Facebook Pixel
FoundMyFitness

#080 How Heat Therapy Improves Slow Wave Sleep

FoundMyFitness
FoundMyFitness

Heat therapy, such as using a sauna or soaking in a hot bath, may significantly improve your slow wave sleep. My latest episode delves into the fascinating intersection between exercise and passive body heating and elucidates how high energy expenditure exercise and heat exposure share nuanced mechanisms in sleep regulation. Some key aspects explored include:

  • The surprising role of the immune system in regulating sleep through somnogenic cytokines, immune signals like IL-1B and TNF-alpha, released in response to heat stress and exercise.
  • The interconnected nature of thermoregulation and sleep, particularly in the brain, which highlights the importance of overlapping sleep regulation and heat loss processes. This involves warm-sensing preoptic area neurons in the preoptic area of the hypothalamus, a region known to play a crucial role in sleep regulation.
  • The intricate, bidirectional relationship between growth hormone (GH) and slow-wave sleep (SWS). With the majority of daily GH secretion occurring during the initial phase of SWS, stimulants of SWS, such as heat exposure, can result in enhanced GH secretion, establishing a strong connection between GH and sleep regulation.
  • The varying influence of heat on growth hormone, ranging from doubling after two 20-minute sauna sessions at 80°C, to increasing its circulation up to 16-fold after two one-hour sauna sessions at 80°C.

These findings highlight the potential for heat therapy and exercise with a high rate of energy expenditure to modulate slow wave sleep through the interconnected nature of thermoregulation, immunity, exercise, and hormones. By understanding and harnessing these links, individuals can potentially enhance their sleep quality and overall health and well-being.

In this episode, I discuss:

  • (00:00) - Introduction
  • (01:06) - Increasing pre-sleep tiredness
  • (02:06) - Effects of exercise
  • (04:09) - How the immune system regulates sleep
  • (05:07) - What heat and exercise have in common
  • (06:39) - Hormonal effects of heat
  • (06:59) - Growth hormone
  • (09:26) - Prolactin and sleep onset
  • (10:39) - Effect of sexual activity
  • (12:08) - Overlap in the brain (thermoregulation vs. sleep)
  • (12:46) - Heat protocols and tactics

Watch this episode on YouTube

Show notes are available by clicking here

Join over 300,000 people and get the latest distilled information straight to your inbox several times per month: https://www.foundmyfitness.com/newsletter

Become a FoundMyFitness premium member to get access to exclusive episodes, emails, live Q+A’s with Rhonda and more: https://www.foundmyfitness.com/premium

Learn more about the premium podcast The Aliquot: https://www.foundmyfitness.com/aliquot

FoundMyFitness
Not playing