Un­der the cov­ers: Sleep tech­nol­ogy ex­plodes

Kuwait Times - - FRONT PAGE -

NEW YORK: Pil­lows that track your snooz­ing pat­terns? A bed that ad­justs based on how much you twist and turn? Com­pa­nies are adding more tech­nol­ogy into their prod­ucts, hop­ing to lure cus­tomers crav­ing a bet­ter night’s sleep.

Some spe­cial­ized busi­nesses are mak­ing gad­gets that prom­ise to mea­sure and im­prove the qual­ity of slum­ber, while mass-mar­ket re­tail­ers like Best Buy are of­fer­ing sim­pler ideas like the ef­fect dif­fer­ent light­ing can have on fall­ing sleep. But with ever-grow­ing op­tions, peo­ple may find items that are get­ting more so­phis­ti­cated - but may still not be ac­cu­rate.

The in­ter­est in sleep has in­ten­si­fied. The num­ber of sleep cen­ters ac­cred­ited by the Amer­i­can Academy of Sleep Medicine nearly tripled from 2000 to 2015, the group says. Peo­ple are more likely to brag about how much they spent for a mat­tress than on their clothes, says Mar­ian Salz­man, CEO of Havas PR North Amer­ica.

“Sleep is the new sta­tus sym­bol,” she says. It’s a big busi­ness. One of the more ex­pen­sive prod­ucts is Sleep Num­ber’s 360 Smart Bed, which runs from $3,449 to $4,999. It makes ad­just­ments based on how rest­less peo­ple are while they’re sleep­ing. The Zeeq pil­low, which sells for $299 and is from bed­ding brand REM-Fit, mon­i­tors snor­ing and can gen­tly vi­brate to nudge some­one into a dif­fer­ent sleep po­si­tion. “I’m will­ing to spend more on sleep tech­nol­ogy be­cause it will hope­fully help me fall asleep quicker, stay asleep longer and be more rested when I wake up,” says Frank Ribitch, a self-de­scribed gad­get junkie from Martinez, Cal­i­for­nia, who tracks his sleep with apps con­nected to a Sleep Num­ber bed and the Zeeq pil­low.

Public con­cern

In­suf­fi­cient sleep is a public health con­cern, fed­eral of­fi­cials say, with more than one-third of Amer­i­can adults not get­ting enough on a reg­u­lar ba­sis. That can con­trib­ute to prob­lems like obesity and di­a­betes. And a study pub­lished by the Rand Corp. put the fi­nan­cial loss to US com­pa­nies at up to $411 bil­lion a year.

Find­ing so­lu­tions could be a lu­cra­tive en­ter­prise. Ear­lier this year Ap­ple Inc. bought Fin­land­based Bed­dit, which was mak­ing an app and sleep mon­i­tor­ing de­vice that’s placed un­der the sheet on top of the mat­tress. The $150 sen­sor be­gins track­ing when a per­son lies down, and an­a­lyzes data such as the por­tion of time some­one is in bed asleep be­fore wak­ing up. It also mon­i­tors heart rate, tem­per­a­ture, move­ment - and even snor­ing.

“Pre­vi­ously, it was about the sleep­ing pill and peo­ple didn’t want to talk about sleep ap­nea,” Lasse Lepp‰ko­rpi, co-founder and now for­mer CEO of Bed­dit, said be­fore Ap­ple bought the com­pany. “Snor­ing is em­bar­rass­ing. But this has been un­tapped op­por­tu­nity.”

Ap­ple, whose own Ap­ple Watch tracks ac­tiv­ity and of­fers sleep-track­ing ex­pe­ri­ences through third-party apps, de­clined to talk about the fu­ture of Bed­dit. Lep­pako­rpi noted be­fore the acquisition that Bed­dit had been work­ing with sleep labs like the MIT Lab, which used the de­vices to col­lect data on pa­tients.

Wear­able de­vices

At the Stan­ford Sleep Medicine Cen­ter, neu­rol­o­gist and med­i­cal di­rec­tor Clete A. Kushida tests new ther­a­pies and med­i­ca­tions. Over the past two years, the anal­y­sis has ex­panded to wear­able de­vices. The sci­en­tists as­sess how well the de­vices match the cen­ter’s own overnight sleep stud­ies, which use mea­sures such as heart rate and brain wave ac­tiv­ity to de­ter­mine the length and the stages of sleep. Kushida’s con­clu­sion? “Con­sumer wear­able de­vices are not there in ac­cu­rately de­tect­ing the stages of sleep,” he said. The prob­lem: They fo­cus on mo­tion, which can be de­cep­tive since a per­son could be ly­ing in bed awake.

In fact, San Francisco-based startup Hello, the maker of a prod­uct aimed at track­ing sleep via a clip at­tached to a per­son’s bed­sheet, re­cently an­nounced it was shut­ting down amid re­ports the de­vice didn’t cor­rectly track sleep pat­terns. Still, Kushida be­lieves the con­sumer prod­ucts are get­ting bet­ter and will be able to ac­cu­rately mon­i­tor and solve sleep is­sues in the next five to 10 years.

Sep­a­rate from gad­gets, some stores are high­light­ing sounds and smells they say can help peo­ple sleep bet­ter. Long­time in­som­niac fa­vorite HSN Inc. of­fers a $299 Nightin­gale Sleep Sys­tem that masks in­door and out­door noises. Best Buy has a Philips Light­ing’s sys­tem that works with de­vices like Nest and Ama­zon Alexa to let peo­ple choose the col­ors and bright­ness of lights and pro­gram them to turn off at cer­tain times or re­spond to the sun.

And a com­pany called Sen­sor­wake is launch­ing a prod­uct in the U.S. that re­leases smells like fresh linen it says can help you sleep bet­ter. If noth­ing worked and you’ve had a fit­ful night, you can at least be wo­ken up more gen­tly. The same com­pany makes a $99 ol­fac­tory alarm clock, with scent op­tions that in­clude a strong espresso. But if you let it go for three min­utes with­out shut­ting it off or hit­ting snooze, it’ll start mak­ing noise - good if you have a stuffy nose.— AP

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Kuwait

© PressReader. All rights reserved.