SleepTech involves using tech to help improve our nightly shut-eye. Despite the area’s relative youth, it’s rapidly growing and so it’s worth understanding how the industry works.
Polysomnograms and How They Work
SleepTech is also known as Polysomnographic Technology (PT). PT includes the process of monitoring, recording and analysing data during a person’s sleep and measures wakefulness. The people that often perform these tests are called sleep technologists.
Polysomnograms are tests that help identify whether you have a sleep disorder – insomnia or sleep apnea for instance. They usually require you spend the night sleeping at a hospital or sleep laboratory.
The process of undergoing a polysomnogram involves sleeping somewhere where a technologist can attach sensors to the patient’s skin surface (usually they are glued or taped to the face, legs and body). After the patient falls asleep, the technologist watches the video monitoring of the patient, as well as the recorded brainwaves, eye movements, muscle and breathing activity. The recordings are then analysed to see whether the quality of the patient’s sleep has been affected.
Since the light emitted by smartphones are one of the main contributors to an inadequate sleep, it’s understandably ironic that they can be used to encourage better sleep patterns. Nonetheless, smartphones are indeed onboard with the new wave of SleepTech. SenseSleep, for instance, is a smartphone app that helps improve the quality of sleep by assisting people with simple breathing techniques. After all, SleepTech does not necessarily need to involve ground-breaking inventions.
Track Your Sleep
Proactive Sleep is an example of a sleep app that includes not only the basics, such as an alarm clock but also a more extensive “sleep diary”. The sleep diary allows the user to track the hours they slept as well as any difficulties they may have falling asleep. You can also put in details that you think may impact the quality of your sleep, such as daily caffeine intake, exercise and stress levels. The sleep diary allows you to see how you can benefit from certain lifestyle changes or what disturbs your slumber.
Even more comprehensive, Sleep Cycle Alarm Clock gives you a more in-depth record of how you snooze by placing your iPhone next to you overnight. As you sleep, it monitors your movement and wakes you when you are in your lightest sleeping phase.
There are also devices that you can wear to track the quality of your sleep, including the Fitbit, Nyx Somnus Sleep Shirt and Jawbone Up. All three SleepTech devices monitor the quality of a person’s sleep in a variety of ways. Information collected by the Fitbit relies on wireless, whereas the Nyx Somnus Sleep Shirt processes information by a small chip connected to the fabric electronics in the shirt, worn during sleep. Finally, GPS powers Jawbone Up’s health monitoring device.
SleepTech and Beds
The BAM Labs Smart Bed Monitoring Device brings the technology to the bed itself – you don’t have to wear any additional accessories. The Bam Labs under mattress sensor, as well as a cloud monitoring platform, allows someone to monitor their sleep without having to do anything at all. This particular SleepTech could be a breakthrough in giving healthcare professionals and caregivers an easier (and perhaps less stressful) mechanism for monitoring vital health information.
We can all agree that there’s nothing better than a good night’s sleep. Despite the fact that technology can be a major contributor to restless nights, some tech can help eliminate distractions and enable quality shut-eye for even the most sleep deprived.
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