For many, falling asleep quickly or sleeping through the night is a luxury. Many of us today don’t get enough sleep, not because we don’t have time, but because we can’t sleep well. However, with the advent of science, today we can embrace many technologies for better sleep.
Sleep-related disorders have become more prevalent over the last several decades, impacting wider age group, including young adults and students The International Classification of Sleep Disorders – Third Edition (ICSD-3) by American Academy of Sleep Medicine categorizes sleep disorders into
Sleep Disorder as defined by ICSD-3
- Sleep-Related Breathing Disorders
- Central Disorders of Hypersomnolence
- Circadian Rhythm Sleep-Wake Disorders
- Sleep-Related Movement Disorders
- Other sleep disorders
We can already see from the classification how widespread sleep-related issues are in our modern society. There is no single solution that can solve all sleep problems. The purpose of this article is not to discuss sleep hygiene, environmental purification, lifestyle changes, meditation, diet, supplements, or severe medical treatment for conditions specified in ICSD-3. Instead, we will explore a number of self-help technologies that can help you get a better night’s sleep at home. Research has shown that many of these technologies improve sleep quality for people with non-severe conditions, and their effectiveness has been verified in several clinical studies. The technologies are based on two key principles.
Technologies for Better Sleep
a) Sleep Inducing Technologies
The use of brainwave entrainment technologies is intended to reduce sleep latency just before, during, and after sleep. Additionally, it may be used throughout the sleep cycle to improve sleep quality, or to reduce pain that may interfere with sleep. They usually involve frequency-based solutions that calm down the mind and entrain the brainwaves to a certain “desired” state, a more targeted approach to induce sleep. In a lot of ways, this is similar to hypnotizing. Generally speaking, Brainwave Entrainment Technology refers to technologies that affect the brainwave via frequency-specific pulsing stimulation (tactile, sound, light, pulsing EMF, etc.). In most cases, the effect will manifest within a week or two, if not immediately.
b) Mental and Body Relaxation Technologies
With transcranial electric stimulation, you can achieve desired relaxation, or a balance of neuro-chemicals, whether during the day or at night. Unlike brainwave entrainment, they are less targeted and more holistic in terms of getting your body to adjust naturally. It typically takes longer for the effect to manifest and may be more subtle in general.
- Cranial Electro Stimulation (CES)
- Pain-relief, muscle relaxation and improve overall circulation using PEMF, Far-Infrared, Negative ions
Below are some of the clinical studies conducted using various technologies on sleep
Brainwave Entrainment for Sleep
Brainwave entrainment for better sleep and post-sleep state of young elite soccer players – a pilot study, 2014. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23862643/
A pilot study of audio-visual stimulation as a self-care treatment for insomnia in adults with insomnia and chronic pain, 2014, https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25257144/
Open-Loop Neurofeedback Audiovisual Stimulation: A Pilot Study of Its Potential for Sleep Induction in Older Adults, 2015 https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25931250/
CES for Sleep
Meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials of cranial electrostimulation. Efficacy in treating selected psychological and physiological conditions 1995, https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/7623022/
PEMF for Sleep
Impulse magnetic-field therapy for insomnia: a double-blind, placebo-controlled study, 2001. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/11697020/
Research on brain induced effect by extremely low frequency pulsed magnetic stimulation, 2014, https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25570526/
Negative Ions for Sleep and Circulation
Effects of negative oxygen ions on sleep quality, Procedia Engineering, Vol 205, 2017 https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1877705817348774
Far Infrared for Improved Circulation and Muscle, Pain Relief
Infrared therapy for chronic low back pain: A randomized, controlled trial, 2006 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2539004/
Far-infrared therapy for cardiovascular, autoimmune, and other chronic health problems: A systematic review, 2020, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4935255/