Here at the Brightful office we’ve been delving into the Google search engine again looking at the current trending “how to” searches. Whilst “how to draw” is sticking firm at the top of the UK searches for the beginning of January, the second spot goes to “how to sleep”. Is this reflective of too many late nights over Christmas and over-indulgence wreaking havoc on our sleep patterns? Or perhaps a reflection of our New Year goals of New Year, New Me; new habits and a desire for a healthier lifestyle?
One in three of us is sleep deprived (according to the NHS) and being sleep deprived can have profound consequences on our physical health. Lack of sleep not only makes us grumpy and stressed out but regular poor sleep increases our risk of heart disease, diabetes, obesity and ultimately shortening our life expectancy. No wonder we are seeking answers, and where do we all turn when we need help…Google.
A quick scroll down the results of the “how to sleep” search and so many interesting articles pop up; we got lost in the endless theories, suggestions and miracle cures!
Before we dive in, we learnt what sleep actually is and asked what normal sleep felt like.
“Sleep is a naturally recurring state of mind and body, characterized by altered consciousness, relatively inhibited sensory activity, reduced muscle activity and inhibition of nearly all voluntary muscles during rapid eye movement (REM) sleep and reduced interactions with surroundings”.Wikipedia
Normal sleep patterns can be affected by many factors, but how long people sleep, the amount of time they require sleep and what is needed for normal functioning is unique to everyone.
One that immediately stuck out whilst devouring our excess festive chocolate was that sugar is the latest theory behind sleep issues (The alarming truth about how sugar ruins your sleep). Just like caffeine, sugar is a stimulant so eating that bag of pick and mix before bed might not be the best idea, stick to the lettuce sandwiches! Another interesting article was rethinking the assumption that the blue light given off by our electronic devices is not as disruptive to our sleep patterns as previously thought. Scientists from the University of Manchester have concluded that the use of “dim, cooler lights in the evening and bright warmer lights in the day may be more beneficial to our health” and as twilight is dimmer and bluer than day, using current technologies designed to limit our evening exposure to blue light may actually be sending us mixed signals (Researchers discover when it’s good to get the blues).
So maybe a ban on Electronic devices altogether in the evening would be a better idea to improve our sleep, but how then will we know in the morning exactly how many times we were “restless”, how many hours we slept, and that we fell asleep at exactly 22.36? Our modern obsession with sleep tracking. We might all be on the hunt for more sleep but we certainly are all obsessed by tracking the sleep we do have on our mobile phones, smartwatches and activity trackers! Sleep tracking apps are consistently in the most downloaded charts and the amount of data and intelligence available about all the hours we used to be simply sleeping through is staggering.
In fact, by 2022, it is said that the sleep tech market will scale up to an $80B market. At the 2018 Consumer Electronics Show held in Las Vegas, sleep-related tech companies showcased innovations that went beyond apps which analyzed sleep patterns. They developed tools that provided total sleep solutions.
It’s interesting to also recognise that the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine was jointly awarded to Jeffrey C. Hall, Michael Rosbash and Michael W. Young for their discoveries of molecular mechanisms controlling the circadian rhythm. This has led to a raft of new Sleep Tech product solutions on the market, such as Somnox, Oura Health, Balluga, Lumos Tech and new scientifically driven sleep innovations teams, such as Somnia cashing in on this latest research in understanding circadian rhythms to our over health and well being. (Sleep tech is booming – but it’s getting weirder and dodgier).
Would you believe there is now even a “smart bed” which through its SleepIQ technology collects the sleeper’s heart rate, respiration, motion, and presence and provides you with insight every morning into how you slept (Why big data may help you sleep better at night). By collating this data, Sleep Number is hoping to gain insight into how and why some people sleep better than others and use this intelligence to help others. This really may answer our question of “how to sleep” one day!
And for those that don’t like their partner wriggling and waking them up, then incredible as it seems, Ford (the car maker) have used their state-of-the-art lane correction software to nudge sleepers back to their side of the bed! (Smart Bed Rolls Selfish Sleepers Back into Place – Using Car Tech and a Conveyor Belt | Ford of Europe). They’ve created a smart bed that rolls selfish ‘space invader’ sleepers back into place to reclaim the precious hours that can be lost simply trying to keep a fair share of the mattress.
Ford’s Lane-Keeping Aid to gentle nudge ‘space invader’ sleepers to their side of the bed
Even Bill Gates is joining in on this desire to learn more about our sleep habits and our quest to achieve the perfect night’s rest. He recently wrote on his blog his thoughts after reading “why we sleep” by Matthew Walker. Bill Gates admits that he “wasn’t as sharp when I was operating mostly on caffeine and adrenaline, but I was obsessed with my work, and I felt that sleeping a lot was lazy” and that he now can “realize that my all-nighters, combined with almost never getting eight hours of sleep, took a big toll.” If he can achieve all he has on little sleep, imagine a world where the most inspiring people didn’t feel pressured to put in face time at the office until late, weren’t juggling both a career and family, weren’t sucked into the Instagram scrolling vortexes, Love Island wasn’t on at 9pm every evening and we all got 8 hours sleep a night! No wonder we are all asking Google for a magic spell for more sleep!
Our obsession with tracking our sleep has grown so much, it’s even becoming recognised as a disorder. Orthosomnia is a new type of sleep problem where people become dependent on their sleep tracking devices, sleep data and their quest to achieve perfect sleep. Now isn’t that ironic.
Whether you are achieving perfect sleep or not, don’t let your 2020 marketing challenges keep you awake at night… speak to one of the Brightful team and rest easy!