Insomnia and sleep deprivation are somewhat unrecognised as health conditions. It seems that restricting sleep is the norm due to increasingly busy lives despite the fact that current research suggests that getting optimal sleep is vital for our health and wellbeing.
However insomnia is not simply the restriction of sleep, but rather the inability to fall asleep. Often insomnia and sleep disorders go undiagnosed due to the misconception that they are normal or unworthy of a doctor’s time. Therefore those that find getting adequate sleep a challenge are often left helplessly trying to find their own solutions. With a lack of quantifiable data or in fact any kind of data, over time individuals are left fumbling around in the dark trying to combat their problems. The really frustrating thing is that acquiring sleep data is really quite simple, there are loads of free applications that provide information on movement and sleep cycles throughout the night. The only problem… most users don’t really know what to do with the data.
Sleep Rate is a technology which looks to utilise heart rate, movement and audio data over a period of time to build up a diagnosis of the state of an individual’s sleeping patterns to identify potential solutions to help improve sleep quality. A chest worn Polar heart rate monitor connects via Bluetooth to the Sleep Rate application in order to process data which can be relayed to the user in intuitive and simple graphical representations and lifestyle recommendations.
Currently the technology is only available in the US and costs a substantial $99 however we can certainly expect similar innovations in the UK soon. For now downloadable apps such as Sleep Cycle can provide basic sleep data which requires interpretation from the end user, although trends and patterns can be easily recognisable presenting opportunity for lifestyle change.
Jack Barton (Researcher, Rescon Ltd)