Sleep Deeper, Live Longer: The Results of Biohacking Your Sleep
BIG and BOLD because sleep is the hottest topic for 2023. It no longer hides in the shadow of fitness and nutrition, sleep is recognized as one of the three pillars to health and wellness. Sleep has become the poster child for all things related to wellness and every industry is jumping on the bandwagon. Everyone except Essentia because we have been driving the wagon.
18 years ago, what was originally developed as a solution for patients undergoing aggressive treatments where air quality, comfort, and support made a substantial impact on a patient's well being, has now evolved and surpassed our imagination on its ability to assist in recovery more than any other sleep product on the market.
Non-REM Sleep vs. REM Sleep
Throughout the night your brain will continuously loop through two types of sleep, non-REM and REM sleep. According to John Hopkins Bayview Medical Center, there are 4 stages of non-REM sleep and one final stage in REM (rapid-eye-movement) cycle. It was once thought that the REM stage was the most important cycle for memory and learning but new research indicates non-REM stage 3 and 4 are equally important. Advances in technology for measuring and tracking sleep reveals that stage 3 and 4 of non-REM sleep are also critical for physical growth and repair, while boosting the immune system. We typically will have 4-5 cycles per night, with each cycle we spend less time in deep stages 3 & 4 and more time in REM sleep.
What a typical sleep cycle looks like:
- Stage 1 - very short and lasting a few minutes, very light sleep and easily awaken from.
- Stage 2 - brain waves begin to slow down, heart rate and breathing regulates, still in light sleep
- Stage 3 & 4 - you move into deeper sleep and harder to awake from. This is the time for physical/body growth and repair
- REM stage - this is the final stage in the sleep cycle where your brain is more active, breathing rates increase and the body becomes temporarily paralyzed as we dream away. This stage is important for brain plasticity (ability to adapt to input) and removal of waste products from brain cells.
How to Measure Sleep
Wonder why so many devices are available for tracking your sleep? What do they do and are they reliable? Most sleep trackers are a watch worn on the wrist and work by monitoring your body movements. Some devices also look at heart rate changes during sleeping to estimate how much time you spent in each sleep cycle. Watches that incorporate heart rate data tend to be slightly more accurate when measuring sleep duration because our heart rate fluctuates during different sleep stages. However, even in devices that do track heart rate, many experts are still uncertain of their accuracy because of the limited research on them, and because of the differences between each device.
Yes, there are manufacturer differences but they have common capabilities. Sleep trackers rely on sensors to detect heart rate and body movement. Wearable devices remain on the sleeper throughout the night and other trackers may rest on the mattress, under the mattress, or next to the bed to collect information unobtrusively. Virtually all sleep trackers upload this data to a device or app that runs it through an algorithm to analyze and display the results.
- Sleep duration: By tracking the time you’re inactive, the devices can record when you fall asleep at night and when you stir in the morning.
- Sleep quality: Trackers can detect interrupted sleep, letting you know when you’re tossing and turning or waking during the night.
- Sleep phases: Some tracking systems track the phases of your sleep and time your alarm to go off during a period when you’re sleeping less deeply.
Popular Sleep Trackers & What They Measure
- Whoop - monitors your sleep cycles, debt, performance, and quality, to help you know how much sleep you need every night.
- Oura Ring - Sleep Score based on data points including: total sleep, how much time you spent in each sleep stage, HRV, and more.
- BioStrap - monitors sleep, recovery, stress, heart health and activity. Cloud based
- FitBit - heart rate and motion detectors track your sleep. Get insight, set goals and create better habits.
Sleep trackers can collect a lot of information about your sleep habit but it doesn’t measure sleep directly. To get exact data you’d have to do a medical sleep study, which monitors brain waves to analyze the stages of sleep you cycle through during the night. However tracking devices can definitely be useful to help recognize patterns in your sleep habits and give you insight to make improvements. Trackers are a good option for people who look at sleep as part of their overall health and wellness.
Double Blind Sleep Study Featuring Essentia
Keeping in line with Essentia’s values and vision, participating in this study allowed us to dig deep, and served as an opportunity to have breakthrough data that quantifies the benefits of sleeping on an Essentia performance mattress. Our goal is always to create a product that improves the sleepers health and wellness through sleep, and that includes recovery from training and injury, as well as performance and focus.
The double blind sleep study was done on a group of 75 professional athletes who volunteered to participate. We will be sharing the aggregated results of the entire group over the 10 week testing period. Each athlete used the same approved sleep tracking device, to ensure that all data sets tracked were the same. The goal being to track the duration of non-REM Deep Sleep and REM sleep.
During phase 1 of the study, the volunteer athletes slept on their existing mattresses, or mattress that they already owned, using their approved sleep tracker to get a baseline of the sleep that each athlete was already experiencing.
For phase 2 of the study, each athlete was gifted what they believe to be a brand new Essentia REM9 performance mattress. Each athlete received a brand new mattress free of any noticeable brand names or recognizable features, however 20 athletes received a Dormeuse REM9 performance mattress, and the remaining 55 athletes received different premium mattresses that focused on either physical support and pressure relief or organic materials and clean air. This broke down to 20 athletes receiving a memory foam mattress and 15 athletes receiving a gel support mattress which represented mattresses that had a focus on physical support, and 20 athletes received a premium organic mattress representing a focus on air quality or chemical free sleep environment.
RESULTS OF THE DOUBLE BLIND SLEEP STUDY
IMPORTANT: All data shown below is aggregate data of all 75 professional athletes. Each athlete does have their own sleep schedule and daily routine, as a part of the study the athlete was not asked to change any part of their regular day to day schedule. The data below is presently weekly, based on the average of the daily data supplied by each sleeper.
After 10 weeks, athletes sleeping on the Essentia REM9 experienced a 20% increase in time spent in REM sleep stages when compared to the control and placebo sleepers. During the phase 1 control period, the 75 athletes averaged 1.05 hours of REM sleep nightly. In phase 2, the athletes sleeping on the placebo or non Essentia mattresses averaged 1.17 hours of REM sleep nightly over the 10 week period, and athletes sleeping on the Essentia REM9 averaged 1.3 hours of REM sleep nightly over the 10 week period.
Deep Sleep Graph Results:
After 10 weeks, athletes sleeping on the Essentia REM9 experienced a 10% increase in time spent in Deep Sleep cycles when compared to the control and placebo sleepers. During the phase 1 control period, the 75 athletes averaged 2.15 hours in Deep Sleep nightly. In phase 2, the athletes sleeping on the placebo or non Essentia mattresses averaged 2.15 hours of Deep Sleep nightly over the 10 week period, giving the control and placebo sleepers relatively similar times in Deep Sleep. Most importantly, athletes sleeping on the Essentia REM9 averaged 2.375 hours of Deep Sleep nightly over the 10 week period but as you can see in the graph that time increased steadily over the 10 weeks for the group of 75 athletes. This means extended time spent sleeping on an Essentia REM9 performance mattress can help extend the time spent in Deep Sleep over a longer period of use.
When it came to individual results, there were some of the athletes that were experiencing up to 60% more time in REM and Deep Sleep cycles! Sleeping on an Essentia performance mattress over time then can help you get the most out of the hours you spend asleep. In fact, our own Essentia sleepers have proven this by sharing their results with us in their reviews!
Essentia Sleepers Share Their Real Life Sleep Performance Results
First up, Dr. Jessica Folz shared her sleep results the morning after sleeping on her Dormeuse REM9 for the fist time! Click play to watch her full video: