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A Device That Monitors Your Sleep and Wakes You After X Hours of Sleep

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Jamila Sep 22, 2020
Could a device be developed that wakes you up after you’ve slept for a certain number of hours?

Perhaps a wearable device could be developed that monitors your sleep and wakes you up accordingly. Instead of setting alarms, this device could wake you up after you've slept for a certain number of hours. Hopefully making sure you are fully rested for the day ahead.

Sleep is an important part of life. When we sleep at night, our bodies rejuvenate and repair themselves. Not having enough sleep or having way too much can make you feel fatigued and ruin your mood (it certainly does for me).

Studies have also found that short sleep duration (<5 hours) and sleeping too much (>8 hours) was associated with a higher risk of health problems and even death. Sleeping for 7 hours a night was associated with improved survival rates. There is a J-shaped relationship connecting all-cause mortality with sleep duration in aged individuals. Furthermore, frailty was associated with sleeping for more than 9 hours and poor sleep quality in aged individuals (70-87 years old). So sleep duration and quality could be a predictor of longevity.

There are sleep apps for phones and watches that already exist but these may not be accurately measuring your sleep. There are many different methods that can be used to measure sleep; these include monitoring the heart rate, actigraphy, brain activity, eye movements, etc. In order for this novel device to work, the sleep must be accurately measured and then the person can be prompted to wake-up at the right time.

Things to discuss
  1. What do you think is the best way to monitor sleep for this device?
  2. Are there any issues with this device idea?
  3. What could be improved about this device?

[1]Eugene, Andy R., and Jolanta Masiak. "The neuroprotective aspects of sleep." MEDtube science 3.1 (2015): 35.

[2]Fernandez-Mendoza, Julio, et al. "Objective short sleep duration increases the risk of all-cause mortality associated with possible vascular cognitive impairment." Sleep health 6.1 (2020): 71-78.

[3]Wang, Shibin, et al. "Sleep duration and its association with demographics, lifestyle factors, poor mental health and chronic diseases in older Chinese adults." Psychiatry Research 257 (2017): 212-218.

[4]Liu, Tong-Zu, et al. "Sleep duration and risk of all-cause mortality: a flexible, non-linear, meta-regression of 40 prospective cohort studies." Sleep medicine reviews 32 (2017): 28-36.

[5]Shen, Xiaoli, Yili Wu, and Dongfeng Zhang. "Nighttime sleep duration, 24-hour sleep duration and risk of all-cause mortality among adults: a meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies." Scientific reports 6.1 (2016): 1-8.

[6]He, Mengyang, et al. "The relationship between sleep duration and all-cause mortality in the older people: an updated and dose-response meta-analysis." (2020).

[7]Sun, Xue-Hui, et al. "Associations of sleep quality and sleep duration with frailty and pre-frailty in an elderly population Rugao longevity and ageing study." BMC geriatrics 20.1 (2020): 9.

[8]Romano, Salvatore, and Giuseppe Insalaco. "Sleep Tracker and Smartphone: Strengths and Limits to Estimate Sleep and Sleep-Disordered Breathing." Noninvasive Ventilation in Sleep Medicine and Pulmonary Critical Care. Springer, Cham, 2020. 213-221.

Creative contributions

Add a feature to Bellabeat's Leaf

salemandreus Apr 01, 2021
Bellabeat has all the existing tech to do this already in their wearable, just configured differently. I've found the sleep tracker quite accurate myself, and it improves with more data. Relevant features:
  • Alarm after X hours (Theirs for inactivity)
  • Sleep tracker - (Theirs assesses sleep quality)
It'd be simple for them to configure alarms based on total sleep duration or total high-quality sleep.

  • Theirs is a vibration alarm but the same tech with a sound alarm would also be easy to create.

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General comments

Povilas S
Povilas S7 months ago
I wouldn't underestimate already existing apps. There is an app called "sleep cycle". It works by monitoring your movements in bed as you sleep (by microphone and probably movement sensors as well) and determines which sleep phase are you in. As you sleep your brain activity cycles through phases from shallow sleep after just falling asleep, sinking down to the deep sleep in which you rest the most, and then "rise" up again to REM sleep from which you either wake up naturally, if you went through enough cycles or continue the cycle again. It's the best to wake up from a "shallow" phase in a sleep cycle. If I remember everything correctly, one full sleep cycle lasts for ~1,5 hours, so deep sleep last approximately 30 minutes, an app is therefore designed so that you can set up an alarm clock in a range of time, for example, not at 9:00 am, but between 8:30 and 9 and it chooses the best moment depending on your movements by which it decides which place are you at in your sleep. If you are woken up directly from deep sleep, you feel irritated and not rested, but if you're woken up from a shallow sleep phase, you feel that waking up was much more gentle and feel more rested. To have 6 full cycles is generally considered the best I think. But you can as well have just one or few of them and still feel reasonably good if you wake up from the right phase. I tried this app around a year ago, now it can be changed/improved. It shows graphs of how you sleep, like how your movements changed from irritated to calm, then irritated back again, etc., it's really interesting to see those. You can also listen to recordings, it distinguishes if, when, and for how long you snored for example;D So it's kind of watching yourself as you sleep.
Juran7 months ago
I completely agree with the part of awakening from the deep sleep phase being harder than from the shallow one. It can help an individual to get up more gently and in that case, wearable sleep trackers could work. But I am not quite convinced that the current apps can do quality sleep tracking. I know it is not the topic and maybe I am just being traditional, but it all just sounds like a marketing trick to gather our personal data even when we sleep. I even heard of recent lawsuits connected to the sleep-tracking devices (https://pdfserver.amlaw.com/ca/BrickmanvFitbit.pdf#link=%7B%22role%22:%22standard%22,%22href%22:%22http://pdfserver.amlaw.com/ca/BrickmanvFitbit.pdf%22,%22target%22:%22%22,%22absolute%22:%22%22,%22linkText%22:%22and%20a%20recent%20lawsuit%22%7D). The thing is, I was amazed when the first sleep tracker app was presented, but the excitement vanished fast. Sleep-tracking technologies are developing really fast, giving you more information with fewer wearables. Although we find it handy and entertaining to watch our sleep statistics, I wouldn't elevate the sleep-tracking applications yet. The first problem I see is the methodology. The gold standard for sleep tracking is Polysomnography (PSG), the most detailed set of metrics such as the heart (ECG), brain (EEG), muscle (EMG), and eye movements (EOG), along with few others. Since the body is not always in a perfect line with the brain, and sleep is a state of altered consciousness, brain activity status is considered the most valuable and precise information. While PSG is used in clinics, apps use different approaches and individual metrics. Wrist actinographs and accelerometers, HR and HRV sensors, vibration trackers, they all do an interesting, but lazy job figuring out how good we have slept. Wrist muscle tone tracker was found to be wrongly estimating the sleep quality. Old iPhones used the technology of mattress vibrations but gave up because of unreliable information (e.g low sensitivity to micro-movements). The point is, by lowering the number of parameters measured, the quality is drastically falling. The second problem is the interpretation of the data. While in clinics, doctors specialized, experienced, and trained to read and interpret the PSG results mostly do a good job estimating the quality of sleep with minor deviances, apps are still not there (https://towardsdatascience.com/sleep-monitoring-digital-technologies-and-clinical-trials-9bfbd22978f9).
Povilas S
Povilas S7 months ago
That's true - the app I mentioned is not very precise in guessing your sleep status. I've downloaded it again now. Sometimes it thinks you were awake when you know that you were asleep at that time, I've noticed that. But on the other hand, it's quite good having in mind that it only uses microphone to detect this. If the precision was improved it would be great. About stealing and selling your data - I would doubt that's their main focus, I think their tactics is to develop a good enough app that people would like and want to pay for (maybe on the side they do some data smuggling, who knows;D). They have both free and subscription versions of the app, the latter comes with more functions, but there are no ads in the free version. A more complicated situation is when an app uses your direct bodily parameters, as you mentioned, then it could get a picture of your entire physiological functions and sell that profile, if it only uses a microphone that's not such a big threat. It also works offline, so you don't have to keep it connected to the internet. But even if there was a separate device for sleep monitoring - like a smartwatch, it would most likely be wi-fi enabled and could send your data somewhere whenever it had access to the internet, unless the manufacturers would specifically focus on their customers' data protection. It all comes down to trust in the end..
Darko Savic
Darko Savic7 months ago
If I understand correctly the novelty of such a device would be that it measures the quality/quantity of your sleep and prevents you from crossing the point where more sleep becomes detrimental to your health? If that happens the watch would wake you up via an alarm/vibration/electric jolt?
Jamila 7 months ago
Yes, that's exactly what the device is about! I'm not sure if it would be a watch, headband, or something else but that will probably depend on how the sleep will be monitored. I thought this idea would be helpful to people that are struggling with oversleeping.