Presuming we are discussing reasonable sailing conditions and not heavy weather
So within that, I am not sure I agree with heading down during the puffs on a close reach at all..in fact I typically do the contrary.
my rationale is as follows..If you are on a close reach, and the wind gusts, you will clearly speed up and increase heel, if you head off the wind and you can certainly accelerate and heel significantly further...if you head up into the wind in a gust, you depower the boat.
One of the reasons that a few degrees of weather helm
is a benefit is that a gust will automatically point you more into the wind...and then recover your line when the gust passes...