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「ASK THE EXPERTS」: Unlocking the Secrets to A Good Night's Sleep

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In the previous two chapters of the “ASK THE EXPERTS” series, we discussed “The Relationship Between Sleep and Diet” and “How to Choose Your Perfect Pillow?” in order to provide practical information to help improve sleep quality. In this new chapter, we are delighted to have invited Cavan Chan, the founder of GoalCraft, to join us in delving deep into the importance of understanding sleep architecture and how that can allow us to adjust our lifestyle accordingly to achieve the BEST SLEEP QUALITY in our lives. Cavan is a professional functional medicine health consultant and sleep science advisor, and he will also be answering some questions regarding sleep health.

3rd Chapter of 「ASK THE EXPERTS」: Unlocking the Secrets to A Good Night’s Sleep

Cavan Chan's Bio

Cavan is a passionate Functional Medicine Certified Health Coach, Certified Sleep Science & Stress Management Coach, Certified Breathe Coach, Functional Nutritional Councilor & ICF ACC Coach with strong interest in optimizing body & mind performance.

His adventure began in 2005 during Silicon Valley marathon training, his enthusiasm for endurance sports launched his second profession as a Health Educator and Nutrition Councilor. Now, he combines his functional health knowledge, corporate experience, and training skills to promote cognitive performance and mental wellness via health optimization, as a Corporate Athlete concept. With previous work in R&D Engineering, Product Engineering (Silicon Valley), Retail Management, HR Consultation, and Coaching and facilitation in Hong Kong, Cavan brings a diverse background to his mission.    

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Have you ever found yourself feeling tired despite putting in the sleep hours? Don’t confuse Quantity with Quality. There is never a guarantee of getting Quality even with a huge amount of Quantity. For example, sleeping 8 hrs per night doesn’t always mean you are well-rested, and sleeping 6.5-7 hrs per night doesn’t guarantee you have bad sleep. You need to understand your chronotype (i.e.: body clock) and some basic sleep hygiene mechanisms in order to become an EFFECTIVE & EFFICIENT sleeper. So, let’s jump in here.

If you are keen to find out your chronotype:  Here is a chronotype test for you. https://goalcraft.today/pages/chronotype

What is Sleep Architecture and how does knowing it help?

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Sleep architecture comes in 4 simple stages:

1. Awake,

2. Light sleep (NREM Stage 1, 2)

3. Deep sleep (NREM Stage 3, 4)

4. REM sleep. REM = Rapid Eye Movement sleep

Clearly, when we are “sleeping”, we would like our body to spend mostly in the last 3 stages. Sounds very straight forward, but did you know that many of our sleep patterns are disrupted unbeknown to you and you end up having more Awake time? In becoming effective & efficient sleepers, we actively adjust lifestyle habits to minimize this awake moment in our sleep time; while allowing the bodies to get the most Deep & REM sleep. The purpose of each stage follows:

Light Sleep

it serves as a transition between wakefulness and deeper sleep stages. Many researchers are still looking into other beneficial factors; however, we know there is some interesting brainwave that aids in memory consolidation and cognitive restoration. This stage preps the body for the intensive restoration that occurs in the deeper stages, ensuring a seamless sleep cycle.

Deep Sleep

It is the most restorative sleep stage and is paramount for physical well-being. Our body repairs and regenerates tissue strengthens the immune system and releases growth hormone essential for cell growth and repair. Recent studies even highlight our brain does deep cleaning of metabolic wastes during this stage, which can impact cognitive performance if over-accumulating them.

Issues with lack of deep sleep: Result in physical fatigue, weakened immunity, high blood pressure, hormonal imbalance & metabolic dysfunctions (i.e.: insulin resistance),  potentially leading to conditions like diabetes or obesity.

REM Sleep

Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep is integral for mental health and cognitive function. In this stage, the brain processes emotions, and experiences as if we were to have a private session with our psychologist nightly. It also consolidates memories, creating connections, thus supporting problem-solving and creativity.

Issues with lack of REM sleep: Result in affect mood regulation, lead to cognitive impairments, hamper decision-making skills, and increase vulnerability to mood disorders like depression and anxiety.

How much should we get in each stage?

We should aim for 50 % of total sleeping hours in Light Sleep, 20-25% in Deep Sleep and 20-25% in REM stages.

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Can we increase Deep & REM sleep and how can we resolve difficulties falling asleep?

One CANNOT selectively increase deep & REM sleep stage amounts. However, we can prepare the body, set up the environment and alter our lifestyle slightly to induce those sleep stages improvement.

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  • 1. Keep 1 schedule for the weekdays & weekend. Much easier for your hormones to follow.

2. After 2 PM, minimize caffeine stimulation They stay in your system for 10+ hours.

3. 3 hours before bed no alcohol. Alcohol keeps you away from deep sleep.

4. No cardio workout 4 hours before bed. A cardio workout can increase your core body temperature, not beneficial to your sleep quality.

5. 15 mins of sunlight daily Vitamin D has a strong role in the melatonin production pathway. Get enough of it.

6. Keep dim lighting 1 hour before sleep.

My personal go-to routine: dim light 1 hr prior + electronic detox (30 mins) + journaling (5mins) + meditation (10 mins)

Supplementation can be an important asset in this conversation. However, I often advise clients to adjust their lifestyle and environment before jumping into the world of supplements the margin of gain might not be as obvious. With that said most people in Asia can use more Magnesium in their diet. In supplement form, Magnesium Glycinate is my go-to choice. 

Is there a connection between sleep and stress? How can stress be managed to promote good sleep?

Absolutely! Stress is the most damaging to sleep quality. Stress in all its forms not only emotional and mental, but also physical, structural, environmental, digestive, etc. To improve sleep quality and overall wellness. One must strive to manage his/ her stress level, especially in this ever-changing and stress-inducing environment.

Solutions: nightly 10 mins meditation/ guided visualization/muscle stretching with music allows you to stay away from your active mind and reality. That pause before sleep always helps!

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How does insufficient sleep affect cognitive function and concentration? Are there ways to improve these effects?

Sleep deprivation is one of the most common causes of cognitive reduction & distraction (incapable to focus). Improving sleep quality is essential here; I would highly recommend the previously talked about sleep hygiene fix first. Then, try < 20 mins nap can be a good way to mitigate cognitive decline effect during the day time. But, if you are already struggling to sleep in the evening, please don’t nap, come to Beyond sleep and speak to me so I can assist you on this since there could be other factors in play.

Also, try to identify your sleep chronotype (body clock). Not everyone is a morning person. In our society, there are night owls & some in-betweeners. You need to show yourself some generosity. Having a night owl join the 5 AM club is the worst situation you can get yourself through.

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How can insomnia be addressed?

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Overall, there are 2 main insomnia types:

1. Sleep Onset Insomnia: trouble falling asleep

2. Sleep Maintenance Insomnia: trouble staying asleep.

Factors can be categorized into 3 segments. Bodily issues, mental/ emotional stress issues, and over-breathing issues. Please see the below for its correlation, not an exhaustive list. However, after speaking with hundreds of people about their sleep issues, I just made a little conclusion from my experience.


We already covered the 1st sleep quality killer – stress. Please refer above.

2nd seems to be a silent killer: Sleep Apnoea/ snoring. While it’s mostly believed to be a Mid-age male issue, it’s really becoming city life people issue. Many people breathe via month, especially at night. Why it matters? It can cause sleep disturbance that wakes you up in the middle of the night tens of times per hour and increases your pro-inflammatory response (i.e.: high blood pressure). Shouldn’t underestimate the problem.

Thank you, Cavan, for sharing your professional insights on sleep health and emphasizing its importance for our overall well-being. Understanding and improving sleep quality is an important topic that Beyond Sleep focuses on

Beyond Sleep is dedicated to providing comprehensive sleep solutions to help customers achieve better sleep. To further improve the sleep quality of our customers, we are pleased to announce that Beyond Sleep is collaborating with Cavan Chan to offer personalized sleep consultation services. Through this service, we sincerely aim to provide you with professional and practical advice to address your sleep issues. Whether you are experiencing difficulties with falling asleep, sleep interruptions, or other sleep-related problems, we will take concrete actions to help you achieve a restful and healthy sleep. We strongly believe that everyone deserves high-quality sleep and are committed to helping our customers achieve this goal.

Beyond Sleep Free Sleep Consultation Service:

With a purchase of HK$50,000 or more at the Beyond Sleep Showroom, customers can enjoy one free sleep consultation service (30 minutes).

Customers can also make appointments with Cavan Chan for sleep consultation services through Beyond Sleep.

Please feel free to contact our team for more information about our services.

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Beyond Sleep, a sustainable sleep concept store for discerning sleepers who look for a journey to quality sleep. We aim for offering you the best-selected bedding products including mattresses, sustainable beds, mattress toppers, mattress protectors, pillows, pillow cases, bed linens, bed sheets, duvets, duvet covers, eco comforters, eco towels, bedding accessories, and other sleep-aided products, made from natural and sustainable materials which on one hand guarantee your sleeping quality; on the other hand, ensure we are acting as a force for good in aspects of community and environment as well.

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