The tech world is notorious for sleeplessness. Long days and longer nights spent banging away on a keyboard, desperately trying to become the next Uber or Facebook. Sleep comes in 2 hours snatches, bookended by Red Bull, Doritos, and a chaser of 5 Hour Energy. Over time, the self-induced insomnia takes its toll, with burnout common among those chasing the startup dream.
There are some tech companies trying to help the sleepless fight back. These companies – four of which are startups themselves – are creating technology designed specifically to improve everyone’s sleep, even if that sleep only comes in erratic bursts.
Eight is the creator of, in the company’s words, “the most advanced sleep tracker”. The company has created a mattress cover that syncs to a smartphone app and all your other favorite connected devices, all the while tracking 15 different metrics, including:
- Bed temperature
- Usual bedtime
- Time you fall asleep
- Time you wake up
- Time you get out of bed
- Hours slept
- Amount of movement
- Heart rate
- Breathing rate
- Room temperature
- Room humidity
- Bedroom noise levels
- Bedroom light levels
- Local weather forecast
Once the app has all these metrics, it is able to define for the users the optimal context in which they would get the most sound sleep; earlier time to retire, higher humidity, lower light levels, and so on. Not only does the device make suggestions, but it makes changes. For example, the cover itself can warm up and cool down based on room conditions and your real-time sleeping patterns, and it can also connect to a thermostat to simply change the room conditions themselves.
Users can use the app directly or have Eight connect to their existing activity tracker, like Apple HealthKit.
Hello created the “Sense” and “Sleep Pill”, which together function as a sleep tracker, environmental monitor, and alarm clock all in one. The Sense monitors the conditions of your bedroom, tracking temperature, humidity, ambient light, air quality, and even noise you make in your sleep.
The Sleep Pill, which is about the size of a quarter, clips to your pillow and monitors physical movement during the night.
Together, the Sense and Sleep Pill provide you with a nightly “Sleep Score”, which indicates the overall quality of your sleep. Based on that score, similar to Eight, the smartphone app provides users feedback on how to improve sleep quality.
Booklinen wants to disrupt the bedding industry in the same Warby Parker has disrupted the eyewear industry; they want to provide high-quality bedding – the kind that dramatically improves sleep quality – at very affordable prices. After discovering the huge markup being slapped on bedsheets, Rich Fulop and David Fortune thought they could do better.
They raised $236,888 on Kickstarter, which allowed them to launch their company and start selling their products online. Their flagship sheet set, made of 100% Long-Staple Egyptian Cotton (“crisp, airy and cool, for the ultimate night’s sleep”), comes with a fitted sheet, a flat sheet and two pillow cases and can be purchased for only $99.
Lully offers a product called The Sleep Guardian, the first “non-medication solution” that is uniquely focused on improving the sleep of children who experience night terrors. The product consists of a tracker / vibration device and a smartphone app. Parents answers 4 questions within the app to help the system understand when and why the night terrors occur. The device itself is placed under the child’s mattress and then the parent is notified each night when to turn it on.
The Sleep Guardian then detects when a child is approaching night terror sleep patterns and then vibrates to prevent them from entering those patterns.
Kingsdown is the maker of the Sleep Smart mattress, which is kind of like the Sleep Number mattress on a massive dose of steroids. Featuring “Intellimax Technology”, each side of the mattress can be independently adjusted to provide custom lumbar support, and the Bluetooth-enabled base includes specialized settings like “Anti-Snore” and “Zero Gravity” to improve sleep quality given a variety of conditions.
All the moving parts can be easily managed from the smartphone app. The goal is to create a bed that perfectly and intelligently supports you as, eventually, you sleep.
Did we miss any sleep technologies? Let us know in the comments!
Stephen Altrogge is a freelance writer based in Tallahassee, Florida. He writes about tech, marketing, faith, and lots of other things. He’s married to Jen and has three young girls. Every day he consumes more coffee than the entire population of Colombia. He knows more about Star Wars than any respectable man should, and he runs more than any sane man would. He once attempted to eat a 2 pound hamburger in under an hour. He failed.
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