"Putting Evidence Back Into
Running Injury and Performance"
5 Week Cerebra Sleep Study
Familiar with the word ‘polysomnography‘? How about ‘electroencephalography‘?
Join me as I embark on a FIVE WEEK SLEEP STUDY with Cerebra, a Canadian company transforming the future of sleep diagnosis and therapy.
For those of you are unaware, in May 2020 I created the Sports Therapy Association Podcast, a weekly podcast with the mission of ‘putting the evidence back into’ (sound familiar?) Sports Therapy and Sports Massage Therapy. It’s in fact a great show for anyone who works with people in pain, and our listeners also include Physiotherapists, Chiropractors, Osteopaths, Podiatrists and more.
In Ep.63 of the podcast, recorded live in August 2021 (at as always 8pm UK on a Tuesday night), my special guest was Dr Amy M Bender, Director of Clinical Sleep Science at Cerebra.
Amy, a highly respected researcher with many written publications, interviews for stories in Oprah Magazine and public speaking appearances including Ted Med talk, chatted with me about the hugely important role that sleep quantity & quality plays in Sport & Fitness.
Topics discussed in the episode include:
- How can we measure quality & quantity of sleep?
- How accurate are wearable devices?
- What is Rapid Eye Movement (REM)?
- Why is sleep important for recovery & performance?
- How can lack of sleep reduce concentration & cognitive ability?
- What can people do to improve quality of sleep?
- How does a person’s chronotype affect their sleep patterns?
It was an incredible show that I recommend anyone interested in the relationship between sleep, performance and injury should check out. Click to watch Ep.63 ‘How Sleep Affects Sport & Fitness’ with special guest Dr Amy M. Bender on YouTube or here to listen on Apple Podcasts. You can listen to it on iPhone or Android using any popular podcast app, including Spotify.
Details of My Sleep Study
As Dr. Amy Bender explains in the podcast episode, currently the most comprehensive form of sleep study available requires going to a sleep-lab. The problem is, sleep labs can often have long wait times, and for many the sleeping environment is unnatural and equipment uncomfortable.
A popular alternative is the ‘Home Sleep Apnea Test’ (HSAT), which are convenient but given that they only measure breathing and respiratory functions they can underestimate the severity of Obstructive Sleep Apnoea (OSA) and do not measure sleep quality.
Enter the ‘Cerebra Sleep System‘ – an in-home, self applied polysomnogram (PSG) that provides the quality diagnostics of an in-lab study with the convenience of Home Sleep Apnea Testing.
For FIVE WEEKS, I shall be using the Cerebra Sleep System in the comfort of my own home, without the need for any technologist to be present. For those of you who like the nitty gritty, Cerebra Sleep System uses the patented algorithm Odds Ratio Product (ORP) that micro analyses the Electroencephalogram (EEG) signal providing a continuous measure of sleep depth, moving beyond conventional scoring methods to dig deeper into brain activity.
Though not mentioned in the list below, the Cerebra Sleep System can also provide measurements for respiration, leg movements, and more.
My ‘Cerebra Sleep System’ will measure & include:
- Electroencephalography (EEG/brain waves).
- Electrooculography (EOG/eye movements).
- Electromyography (EMG/electrical activity of chin muscle).
- Daily reaction time tests to track performance.
- Questionnaires on perceived sleep quality, disturbances during the night.
- Tracking of daily exercise & use of electronics before bedtime.
How will removing Caffeine affect my performance?
Anyone who knows me will be more than aware that my primary source of fuel is caffeine. I will (and frequently do) travel up to 10 miles to ensure I get served a decent Flat White. The effects of caffeine on sleep quantity & quality are pretty well documented: prolonged sleep latency (amount of time it takes you to go from being fully awake to sleeping), shorter total sleep time, worsening of perceived sleep quality, increases in light sleep and shortening of deep sleep time.
SO… my plan during the 5 WEEKS is to ween myself off caffeine and hopefully see changes in the sleep data (as well as my personal well being). Removing caffeine from the system takes about two weeks so the plan is:
- Week 1: continue my habitual intake of caffeine (up to 6 shots a day!)
- Weeks 2 & 3: cease all intake of caffeine
- Week 4 & 5: continue taking data now caffeine has left my system
During the 5 weeks, I shall be keeping all other factors as constant as possible:
- Exercise: weekly 2 x 5k and 1 x 10k
- No food after 9pm
- In bed by 10pm every evening, lights out by 10.30pm.
Follow my progress on Social Media
I shall be documenting my progress via Facebook Live videos (normally after my three weekly runs). These will go out live on my Facebook Page here, so be sure to follow me so you know when I go live. I will probably upload them later on to Instagram and Linkedin, maybe even YouTube.
If you have any questions in the meantiome, you are as always welcome to email me: firstname.lastname@example.org
April on the Sports Therapy Association Podcast is ‘SLEEP AWARENESS MONTH’. Join us on our YouTube channel every Tuesday at 8pm (GMT+1) for LIVE video interviews with internationally acclaimed experts from the world of Sleep Research.
My five week sleep study using Cerebra’s In Home Polysomnogram Sleep System is now over. Read on for details of how to hear the results!
In examining the relationship between sleep quality/quantity and performance, it is useful to take a look at the terminology commonly used, and appreciate how many of the words & acronyms we commonly see are often misused. In this article we consider REM Sleep, Non-REM Sleep (including deep sleep), the effectiveness of wearables in tracking sleep, chronotypes, circadian rhythms, and whether you are a Lion, Bear, Wolf or Dolphin.