How to improve sleep quality in the autoimmune patient—notably those with heat sensitivity
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Wahls Protocol® Seminar Sponsor, Chili Technology, talks about why being cool at night is so healing!
The chiliPAD adds another dimension to improving the quality of my sleep. Since starting to use it, I fall asleep more quickly, am more consistently sleeping through the night, and have more deep, restorative sleep. It has been an excellent addition to my self-care routine. Because sleep is so important to our immune system and brain health, the chiliPad is very useful for anyone wanting high-quality sleep.
In today’s world, it has never been more important to have a well-balanced and functioning immune system to protect you from infections and autoimmunity.
In this interview, we cover:
- Sleep’s relationship with decreased health and immunity/ increased susceptibility to long-term illnesses
- Addressing sleep myths, especially in relation to the emphasis placed on hours of sleep over quantity
- The power of temperature in helping us fall asleep faster and more naturally
You’ll find the transcript below the video player.
Dr. Terry Wahls:
Welcome. Tara, I’m so glad you’re with us today, and I’m so glad that you’ve created the Chili sleep system. I find that to be a remarkable tool in my journey to steadily improve my sleep. Now, Tara, could you talk to us a little bit about the chiliPAD, and then we’ll can go on to the misconceptions that we have around sleep?
Yeah, so the chiliPAD is basically, just like a radiator works for your car, this works the same way for your body. A lot of your users deal with a lot of heat issues, this is a way to stay cool in your bed without messing with that thermostat, because that can be very expensive, especially in some of those more Southern States where you can’t get as cool.
So, this is an opportunity for you to manage your temperature, basically a thermostat for just under your sheets all night, so you can decide what temperature you need to be and make it most suitable for either you or your partner.
Dr. Terry Wahls:
Now, why don’t we talk about why being cool at night is so healing, so powerful?
Yeah, so there’s a really interesting relationship. Sleep is really entrained to your circadian rhythm, and during the night, your body’s trying to get cooler. By dropping those two degrees in core body temperature, that really enables you to be able to sleep.
Now, our modern beds kind of make that hard, and especially with something like MS, where you’re heating up as well, it makes it really hard for your body to get cooler. But when your body is trying to get cooler, that’s your best opportunity for that deep sleep, and we really need to get that deep sleep to stay healthy. So, by insinuating that we have cooler temperatures in our bed at night, we actually get better deep sleep.
Part of, as you mentioned, those myths around sleep is yes, eight hours is important as a duration, but we put a lot of emphasis on that duration and less on that quality number. If we think about deep sleep, we really, just being in bed for eight hours is not enough to stay healthy. That deep sleep has to be a part of that equation.
Dr. Terry Wahls:
Yes. And again, to my tribe, I want you to know that that deep sleep is what our brain is most effective at cleaning toxins out and doing the repair work. So, I myself have been spending a lot more time thinking about getting my sleep to be at a higher and higher quality and much deeper sleep.
Now, can you tell me a little bit more about the various sleep stages and how the chiliPAD supports better sleep?
Yeah. So our OOLER System actually allows you to schedule your sleep at night. When I was first trying to figure out my sleep journey, I loved to curl up warm. I actually even have a weighted blanket. So, when I go to sleep, I like to think about being warm, but that’s not necessarily healthiest for my body and it’s not always what my body is looking for.
And so, that different sense of sleep as far as comfort versus what our body really needs, there’s sort of that separation. Once you fall asleep, you’re in this state of, you move through different cycles of sleep for light sleep, REM sleep and deep sleep.
Deep sleep is just like it’s described, you’re just a little deeper into unconsciousness, different parts of repair and healing happen in deep sleep. REM sleep is closest… brainwaves look like you’re awake almost, so you’re really almost as close to awake. That’s usually when you wake up and you’re right there. That’s where REM sleep is, just before you wake up.
And you do move through those cycles all night, but you want to spend as much time when you dip through those cycles in deep sleep as possible.
Dr. Terry Wahls:
And Tara, I also believe that getting your deep sleep before 2:00 AM is more effective than getting into deep sleep later. So how does Chili help you get into that deep sleep more rapidly?
Yeah, so again, it facilitates the cooling of the body. One of the reasons why it’s most effective before 2:00 AM is because our core body temperature is trying to drop. If you map that time, that our body’s trying to track to our sleep, you can see where we want to try to be cooler there.
So, if you can get there faster and stay there longer, and a lot of our mattresses today with foam, the way the foam works is it absorbs heat off of our body, but it kind of hits max absorption about 2:00 AM or four hours into sleep, and then it starts reflecting the heat back to you. You’re actually adding more heat into that equation, often in that peak time when we’re trying to get cooler.
We really need to try to mitigate and try to go for thermal neutral. We want neutral to cool, at least in that environment, and that’s what helps us get that deep sleep.
Dr. Terry Wahls:
Now, could you talk a little more specifically, Tara, about how improving our sleep would help people with MS?
Yeah, so it’s an issue really close to my heart on this. When you’re overheating and you can’t get into that deep sleep, you might even sense that you’re asleep that whole time, but you’re not getting the same amount of deep sleep.
That’s the hard part of, once you’re asleep, it’s really hard to influence that what you do during the day or temperature, which is a rare thing that’ll influence your sleep once you’re already asleep, means that quality that we talked about.
So, you can be in bed for eight hours and you can even sleep for eight hours, but if you’re not cooling down, you may not get that same amount of deep sleep. You’ll wake up and you’ll still feel tired, you won’t get that full recovery. That’s super important for those of you with MS, to really get a good recovery. It’s good for your immune system. There are all sorts of things that sleep influence, and immunity is definitely one of those.
Dr. Terry Wahls:
Now, for my tribe, I want you to keep in mind the issue of neuroinflammation. We know that’s a huge issue for MS, but it’s also an issue for many other autoimmune conditions that have mental health, a psychiatric component, or a neuro component. Often this is a big issue for people with inflammatory bowel disease, rheumatoid arthritis, systemic lupus, psoriasis, and many other systemic autoimmune issues.
My suggestion, if you have an autoimmune issue that’s serious enough that you are taking a disease-modifying drug, paying attention to your sleep will be very, very important and helpful to you. What role does sleep have to play in my function up during the day?
Yeah, so it’s really interesting. We tend to think about sleep right before we go to bed, or even first thing in the morning when we wake up really tired. But a lot of those drivers, that circadian rhythm that I talked about, we have roles in that during the day as well.
Your cognitive load, your recovery mechanisms, if you are measuring your HRV score, you can see some of those recovery methodologies in that, or your resting heart rate, but all of those will influence sort of how well you perform the next day.
We see that in our athletes in that most extreme level because physically, they’ll have that sort of visible spot, you can measure that. But you can also see it in that cognitive load. Certainly, over time, if we’re not taking care of our sleep, it affects our mental state.
But I think the biggest thing is how we respond to stress, how we respond to those other issues during the day if we have a lack of sleep. And again, those sorts of mental health barriers that we have to fit, sleep is sort of that extra set of armor. It gives us a little bit of more insulation towards what comes at us during the day in all aspects.
Dr. Terry Wahls:
Again, to my tribe, if we’re not sleeping well at night, we have a more rapid neurodegeneration, higher risk for cognitive decline. And higher risk for mental health issues, worsening anxiety, depression, and it can even get so severe as to be psychosis. So, sleep has profound, profound importance for your health.
Tara, I have to tell you, I’m very impressed with Chili. I like to take an ice bath before going to bed, and then if I top that off with my chiliPAD, it’s very clear to me that again, the quality of my sleep has continued to improve. I think that’s a very big part of my healing journey, step-by-step I’m realizing that it’s a huge payoff to pay attention to sleep. That’s one of my huge messages for all of you.
Again, Tara, thank you. Thank you so much for developing Chili. Thank you for helping us get more aware and empowered to improve our sleep and improve our health overall.
Again, for all of you tribe, please note below, what was the one key thing that you learned from today’s conversation about sleep? Please give us that feedback, we would love to hear that. Please also follow Chili on their social media.
Follow me on my social media, and that’s Instagram, @drterrywahls, Facebook and Twitter @terrywahls, and go to my website TerryWahls.com/diet to get a one page handout for our eating plan. It will also sign you up for our newsletter, so you can hear my research updates that we’ve put out every month. So you hear what’s going on in the world, and how you can be empowered to take better care of yourself and your family.
That was some great information. Now, I invite you to leave comments below about what were the key things that you learned and what new actions that your going to take to improve your health and vitality.
Remember, creating health using diet and lifestyle, using the concepts I teach in the Wahls Protocol is our most effective strategy for improving our health, our vitality, and reducing the need for expensive prescription medications, reducing the probability of worsening chronic disease and poor health. Yours in health and vitality, this is Dr. Terry Wahls.
About Chili Technology:
Imagine never being too hot or too cold to sleep? We did.
Phenomenal sleep is activated by temperature.
Phenomenal sleep should be easy.
Trainers from every walk of life believe this all begins with a good night’s sleep. More players use Chili to get next level sleep than any other biohacking product out there. Our vision is simple: to build the best sleep products, to inspire individuals to sleep better and to fuel our communities with philanthropic and environmentally-conscientious efforts.
Utilizing cooling sleep science to solve a worldwide problem, we feel a moral obligation to share our technology.
Learn more visit www.chilitechnology.com