Each year I go, along with 170,000+ other people, to CES. It is amazing and overwhelming, but a lot of fun. That said, this year I worked with the National Sleep Foundation who sponsored a special section at CES for Sleep Tech. This year I gave several “media tours”. The media tours were designed to take a journalist around to see what I thought, as a sleep specialist, were the new innovations at CES for sleep-related consumer products. There were a few categories of products: monitors (and accessories) for sleep in the home, relaxation tools, and integration of tech into known consumer products ( beds, pillows, even pajamas).
The first innovation, and I would argue one of the most significant, was that CES recognized that Sleep and Tech belong together in the first place. Dr. Mehmet Oz gave a lecture and then moderated a panel on the importance of sleep to our health, and how technology could play a role. These events were very well attended by the press, and there were many questions for all the speakers at the event. Along with these events was the recognition of The National Sleep Foundation as a sponsor at CES and their commitment to sleep tech overall.
The NSF has made a real commitment to Sleep Tech. For the past 2 years they have had an entire program at Health 2.0 for sleep tech, which may have now moved to CES. They have created a Sleep Tech Counsel, made up of industry manufacturers, specialist, and interest groups, to work in this space. Their first project is a Sleep Tech Standards Committee. This committee will help consumers by requesting standardized definitions of the various sleep variables (Deep, Light, REM sleep, sleep onset, etc.) so that the consumer does not continue to have their current experience: they try one app, then an actual sensor and get two different results, or they come into their doctor’s office (often mine) and say “Hey Doc look at my sleep app, am I sleeping well?” I often have to say “I have no idea because I don’t know what it is measuring”. With new standards in place I hope that will change. In addition, the NSF has created a Sleep Tech Innovation award, for recognition of great innovation in this space starting next year.
Looking at the products on the “tour” here are my thoughts:
Beddit. This is a great sleep sensor (a small strip that goes under your sheets) that uses a highly accurate method (cardioballistic sensors- very sensitive cardiac monitoring) to identify sleep parameters (you have different heart rate, breathing etc while in each sleep stage). In addition, it can communicate with other sensors in your home to help guide your environment for better sleep (e.g., Nest). One of my favorite features is the set-it-and-forget-it mode, where you do not have to turn it on each evening. Beddit gives advice based on sleep, noticing needs for exercise, or if your nutrition is effecting your sleep ( these are all self-reported by the customer and then linked to their sleep variables). There is a smart alarm feature, that will wake you up from a lighter stage of sleep, and the app allows you to review your data easily. One of their unique features is that Beddit is partnered with eClinicalWorks, a medical records company, and you can upload your data to it, so your doctor can know how you are sleeping, that is pretty cool. Retail: 149.00 with free shipping.
SleepScore Labs and the S+. SleepScore Labs is a joint venture between ResMed, the largest CPAP ( the gold standard treatment for sleep apnea) manufacturer in the world, Dr Oz, and a private equity group. The device, called the S+, is a bedside unit (no body contact but highly accurate) that sends out a signal across your body to measure respiration, heart rate, and movement to give you a highly accurate SleepScore (combination of stages, interruptions, and awakenings). In addition, the unit also monitors your sleep environment (temperature, sound, and light) and then provides individualized advice, (the pieces of advice have all been previously reviewed by a Board Certified Sleep Specialist), based on your previous nights sleep, and your weekly or monthly trends. Dr. Oz gave away 1000 of these devices on his show, and SleepScore Labs, then analyzed these devices and these data were part of Dr. Oz speech and presentation to the media. This was the largest, in-home, non-contact sleep study ever performed. I am personally working with Dr. Oz and the team at SleepScore and this is amazing stuff. Retail: 129.00 but now offered for 50.00 on the website.
Recovery Sleepwear by UnderArmour: Working with Tom Brady UnderArmour has developed sleepwear where printed on the inside of the textile is a ceramic reflective technology using Far Infrared. According to their literature: “The soft bioceramic print on the inside of the garment absorbs the body’s natural heat and reflects Far Infrared back to the skin. This helps your body recover faster, promotes better sleep, reduces inflammation, and regulates cell metabolism.” An independent study was done on this tech: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3699878/ where sleep was improved in animals and one insomniac. It feels like a cool idea, but I want to see more science before I am sold. Retail: 80.00 per piece.
Sleep 360 by Select Comfort. This is one of the best uses of integrated sleep technology I have seen in a consumer sleep product. While I do not sleep on one personally, I can see why many people may want to consider it. Select Comfort after acquiring BAM technologies, has done an excellent job of integrating sleep sensors into their already hallmark air-bed product. With the aid of the sensors the bed will sense how you are sleeping and increase or decrease the air chambers to give the consumer more or less support as they need it throughout the night. It can “listen” for snoring and gently raise the bed up to help reduce a snoring bedpartner ( or animal- I asked), and then can give you all the data in the morning for you to review. This is innovation. I was surprised not to see any other bed manufacturers in the Health area, but maybe I missed them. Retail: 2500.00 to start, it will be ready sometime in 2017.
2Breathe: If we all just knew how to breathe, you would be amazed at how much healthier we would be. I have a 2Breathe device, and I must admit, it is pretty amazing. There is a sensor that wraps around your chest, and an app that will walk you through different breathing techniques, and one specific for sleep. I know that breathing properly, will help slow your heart rate, which will allow a person to go to sleep, so the science is there. Also this won a CES 2017 Top Innovation Award. Retail 189.00.
NuCalm. I have known about NuCalm for a quite a while. They historically made a device that helped people with Dental Anxiety. But when I walked by their booth at CES, I saw a line literally 30 people long. They offered 20 min meditation, in very comfortable chairs, with the NuCalm unit. Without getting to techie on you, the device, with the help of some cream rubbed on your neck ( a small amount), eye shades and headphones, put me into a state of relaxation, awareness, and energy. It literally felt like the stress of the conference was melting away ( which was nice, believe me). While this is not directly related to sleep, it did seem to fall into the relaxation category and something very cool at CES. This is a medical device and does require a doctor’s prescription. By prescription only, but easy to get a prescription.
iHome: One of the largest and highest quality consumer electronics brands is iHome, and they are now in the sleep marketplace. Considering that almost 90% of bedside tables have an iHome docking station, alarm clock, etc. I am excited to be working with them. The new iHome Zenergy Bedside Sleep Therapy Speaker is science based and very consumer friendly. There are two versions: one is a bedside unit, which combines specific sounds, lights specific to sleep, and even a meditation mode to help a person fall asleep. Meditation mode is my favorite feature, where you breathe in while one color light is on, and out when another comes on, which will eventually lower your heart-rate, to that of a person asleep, is very clever. The other is a portable unit, with the lights and sounds but is rechargeable and fully portable. Kids can use it by their bedside and then use the Bluetooth speaker when out with friends. Both can be synched with an app you have on your phone. I am working with them to promote this device along with their commitment to helping consumers get a good night’s sleep. This won a CES 2017 Top Innovation Award. Retail: Bedside 99.00, portable 69.99.
Nightingale: While this looks like a simple wall plug, it is actually pretty interesting. I have not seen any data on the device, but I like the idea. You get two units and place them at different parts of the room. These units will “wrap your bedroom in a blanket of sound” tailored to the specific room acoustics. It can all be controlled with an app, and I think you can even put your own music in it if you want. It can be controlled with Amazon Alexa and connect with Nest for all of you smart home people. When you wake up you can even get the weather and traffic information. You can even customize your sound experience, via an app. Kickstarter: 149.00
Whew! I am tired from all these reviews. These were my personal favorites at the CES 2017 show. I hope you enjoy my reviews, and know that sleep and technology are here to stay.
Michael Breus, PhD
The Sleep Doctor ™