There’s been an incredibly shift in how the mainstream sports world views recovery. It used to be viewed as wimpy to need rest; now professional sorts teams are enacting recovery rooms and consulting with sleep doctors and fancy trackers that tell their athletes if they’re depleted.
But no matter how advanced things get, there’s no denying that sleep is a critical part of the recovery process. It’s paramount for athletes and –we know, we know– you aren’t getting enough of it. But instead of chiding you for not getting enough shut-eye, what if one simple tweak could help cover for that? Sleep cooler.
The benefits of cranking down the thermostat, using a cooling mattress, fans or some other interesting devices could not only help you fall asleep quicker, but stay in a deeper, more restorative state. Typically speaking, athletes have higher body temperatures meaning they can have a hard time falling asleep and staying there.
Sleep doctors are in agreement that that your body needs to be between 60-68 degrees Fahrenheit when you’re sleeping to get optimal recovery. That’s even more critical for athletes, who typically run warm and need to be on the lower end of that scale to hit their REM cycle and get deep sleep.
Companies like Bear Mattress are taking that to heart, using cooling technology to help ward off night sweats. They’re also among the first to incorporate celliant, which is a synthetic fiber that has been proven to increase oxygenation in body tissue and reduce minor aches and pains. Celliant is woven into the top cover of their memory foam mattress so you are continually getting the benefit while you sleep.
“There’s a lot of benefits to cold when it comes to things like inflammation—a lot of athletes do cold therapy, cold tub, cold rooms and there’s building evidence that shows, in terms of reducing inflammation, cold works,” said owner of Charlottesville Neurology and Sleep Medicine, Dr. Chris Winter, who is a board-certified and nationally-recognized sleep medicine doctor.
“The question becomes does 15 minutes in the cold tub reduces inflammation? What if you are sleeping on something that can drop your temperature every night for eight hours? I think the short answer is athletes feel better, they don’t sweat as much, they like cold. But there may also be more physiological benefits for athletes that are able to [lower their temperature].”
If turning your thermostat down nightly seems like too much wasted money, you may want to consider upgrading your mattress.
Sure, it’s also a big financial commitment, but if you’re active and waking up sore and achy every morning, it’s well worth the extra pennies (most mattresses last 7-10 years).
Doing some research for this story, we pulled the trigger and got a Bear Mattress, which requires you to sleep on it for 30 days before returning it (the company donates those mattresses to charity).
After a few rocky nights adjusting, it’s made a noticeable difference in overall recovery, sleep and general aches and pains. Plus, no more night sweats.
You can’t always control how much you sleep, but you can make some simple tweaks to control your quality of sleep.