New in Health: Red Light Therapy, Sleep Syncing, and Other Trends


In a world buried in cheap health information, it can be overwhelming to navigate the ever-changing trends in wellness.

At InsideTracker, we try to make it easy for you. We give our members a personalized health plan based on blood tests, DNA reports, and other data. And to make sure our recommendations are based on the latest science, we pay close attention to health trends. 

When a new trend accumulates enough evidence, we want our members to know about it. 

Take sauna bathing as an example. When large, human-based studies emerged showing that short bouts of intense heat could improve heart health, we fed the data into our AI-powered recommendation engine. 

From there, it began recommending sauna sessions to members who needed it most. (Learn more about our science here.)

So, what trends are we watching now? Here are four on our radar.


Blood DNA Fitness tracking ebook

1. Sleep syncing: Wake up rested every morning

It’s no secret that sleep boosts health, but many adults still struggle to get what they need. Roughly one in three U.S. adults fail to get their recommended 7 hours of sleep per night, according to the National Sleep Foundation. [1]

“Sleep syncing” has emerged as a potential solution. It’s a simple practice where you adjust your sleep schedule to match your circadian rhythm.

If you need a refresher, your circadian rhythm is the internal clock that coordinates a number of important functions, including sleep. It determines your body’s preference for when you go to bed and wake up. 

When you honor this preference by going to bed and waking up at the right times, your sleep will improve. 

Sleep syncing is complicated by the fact that everybody’s circadian rhythm works slightly differently. Some people are night owls, for instance. Compared to early birds, their ideal sleep and wake times are later. 

Ultimately, your ideal times are unique to you. With sleep syncing, you try to learn your body’s natural rhythm, so you can use it to your advantage. 

By doing this, you may be able to improve many aspects of your health. These include energy levels, memory, muscle recovery, and hormone function. [2-4]

Not sure where to start? Here are a few tips:

  • Find your body’s natural sleep time: To do this, limit evening workouts and set a no-screen-before-bed rule. Pay attention to when you start to feel tired, and set that as your bedtime. [1]
  • Find your natural wake-up time: What time will you wake up if you don’t set an alarm? For some people, this may be 5:30 a.m., while for others, it’s 8 or 8:30 a.m. After a few days with your new bedtime, a natural wake-up time should start to emerge. [2]
  • Adjust your habits to see what works best: Now that you have a schedule, experiment with small changes in when you work out, eat dinner, and exercise. If you wear a fitness tracker, that can help you track your sleep.

(Are you an InsideTracker member? Here’s how to sync your fitness tracker to your account.) 

Sleep ebook

2. Red light therapy: Boost your cellular health

Just as it sounds, red light therapy is the practice of exposing yourself to red light. This is often done with the help of light-emitting masks, helmets, wands, and body wraps. 

In a clinical setting, you may also find high-powered red lights in large panels or beds. These are designed to bathe your whole body in red light. 

Supporters believe these devices stimulate the mitochondria, the powerhouses of cells, to increase their output. This leads to widespread improvement at the cellular level. Think better blood circulation, increased production of collagen (a protein that provides skin elasticity), and lower inflammation. [5-7]

Red light therapy is still new, but researchers are looking at it from multiple angles. It may be useful for a broad range of uses. 

Among them are better skin, pain relief, reduced inflammation, hair growth, and muscle recovery. 

So, does it work? Well, we need more research to know for sure. But the treatment shows promise. So far, red light therapy appears to:

  • Increase collagen production [8,9]
  • Reduce the appearance of wrinkles [10]
  • Treat acne [11]
  • Reduce pain associated with certain conditions, including osteoarthritis, lower back pain, rheumatoid arthritis, and fibromyalgia [12-15]

While less conclusive, emerging research also suggests red light therapy may be able to improve mood and manage certain mood disorders. [16,17]

At InsideTracker, we’re paying close attention to this trend. But if you’re interested in giving yourself the red-light treatment now, it appears to be safe. 

Reported side effects are mild. They primarily include itchy skin and skin tenderness, along with the potential for a sunburn-like effect if the duration or intensity is too much.


3. Probiotics: Improve your digestive health

Probiotics are bacteria that live in your gut and have a positive impact on your health. They are often referred to as your “good” bacteria. 

Common strains include Lactobacillus, Bifidobacterium, and Saccharomyces boulardii. These appear naturally in fermented foods, but supplement makers have been busy at work to harness their power in the form of pills and supplements.

If supplement makers succeed, the implications could be big. Among their many functions, probiotics play an important role in the health of your immune system. 

Your gut produces many of the cells that fight off viruses, bacteria, and other germs. When you have adequate and diverse amounts of good bacteria, your body is better able to fight off illness. [18,19]

But good bacteria can be offset by “bad” bacteria. This may be the case if you have minor digestive issues, such as bloating, gas, constipation, or diarrhea. [20,21]

In addition to improving gut health, good bacteria may also improve markers of metabolic health. A recent study in adults with prediabetes found that supplementation with probiotics lowered HbA1c and improved HDL cholesterol. [22]

In general, probiotics have a huge positive impact on the gut microbiome. But it’s unclear as of now whether probiotic supplements do the trick.

If you’re looking for a reliable way to boost your gut health, the best option is to look at fermented foods. Theses include:

  • Yogurt
  • Kefir
  • Sauerkraut
  • Kimchi
  • Tempeh
  • Miso

Start by incorporating a few of these foods into your routine. Some easy ideas include:

  • Adding kefir to smoothies
  • Topping salads with sauerkraut
  • Opting for tempeh as a plant-based protein at a meal

4. Akkermansia muciniphila: a promising probiotic

Akkermansia muciniphila is among the hottest newcomers to the probiotic world. It’s available in supplement form, and it’s showing promising results. 

As with other probiotics, Akkermansia is a type of gut bacteria. Its growing popularity is based on its potential to maintain metabolic health. In other words, it may improve weight management and reduce your risk of type 2 diabetes.

In mice studies, Akkermansia reduces obesity, fatty liver, insulin resistance, and intestinal permeability. [23]

While research in humans is limited, there are some small, early studies. Akkermansia is associated with lower levels of:

But in health research, small preliminary studies do not always pan out in the long-term data. Ultimately, we need more research before we recommend Akkermansia. [25]

In the meantime, we’re watching it closely.

How InsideTracker can help guide you to better health

These emerging trends have the potential to improve many aspects of health and well-being. But that does not mean they’re the right option for you. 

At InsideTracker, we set a high bar for what qualifies as reliable health advice. We’ve trained our algorithm on more than 7,000 peer-reviewed human studies. But the number of studies we’ve rejected is far higher. 

That means we only give you reliable recommendations with proven results. There's nothing “preliminary” about what we do. 

You’re not a study. You’re an individual with unique health risks, genetic opportunities, and personal goals. If you want to feel confident about the actions you take to improve your health, energy levels, and performance, InsideTracker is here to help.

With easy-to-follow recommendations, you can take the guesswork out of health and meet your goals with confidence.

Explore InsideTracker's membership options today and unlock the path to your best self.


  4. Sleep and Cardio-Metabolic Disease - PubMed

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More on this topic

The Relationship Between Sleep Duration and Longevity
By Michelle Darian, MS, MPH, RD, May 16, 2022
Inflammation and Heart Health
By Perrin Braun, August 6, 2013
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