Sleep Technology Skyrockets Into Popularity

Sleep Technology Skyrockets Into Popularity

Image via NYT

Image via NYT

 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.

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.

Insufficient sleep is a public health concern 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 U.S. companies at up to $411 billion a year.

Finding solutions could be a lucrative enterprise. Earlier this year Apple Inc. bought Finland-based 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.

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.

There’s plenty of both affordable and high-end options to find out how you sleep and how to sleep better.

(Story via Seattle Times)

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