We’ve covered a range of sleep products in the KHACHILIFE Auto & Tech section — gadgets designed to help us fall asleep faster, beds created to help us sleep more deeply, tools to help monitor sleep patterns, specialized alarms to help wake us up. Lack of sleep is a global problem, one that the technology sector is constantly attempting to solve.
Years ago, Todd and Tara Youngblood were a typical couple plagued by insomnia; they were, in their own words, “tired of being tired.” They began to search for products that would improve their sleep quality but were perpetually disappointed by their findings. Undeterred, they decided to put Tara’s background in science to good use, undertaking a massive research product. Hundreds of books and thousands of articles led them to the conclusion that the secret lay in temperature-controlled sleep.
The body’s core temperature is meant to drop when we sleep, though internal and external factors often prevent this from happening. The wealth of research pointed the Youngbloods towards VLPO neurons, a sleep switch located in the brain.
These are triggered by temperature.
Contrary to popular belief and the seductive allure of plush down duvets, we actually sleep better in cooler environments. And despite the comfort and ergonomics of trendy memory foam, those mattresses can trap a lot of heat.
According to the company, research showed that human beings have adapted to the climactic rhythms of nature. Throughout history, circadian rhythms have been determined by light and darkness; our ancestors slept when it was dark and were awakened by the rising of the sun. That light, of course, also coincided with changing temperatures. Night was cool; day was warm. Our ancestors were wired to rest and wake accordingly.
It was time for Todd’s expertise in product development and sales to transform these scientific findings into real-world solutions, and soon, the ChiliPAD was born.
In a nutshell, the ChiliPAD is a cooling water-based hydronic pad. When you initially look at the concept, it’ll probably have you thinking, “How am I supposed to sleep with all those pipes running under me?” A fair concern, maybe, but one that’ll instantly disappear once you take the sleep system out of the box. This well-designed pad fits easily over a mattress and you can barely feel the capillaries beneath you; I’ve been using the ChiliPAD for a while now, and I don’t even notice them.
The set-up is straightforward and user-friendly. The remote control is easy to activate, and once you connect the hose and fill the cap with water, you’re good to go. Think of it like a thermostat-controlled HVAC system for the body, constantly circulating water beneath you. Water is twenty-five times more cooling efficient than air, making this a far more effective solution than systems that blow air between the covers. (With these options, you’re still trapping heat between your body and the mattress, the air can have a tendency to lift the covers off of you, and you can get too cold… There are a lot of negatives to consider.) The ChiliPAD, on the other hand, draws the excess heat out of the body.
Once the system has been turned on, the user gets to select the desired temperature. You’d think, perhaps, that the goal would be to set it to the same temperature as the body, but you’re actually meant to set it lower than that. I keep mine at 21 degrees Celsius, which I personally find helps regulate the hot and cold cycles that the body naturally goes through at night. (The system offers a temperature range of 13–46 degrees.)
A detail I love about the ChiliPAD is its white noise. The water circulates silently, but there is a gentle hum from the fan running in the background. This may be a deterrent for some, but for those who sleep best when there’s ambient sound of some sort, this will be a welcome bonus feature of an already fantastic sleep aid. (And for those who aren’t so keen on this idea, the OOLER, a slightly more advanced model, offers variable fan speed for white noise control.)
My ChiliPAD is king-size and features climate-control zones, a thoughtful detail from the company’s design team; no two bodies are built the same, and this helps couples find the individual temperatures that work for them.
I treat my system like a waterbed, which requires a certain amount of maintenance. Personally, I use distilled water to avoid a build-up of calcification. And unless you’re going to change the water frequently, it’s probably a good idea to add an anti-algae component. If you do decide to refresh the water on a regular basis, it’s simple to do so. The water tube has a gateway that closes once it’s unclipped, so changing the water is a mess-free, routine affair.
It’s unsurprising to me that the ChiliPAD has become so popular among professional athletes. NBA coaches, professional CrossFitters, soccer players, pitchers, cyclists, and golfers alike swear by this sleep system, noting an increase in performance levels — and body recovery — as sleep improves. (The company claims that more players use Chili than any other biohacking solution on the market.) But this isn’t just a solution for those in physically demanding fields. Sleep has been scientifically proven to improve brain function, and entrepreneurs, CEOs, and authors have also become fans of the ChiliPAD.
I can see it being invaluable as well for those with medical conditions that make it hard for the body to cool down (or stay cool), and it’s perfect for those who suffer from hot flashes.
At $499 USD, it’s a little on the pricey end, but I can comfortably say that it’s worth every penny.
Images via ChiliPAD