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A brand new smart mattress helps people in falling asleep fast by cooling and heating their bodies in all the proper places. If this technology is commercialized, it may help millions get a better night’s sleep.
Lack of Sleep
On average, people fall asleep less than 20 minutes after bed. However, an estimated 10% of North Americans have chronic insomnia, meaning they have issues falling asleep and staying asleep for a minimum of three times a week for three consecutive months.
Lack of sleep can negatively affect their mental and physical health, which can cause depression, diabetes, high blood pressure, and much more. In addition, even if the issue is not chronic, one sleepless night may leave that person feeling irritable and foggy-headed the following day.
Of course, prescription meds can help people fall asleep quickly. But they can be addictive, lead to adverse side effects, and are not recommended for those struggling with chronic insomnia.
The Smart Mattress
At UT Austin, bioengineers have recently created a smart mattress and pillow that allow people to fall asleep fast by influencing their core body temperature.
It mimics the function of our circadian clock that helps to regulate your 24-hour sleep-wake cycle — which is two hours before bedtime, and it activates a lowering of your core body temperature, it produces the feeling of tiredness.
Smart Mattress Study
The UT Austin researcher’s smart mattresses are systems that circulate air or water. In the middle of the mattress, this air or water is cool. However, it is warm on the pillow and around the edges of the bed — close to the sleeper’s feet and hands.
In a small study, they had 11 people who tried to fall asleep on the smart mattress two hours before they typically go to bed (when naturally they should not be tired). On some nights, the heating and cooling functions were on for 30 minutes after the lights went out; some nights, they were not.
According to the UT Austin team, people fell asleep about 58% faster during the nights they were on, and the sleep quality was “significantly better.”
This study was tiny, and the volunteers were all “regular” sleepers. We do not know that the smart mattress could be as efficient at aiding people with insomnia to fall asleep faster, but it seems possible that the mechanism would convert.
The scientists are now searching for a partner to help them commercialize the already patented technology. If they are successful, the following smart mattress people buy may not only help people sleep but might improve their cardiovascular health, too.