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In recent times, quality sleep has become no less than a luxury in itself. Forget the recommended 8 hours of sleep, many people find it difficult to even fall asleep soon enough, with insomnia said to be the causative factor. According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, nearly 30 to 35% Americans show symptoms of insomnia. Such dumbfounding stats have been continuously coming to the fore, and yet, serious terms such as insomnia, sleeplessness, and sleep deprivation don’t seem to lose a casual mention in most conversations.

Though causes of sleeplessness for different individuals may differ, influence of technology is such that a good night’s sleep is gradually becoming a myth, or even saying that it has become a paid commodity wouldn’t be an exaggeration. Sedatives are what tech-savvy individuals reply upon to drift off into a deep slumber; however, side-effects such as nausea and dizziness do more harm than good to the human body. According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, over 500,000 U.S. individuals abuse Ambien—a type of sleeping pill—and other sedatives. Such alarming stats are creating a buzz, and technology that causes sleep deprivation, is, in turn, sold as a panacea to it. The term that you are looking for is—Sleep Technology.

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From Counting Sheep to Counting on Technology for a Good Night’s Sleep

The term sleep technology is an umbrella term, which covers sleep monitoring devices and sleep-aiding systems.

Till the last decade, the harness of bulky and wired sleep monitoring devices lay under the hold of experts in sleep medicine; however, the advent of IoT-based systems is the recent breakthrough in this cohort, handing over the control of monitoring systems directly to you. There are a large number of downloads of sleep apps and high sales of contact-free sleep monitoring systems, which can help you keep a close eye on your total hours of sleep.

Search for 'Sleep Apps' in your app store, and you will be overwhelmed by the search results. These apps use motion as a key parameter to distinguish the state of sleep and wakefulness. Some of these apps are synced with the alarm app to extract information regarding the total hours of sleep.

However, sleep technology is turning smarter by the day and more convenient by the night with the introduction of wearable and non-wearable sleep trackers. Wearable sleep trackers witness innovation in the form of rings, wrist bands, headgear, and sleep masks, which determine the quality of sleep based on various metrics. In stark contrast, non-wearable sleep trackers include bedside table trackers or a mattress tracker that requires a pad to be put under the pillow to track the quality of sleep the next day by connecting it to its mobile app.

Besides monitoring devices, numerous sleep aids and gear are making inroads into the bedroom and revolutionizing the way individuals interact with light, fans, and mattresses, aimed at enhancing their bedtime experience.

Sensors are being incorporated into mattresses to pre-warm bedding with the desired temperature, so as to offer increased comfort while trying to fall asleep. Going one step beyond, automatic light dimmers reduce brightness in the bedroom, thereby creating an ideal sleeping environment.

Choosing the Best Suited Sleep Aid – Addressing the Dilemma

While the use of prescribed or OTC sedatives can take a toll on your overall wellbeing, it is imperative that you switch to technology if you are activating your inactivity state through drugs. To be eligible to use sleep aids, it is necessary to track your sleep patterns with the help of monitoring systems. Consult a medical professional regarding the use of a particular sleep aid. Focus on the comfort feature of the sleeping device. All this while, remember to charge your sleeping aid in the daytime to avoid tossing and turning at night.

How About A Peek Into The Future Of Sleep In The Age Of Technology?

Technology today is focused on putting you to sleep and helping you stay in that state for the recommended duration, which may not necessarily be the case in the future. Emerging technology is all about increasing productivity and sparing more functional hours a day. The same could hold true for sleep. Experts in the neoteric technology domain predict that, in a couple of decades, advanced sleep aids could help you function normally even with a few hours of sleep. The focus is going to be on quality of sleep, and the phrase '8-hours of sleep' could become redundant.

Till then, sleep tight.