Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve probably heard of sleep technology. If not the term, then at least one sleep technology item. There are literally hundreds of gadgets on the market and they all get advertised, some heavily.
In fact, the industry has a show in Houston around March every year. The show is huge but it doesn’t even really scratch the surface of what’s available.
In this article we’re going to try to get a handle on a lot of what’s available. Often, you can sleep better with an improved technique. Sometimes sleep technology offers a shortcut.
Here are many of the best things sleep technology has to offer in 2020.
Is sleep technology a fad or necessity?
In today’s world, we’re surrounded by it. From the moment we get out of bed until we put out the lights we rely on numerous pieces of technology. From cars to smartphones, in has become part of our everyday lives. It can make everything easier or much more complicated.
With the growing popularity of mobile devices, most of us are glued to the screens. We always have one more email to send, one more article to read, or one more funny clip to watch. Not even at bedtime do we part with our devices. However, always being connected doesn’t let our brain shut down. When you’re constantly thinking about your work, you don’t have an opportunity to relax. The blue light from screens also interferes with our ability to fall asleep.
Although technology might keep us awake, sleep technology can help us have a good night’s rest. We can fight fire with fire. The infographic below provides interesting insights into the ways we can use sleep technology.
We’re losing the battle against sleep disorders
More people report having sleep problems. According to the Sleep Forum, 1.2 billion people worldwide experience sleep difficulties. About 37 percent of people unintentionally fall asleep during the day from time to time. Even young people aged 18–24 have increasingly complained of sleep problems.
Sleep disorders can have serious consequences. It’s vital to diagnose and treat them. For example, drowsy drivers caused over 72,000 car accidents in 2013.
How Does Technology Affect Sleep?
Artificial light interferes with our sleep patterns. The blue light emitted by these screens depresses melatonin levels. Nonetheless, 95 percent of people use technology within an hour before bedtime. What’s more, seven out of 10 people sleep with their smartphone in their bed or on the nightstand. The same percentage of children aged six to 17 sleep with at least one electronic device in their bedroom. As a result, they get less sleep during the night.
How Sleep Technology May Help Us Get More Rest
While technology is one of the main culprits for inadequate sleep, in some cases sleep technology can be a solution to wakeful nights. However, which sleep gadgets or products will be most suitable for you depends on your problem. For a look at the ten most common sleep issues, their causes, and possible sleep technology solutions in 2020.
These annoying snorting sounds occur when the air can’t move freely through the airway, causing your throat tissue to vibrate. Some people are more prone to snoring due to their mouth anatomy, but there are also a number of non-inherited factors, such as alcohol consumption or sleep position. You may also snore if you have a cold or allergy because these problems lead to nasal congestion. The good news is there are a number of sleep gadgets for snoring on the market.
It’s a prevalent sleep issue — 45 percent of adults snore at least occasionally. Generally, men are twice as likely to snore as women. The loudest snore ever recorded was 92 decibels, a bit louder than a food blender. With this in mind, snoring doesn’t pose a problem only to the snorer, but to their sleeping partner as well.
There are several sleep technology solutions available in 2020 that you might consider:
A Hupnos Snoring Mask detects snoring and encourages the user to change their sleep position and open their airways.
The Philips SmartSleep Snoring Relief Band detects when you sleep on your back and prompts you to turn to your side.
An Urgonight EEG Headband helps people learn to sleep better.
People suffering from sleep apnea, a serious sleep disorder, experience brief pauses in their breathing during sleep. Overweight people and those with enlarged tonsils or adenoids are at a greater risk of this sleep disorder. In addition, frequent alcohol consumption and smoking can lead to sleep apnea.
It’s common. About 22 million Americans have sleep apnea. About 80 percent of the cases of moderate and severe obstructive sleep apnea go undiagnosed.
Some of answers sleep technology offers in 2020 include the following:
SlumberBUMP—Since 95 percent of people with obstructive sleep apnea snore, this anti-snoring device trains people to sleep on their side.
BiPAP (Bilevel Positive Airway Pressure) uses pressure during both inhalation and exhalation for treating uneven breathing.
EPAP (Expiratory Positive Airway Pressure) creates pressure in your airway. This works to keep it open, thus reducing vibration.
Insomnia is a sleep disorder in which people have trouble falling or staying asleep. There are numerous causes of this sleep problem, from bright light to chronic stress to depression. It’s one of the most common sleep disorders, affecting 30 million Americans. About one in four Americans experience acute insomnia each year.
Sleepio will help you optimize your sleep routine based on your sleep behavior patterns.
A Good Night Biological LED Bulb eliminates the blue light that negatively affects sleep.
Ebb Insomnia Therapy cools the forehead to calm down your racing mind and help you fall asleep faster.
Dodow shines a light on your ceiling and coaches you to match your breathing to the light.
Narcolepsy is characterized by excessive sleepiness and sudden-onset episodes of falling asleep. Autoimmune disorders and brain injuries can cause this sleep disorder. You’re also at a 20–40 times higher risk if you have a family member with it. Narcolepsy is especially common in Japan, affecting one in 600 people. In the US, there are between 135,000 and 200,000 people who have this problem.
LED Skylights mimic natural sunlight.
The Verilux HappyLight Deluxe improves mood, energy, and concentration by bringing natural spectrum lighting into any room.
Day-Light Sky provides bright-light therapy.
Bruxism refers to grinding or clenching teeth unconsciously. There are two types depending on when it happens: awake and sleep bruxism. Teeth grinding is often connected to negative emotions, such as anxiety, anger, or frustration.
This condition affects 10 percent of adults and 15 percent of children. If it’s not treated, bruxism can lead to cracked teeth, nerve damage, and temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJ).
BruxRelief alerts you to stop grinding when it detects that you’re clenching your teeth.
A SleepGuard headband makes a gentle relaxing sound when you start grinding your teeth reminding you to stop. Practice for a couple of minutes each day to train your mind to react to that soothing sound. You can read about other similar sleep gadgets and review their features before deciding which one is the best for you.
Circadian Rhythm Sleep Disorders
Circadian rhythm sleep disorders include several different sleep disorders affecting the timing of sleep. People with this type of sleep disorder have difficulties going to sleep. They have a hard time waking up at the times commonly required for work and school. Some causes include jet lag, shift work, and some medications.
Delayed sleep-wake phase disorder affects seven to 16 percent of the population. Other variations are less common. Here are some sleep technology innovations that might be helpful in 2020:
Swanwick Sleep Swannies are glasses that block blue light from electronic devices.
The SmartSleep Wearable Headband enhances your sleep quality with the help of quiet audio tones as an alternative to listening to sleep tracks on your smartphone.
Circadian Optics’s Lumine treats with light therapy.
Shift Work Sleep Disorder
Shift work sleep disorder is a caused by an atypical work schedule. Its manifestations vary depending on the type of shift work, which can be permanent, intermittent, or rotating.
Around 15 percent of full-time workers in the US work these shifts, while five to 10 percent of shift workers are affected by CRSD (circadian rhythm sleep disorder). They usually experience excessive sleepiness and difficulty sleeping, which can have long-term negative effects on their health. Before sleep technology, t’s best to consider non-tech sleep remedies first like laying off the coffee in the latter hours of your shift. Beyond that, here are a few sleep technology devices to consider:
A Fitbit Charge HR tracks your sleep pattern and offers good insight into your basic bedtime behavior.
Withings Aura analyzes sleep cycles, tracks your heart rate, and detects snoring.
Philips Hue helps your body adjust to a more natural rhythm by mimicking sunlight.
Between 80 and 90 percent of people have nightmares at some point in their lives, while 20 percent frequently have nightmares. You may find keeping a dream journal about these dreams to be helpful. The sleep technology treatment in 2020, however, is virtual reality.
The ReScript Treatment is designed to give control over intrusive imagery to the sleeper.
Smart pajamas, or a “Phyjama,” have sensors that monitor your heartbeat, breathing, and sleep position.
Smart pillows can learn what the ideal temperature for a sleeper is and adjust to it accordingly.
Sleepwalking refers to walking or performing other complex activities while asleep. It occurs during the deepest stages of sleep. Among other things, sleep deprivation, a noisy environment, and sleep-disordered breathing can lead to this behavior disorder.
Sleepwalking is more prevalent among children than among adults. It often disappears by one’s teens. To treat with sleep technology, to prevent wandering off in your sleep, consider a device that promotes deep-sleep, like a white noise machine. Maybe one of these can come in handy:
A LectroFan generates warm, robust white noise.
The Wave Premium Sleep can help muffle disturbing sounds from your environment.
The Marpac Dohm Classic produces fan-based natural white noise.
Hypersomnia is a condition of excessive daytime sleepiness. Depending on its underlying cause, it can be primary or secondary. Primary hypersomnia is usually associated with narcolepsy, idiopathic hypersomnia, and Kleine-Levin syndrome. Secondary hypersomnia can be caused by depression, obesity, epilepsy, or multiple sclerosis. About five percent of people suffer from this sleep disorder.
The latest sleep technology gear includes numerous useful gadgets to help improve your sleep pattern. Here are some of them for 2020:
NatureBright SunTouch Plus mimics the effects of a sunny sky in order to boost your mood and energy levels.
The Vision Care Eye Massager both alleviates the symptoms of dry eye syndrome, and it can have a “hypnotizing effect.”
EverSleep Smart Sleep Tracker monitors your breathing, detects snoring, and identifies hypersomnia.
In 2020, many people lead hectic lives. Combined with poor sleep hygiene, this lifestyle has taken its toll on our sleep quality. These innovations in sleep technology for 2020 may help mitigate the challenges.