Smart Bed Technology and the Future of Sleep Science

"Having the ability to enhance the sleep quality in a way that is scientifically important, and also taking into account objective measurements opens a lot of possibilities," Gary Garcia-Molina, PhD, said in an interview.

Gary Garcia-Molina, PhD, Sleep Number Labs, and a team of investigators performed 2 investigations that utilized smart bed technology to analyze pediatric sleep behaviors in ecologically-valid assessments of sleep parameters by age and sex.

The results from these studies supported previous evidence further indicating the reliability of the smart bed technology. With this technology, there are various directions future sleep research can progress in.

"One of the most exciting aspects is the longitudinal concept," Garcia-Molina said in an interview, "because sleep ages with the individual. So, basically, the physiological processes as we age, also our sleep changes to accommodate those changes that happen with age."

This technology has a better potential for longitudinal analysis compared with traditional sleep study, because individuals don't participate in sleep studies very frequently.

"Having a snapshot of sleep once in 10 years, or only once in life, it's not really reflecting the changes that occur during the sleep," he explained. "From that perspective, the possibility of collecting data, sometimes through years, and then observing the changes that happen in a sleep duration in types of sleep, restful sleep, restless sleep, the wake up time, and then associating them with cardio respiratory activity, heartbeat, pulse rate and respiratory rate opens a way to personalize the sleep experience."

According to Garcia-Molina, not only can the beds collect detailed information of the individual sleeping in it, but it can be personalized for the individual's comfort as well. With a deeper understanding of the features of sleep, sleep quality can improve overall.

"I think the most exciting this is the ability now to really enhance sleep because it's so important, right?" he said. "We say 'well, nutrition, exercise and sleep are important,' but they are not necessarily taken in isolation. Having the ability to enhance the sleep quality in a way that is scientifically important, and also taking into account objective measurements opens a lot of possibilities."

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