The average person takes sleep for granted. They get tired in the evening, lie down, fall asleep, and wake up when the alarm goes off. For the tens of millions of Americans that suffer from sleep disorders, this isn’t the case. However, new technology could soon change this reality and make sleep accessible to all.
Exciting Advances in Sleep Tech
Research gathered by SleepHealth.org reveals that 70 percent of adults obtain insufficient sleep at least one night per month, while 11 percent get insufficient sleep every night. In total, 50 to 70 million Americans suffer from sleep disorders. The most common conditions include insomnia, hyper-somnolence, narcolepsy, breathing-related disorders, circadian rhythm sleep-wake disorders, non-REM sleep arousal, nightmare disorder, REM sleep behavior disorder, restless leg syndrome, and substance/medication induced sleep disorders.
“Sleepiness affects vigilance, reaction times, learning abilities, alertness, mood, hand-eye coordination, and the accuracy of short-term memory,” SleepHealth mentions. “Sleepiness has been identified as the cause of a growing number of on-the-job accidents, automobile crashes and multi-model transportation tragedies.”
Thankfully, those who suffer from sleep disorders and other issues aren’t without hope. Tech companies, entrepreneurs, inventors, and innovators are hard at work developing exciting new advances that promise to help millions of Americans overcome their sleep issues. Let’s explore the current state of affairs:
1. Sleep Apnea Implants
Sleep apnea is a common and scary condition that causes people to momentarily stop breathing at night. While many solutions have been proposed, very few have had overwhelming success. However, this could be changing.
In the fall of 2017, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the Remedē System for treating Central Sleep Apnea (CSA). This implantable device has been shown to reduce the number of sleep apnea events per hour in 91 percent of users. In fact, 82 percent of uses report an improved quality of life as a result of using the device.
2. Sleep Monitors
Other sleep monitors are being developed to help people track their quantity of sleep, movement, breathing, snoring, heart rate, and other information about the ambient bedroom environment. This sort of technology is proving to be invaluable for those with sleep conditions and allows patients to present their doctors with a wealth of data for more accurately diagnosing the underlying issues.
3. Smarter Mattresses
“The average American sleeps 6.8 hours per night. That amounts to 2,482 hours per year (or more than 103 days). And if you consider that the average lifespan of a mattress is somewhere around 10 years, this means you’ll eventually spend the better part of 24,820 hours – or in excess of 1,000 days – on your mattress,” Perfect Cloud explains.
The old way of buying a mattress is quickly becoming obsolete. No longer do you buy a spring mattress from a store and haul it home on top of a vehicle. Instead, millions of people are choosing to purchase “mattresses in a box” and have them shipped directly to their homes.
On top of having a new direct-to-consumer business model, many companies are actually going with smart mattress technology that allows the sleeper to fully customize things like sleep angle, firmness, and even temperature. The result is a fully optimized sleep experience.
Wearable devices are becoming a more ubiquitous part of every day life. As people become more familiar and comfortable with wearing them during the day, look for the sleep wearables market to explode. Here’s a look at some of the top options available.
5. Sleep Acoustics
Millions of people find it difficult to fall asleep and stay asleep when there are noise disturbances nearby. Earplugs are cumbersome and traditional white noise machines can create dependence. This is where tech companies are stepping in to provide sleep acoustics solutions that blanket the room in noise-neutralizing sound. Nightingale is one of the companies leading the way.
Sleep Tech’s Moment
The time is now for sleep technology to enter the marketplace and cause a stir. With as many as 70 million Americans dealing with sleep problems, the moment has never been as big as it is today. Some of these innovations will almost certainly be quick-lived fads, but there are likely a couple of technologies that have the potential to innovate this space and create lasting change.
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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