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Altitude sleep

Using our altitude rooms

Sleeping at altitude should form part of a coordinated training plan and not be used for recreational purposes.  For safety reasons, you would be required to slowly acclimatise to your required altitude level.

We are the first and only hotel in the UK designed specifically for elite athletes with 20 altitude bedrooms.

What is simulated altitude?

At natural altitude, atmospheric air pressure reduces the air density gets "thinner" with fewer molecules in the air space. Our altitude bedrooms work on a system that simulates these natural conditions without altering the air pressure. This is known as "normobaric hypoxia" and is achieved by pumping in a clean air flow then regulates the oxygen percentage in the air, preventing leakage of the air flow and thus replicating the effects of natural altitude, without any of the side effects.

How does it work?

All our altitude bedrooms have a constant flow of air, either hypoxic or normoxic and provide an airflow that is individualised for the specific room it is servicing. As such, all rooms gain altitude at a uniform rate, regardless of the desired altitude setting and irrespective of number of rooms in use.

The airflow is injected to the the rooms at either 7%, 10% or regular 20.9% O2, depending on the desired altitude level Two oxygen sensors then monitor the ambient oxygen levels as determined by the control system. Each bedroom has a centrally located LCD panel which offers independent control over individual rooms and has the options of timer functions and trending graphs. The control system under a pass code which can only be operated from Reception.

Live high, train low

Traditionally endurance athletes have had to travel to moderate altitude and remain there for the duration of their training camp (the live high, train high method), or go to high altitude but travel down to lower altitude to train (live high, train low). Both approaches aim to improve oxygen carrying parameters in the blood such as haemoglobin mass that will have a knock-on effect to maximum oxygen uptake. The effectiveness of this exposure can vary on many variables such as the hypoxic "dose", illness, training status, iron availability and sleep quality.

As such, The Elite Athlete Centre and Hotel provides an highly economical solution to the live high, train low method and compliments the potential response with specially designed bedrooms and relaxation room that enhances sleep quality, as well as our nutrition lounge that enhances iron availability.

Benefits of hypoxia

When you train at intensity, your muscles require much higher levels of oxygen which is delivered via your red blood cells. In hypoxic conditions, the percentage of oxygen in the air is severely reduced and so every breath has much lower oxygen intake. This starves your muscles of the required oxygen and the body reacts by producing more red blood cells than in normal conditions.

Therefore, when you return to sea level, your body is producing more oxygen carrying capacity and delivering more oxygen to your muscles. This makes exercise easier and more efficient which can have significant performance gains. Studies have also shown that hypoxic exposure can also help weight loss, has cardioprotective effects and improved insulin response for diabetics.

When properly planned into an athletes training programme, we’ve observed some fantastic performance gains after sleeping in hypoxic environments. To the point where we regularly travel globally to use such facilities, for numerous weeks at a time. As such, this facility at Loughborough University will be a huge benefit to GB athletes, it is the first of its kind in the UK, and will surpass the capabilities and comfort of all other facilities around the world. It will undoubtedly give us a real performance advantage over the rest of the world.

Ben Holliss, Physiologist English Institute of Sport

Research also suggests significant improvement in recovery after training or injury, with faster recovery times (acute and long-term) and a significantly increased fitness level on return to training (3-8%) .

Who and why?

WHO - Hypoxic exposure can benefit athletes at all levels. The performance gains for those below elite level can be up to 5%, however with such marginal gains at elite level, it can be a very effective addition to your training programme, if all of the confounding variables are controlled symbiotically.

WHY - Hypoxic exposure should be viewed as an effective addition to your training. When used correctly, it can produce larger improvements in your physiological parameters than training at sea level.

Things to consider when sleeping at altitude

  • Sleep - inadequate sleep can have adverse effects on your training. This is where our specially designed bedrooms and work with sleep experts can add real value.
  • Iron - Low levels of iron will limit your ability to increase haemoglobin. Our menus are specially designed to give you maximum iron intake.
  • Nutrition - An energy deficit whilst pushing hard in training AND sleeping at altitude can have detrimental effects on short term performance. That's why we've worked with expert nutritionists who can work with you on recovery plans.
  • Illness - Depending on the illness, time away from training could prove more beneficial than continuing your training and sleeping at altitude.
  • Training Plan - Sleeping at altitude should be viewed as an addition to your training plan, not to become your training plan. Stress and load should be monitored to ensure recovery time is adequate.