June 18, 2024

Vitavo Yage

Best Health Creates a Happy Life

How technology can efface sleep disorders?

4 min read

PV Shyam Sunder, Director-Concept and Technology, Evolv28 explains how technology is helping in coping with sleep disorders 

What if waking up tired every morning was the new normal? Unfortunately for billions worldwide and hundreds of millions in India, this alarming prospect is increasingly becoming a reality. We stand at the precipice of a global sleep loss epidemic that threatens our health, wellbeing, and very way of life. As modern obligations erode restorative sleep, more than 48.6 per cent of Indian adults suffer from excessive daytime drowsiness. Behind this statistic lie innumerable stories of chronic fatigue hampering work, dampening spirits, and fostering disease. Our bedrooms have thus become battlegrounds against stress, irregular hours, and the glowing screens that taunt our sleep-deprived eyes at all hours.

This crisis extracts grave costs; by one estimate, India loses over $430 billion in economic productivity every year to sleep deprivation. Still, this issue often slips under the radar, even as our society continues to perpetuate the myths that praise restless labour and neglect our body’s need for regular rest. Unless we confront the reality that quality sleep can no longer be taken for granted, we risk sleepwalking into a future where being tired feels inevitable rather than exceptional. We must sound the alarm on this public health emergency before exhaustion becomes the new normal for our children and future generations. The time for action is now—our collective wellbeing hangs in the balance.

Technology as the solution

Thankfully, this crisis has been noted by industry stalwarts, and they have been trying to use technology to ameliorate the concern. The developments in the field are nothing short of exciting as professionals try to combine traditional and well-established principles of psychology, psychiatry, and neuroscience with technological advancements to advocate for better sleep hygiene. Innovative apps, wearables, and AI-powered analytics are proving that technology can give us back the sleep it steals. To add to their allure, sleep aids powered by technology are also accessible and affordable, which is a boon for limited-income households that often lack resources. Here are some of the noteworthy developments in this sector.

Sleep trackers

Sleep trackers, also known as sleep monitoring devices, have emerged as useful tools for combating sleep loss and improving sleep health. These wearable devices, which employ actigraphy and heart rate monitoring to track sleep duration and cycles, can enhance users’ self-awareness about their sleep patterns. This data, which includes sleep onset latency, the number and duration of night awakenings, and the time spent in different sleep stages, allows users to make educated changes to their sleep hygiene routines.

In other words, by creating consistent sleep-wake schedules, optimal bedtime reminders, and positive environment cues, sleep tracking technology empowers users to meet nightly sleep needs and manage issues like insomnia. Though limitations exist, non-invasive sleep data access helps many users tangibly improve their sleep quality.

Wearable devices

One major limitation of the existing tech innovations is that they fail to tackle the problem at the source—the changes in brain chemistry. In the current scenario, the only way to do this is to ingest allopathic or alternative medication. This may be habit-forming and may engender discomfort in the users.

While ‘uber wellness wearable devices’ that target the issue of sleep deprivation do not claim to be a substitute for prescribed medication, preliminary surveys indicate that they are highly efficient in inducing a state of mindfulness and calmness that is conducive to sleep. These devices operate by generating low-frequency magnetic pulses into the brainstem, thereby stimulating areas in the brain responsible for relaxation. The fact that they are non-invasive, lightweight, and 100% safe to use adds to their attraction.

Mobile applications for better sleep

As smartphones contribute to elevated insomnia levels globally, innovators have developed sleep-focused apps leveraging science-backed techniques to counter the unintended consequences of technology and aid rest. By providing customisable programmes rooted in cognitive behavioural therapy, meditation, sleep stories, and ambient sounds, apps foster healthy pre-bedtime routines.

The interactive, personalised journey these aids offer empowers people to take control and rediscover their natural ability to drift off into rejuvenating slumber. While limitations exist regarding the assessment of clinical sleep gains, such easily accessible tools demonstrate meaningful potential for improving sleep-wake cycles at scale.

Bottomline

As we increasingly trade precious nights of deep slumber for the glow of screens, the global sleep health crisis threatens the very foundation of our health, productivity, and happiness. However, by harnessing the power of innovative technology, we can reclaim rest, renew our waking hours, and revive our wellbeing. Sleep tracking devices, uber mindfulness wearables, and mobile apps are putting control back in our hands, empowering us with personal insights and scientifically-proven tools to consciously architect better bedtime habits.

 

 

 

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