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What is Restorative Sleep,
and Why is it So Vital?

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What is restorative sleep?

In a recent study funded by The Bryte Foundation, a world-class panel of sleep researchers created the first official definition of restorative sleep...

"Restorative sleep is the aspect of sleep associated with improved subjective alertness, cognitive function, mood, energy, and/or wellbeing relative to the immediate pre-sleep period." (Robbins et al, 2022)

So what is restorative sleep? Simply put, restorative sleep is what you have achieved when you awaken feeling physically, mentally and emotionally restored—and continue to experience these benefits throughout the day.

Restorative Sleep allows both the mind and the body to recuperate, heal, and grow.

When a person has experienced restorative sleep, they wake feeling refreshed, energized, and empowered to live their best possible life each day.

Benefits of restorative sleep

The restorative theory of sleep suggests that sleep allows our bodies to repair and replenish — physically, mentally, and emotionally — in preparation for the next day.

We all know some version of this to be true. How we sleep tonight will often dictate how we live tomorrow. A night of restorative sleep helps us feel refreshed and empowered. Non-restorative sleep leaves us feeling lethargic and disinterested.

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Your daytime sets up your night. Your nighttime sets up your day.

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Param Dedhia, MD

Param Dedhia, MD

sleep Science Advisor

With countless individuals suffering from frequent sleep problems, including insomnia and long-term sleep deprivation, the need for restorative sleep is reaching a crisis point in many homes and communities.

Restorative sleep happens neither by accident nor in isolation. Our daytime experiences and nighttime preparation both impact our sleep. This connectedness can give rise to a virtuous cycle: Living well drives better sleep, which in turn empowers us to live better lives.

How to improve restorative sleep

Most sleep technologies simply focus on retroactive measurement and improvement. But mainstream approaches have offered is little help in improving sleep quality during the most crucial moments— while we are sleeping.

That is, until now.

Modern sleep science, paired with advanced sleep technology, has unlocked real-time adaptation and optimization for truly restorative sleep. By insightfully measuring how a person is sleeping and optimizing their individual sleep environment, restorative sleep outcomes can be assured.

Bryte Balance™ measures, adjusts, and refines your bed’s firmness and support —intelligently tuning to optimize for three key measures: sleep duration, sleep efficiency, and sleep stages.

Sleep duration, a key metric within restorative sleep

Sleep duration

Sleep duration - or Total Sleep Time (TST) - is simply the total number of hours, minutes, and seconds an individual spends asleep each night. Increasing sleep duration increases the likelihood of restorative sleep outcomes.

Learn more: Sleep duration

Sleep efficiency, an under appreciated contributor to restorative sleep

Sleep efficiency

By tracking the ratio total sleep time to total time spent in bed, the efficiency of a given night’s sleep can be determined. To be considered restorative, sleep must be largely uninterrupted, allowing sleep cycles to progress naturally.

Learn more: Sleep efficiency

Sleep stages or sleep architecture contributes to restorative sleep

Sleep stages

Sleep is not a uniform process. Our bodies cycle through five vital sleep stages, each performing different restorative functions. Although all sleep stages are important, some are known to be especially crucial to restorative sleep’s role in rejuvenating the mind and body.

Learn more: The stages of sleep

Why sleep duration matters

Sleep has a natural cadence and flow. We cycle through the sleep stages from light sleep to deep sleep to REM sleep, and then back. The composition of the sleep cycle changes throughout the night, with certain stages and processes more prevalent in the final hours before waking.

To improve sleep quality, an obvious but crucial key is to sleep a sufficient amount. Without adequate sleeping time, we lose entire sleep cycles — and disproportionate amounts of important stages like REM sleep.

Read: Am I getting enough sleep?

The significance of sleep efficiency

Fragmented sleep is not restorative sleep. The natural flow of restorative sleep is most effective when it is allowed to continue uninterrupted. If you are waking too frequently during the night, you are likely to feel less rested the next day.

Achieving consistent, efficient, less-fragmented sleep requires a concerted effort to modify your waking behaviors and improve your the sleeping environment.

Read: How to stop waking up during the night

Every sleep stage matters

Sleep stages animation and how they contribute to restorative sleep

Many people mistakenly assume that restorative sleep is limited to a specific phase of sleep, such as deep sleep. This misunderstanding may lead individuals to wrongly prioritize only certain sleep stages. Over-optimizing one or two specific stages of sleep to an unnatural extent may be detrimental to sleep’s natural restorative potential.

All stages of sleep are vital and invaluable, each performing a distinct biological function. It is only by taking a holistic view of sleep quality that we can unlock the full restorative potential of natural sleep.

Read: The 5 Stages of Sleep

How to improve restorative sleep

It’s important to understand that sleep is personal and unique. Our environment, health, and life choices determine whether we experience restorative sleep and wake feeling revitalized—or endure poor sleep and emerge from our beds fatigued and weary.

What improves restorative sleep for one person may disrupt it for another person. Even individually, our sleep needs are dynamic and constantly changing. The highest-quality restorative sleep requires personalized support.

To improve sleep on the deepest level, the experience must be tailored to the individual sleeper. That’s why we created Bryte Balance.

Informed by science and powered by artificial intelligence, Bryte’s Restorative Sleep Technology pinpoints each person’s unique sleep needs at any given moment of the restorative sleep process. Rather than passively of reporting sleep data hours after the fact, Bryte Balance proactively, recalibrates support to help you stay asleep longer, and supports a natural wake experience with Silent Wake Assist, all with the aim of fostering night after night of wonderfully restorative sleep.

Discover Bryte Balance

Advancing Restorative Sleep Science

The Bryte Foundation is the philanthropic arm of Bryte that exists to advance sleep science and socialize the positive impacts of quality, restorative sleep.

The Bryte Foundation mobilizes the scientific community, and funds research to develop a deeper understanding of the benefits of restorative sleep.


Built by world-renowned sleep experts

We conceived and built Bryte Balance™ with sleep scientists at the heart of our team.

Our sleep science advisory board is led by Dr. Matthew Walker, Director of the UC Berkeley Center for Human Sleep Science and author of the best-selling book ‘Why We Sleep’, and is supported by an array of clinicians and researchers from around the world.

At Bryte, biology prescribes technology.

Bryte’s unique AI:
Restorative Intelligence

Learn more >