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The OOLER Sleep System: Is it Worth It?
The OOLER Sleep System: Is it Worth It?

The OOLER Sleep System: Is it worth it?

As most of the readers know, I have recently set out to review the most popular, and often quite expensive, products and devices heralded by many of the most prominent biohackers to determine whether I experience tangible benefits in line with the claims. The OOLER Sleep System was #1 on my list of sleep device products to try. The reason I wanted to try the OOLER, a bed cooling system, first was three-fold.

First, as anyone following my blogs knows, I am very interested in sleep. Second, I am interested in cold exposure and tend to sleep with the A/C running year-round. Finally, the OOLER Sleep System is expensive and endorsed by many “big names,” such as Ben Greenfield, Chris Masterjohn, and Chris Kresser.

The OOLER Bed Cooling System Case Study

My first question about this OOLER bed cooling system was, “Is there clinical evidence to back its benefits?” The answer to this question is, “Maybe.” The product’s manufacturer, Chili Technology, cites a clinical trial that I cannot find published anywhere including as a link on their site, stating the following:

“Some 75 current, healthy Chili customers were recruited for the four-week study between Oct. 29th and Dec. 15th, 2019. Participants reported their results over the four-week period when using Chili products vs. not using.”  i

I was able to find the clinical trial registration and assess the methods. Basically, it is an open-label study, meaning there is no blinding of any kind and no placebo, and the recruitment was done on current healthy customers, who are far more likely to give positive feedback, as they are already “sold” on the product.

Additionally, despite citing that users wore Oura Rings, which track tangible values, for the study, Chili Technology’s website references subjective questionnaire results. The whole trial reeks of quackery; with that being said, my interest in sleep and cold therapy led me to be hopeful that despite the “science” backing the technology, it may still provide certain benefits.

My first question was, “Why is an OOLER Sleep System advantageous over a much more cost-effective A/C unit?” OOLER answers this somewhat ambiguously before going into long-term cost savings on your energy bill:ii

“Having the right indoor temperature is vital to your sleep environment. Have you noticed that the cool sheet feeling when you get into bed doesn't stick around for long?

Your mattress and bedding alone can retain your body heat throughout the night, making you uncomfortable and disrupting your sleep. The ChiliPad will actively maintain a set temperature throughout the night, so there are no more hot mattresses and tossing-and-turning.”

Anecdotally, I have found that whereas my room is still cold in the morning with my A/C, due to tossing and turning, blanket disruption etc., my bed with the OOLER Sleep System running is far warmer in the morning than it was at night. My wife noted the same. The OOLER FAQ section acknowledges this indirectly with the following statement:iii

For optimal performance, place a dense blanket or comforter on top of you when you sleep as this provides an insulation layer to the pad.”

Meaning, if the bed is not insulated, which may happen during movement in the night, the cooling function will not work as well, as it will no longer be trapped/insulated.

I decided to structure my n=2 case study to be longer and more rigorous than the study conducted by OOLER. First, instead of 30 days, my study was 60 days. Second, rather than comparing the OOLER bed cooling system against no intervention, i.e., a warm room, I compared it against my A/C set to 17°C/62.6°F, while the OOLER was set to 12.2°C/54°F, which is the coldest setting for each unit (My A/C only goes down to 17°C). Finally, this test was done with two participants who had never used an OOLER Sleep System before and were not yet sold on its benefits. Furthermore, I am reporting the tangible averages in sleep measurements, not just subjective questionnaire analysis.

The OOLER Sleep System Trial Results

For this 60-day period of testing the OOLER Sleep System, to ensure as much accuracy as possible while limiting confounding variables, we had identical alcohol consumption (same consumption over the same number of days), and ate a regimented diet each week that was matched in both 30-day periods. Here are the results:

Participant 1 (me)

Data

Calories

Sleep Time

Sleep Score

REM Time

REM %

Deep Time

Deep %

HRV

RHR

RR

Body Temp

A/C

771.13

385.07

72.5

66.53

16.93

126.53

33.4

76.93

49.4

14.52

-0.07

OOLER

938.67

415.4

77.73

74.2

17.97

125.1

30.17

85.27

42.13

14.34

-0.12

 

Participant 2 (wife)

Data

Calories

Sleep Time

Sleep Score

REM Time

REM %

Deep Time

Deep %

HRV

RHR

RR

Body Temp

A/C

861.57

370.7

59.17

72.57

19.17

39.7

10.97

42.4

54.3

15.29

-0.06

OOLER

802.23

371.07

58.83

68.87

17.87

32.2

8.1

41.27

54.3

15.31

-0.27

 

Abbreviation Meanings
REM = Periods of Rapid Eye Movement Sleep
Deep = Periods of Deep Sleep
HRV = Heart Rate Variability
RHR = Resting Heart Rate
RR = Respiratory Rate

My wife and I had quite different experiences with the OOLER Sleep System. The 30-day period with the OOLER resulted in 30 minutes of additional sleep per night for me, greater REM time and percentage of REM sleep, an 11% greater HRV, and a reduction of 7 beats per minute of my heart rate average, and my average cooling almost doubling. The big variable was that my active calories shot up by about 170 Kcal/day, with the extra activity potentially accounting for some of the benefits seen in the average sleep values. The change in calorie output was interesting, as I had identically scheduled exercise protocols, and we went for our daily walks consistently throughout both periods. The extra calories I spent could, perhaps, be attributed to me spending more time on my feet during the day when working.

In contrast, my wife saw no tangible benefits of the OOLER bed cooling system, other than her average body temperature being significantly lower. In fact, she saw a slight decrease in REM time and Deep time, and most of her numbers were trending worse, although insignificant. This may be accounted for by the fact that she had actually burned about 60 less active calories during the OOLER period.

 

Final User Takeaways of the OOLER Sleep System

When considering purely subjective analysis of the benefits of the OOLER Sleep System, we had a few takeaways:

  • The bed felt clammy (we both agreed on this).
  • It was insufficient during the summer heatwaves (we both agreed on this).
  • The tubes that circulate the cooled water bothered my wife.

With the takeaway that the OOLER Sleep System seemed completely ineffective during the heatwave we experienced, in which nighttime temperatures were hovering around or over 30°C/86F, I decided to re-run the numbers after removing the heatwave data.

Participant 1 (me)

Data

Calories

Sleep Time

Sleep Score

REM Time

REM %

Deep Time

Deep %

HRV

RHR

RR

Body Temp

A/C

771.13

385.07

72.5

66.53

16.93

126.53

33.4

76.93

49.4

14.52

-0.07

OOLER

897.83

410.96

77.04

72

17.38

122.71

30.13

87.12

41.3

14.33

-0.16



Participant 2 (wife)

Data

Calories

Sleep Time

Sleep Score

REM Time

REM %

Deep Time

Deep %

HRV

RHR

RR

Body Temp

A/C

861.57

370.7

59.17

72.57

19.17

39.7

10.97

42.4

54.3

15.29

-0.06

OOLER

811.33

372.54

58.92

69.96

17.92

32.83

8.625

42.25

53.88

15.33

-0.28

 

Overall, the numbers didn’t change much after removing the data gathered during the heatwave. On average, I had less sleep and less REM sleep in the corrected data, with slightly higher HRV, lower RHR, and lower body temp. My wife saw slight and insignificant differences across the board. Our subjective sleep experience during these days did not significantly change our actual numbers. That said, users’ subjective experience is an important consideration for their satisfaction.

Are we going to continue using the OOLER Sleep System?

Yes and no. My wife is turning her side of the OOLER Sleep System off for now and will experiment with different temperature settings later. She didn’t find the bed cooling system to be too cold, so she is unsure of how raising the temperature will help. Since she found it to be clammy and inconsistently cold, she prefers the A/C. For myself, overall, I enjoyed it. But in the days following the end of the trial, I have preferred running the OOLER with my A/C set to 17°C. I believe I prefer using it on days when it is not too hot outside, and A/C during heat waves. Anecdotally, I am liking the combination of the OOLER and A/C more than either technology on its own.

Is the OOLER Sleep System good value?

As usual, this one is difficult to answer, and everyone must make up their own mind with regards to how much they are willing to spend, as value can be subjective. The OOLER Sleep System isn’t cheap. The sticker price is $1399, but you can find 15%-off codes online. After another $85 in shipping, $150 in goods and services taxes and provincial sales taxes that I paid as a British Columbia resident, and $450 in duties and taxes, which I was leveled with because Chili Technology failed to submit the appropriate documentation, I was in for just shy of $1900 USD. It would have been well over $2000 USD had I not found a discount code.

I have well above average disposable income, and I am doubtful I would buy the unit now that I have seen the results; however, I have also decided against returning it. For me, this bed cooling system purchase was borderline worth it, so the simple hassle of a return swayed me into keeping it. Perhaps, I would feel more strongly towards keeping it if I had the option to return my wife’s half and keep mine, or if I had known that she would not enjoy it, in which case, I would have only bought one for myself.

As for the delivery experience, at checkout, it stated “2-day delivery”; however, shortly after making the purchase, I received an email stating it was an estimated 6 weeks. I know that type of switcharoo can cause customer fury, so be prepared for something like this to occur if you decide to purchase. Thankfully, the unit did not take 6 weeks to arrive; it was delivered in 3 weeks.

Overall, I do not recommend either to purchase the OOLER Sleep System or avoid it altogether, as I am disappointed overall, but also satisfied enough to continue using it. Because my review is not entirely positive, I do not feel comfortable in asking OOLER for a discount code for my readers. That said, I will remind all readers that you can Google and easily find the 15%-off coupons for this OOLER bed cooling system.

Have you tried the OOLER Sleep System? We’d love to hear how you go on with it in the comments.

i https://www.chilitechnology.com/pages/clinical-research

ii https://help.chilitechnology.com/hc/en-us/articles/

-I-have-air-conditioning-why-do-I-need-a-ChiliPad-

 

iii https://help.chilitechnology.com/hc/en-us/articles/360028716072-What-should-I-do-if-my-OOLER-Hydronic-Pad-is-not-cooling-


3 comments

  • Danny Gough

    There is one dimension that should be considered in reference to running an AC unit in any room at 63 degrees. If you live in a mixed humid climate, the building assemblies exposed to exterior conditions have a substantial risk of condensation. In short, microbial growth might develop inside wall cavities and you’ll never know it. If it occurs in a hot humid climate, it will turn the building into a compost heap. Homes are not designed to support those cold temps without consequences.


  • Alex Tarnava

    Sandro, do you have the grey side up? That’s the bottom, and it actually significantly colder. We tried the bottom and I liked it better, but my wife found the wires too uncomfortable. It’s designed for the ‘white’ side up, as there’s padding to increase comfort. The padding dramatically reduces how cold it is for your body.


  • Sandro

    It’s strange, I’m very much in the same boat, I purchased one a while ago now and couldn’t bring myself to return it but do find it helps with sleep. I actually have a freezing cold version where I can’t keep it below 69 degrees Fahrenheit, I’ve woken up several times to body aches from chilliness when set colder. I also sleep with A/C on. I’d definitely agree with the clammy aspect as well. Not sold, not unsold myself.


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