Tech has had an incredible impact on our lives! From eating to dating to sleeping and beyond, there are gadgets and gizmos galore. And though some may roll their eyes at yet another sleep app or smart device, these pieces of technology have the potential to make our lives better.
When you have the tools to track, measure, and monitor your daily activities, you can understand how your body works and in turn, improve it. This is what is known as biohacking.
Biohacking involves making incremental changes to your lifestyle to make improvements in your health and wellness. These little things add up to big things, making significant differences over time.
For example, some believe you can “biohack” your way to better sleep through nutrigenomics, getting outside first thing in the morning, or regularly exercising. These techniques, along with technology, may help, but they won’t substitute the basics like a good quality millet pillow or a natural sleep aid.
Sleep tech can help you understand your sleep patterns so you can make those incremental changes and improve your sleep. It can help you identify the times you wake up, how much sleep you are getting and can potentially diagnose sleep disorders. Sleep tech has even come so far as to help babies sleep better.
Technology is ever-evolving, and some of the latest gadgets in sleep tech are proving to be a beloved tool for both biohackers and sleep-deprived parents. We’ve compiled a shortlist of some of the latest items to hit the market.
Google’s Nest Hub 2nd Generation
The Nest Hub 2nd Gen has boosted its sleep tracking capabilities. The Soli-powered Sleep Sensing feature recently issued an update to provide users with greater detail into their sleep. One of these updates is the Sleep Staging chart. This chart shows you your sleep stages and how long you spent in each one. This isn’t an incredibly unique feature, as you can find this on many sleep tracking devices, Apple watches and Fitbits; but, they are updating their sound detection abilities which many other devices lack.
The Nest Hub 2nd Gen sound tracking abilities will track all of your sleep sounds like snoring and coughing. These sounds will be calibrated in a sleep chart, where non-sleep-related sounds will be categorized as an “outside sound.”
From a biohacking point of view, if you see you wake up a few hours after you fall asleep and toss and turn, you can look for reasons why. For example, if your pillow is uncomfortable and causing pain, you could switch to a millet pillow, or if you are becoming too hot in the night, you can switch to more breathable bedding like a Tencel sheet set.
Not only will the device be able to track your sleep, but it aims to help you fall asleep by partnering with the Calm app. The Calm app is a collection of sleep music, meditations, stories, and white noise that you can play to help you fall asleep.
Though the device is already available, the Sleep Sensing feature isn’t officially rolled out until 2022 when you’ll need to pay $9.99/month to access it. Until then, you can access a free preview.
Cradlewise, the Smart Crib
Earlier this month, Cradlewise secured $7 million in seed round funding to “save the sleep of newborns and parents alike.” Cradlewise is a new product that is already gaining a lot of momentum.
The product was developed by new parents who realized that by the time the baby is awake and crying in the crib, they are worked up, overstimulated, and difficult to calm down. The founders saw a hole in the market. Countless baby monitors could tell you when your baby was awake, but none could tell you when your baby was starting to wake up. When you are notified after the baby has awoken, it’s already too late. The goal of the $2000 smart crib is to automatically monitor the baby’s sleep depth and try to soothe the baby as soon as it starts to wake.
The soothing motions the crib makes resemble the way new parents rock their baby or bounce on a yoga ball. The company first started taking preorders earlier this year in the Bay area only so they could receive feedback from their customers. The crib is the only baby product on the market that uses AI and deep tech to learn the infant's sleep patterns. The software continues to update using this data.
Though this product is not second-hand suitable, many of the elements are biodegradable. The mattress is made of natural rubber latex and coconut coir. The cradlewise crib will not only result in happier babies but also help parents get a better night’s rest and may be the beginning of more tech in items for babies.
HoneyNaps, based in Seoul, South Korea, has recently announced the launch of their medical software called ‘SOMNUM.’ This tech hopes to bridge the gap between sleep disorders and treatment.
More than 100 million people currently suffer from sleep disorders like insomnia and sleep apnea, but only 90% of those people receive treatment. This software will diagnose, predict and help prevent these by automatically analyzing data from polysomnography by using artificial intelligence algorithms.
The tech will automatically read polysomnography results which typically take up to 4 hours for an experienced technician to analyze. This will reduce time and provide more accurate and in-depth readings than conventional methods. Following a polysomnography test, it will take just 5 minutes for ‘SOMNUM’ to deliver a sophisticated analysis.
Though not yet available in the U.S, it is currently under review with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) with hopes of hitting the market in 2022. By making diagnosis more accessible, treatment could be prescribed earlier and potentially prevent future disease.
Lumie Sunrise Alarm
How often do you wake up with the sun? Though our circadian rhythm may prefer it, often our busy lives and jobs don’t allow it. For many adults, their phone is the last thing they see before they go to bed and the first thing they see when they wake up. This not only disrupts your quality of sleep but can cause you to wake up feeling agitated and foggy-headed.
This sunrise clock wakes you up gradually with a range of different features and settings. It mimics the natural dawn, slowly getting brighter as time passes. It increases light over 30 minutes, so you wake up naturally and at the 30 minute market, natural soothing sounds like birds chirping will also begin to help you wake up.
Though this is a much more peaceful way to wake up year-round, it is especially beneficial during the winter months. You may notice that it is much more challenging to wake up in the winter months when it is still dark out. This sunrise alarm can help, making you feel more alert, refreshed, and ready to take on the day.
Cove High-Tech Neckband
A quick scroll through Amazon, and you will find thousands of gadgets to massage your head, neck, and eyes. Some reduce tension, others prevent migraines, and some help you sleep. Many of these have positive reviews from buyers, stating they helped reduce muscle tension and therefore helped them feel better.
Cove does something similar but in an entirely new way. Developed by Feelmore Labs, the device is a lightweight band worn at the base of the head and wraps around the ears. Their patented neuroscience technology applies vibrations behind the ears that initiate natural biological pathways between the skin and brain. This connection then activates the part of the brain that regulates anxiety, causing the user to experience a sense of calm.
Feelmore didn’t rush this product to market. It was developed over four years with clinical trials and studies looking at its effectiveness. Through these studies, they found that more than 90% of users (over 30 days) reduced stress by 41% and increased their quality of sleep by 50%! They believe it to be more effective at reducing stress and improving sleep quality than meditation when compared to results from a John Hopkins study.
You can wear the lightweight and relatively discreet device comfortably at home or even in the office. The intensity of the vibration can be adjusted, and a session lasts 20 minutes. Though it may feel strange at first, it can be a relaxing experience so long as the intensity isn’t too strong.
Lastly, the device has embedded sensors to collect heart rate data and activity feedback. The biometric data helps Feelmore improve the technology and is not tracked to the individual.
Artificial intelligence, deep tech, and the latest sleep gadgets can help people improve sleep. Though they won’t replace a quality millet pillow, they can help you better understand your sleep and anything that may be interrupting it. Sleep is critical to our health and well-being, and with