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Sleep Better With Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy In Singapore

Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy for Sleep

Deep sleep, also known as slow-wave sleep, is needed to maintain healthy brain function, physical healing, and immune system health. Medical studies indicate that the level of oxygen in circulating blood influences the switch between active sleep and deep sleep.

Hyperbaric oxygen therapy induces elevated blood oxygen levels in the brain, allowing patients to remain in deep sleep for longer periods of time and thus wake up feeling more well rested post therapy session.

What is hyperbaric oxygen therapy?

Hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) involves the use of pure oxygen (100% oxygen) at an ambient pressure greater than the air pressure at sea level (atmospheric pressure) to increase the blood’s oxygen carrying capacity, saturate the blood with oxygen, and accelerate tissue recovery via stimulating neurovascular regeneration.

HBOT is approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat several medical conditions such as decompression sickness, carbon monoxide poisoning, infections that can cause skin necrosis/skin grafts at risk of skin necrosis, nonhealing wounds (For example, wounds caused by diabetes), and anaemia. In addition to the medical conditions listed, HBOT can also be used to treat other health related conditions including:

  • Insomnia
  • Mood disorders
  • Sports injuries
  • Symptoms of aging

This page will focus on the use of HBOT to treat insomnia and improve sleep quality. If you are interested in the use of HBOT for healing sports related injuries, please view our other service page on HBOT for sports recovery.

How can hyperbaric cocoon improve sleep?

As a reputable aesthetic clinic in Singapore, The Clifford Clinic offers Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy to help individuals suffering from insomnia. 

Medical studies conducted by neuroscientists indicate that when exposed to high levels of oxygen, the brain is encouraged to remain in deep restorative slow-wave sleep (SWS). Conversely, when deprived of oxygen/exposed to less oxygen, the brain switches to/remains in REM sleep.

SWS is crucial for health as the body needs SWS sleep to feel well rested. Additionally, SWS is linked to memory consolidation, wound recovery, and immune health as stage 3 NREM sleep is the stage where the body regenerates and repairs bone, tissue, and muscle (neurovascular regeneration) while fortifying the immune system.

Disturbances to sleep regulation often causes patients to skip the initial stages of sleep and fall directly into rapid eye movement sleep (non-restful sleep), limiting the amount of time spent in the restorative SWS stage of sleep, causing an irregular sleep pattern and insomnia.

During sleep, an individual’s blood oxygen levels may decrease due to reduced breathing. If oxygen intake becomes insufficient, SWS can be negatively impacted.

When undergoing HBOT, the specialised high-pressure and heavily oxygenated environment created by the hyperbaric chamber allows for the blood to become saturated with oxygen and for oxygen to diffuse into the blood plasma completely:

Greatly increasing the oxygen carrying capacity of blood – more oxygen reaches the brain.

Oxygenation of the blood plasma due to high-pressure and exposure to pure oxygen – oxygenated blood plasma is able to diffuse up to three times deeper into tissue/brain tissue.

The hyperbaric cocoon

At The Clifford Clinic, we utilise a monoplace chamber known as the hyperbaric cocoon for our Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT) treatment. The hyperbaric cocoon is wellness device that resembles a padded chamber that allows one person to lay down comfortably during the duration of the treatment.

During a HBOT session, the patient will be placed inside the hyperbaric cocoon where they will sleep for the entire duration of the treatment. While the patient sleeps, the cocoon will supply pure oxygen for the patient to breath while maintaining the ambient air pressure at around 40%-50% higher than normal air pressure (air pressure at sea level).

During the duration of the treatment, our clinic’s staff will discreetly monitor the patient to ensure that the patient is comfortable in the cocoon while avoiding any disruptions to the patient’s rest. The patient will also be given a buzzer to hold on to while they rest the cocoon. The buzzer can be pressed anytime during the HBOT session to call our staff into the treatment room.

The sleep cycle, and the importance of deep sleep

The sleep cycle can be separated into two categories: rapid eye movement (REM) sleep and non- rapid eye movement (NREM) sleep, with NREM being further divided into three stages: stage 1, stage 2, and stage 3 sleep.

Sleep quality is tied to the sleep cycle and each cycle of sleep (REM, stage 1, stage 2, stage 3) takes an average of 90 minutes to complete, with the body typically going through four to six cycles each night.

  • Stage 1 and stage 2 non-REM (NREM) sleep

Stage 1 and stage 2 NREM sleep, are also known as “light sleep” and “deeper sleep” respectively. Stage 1 is associated with theta waves while stage 2 is associated with sleep spindles and K complexes on electroencephalogram (EEG) readings.

While deeper than REM sleep, stage 1 and stage 2 NREM sleep are not considered “deep sleep”. Following stage 2, the sleep cycle either progresses deeper into stage 3 NREM sleep or enters REM sleep.

  • Stage 3 non- REM (NREM) sleep: Slow-wave deep sleep

Stage 3 NREM sleep, also known as slow-wave sleep (SWS), is the deepest stage of sleep and is associated with low frequency and high amplitude delta waves on EEG readings. Stage 3 NREM is the stage where neurovascular regeneration and immune fortification occurs, and also the stage that is needed to feel well rested.

Rapid eye movement (REM)

Known as REM due to rapid eye movement behind the eyelids during this stage of sleep, brain waves associated with REM are similar to brain waves exhibited when awake. While dreams occur during REM sleep, REM sleep is not considered restful sleep.


Insomnia is a common sleep disorder that affects many Singaporeans and is characterised by an inability/difficulty falling asleep and/or staying asleep. Contrary to common belief, insomnia is not diagnosed based on the number of hours slept, but rather on the quality of sleep experience.

Insomnia can severely impact quality of life in several ways such as by causing daytime drowsiness (somnolence), impacting ability to focus or pay attention to tasks, which may lead to accidents and physical injury, and negatively affecting mood: causing anxiety, irritability, or depression.

Symptoms of insomnia include:

  • Difficulty falling asleep at night
  • Difficulty remaining asleep; constantly waking up at night causing disjointed/interrupted sleep
  • Unable to remain asleep for long periods of time; waking up too early or unable to complete a full sleep cycle

Some common causes of insomnia are:

  • Aging
  • Poor sleep habits
  • Excessive caffeine consumption
  • Stress or mental health disorders (such as depression or anxiety disorders)
  • Medical conditions that disrupt the sleep cycle (such as s
    leep apnea)
  • Consumption of medication that contain stimulants

Lack of slow-wave deep sleep is linked to insomnia

Stage 3 NREM slow-wave sleep is needed to feel well rested when waking up, if the body does not get enough SWS, the body will still feel tired regardless of the number of hours spent sleeping; The root cause of some cases of insomnia can be tied back to reduction or disruption of stage 3 NREM sleep:

Sleep apnea causes airway collapse during deeper stages of sleep, resulting in reduced time spent in stage 3 NREM and REM sleep.

Depression can cause an increase in REM sleep but a decrease in the time taken between sleep onset and start of the first REM stage (REM latency).

Old age is a known cause of insomnia, with more than 40% of elderly patients reporting difficulty falling/remaining asleep; A progressive decrease in the amount of time spent in SWS is associated with aging.

HBOT allows for more restful sleep by “forcing” the body to switch to, or remain, in SWS for longer periods of time. Following HBOT, patients may experience:

Reduced stress

Stress is a common trigger for sleep disruption and/or insomnia, and poor mood. HBOT elevates brain oxygen levels, promoting relaxation and a reduction in stress and anxiety, leading to improved sleep quality and better mental health/mood.

Increased energy

Poor sleep can cause daytime fatigue. HBOT can induce more restful sleep thus help insomnia patients function better during the day. Increased energy levels and reduced fatigue immediately following a hyperbaric oxygen therapy session is also reported by some patients.

However, apart from oxygen deficiency, several other factors can contribute to insomnia. It is thus important to recognize that various aspects of daily live/lifestyle choices can influence quality of sleep. Alongside the benefits of using the cocoon, it’s worthwhile to consider how other aspects of your daily routine may impact your sleep quality.


One session takes about 60 minutes to complete.
Depending on the severity of your insomnia, one may require multiple sessions to see beneficial effects.
If you are pregnant, have untreated Pneumothorax and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, a history of burst lung, implanted electronic medical device such as pacemaker, history of seizures, chest surgery or heart failure, HBOT is not recommended.