The ability to track your sleep is a feature present in almost every fitness tracker on the market today. Pinpointing the different stages of sleep gained the night before has proven an interesting talking point for wearable tech fans, with research showcasing how sleep can affect mood and overall happiness. Indeed, there are now countless apps aimed to help people switch off to the outside world and reduce stress levels that can have an impact on how much shut-eye you receive every night. But the ability to track sleep is now old news — no longer is the consumer only happy with knowing when they fall asleep and when they wake up, now they want to know how to actually improve their sleep.
We looked at a few notable gadgets that were unveiled at this year’s CES trade show in Las Vegas earlier this month to find out more about how we can get that all-important eight-hour snooze.
While many devices in the sleep tech category still have a primary focus on tracking how you have slept with the hope of improving sleep cycles naturally, there are now a few gadgets that take a more “active” approach. Under-bed sensors such as the Nokia Sleep allows for tracking without the need to wear a device on your wrist. However, with functions that are compatible with The Internet of Things, the sensor aims not only to track sleep, but also create a sleeping environment that is fully in sync with what your body needs to rest. Lights will dim and heating will turn off as you fall asleep, and will gradually switch back on as you wake up. In fact, using sleep devices as an extension of the smart home seems to be the overall theme of this new tech category.
A slightly more elaborate device comes in the form of the SmartSleep from Philips. Worn as a headband, the device takes information garnered from tracking brainwaves. The SmartSleep recognizes when the wearer is in danger of waking up and emits white noise patterns to lull them back to their dreams. With 70% of test subjects claiming to feel less tired the day after wearing the device, perhaps this justifies the $399.99 price tag.
It’s hard to discuss getting a good night’s sleep without considering the most important item needed to do so — a comfortable bed. The Sleep Number, a smart bed that claims to be the “Future of Health and Wellness” was a clear standout in this category. Adjustable in every way possible, the bed can monitor health concerns and track whether you have been in bed ill for a prolonged period of time to alert medical staff. Aside from tracking an incredible amount of information, it also contains sensors that detect how you have slept and automatically adjusts the firmness and angled position of the bed to suit your sleeping habits.
Of course there were the more extreme products on display, most notably Magniflex, a bed that can stop you snoring at night by adjusting your position after detecting any suspicious snore-like tones (this device is probably in aid of the companion of the snorer rather than the snorer themselves, however.) And finally, for any solo sleepers, the Somnox might be a worthwhile investment — a high-tech sleep robot shaped like a peanut that simulates breathing and plays soothing music to rock you to sleep.
With the sheer volume of new devices presented at this year’s CES event, it’s clear that the consumer has moved on from just wanting to know information about how they sleep. Instead, they require actionable ways to get better rest. There is the argument, of course, that perhaps less technology is what’s needed to improve our sleeping patterns — after all, it’s no secret that technology is bad for sleep. However, for the consumer that wants to get a helping hand to drift off, 2018 will certainly be the year that sleep devices wake up to the trend.
Lisa Reiner is the Managing Director, Europe and Asia-Pacific, of Beanstalk, a global brand extension agency. To find out more, please visit: www.beanstalk.com