According to the one of the largest think tanks in the world, lack of sleep has become such a problem that it’s now responsible for hundreds of billions of dollars in economic losses every year.
In a recent report looking at the economic costs of insufficient sleep, the RAND Corporation found that the potential adverse effects of not getting enough sleep can not only harm our health, but also our productivity – an issue which has widespread economic consequences.
But where there’s a problem, there’s always an opportunity. And in this case, technology may be able to provide some of the solutions to our increasingly sleepless society.
The past few years have witnessed an explosion of new technology designed to improve the way we sleep. From wearable sleep trackers to gadgets that monitor your brainwaves while you sleep, the consumer electronics industry has woken up to the fact that there’s a growing demand for smart gadgets to improve the way we sleep.
Here’s a look at some of the most exciting and cutting edge sleep-tech products currently on the market:
Invented by a team of engineers and neuroscientists, Dreem is an advanced sleep wearable that uses cutting edge sensor technology and machine learning algorithms to enhance your deep sleep.
Dreem is a futuristic looking headband that incorporates multiple EEG (electroencephalography) sensors which monitor and track your brainwaves in real-time as you sleep. But unlike most of the sleep tracking wearables currently available, Dreem is an active device, which can also promote deeper, longer lasting sleep.
It does this by using a ‘bio-feedback’ system of scientifically designed audio tones. Because Dreem can detect the underlying frequency of your ‘brain-rate’ it can then generate sympathetic tones which can in turn influence these fequencies, enhancing your deep sleep.
In the morning, the Dreem headband automatically syncs with a cloud platform which analyses your sleep data. And because the software uses machine learning, the more you use Dreem, the better the algorithm gets at improving your sleep.
Zeeq Smart Pillow
If you thought your pillow was just a place to rest your head at night, think again. Active lifestyle brand REM-Fit have re-invented the pillow for the 21st century with Zeeq, the world’s first truly smart pillow.
Zeeq boasts a number of innovative features. First, it incorporates wireless music streaming technology. This allows you to play your favorite relaxing music tracks from your phone or Spotify to help you fall asleep; plus it will also wake you in the morning with your music of choice.
Next up is the built in sleep-sensing technology. With a 3-axis accelerometer and audio sensors, Zeeq can monitor your sleep patterns providing you with a helpful analysis of your sleep quality.
Finally, if you suffer from snoring, Zeeq can detect when you begin to snore and then the pillow will gently vibrate, causing you to shift your head position and preventing further snoring.
If you’re tempted by the idea of a ‘smart home’ you might be interested to know about 8 – a mattress cover that’s packed with ‘connected’ technologies to turn any bed into a smart bed for the 21st century.
Eight is a smartphone controlled fabric cover that fits any mattress. It connects via a smart hub to your internet connection where it can integrate with a range of Internet of Things (IoT) devices including Amazon Echo, Nest Thermostats and Philips Hue Lighting.
Eight is packed with sensors that can provide accurate sleep tracking – giving you nightly sleep data and the ability to discover trends in your sleep behavior. In the morning it can features a ‘smart alarm’ – which wakes you at the optimal stage of light sleep.
But that’s not all. Eight also provides intelligent heating control for your bed. So it can provide dual temperature zones, so both you and your partner can sleep at the perfect temperature at night.
Oura hides its hi-tech credentials in an unusual form factor – a ring made of zirconium, an exotic metal that among other things is used to make fuel rods in nuclear reactors.
But this shiny piece of jewlry hides a wealth of sophisticated health and sleep tracking technology. Described as a ‘wellness comptuer’ Oura contains sensors that monitor the arteries on your finger, the same type of technology used in hospital pulse oximeters.
Taking readings 250 times every second it can detect your heart rate, body temperature and activity levels, the net result being that it can detect your sleep stages with accuracy that compares very favourably to the a sleep lab.