Sleeping with Siri: How Technology Is Helping the Way We Rest
Education & Research We spend a third of our lives sleeping—but we need to do it right. New sleep monitoring technology is helping to improve our sleep patterns and overall health.
A recent SRI report showed that 50 percent more people prioritize improving sleep over losing weight as a critical way to improve their health. Additional studies reveal how sleep affects the major aspects of our lives, including athletic abilities, concentration and memory, the success of diets and general health.
Accurate, continuous sleep monitoring is the first step towards sleep improvement with all the health and quality of life benefits that result from it. The notion of sleep monitoring is not a new one and there already exist a number of solutions, from basic smartphone applications (which do little more than record snoring) to large and costly devices that often require wiring the sleeper to a cumbersome machine.
What is really required is an accurate, medically proven technology that can be used without changing our lifestyle in any way: one that we can all use ‘night in and night out.’
"Just as we make data-driven decisions to manage our jobs or our fitness, these sensors allow us to make data-driven changes to improve our sleep quality."
But, we can even take this a step further. Sleep—or at least our ability to monitor it—can literally tip the scales in favor of a long and healthy life. Young children and the elderly are particularly vulnerable at night, with risks that range from falling out of bed to complications arising from existing medical conditions.
In today’s age of the Internet of Things (IoT), sleep sensors can even be integrated into smart home solutions to automatically adjust lighting, or temperature, based on the sleep cycle of the individual and the data gathered by the sensors. Just as we make data-driven decisions to manage our jobs or our fitness, these sensors allow us to make data-driven changes to improve our sleep quality.
Furthermore, we can receive personalized expert direction on how to improve our sleep, and have these sensors automate our home for better sleeping conditions (e.g. control TV, air conditioning/heating, for an optimized sleep experience).
Perhaps more significantly, this would also provide us the ability to remotely and unobtrusively monitor an elderly relative without limiting their independence. In addition to providing peace of mind for both parties, this could also serve to strengthen connections between family members.