Sleep High To Improve Metabolic Health

Research published in the International Journal of Obesity has further shown the benefits of altitude exposure for metabolic health.

Sleeping in an altitude tent like this one can improve metabolic health and help reverse the onset of type II diabetes


At The Altitude Centre, we’ve long been proponents of altitude training for health and wellbeing improvements. There is a wealth of research that shows how exposure to a hypoxic environment either passively or during exercise can improve cardiometabolic health and body composition, and our own case studies have shown time and again how an altitude training regime can contribute to overall improved wellbeing.

This new research comes from researchers in the US, who have previously shown that sleeping at altitudes of ~2400 for 10 nights reduced fasting glucose levels and improved both whole-body skeletal muscle and hepatic insulin sensitivity in obese individuals. This prior research was conducted in a clinical setting, so now the researchers wanted to investigate whether the same technique worked when people were left to their own devices in a more ‘real world’ scenario than a hospital inpatient unit.

To do so, they recruited overweight and obese middle aged men and women, with pre-diabetes or type II diabetes, and assessed their baseline cardiometabolic health. Then, the participants slept at in altitude tents (exactly the same as those we use here at The Altitude Centre) for 14 nights, at an altitude of ~2400 (15% oxygen).

You can take a look at the study to see the full results, but the headline finding is that sleeping at altitude at home improved cardiometabolic health markers in just two weeks. The authors showed that the participants ability to metabolise carbohydrate was significantly improved by the intervention, which lead them to conclude that continual hypoxic exposure (i.e. sleeping at altitudes of ~2400m) may be a useful therapeutic method in the fight against type II diabetes and metabolic diseases.

This data adds further weight to the argument that altitude exposures and altitude training can significantly improve health and wellbeing, over and above the effects of just exercising.

For further information on sleeping at altitude, or to arrange a consultation with one of our specialists, get in touch below.

Study: Marlatt et al. (2020) Two weeks of moderate hypoxia improves glucose tolerance in individuals with type 2 diabetes. Int J Obes (Lond);44(3): 744–747. doi:10.1038/s41366-019-0422-0.

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