A better night

January 29, 2010

A better sleep


Not long ago we went to sleep and awoke with the sun – a rhythm that’s still part of our biology. But modern life puts more demands on our time and we’re sleeping less – and worse – than ever before. But Philips Research is looking into ways to help improve the quality of our sleep, even if we can’t easily increase the quantity.

Since it may not be easy to lighten our daily load to increase our hours in bed, one solution may be to improve the quality of the sleep that we do get. Philips Research is now focusing on this area with a new ‘sleep enhancement’ project. The goal is to understand sleep patterns and then use the knowledge to create medication-free, innovative approaches that help enhance the quality of sleep and the sleeping experience as a whole.

”I’ve seen first-hand the impact of systematic sleep loss on health, well-being, quality of life, mood and performance,” explains Roy Raymann, Senior Scientist and sleep expert at Philips Research. “Sleep is needed for restoration. Along with healthy eating and regular exercise, sleep is part of a complete lifestyle that helps us maintain good health and well-being.”

The project is exploring different avenues for enhancing sleep. One initiative involves developing advanced sensors to pinpoint sleep issues and find ways to address these through biofeedback and audio and video interpretation. Other ideas include smart lighting solutions that could help reduce jet-lag, sound-masking technologies to help people sleep better and new ways to tackle insomnia, like relaxation aids and do-it-yourself cognitive behavioral techniques. Philips is also investigating lifestyle techniques like monitoring and coaching (to improve sleep as well as ways to help people recover more quickly from short, disrupted nights.

Although a relatively new field, sleep research is important. Lack of quality sleep – especially on a regular basis – is associated with long-term health issues, including weight gain, mood disorders, hypertension and Type-2 diabetes. Recently, researchers in the UK found that the lack of quality sleep can more than double the risk of cardiovascular death, while findings from three large studies reveal that sleeping five hours or less per night increased mortality risk by around 15%.

More Information:
+ Better nights ahead

Did you know?

  • During sleep, our bodies secrete hormones that help to regulate appetite, energy metabolism and glucose processing. Lack of sleep or poor quality sleep can upset the balance of these hormones.
  • A study at the US-based University of Chicago Medical Center showed that 27% of people who slept less than five hours a night had calcified arteries compared to just 6% for people who slept more than seven hours.