It’s only been a few years since the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) declared sleep problems an American health epidemic. Since that time, the sleep tech industry has exploded. Thousands of gadgets have been developed to assist with sleep and wakefulness, either solely or in-part.
In fact, this is such a huge problem that the sleep industry has become a billion-dollar business. Scientists and the government are taking notice of the essential impact of sleep on our function, and research has soared. "What has fundamentally changed is that serious neuroscientists have started to take sleep seriously," Dr. Russell Foster, director of the Sleep and Circadian Neuroscience Institute at Oxford told The Guardian.
Dr. Foster added, "It was a bit of a graveyard of the neuroscience world."
Hundreds of reports have emerged linking lack of sleep to things like type 2 diabetes, heart disease, mental health disorders, and more. We know more now about major sleep disorders like insomnia and sleep apnea than we ever have before, helping us understand larger sleep problems and their solutions.
Sleepy individuals try everything from changing their window treatments to using white noise machines for better sleep, but now they’re turning to technology. Recently, several gadgets have been produced to help with sleep and wake problems.
The technology is said to be revolutionary, and it could cure your biggest sleep woes.
Snoring is a huge sleep nuisance. Not only will it keep your partner awake, it’s also a sign of sleep apnea — a condition that could be fatal if not treated.
Smart Nora is an intelligent pillow designed to stop snoring in its tracks. It’s connected to a Bluetooth sensor that recognizes when you snore. As soon as it detects the sound, it will trigger an inflatable insert in your pillow that changes shape. Most users wake up and change positions, ceasing the snoring. It only changes momentarily, slowly deflating to its original height and shape over time.
Some kinks are still being worked out with the pillow design and the sensor sensitivity, but preliminary studies showed that it could be an effective way to stop snoring and help everyone sleep better.
Too little time in bed is only one part of the poor sleep equation. Studies show that waking up too abruptly could also be a key reason you’re feeling tired all day.
SensorWake is a handy gadget that’s trying to change that. It’s a small alarm clock shaped like a cube that doesn’t rely on loud, annoying sounds to jar you out of sleep, but rather, calming sensory experiences.
If the scent of your choice doesn’t effectively pull you from slumber, it will move on to its next mechanism: smoothly flashing and shining lights. The last mechanism is a series of melodies that are meant to pull you from sleep gently.
Many users have found this to be an effective way to wake up.
They feel peaceful and alert rather than stressed out and tired.
Smart watches are pretty popular in the fitness world, but they also have their uses for a better night’s sleep. The Garmin Vivosport is a newer model of their smartwatch that can track your heart rate while you’re awake and asleep.
The Garmin Vivosport is best if you’re struggling to sleep because of stress and anxiety keeping you up nightly. It reports when your stress levels are getting too high, and it will give you guided breathing exercises that can help you relax before bed.
There are many apps in the sleep market designed to help people fall asleep and stay asleep. This app is one of the more effective on the market because it not only measures your sleep quality, but helps you fix it.
Sleepscore uses your phone’s speakers to detect motion and breathing to determine what stage of sleep you’ve entered. It tracks the length of sleep, tells you how long you’ve been in a Rapid Eye Movement (REM) cycle, and shows your score based on a scale from 1 to 100 (100 being best).
The elements discussed so far are free to use, but if you want professional recommendations on how to sleep better, you can pay a premium for the service.
It gives you doctor advice on things like stopping snoring and the best sleep positions for your body type. If you’re super sleep deprived, it’s probably worth the investment.
Our sleep environment has a big influence on our ability to sleep. If your mattress is lumpy, the lights are too bright, or you can hear cars on the street, falling and staying asleep will be challenging for you.
Bose is a popular earbud and earphone manufacturer that recognizes the immense value of productive sounds in getting a good night’s rest. They’ve developed a set of noise-masking smart sleepbuds that are tiny, comfortable, and effective in encouraging sleep.
Rather than wirelessly streaming music or audio tracks that can overstimulate your senses, these sleepbuds play a series of preselected sounds designed to encourage slumber. The sounds come from nature, like a gentle river or rustling leaves.
They don’t entirely block out noise, which is good for parents concerned about hearing their children. The sounds are extremely gentle, and can help even the most restless of sleepers catch a few "Zs."
Larry Alton is a professional blogger, writer, and researcher. A graduate of Iowa State University, he's now a full-time freelance writer and business consultant. Currently, Larry writes for Entrepreneur.com, Inc.com, and Forbes.com, among others. In addition to journalism, technical writing and in-depth research, he’s also active in his community and spends weekends volunteering with a local non-profit literacy organization and rock climbing. Follow him on Twitter (@LarryAlton3), at LinkedIn.com/in/larryalton, and on his website, LarryAlton.com. To read more of his reports — Click Here Now.
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