hypothalamus that controls the temperature. And when your house says it's 64 degrees, for example, it's because of that thermostat. Now, it could be 68 degrees in your sun room because you're getting direct sunlight and it's a little warmer there. Or it could be a little colder because it's winter time and that cold air is sneaking in your windows. 

Tara Youngblood:
But the thermostat is what is registering what that environmental temperature and it's making decisions on the heating structure based on what that's reading there. And so, the access to the hypothalamus comes more on this. Ironically, they'll actually register light also through your ears. But it's more of different parts of your body will all contribute to this amalgamated, this is what's registering a difference in temperature. So it's kind of all of those things come into factor as far as measuring it a little bit. 

Tara Youngblood:
Your core body temperature is what we're trying to influence with sleep and that's more like the temperature of your heart and lungs, inside your ribcage kind of stuff. That's not easily influenced by the environment, but it's a good measurement of where your circadian rhythm is. The only way to test that is really with a thermometer and your body because depending on how much insulation we all have, and we like to call it insulation instead of fat because it feels friendlier, but how much insulation you have, what your kind of circulation is, will all influence how fast the environmental temperature will get to your core body temperature. 

Tara Youngblood:
The temperature on your skin is called your basal temperature. That's more like... that has a higher impact on how cold your hands feel. If you need to warm up your feet, you're influencing your basal temperature. And that could have a different influence based on your metabolism and your circulation. There's a lot of factors that influence that as well and how fast that temperature translates. I think that really what it comes down to is, our thermostats are a little bit faulty because they're measuring from inside the brain and looking for all of those different inputs. 

Tara Youngblood:
That really comes, you see it, like the moment you're sick, you run a fever. When our hormones are in flux, that's when women are having hot flashes. When our lunar cycle is going through its hormones, our temperature gets wonky. Of all of the sensors in our body, it's definitely not the best design one for sure. Clearly evolution didn't think it was that important for some reason, but it is definitely the hardest to nail down as one-to-one ratio of, if this then that. 

Melanie Avalon:
Yeah, it's so fascinating. One of the reasons I was thinking about it more was I was interviewing Davidson Sinclair on this podcast. He has a book, Lifespan. He talks a lot about cold therapy in that book as well. But one of the things he was talking about, and it's not temperature, but he was talking about studies on appetite and hunger and the health benefits due to calorie restriction and things like that. And then some of the studies, I think it was rodent trials, but they found that the perception of hunger was actually important. When the rodents, even though they were calorie restricted, if they didn't feel hungry, they didn't achieve necessarily the same amount of benefits. I was wondering in my head if that extended to temperature as well. We have cold therapy or something, what if you are cold but you feel hot because of hot flashes or whatever. So I just, it's so fascinating to me. 

Tara Youngblood:
I think the best way to tie that part to sleep is actually not as much with temperature, but our sleep outcomes. This kind of ties into... everyone asked me, well, do you use a sleep tracker? What do you think about sleep trackers? I do use an orb ring, but I really struggle with this sense of sleep trackers. There's such a wide range of people and sleep trackers and how accurate they are. I also feel like a lot of them don't close the loop and say, "Okay, it's so sad. You had a really bad sleep."

Tara Youngblood:
If just started your day... so if you had a really bad sleep, there's actually things that you can do to sort of manage the output of your day and manage your day more effectively because you at least got that information. I don't feel like they do a good job of not just leaving you with, "By the way, you suck today." And then you're stuck with, okay, well, what does that mean and how can I fix it? When you're in passion to fix it first thing in the morning, you get to the night and you're like, "Well, my sleep was terrible last night. I'm not sure what I should do differently," because you're now tired from not recovering the night before. 

Tara Youngblood:
You've had a long day and they're leaving you with, I guess I'll just track it and hopefully it'll come out differently. We're not closing that loop on how to fix things and empower people that even when their sleep is bad, they know how to fix it. Instead, we just keep telling them they're bad. That is really damning to insomnia and that creates a horrible cycle of insomnia, is I can't be successful at sleep so I'm going to put it off and I go to sleep later. I actually treat sleep worse when I think I'm sleeping badly than the opposite where if I'm not sleeping well, I should treat it better and put more time into fixing it, because we're not closing that damning loop that comes with sleep. 

Melanie Avalon:
100%, I could not agree more. That's one of the reasons I stopped using a sleep tracking device that I was using because I realized I just fixated on what it told me and then I defined my day based on what it told me. Whereas I'd rather, like you said, implement these habits and make these changes that will support my sleep rather than being told whether or not I did a good job or not. They've done studies on that too. I'm sure you've seen them where participants are told that they had good sleep, they perceive having more energy regardless of whether or not they did. So, I could not agree more there. 

Tara Youngblood:
Just one more note on that is, if you are using one, just keep in mind that it's a three day window on sleep, especially anything that's measuring HRV, resting heart rate, all of those can be effected by things that you did during your day, like how late you drank alcohol. They can be affected if you're about to come down with a cold. You can see that in an HRV curve few days before, even if you have no other symptoms. So there could be all these other factors that are influencing your sleep and giving you a poor score and you don't even know about them. So, just to keep in mind if you are using them, which is not a problem, just keep it with a grain of salt. 

Melanie Avalon:
I love it, love it so much. One more quick follow up question to what you were talking about and then we can maybe go into the ChiliPad. You were talking about how some people actually can sleep better being a little warm before they go to sleep. I was doing research on this and learning about the warm bath effect and everything. Is that because of the safety feelings surrounded to being warm or is it because in warming up then the compensatory response is your body cools down?

Melanie Avalon:
I'm also thinking about something like, I have a sauna and I find that if I do that, not directly before sleep, but if I do it in the evening, I seem to sleep so much better that night. I also feel cooler during the night afterwards. And then the last thing I heard was I actually heard that it was better for naps to be warmer but at night to be cooler. So, two main questions there I guess, what's going on with the warming up effect before sleep and then for naps, is it different? 

Tara Youngblood:
Yeah. I really look at sleep, at least at night, in three buckets and nap time would be a fourth bucket. There is, especially in that bedtime bucket as I talked about it, there's a fair amount of leeway into who you are. The spectrum of what triggers you to sleep is going to be different for some people, and I think this is where we get lost in those studies of trying to make a blanket statement. Everybody needs to be warmer to go to sleep, everybody needs to be cooler. There is no blanket response for this. 

Tara Youngblood:
There is a spectrum of what's going to work for certain people. If warming yourself up to go to sleep helps you fall asleep, and that most of us can sort of without any complicated machinery say, "Yeah, I need to be a little bit warmer to sleep." And then saunas, warm baths, if it is a ChiliPad, whatever it is, warm yourself up to go to sleep. My husband is so hot natured that for him going into a cooler bed is absolutely what triggers him to sleep. If he got warmed up, he'd be, well, frankly hot and bothered and not want to go to sleep. So it's definitely really individual. 

Tara Youngblood:
There's other two buckets of the night, like that deep sleep zone that we've talked about, which once you fall asleep, deep sleep really likes it cooler, because if you're sleeping within your circadian sleep window, your deep sleep wants to be cooler. Your core body temperature is trying to drop two degrees. That's a lot for your core body temperature, a lot of heat to give off. And so, in that window, and this is where the next evolution of the ChiliPad, that cooler, does do that, it allows scheduling so you could be cooler for the first half of the night once you're asleep. And when you do that, you can really manipulate deep sleep and get great deep sleep numbers. 

Tara Youngblood:
Deep sleep diminishes with age on average. A 20-year-old can get two hours of deep sleep in an eight-hour window pretty easily. An 80-year-old may only get seven minutes, which is now why they're putting all this study energy into deep sleep and the loss of it, how it's attached to all timers and cognitive loss and toxins in your brain. All those heavy things deep sleep does when it's gone and you're not getting it consistently, it's attached to a lot of chronic diseases. So that first window to be cooler is really important, but then the second half of the night after your body's hit that lowest point where its core body temperature is actually trying to rise. 

Tara Youngblood:
And that's similar to the sun coming up and warming the planet or trying to warm up for the day. Our body wants to warm up. If your body stays cold for the people that set that temperature really cold, the deep sleep can actually cannibalize your REM sleep and you'll just get less REM sleep. So it's really important to keep those in mind and setting your temperature accordingly. You can usually use a programmable thermostat even for your house to do that, but warming awake actually flips off your sleep switch that you hopefully triggered in your bedtime and it'll help you start your day. It releases cortisol instead of melatonin and kind of helps boost you out of bed. So warming up is a good part of thinking about that. 

Tara Youngblood:
And then your other question was about naps. Naps are such a big topic because someone like a morning person like me is going to really struggle. If they go to do a nap, they're probably not feeling well and they should probably warm up. They made you do it from anxiety or stress. And so, warming up would work well for them. For a night person where they're trying to capture some deep sleep because their sleep patterns are such that they're not sleeping eight hours as much or they're truncated because of work schedule or whatever it is, night people are really going to get the raw end of the deal of having to be at work by eight o'clock especially if they commute. So, a nap can help. 

Tara Youngblood:
You also have a short dip in your circadian rhythm and your core body temperature after lunch. That's when a lot of us feel sleepy anyway. That drive to nap exists there. A lot of cultures evolve to have siestas during that time. If you're cooler during that time, you can actually get deep sleep. But again, deep sleep during that time can be really destructive to a morning person. But for a night owl or someone towards the night owl spectrum, it will be wonderful. My husband could do that all day. He loves naps and it's great for him. 

Melanie Avalon:
Okay, got you. It seems like the takeaway that you've been touching on so much is that it really is very individual and you have to find what works for you. So for listeners, actually if you're new to the concept of the ChiliPad, it doesn't just get cold. Actually, we haven't even really talked about what it is. So we should probably do that, but it can get cold and warm. I know I said this at the beginning, but I just can't even express how life changing this ChiliPad has been for my life and my sleep. I just can't express enough because basically you put it on your bed and it comes in all these different sizes. You could have that individual unit for you or you can have one that covers the entire bed. Actually, I'll just let you Tara, I would like you to tell listeners about how it works. 

Tara Youngblood:
Yeah, no problem. There's a control unit that sits next to your bed or nightstand or under your bed. It sort of depends on bedroom set up. But on your bed is basically a mattress pad with silicone tubes. In those tubes we run water underneath you while you sleep. It goes right underneath your sheets and it maintains whatever temperature you set it at or whatever you've programmed it to. What happens is it basically helps maintain that temperature under your sheets. 

Tara Youngblood:
Mattresses, especially manmade mattresses with foam, they are notorious for being soft and comfortable but yet absorbing and then transferring that heat back so they're putting heat back into that sleep equation. We put blankets over top of ourselves, so even if we're setting our room temperature colder, it doesn't always translate into what's under the covers, how we're interacting with our mattress. And so, the ChiliPad is designed to basically create a radiator for your human engine and to help you maintain the temperature you need to for sleep. 

Melanie Avalon:
And listeners, it is amazing. I think I literally have a moment of gratitude every single night when I lay on it and I'm just like, "Thank you. Thank you." I think about the time before I had it and I almost shutter. I'm like, "How was I sleeping without this device?" I do have a question about, this is something I've wondered and then listeners have actually asked me this as well. We know there's all these benefits to sleeping in a cooler environment. Is that canceled out if you are using covers and bundling up at the same time? 

Tara Youngblood:
Yeah. This is I guess one of my pet peeves. We're a smaller family-run company obviously, so I don't have the budget of a big mattress person. When a mattress company says they're going to be cooling, most of the time it's sort of add gel, flex into the bed. They don't really have a big thermal impact. They're trying to sell the thermal story, but I equate it to, if you put on your under-armor, moisture wicking tee shirts, that's not going to keep you cool when you're working out. You're still going to sweat, you're still going to interact. It may help wick the moisture away; and your moisture wicking sheets, that's exactly what they do. If it's that cool sheet, they're wicking moisture away from you.

Tara Youngblood:
The most they're going impact environmentally is two degrees. So even a fan, anything that weaves air, if the fan is... if you're even under, like if you're just laying naked on your bed, a fan is going to change the temperature, again on that basal, like environmental change at your body is two degrees. It's not a substantial enough change to have an impact on your core body temperature and to really help you either cool or heat up or do what you need to do. That's really why we use water in those radiator tubes to have a significant enough impact on that temperature.

Tara Youngblood:
In order to reach neutrality for most modern mattresses, the environment in there will heat up to our body temperature which is 98 degrees, and we want to try to be 85 and below underneath the covers in order to be able to put off the heat we need to drop our core body temperature two degrees. So, if we're covered up, if our mattress is giving off heat, even if we've set our room nice and cool, you've basically created a separate little cave environment and it's more important to understand what the temperature is inside that cave environment. That's why for some people kicking off the covers, if it's 64 degrees, they can achieve a cool enough room to sleep. But a lot of us, like I like a blanket to cuddle up with. I need that. Anxiety wise, I don't feel like I can sleep comfortably without a blanket. And so, once you put the blanket on, then you need to think about what the temperature is under the blanket, not just in the room. 

Melanie Avalon:
Okay, perfect. This is the solution to... if you like having the cold environment but it's still bundling up and still want to actually address the root cause and keep your body cool, the ChiliPad can allow you to do that. I do have a question. I just have the single unit because it's just me. If you have a partner and you have one covering the larger bed, can you adjust different temperatures for the different people or is it the entire thing? 

Tara Youngblood:
No, no. If we did that, Todd and I wouldn't have come up with it. I think because I don't think we'd ever agree on the right temperature. So your Queen, your Kings, your Cal Kings, all of those come with the equivalent of two remotes so you each get to pick your own temperature. A crazy statistic about people sleeping at the same temperature versus not, only about 4% of the population will sleep at the same temperature. That means they're agreeing on that ambient temperature or they're agreeing on the weight of the blankets and they're agreeing on that mattress state of how hot it is. So really small portion of the population can agree if their sleep partners, men and women, different temperaments, metabolisms. It's a pretty wide spectrum of how hot we get and that means very different temperatures in bed. 

Melanie Avalon:
Well thank you. Thank you for addressing that with the ChiliPad. I am so grateful. Listeners, if you are interested, like I said, they're just life changing. They really are. You can actually use the coupon codes. We have a discount for listeners. Thank you so much for this Tara. You can get 25% off the ChiliPad, which is amazing. Just use the coupon code MA25. Or you can get 15% off the Ooler. I actually haven't tried the Ooler so I might have to get one of those for myself. For that 15% off, that is MA15. I will put links to all of this in the show notes. Again, the show notes will be at melanieavalon.com/chilipad. 

Melanie Avalon:
And then one last thing, Tara. I ask the same question to every single guest that comes on this podcast. It's really appropriate what you were talking about actually. It's because I realize how important mindset is in health and wellness and wellbeing, and especially with you talking about the sleep tracking and stuff that... just the perception that might be important. So, what is something that you're grateful for? 

Tara Youngblood:
In full disclosure, I was in jury duty this week and had to preside over a boy that was the same age as my oldest son at 21. He ended up being convicted of a crime. I have felt like this week I am just really grateful for my family and my boys and all the opportunities I've been given in life because we all are not afforded the same opportunities to all the basic things of just love and caring and good family and the opportunity to share hugs and love in that family environment. It's made me really grateful for that. Just simple, simple thing of, my family tribe is really awesome. I'm super grateful for them this week. 

Melanie Avalon:
Oh, I love that so much. Thank you so much. I'm so grateful you've really done something amazing for the world and I mean that so much with the ChiliPad. Thank you, thank you. I'll put links to your website. Is there any other way or any other work that you'd like to put out there or links for listeners to follow your work, especially if they're interested in this whole science of sleep and temperature? 

Tara Youngblood:
Absolutely. I did a TEDx Talk in December that's on the TEDx YouTube site. You can find me there. It's how asleep recipe changed my life. I have a book that's available on Amazon and it'll be coming out in print at the end of March, but it's available on Kindle, on Amazon. It's called Reprogram Your Sleep. And if you just want to ask more questions, I do have a website, I call myself the sleep geek. You can follow me on social media as the Sleep Geek depending on where your social media of preference is, but you can also go to my site and there'll be links to all that there.

Melanie Avalon:
That is so fantastic. For listeners, I will put links to all of that in the show notes. Thank you again, Tara. Thank you for your time. Thank you for the ChiliPad. This has been absolutely wonderful and I learned a ton. Hopefully we can talk more about it all in the future. 

Tara Youngblood:
Absolutely. Anytime. 

Melanie Avalon:
Thanks. Bye.

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