Whole body cryotherapy can improve our circadian rhythm which is also known as our sleep/wake cycle. Sleeping in a cold room enhances the quality of sleep and so does being in colder temperatures. Exposure to cold produces happy hormones called endorphins and norepinephrine, a hormone primarily involved in the sleep-wake cycle.
Endorphins are chemicals that are also known as neurotransmitters and are produced in the brain. From the brain, endorphins are distributed across the nervous system. Endorphins function as transmitters of electrical and chemical signals among nerve cells.
Endorphins have the ability to reduce the perception of pain and act similarly to drugs to decrease pain. However, endorphins are a healthier alternative than drugs.
Endorphins are released after any intense workout – such as the typical runner’s “high” which is in fact from an explosive amount of endorphins running through the body and help to decrease pain. While endorphins are non-addictive, these compounds are responsible for feelings of pleasure, similar to one following drug intake. For example, psychedelics in subtle amounts that are increasingly becoming popular in research studies and among populations suffering from pain and depressive symptoms that may be controlling the release of endorphins. Such studies of psychedelics are being reviewed at New York University and Harvard. However, cryotherapy still is the most effective way of promoting endorphins.
Additionally, cold increases production of norepinephrine; a hormone and neurotransmitter primarily involved in the sleep-wake cycle. With its also important role in the production of new neurons in the brain, its function is also linked to the general mood, focus, and memory.
Scientific studies have shown that 1 hour of whole body exposure to 14°C cold water can increase the production of norepinephrine and dopamine, one of the essentials endorphins, by a factor of three. Even better results can be obtained more safely with a cryotherapy session. Low temperatures stimulate skin thermosensitive receptors, which in turn triggers specific neural reactions and hormone production.Whole body cryotherapy can alleviate different kinds of sleep disorder and thus help to enhance the sleep quality.
Primary sleep disorders:
There are different kinds of sleep disorders. When the sleep disorder is the primary problem which causes other health-related issues, the disorder is primary in nature. Insomnia, narcolepsy, and parasomnias are a few most know that is within this spectrum.
Secondary sleep disorders:
When, however, the inability to sleep is connected to another psychophysiological condition that is causing insomnia, we are talking about secondary sleep disorder. This means that the lack of sleep is not caused by a sleep disorder directly, but it occurs as a symptom of another sleep-disruptive condition. Pain is regarded to be one of the most common causes of secondary insomnia, followed by different forms of depression.
Sleep Enhancement with Whole-body Cryotherapy
Endorphins released to the central nervous system while exposed to the cold inside of the cryotherapy chamber plays a significant role in the sleep cycle and pain management. Because endorphins act as sedatives, they have the power to reduce the sensation of pain which can cause the emergence of secondary sleep disorders.
Increased production of endorphins also demonstrates a beneficial effect in overcoming less severe forms of depression. In this way, whole body cryotherapy can also help to prevent causes of secondary insomnia.
Targeting the primary sleep disorders is another demonstrated way to enhance sleep. Whole body cryotherapy contributes to establishing a neurochemical balance which is essential for a healthy sleep-wake cycle. A more youthful muscular metabolism –that is where there is energy consumption by all cells — provides additional support for a better night’s sleep.