We know that a good night’s sleep contributes to improvements in health, wellness and fitness. How can utilizing sleep technology and tracking sleep patterns improve our overall wellbeing?

Christopher Calisi: Tracking sleep patterns can be helpful to understand your sleep habits, but more important is the technology to help you actually improve your sleep.  It’s interesting to see the demand in tracking sleep, when technologies that help you sleep are what people really want.  In the future, technologies to alter your sleep environment (sound, lights and temperature) are the only way to really address this issue properly.

Martin Rawls-Meehan: From our perspective at Reverie, sleep technology and tracking technology are separate but complementary tools to support better sleep. Sleep technology is the equipment that people can use to create a great night’s sleep and boost sleep performance by optimizing their sleep environment for their unique needs.

Sleep tracking technology provides a great databank to monitor trends in sleep performance over time: Are you sleeping more month over month? Are your sleep patterns consistent? On a daily basis, I believe your personal assessment of your sleep quality (i.e. how you feel in the morning) is at least as accurate as your tracking score, but the ability to track trends over time is important.

What kind of environment needs to be created for one to fall asleep and stay asleep?

CC: There isn’t one single environment that is optimal for everyone.  Each individual has different sensitivities and each bedroom environment has different properties, especially when it comes to sound.  Technologies that truly address this properly will adapt to the specific needs of the individual in a room and the room properties.

MR: Everyone's environmental needs are a little unique, but there are several basics that align with our biological responses to temperature and light.

  • Stay cool (65 degrees is recommended).

  • Keep it dark (consider blackout shades and/or an eye mask).

  • Minimize blue light from bright LEDs and screens. Set realistic goals to reduce your exposure at least 30 minutes before you go to bed.

  • Reduce stress (that means stop checking email right before bed).

  • Consider white noise to block out street sounds or sirens.

  • Own the right sleep system for your body so that your spine is aligned and you are comfortable and not tossing and turning throughout the night.

What are some ways we can customize our sleeping environment to ensure better sleep outcomes?

CC: Without the addition of technology, simple changes to your sleep environment can make a big difference.  Varying the light and temperature can make significant differences in sleep comfort.  After that, the addition of technology to block sleep-disrupting sounds and dynamically manage lighting can have dramatic effects on your ability to get to sleep faster and stay asleep longer.

MR: Creating a cool and dark sleep environment is the simplest first step to better sleep outcomes. Further customization comes from modifying your sleeping surface and position to your unique body type and comfort needs. Customizing your sleep system – including the mattress support, adjustable power bed, pillows and sheets – to accommodate your body shape, spinal alignment, level of activity, health needs and sleeping position will lead to much greater comfort and sleep quality. What you sleep on really does matter.

Where do you see the future of sleep going in the next five years?

CC: I believe this will remain a significant issue and topic of discussion for the next five years or more.  With the smartphone, tablet and other intrusive technologies, we have started to unintentionally rewire our brains.  Gone are the days that closing the bedroom door and turning out the light turns off your brain.  I believe we will see a push to eliminate intrusive technologies from the bedroom and the introduction of technologies to help disconnect our brains from this new wired world.

MR: Sleep is a really interesting category right now. Over the next five years, a lot of new technology will be entering the marketplace to support better sleep quality. But what is also exciting is the public’s overall awareness of the importance of sleep and desire to learn how to sleep better. We believe there is a huge growth opportunity in educating people on the power of sleep. This movement will ultimately place sleep in its rightful position as the third pillar of health and wellness, on par with nutrition and exercise.