Can technology help to improve your sleep quality? In recent years there’s been a surge in the design and development of sensors and technologies to monitor physical activity and sleep. This includes a wide range of mobile apps, fitness trackers, and wearable devices. These tech innovations have been a game-changer in sleep monitoring.
The big question is: Is such digital health effective enough to improve the quality of sleep? There are still several obstacles that the industry must overcome involving different factors, including data storage, processing, and interpretation. I want to take up the various opportunities and challenges related to digital health to help people get a good night’s sleep ultimately.
What Exactly Is Digital Health?
The broad meaning of digital health involves various areas, including:
- Mobile health
- Wearable devices
- Health information technology (IT)
- Personalized medicine
Digital health involves various technologies that can be applied to sleep monitoring, including artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning. This has had an impactful effect on the health care industry. It includes sleep-related areas like quality health care and diagnosing/treating sleep disorders and sleep-related diseases.
Digital health tech uses various tools, including computing platforms, software, and sensors for health care uses.
Sleep monitoring is just one of the many uses of digital health. It also includes other general areas that involve developing or studying medical products, for example.
How Is Sleep Connected to Digital Health?
Today a wide range of digital sleep aids are available on the market. This includes mobile apps and fitness trackers that include sleep monitors. These tools effectively track basic sleep markers and the sleeper’s circadian rhythms (internal clock).
However, more complex devices are required for people with health conditions like sleep-related breathing disorders, including sleep apnea.
In these situations, more data collection and processing are required. The reason is the accuracy of such basic devices for diagnosing sleep-related disorders hasn’t been studied fully. That’s not all. In fact, past studies show that more research is needed to evaluate the effectiveness of such devices when used in homes.
Digital Health Tools for Sleep Apnea
Sleep apnea is one of several sleeping disorders that can benefit from digital health. This can become a potentially dangerous condition if sleepers stop breathing.
It’s estimated that about one-quarter of all Americans between 30 to 70 years old suffer from this health condition, according to AASM. About half of patients with atrial fibrillation (AF) or irregular heartbeat suffer from sleep apnea.
Sleep Apnea and CPAP
A common treatment for this sleep disorder is a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine. Unfortunately, some sleep apnea patients fail to use this device while sleeping for various reasons.
A related issue is sleep experts have discovered that CPAP is more effective when AF patients with sleep apnea use it to sleep better. This has inspired the development of digital health to solve the problem.
Monitoring Sleep Monitoring
The process included a sleep apnea monitoring system that allows doctors to monitor patients with AF sleep apnea while complying with CPAP devices.
This system solved the problem of allowing doctors to monitor patients who were prescribed CPAP therapy. It allowed doctors to determine whether or not patients were fitted for CPAPs and regularly using the devices at bedtime.
The system works by providing doctors with a cardio sleep dashboard. This allows them to track various aspects of patients’ sleep apnea status anywhere and anytime. The data is easy for physicians to read. It also allows them to track the patient’s progress towards treatment goals and permits adjustments when needed.
Benefits of Digital Health for Sleep Quality
Like trying to effectively pick a mattress, digital health can provide several benefits for patients with sleep issues.
Such digital tools provide healthcare providers with a more holistic perspective of their patients’ health through data access. It also provides patients with more control over their own health, which is important for many patients.
Healthcare providers can also provide better services for customers. This includes benefits including:
- Better access
- Fewer inefficiencies
- More personalized medicine
- More quality
- Lower costs
Patients who are suffering from sleep problems can make better decisions about their health. This is especially important for factors like sleep-related diseases, management of chronic conditions, etc. In these situations, patients must make informed decisions and choices. This is more likely when they have sufficient data.
Effective and Efficient
Another plus of these technologies is that they can be effective and efficient at improving the sleep quality of patients suffering from sleep conditions like insomnia. This is critical since it takes a result-focused approach to deal with health issues like sleep disorders.
Technology like computers, mobile devices, and the Internet isn’t just improving how people communicate. It’s also become an innovative way for people to monitor their health.
This is through methods like providing patients with improved information access. Ultimately, digital health leverages technology, so patients have improved health and wellbeing. This is through means like sleep quality.
Digital Solution for Modern Problem
Digital health seeks to deal with the growing problem of sleep deprivation. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that one-third of American adults aren’t getting enough sleep. It’s become an epidemic in the United States, and several other countries are dealing with the same problem.
Getting a good night’s sleep is often referred to as getting 7 or 8 hours of sleep at night. This is part of the process, but it’s just as important to get quality sleep. This involves going through the four stages of sleep multiple times at night.
Supply and Demand
There’s a growing demand today to improve sleep quantity and quality. In fact, about 60% of millennials report they’re interested in various sleep technologies. This partly explains an increase in sleep-focused digital health, including smartphone apps, health trackers, and wearables.
Besides using digital sleep, it’s important to take steps to improve your “sleep hygiene.” This involves steps like maintaining a sleep schedule and sleep habits that can help you sleep better. For example, simply reducing lights, temperature, and noise can help you fall asleep and stay asleep.
Today’s tech companies continue to develop innovative technologies and devices to improve people’s health and wellness. Digital health is one-way for doctors and patients can deal with sleep disorders and sleep-related health conditions.
Medical and tech experts are teaming up to develop more digital health products to help people get more slumber. This fast-growing area is another way technology can improve people’s daily life, including health, wellness, and sleep.
Brett is a writer at ID-Mag. An enthusiast and expert when it comes to sleep products, Brett dedicates a lot of his time reading, researching, and reviewing about both traditional and emerging sleep brands that manufacture varied types of sleep products – from eco-mattresses, smart pillows to cooling sleep systems, Brett has probably reviewed them all. Brett also finds sleep especially important since he juggles a small business that he runs from home makes sure he spends time with his daughter. He also writes during his spare time – you can definitely see that he needs a great forty winks all night, every night, so he’ll make sure that you get great sleep, too!