As we embrace new technology more rapidly than ever, gadgets and gizmos are invading every aspect of our life. From sending a signal from our phones to boil the kettle, to virtual reality roller-coaster rides from the comfort of our home, we are able to do so much more thanks to technology. It seems, however, that our gadgets’ impact are no longer reserved for our waking hours, but instead are gradually taking a leading role in what we call ‘sleep technology’.
How is Technology Affecting our Sleep?
In our digital age, the sheer volume of distraction means we can find it impossible to switch off, and many of us struggle to put down our devices and allow our brains to switch off for the night. This influx of information means we suffer from a serious shortage of sleep, with most of us achieving only a maximum of 6.8 hours of sleep.
The trouble with all the stimulation available to us is the difficult in switching off our devices and getting our recommended 8 hours sleep. George Jijiashvili, a CCS Insight analyst who specialises in sleep gadgets, says: ‘we know it’s bad for us but we still do it.’
One solution for those not getting enough sleep is to master the art of the nap. Perhaps in the future, daytime napping will be commonplace as a method of increasing productivity, reducing tiredness and still accommodating a late night technology addiction. See our Ultimate Guide to Daytime Napping to learn more about the trend
How Can Sleep Technology Help?
As concern grows that we are all lacking of a good night’s rest, products to help you sleep are becoming more and more essential to ensuring we can function throughout the day. Personal sleep devices have exploded in popularity, with wearable apps and nightly sleep monitors hoping to change and improve the ways in which we all approach sleep – and by tracking our sleep and quality of sleep, the hope is that everybody will become more conscientious sleepers.
The easiest and most widespread form of sleep assistance takes the form of apps which can be downloaded onto our mobile phones. As Tom Mantell, future-tech expert says:
‘Devices that measure sleep signals are now utilising RFID to monitor sleep from the bedside table. With more accurate data, users are able to implement actionable steps for better sleep.’
As with Dreams’ own Sleep Matters App, these forms of technology store data about your nightly sleep habits. This includes such things as the total hours you sleep for, your movements habits throughout the night and the times that you fall asleep and wake. But these forms of technology are not the only advances in the future of sleep . . .
Sleep Technology Available Today
A whole range of sleep products are gradually making their way onto the market that focus on the different problems commonly reported by those whose sleep is evading them. These aim to resolve such issues as:
- Improper temperature regulation
- Insufficient sleep environment
- Lack of spinal support
These can be resolved with a proper mattress that is suited to your requirements but for those who have long standing problems with their sleep, the solution is much harder to find. According to Dr. Michael Breus, however, there is hope, especially for individuals who suffer from conditions disruptive to sleep.
For example, Restless Legs Syndrome can be appeased by having vibrating pads placed on the legs, and sleep apnea sufferers can use such things as a band-aid like valve which helps open the airways. There are also new medicines being created to combat insomnia, which will help the estimated 30-50% of the population suffering with the disorder to finally catch those elusive zzz’s.
Where is Sleep Technology Heading?
There are ambitions to completely revolutionise the way we sleep. The futurist Ray Kurzweil’s hypothesis is that once our knowledge of artificial intelligence, technology, biology and neurology are sufficiently advanced, we will be able to ‘sleep hack’. The hope is that sleep technology will one day enhance our sleep to make us ever more efficient, healthier human beings. What is definite though, is that sleep will be optimised to suit each individual so that we receive the best night’s rest ever experienced.
What do you think about sleep technology and the future of sleep? Let us know in the comments section.