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.
”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%.
+ Better nights ahead