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Can’t sleep? Eye opening Insomnia fighting apps and wearables

Apps and wearables are trying t osovleour sleeping problems. There's even a hotel fully dedicated to insuring you have a deep and satisfying shut-eye

Sleep loss is an epidemic. Insomnia is estimated to affect a quarter of the population every year Many apps use exercises mined from cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) The wearable market is crawling with sleep trackers

Do you toss and turn at night and find yourself unable to either work or run a business the next day?

In 2018, retail pharmacies in the United States dispensed more than 29 million prescriptions for drugs like Lunesta and Ambien. But the FDA warned Americans in April that taking certain sleeping medications had caused dangerous sleepwalking and “sleep-driving,” resulting in serious injuries and even deaths.

If you are taking sleeping pills or a concoction of pharma and herbals and find that nothing, even that 10 km run before you go to bed, is working, then it’s time to try something new.

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Insomnia: how big of a problem is it?   

Sleep loss is an epidemic. Insomnia is estimated to affect a quarter of the population every year. Columbia University researchers say teens, in particular, are in the midst of a Great Sleep Recession. We need at least seven hours of sleep a night, but most of us are getting less than that, and insomniacs little to none of that.

Sleep loss increases our risk for diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity, and even early death. It can also cause a lot of emotional suffering, from loneliness to anxiety.

It’s often hard to put down cell phones and other electronic gadgets, even when it’s time to sleep. This adds to the problem.  Take them out of the room.

Sleep.org says the blue light emitted cell phone screens restrain the production of melatonin, the hormone that controls your sleep/wake cycle and makes it harder to fall and stay asleep. Also, the phone tends to beep with every new message and notification.   

Read: Digital health start-ups: Who will manage our health and make a killing?

Digital therapeutics

Many dozens of apps claim to cure sleep problems where clinically proven therapeutic exercises are imbedded into apps that are then marketed as cheaper and more accessible than in-person therapy. Many apps use exercises mined from cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), and many apps are ‘gamified’ awarding users points and badges to keep them motivated to sleep,” according to Sigal Samuel of VOXcom.

Clinical CBT can be effective for insomniacs, a study showed, but online Apps that use the method have not been rigorously studied against sleeping pills or in-person behavioral therapy, according to the New York Times.

Also, Apps fail to address the reasons behind insomnia which require a set of separate intervention on their own.

Big Health, the start-up behind Sleepio, is one of more than a dozen companies that are digitizing well-established health treatments like CBT, or devising new therapies — like video-game-based treatments for children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder — that can be delivered online. Since last year, a few pharmaceutical companies, including Novartis, announced partnerships with start-ups to develop digital treatments.

Read: Looking for an App idea and depressed about not finding it? We have it

Wearables

The wearable market is crawling with sleep trackers. The Dreem 2 headband is an FDA-registered medical device equipped with five electroencephalogram (EEG) sensors, a pulse oximeter and an accelerometer, which all work together to measure sleep activity. The device delivers sound vibrations through bone conduction to soothe patients to sleep, while its companion app corroborates a user’s measurements into a personalised cognitive behavioural therapy for insomnia (CBTi) program.

The device runs using real-world feedback collection from its beta version, with more than 800,000 nights of sleep recorded.

The therapy addresses initiating sleep, to begin with it, enhancing the quality of deep sleep and overcoming mental barriers.

Anti insomnia Hotel

The J.D. Power 2019 North America Hotel Guest Satisfaction Index Study found that only 29% of guests report having better-than-expected slumber.

 Four-Star The Ritz-Carlton, Tysons Corner just might have found the solution to the problem taking a holistic approach to cure guest insomnia.

It partnered with San Francisco-based Longeva to create a sleep wellness program that encompasses everything from a doze-inducing room service menu to a take-home snooze kit.

Robert Michael deStefano, managing director and director of wellness programming at Longeva said: “Sleep is like a stream. You’re born a good sleeper, and then you throw barriers into the stream. If you pull away the barriers, you’ll revert to that good sleeper.”

A special room service menu curates selections that help you catch z’s. They contain magnesium, a muscle relaxer, melatonin rich ingredients, natural stress relievers like honey and desserts with low glycemic index to promote better rest.

You’ll find Spa and NightSpa products, which combine aromatherapy, loosening stiff joints and skincare and sleep-inducing botanicals. Housekeeping can also tune your bedroom TV to Channel Z, where you watch tranquil scenes with soothing classical music.

The stay comes complete with a DreamKit including dream creams and sprays.