High Tech Sleep

March 5th - 11th is National Sleep Awareness Week.  Oklahoma Heart Institute Sleep Care's Medical Director, Dr. Kevin Lewis takes a look at the high tech world of sleep and innovative products on the market.

If you have ever had a sleepless night, tossing and turning, you know how poorly you feel the next day.  You are lethargic, your appetite is off, and you have difficulty focusing. 

40 million Americans suffer from sleepless nights every night.  That’s right, 1 in 6 of us suffer from a sleep disorder, which disrupts our waking hours and our health.  It is also why so many of us seek a solution to our sleeplessness and why sleep has gone very high tech.  Of course, some make the argument our high tech lifestyles (reading your iPad in bed, for example) negatively affects our sleep.  To combat the iPad or other sleep disruptions, here’s a look at just a few of the high tech sleep products catching the attention of those wanting to catch some zzz’s.

Zeo.  It is more than just a high tech sleep product.  This Forbes magazine “#1 Hottest Holiday Gadget” is basically a smart alarm clock.  You sleep with Zeo on your forehead like a headband.  It wirelessly monitors your brain waves, detecting states of wakefulness, light sleep, deep sleep, or REM sleep.  The bedside alarm wakes you during the most optimal time in your sleep cycle.  You can check your “sleep analytics”, or detailed sleep statistics on charts and graphs on your smart phone.  Each time you wear Zeo, you are given a “ZQ” the next morning, calculating your quality of sleep.   

Zeo grabbed attention at CES with their Sleep Lab, monitoring in real time someone’s sleep

FitBit.  Sleep and health are much like the chicken and the egg debate.  Sleep affects your health, but health also affects your sleep.  So which do you fix first?  FitBit says both.  This product takes a comprehensive approach to tackling the continuous cycle by offering a fitness and health tracker in one system.  The FitBit is a small wireless device which can be worn underneath or on top of your clothes.  During the day, the FitBit measures your physical activity and number of stairs climbed, using a 3D motion sensor, accelerometer, and altimeter.  At night, you can place the device into a wristband to monitor the number of times you wake up.  All the data is uploaded to the cloud then back to your computer to keep a historical record of your fitness and your sleep.  FitBit launched a wireless scale at CES to track your weight as well.  Click here for a video FitBit demonstration and interview from the Consumer Electronics Show.


FitBit tracks physical activity and sleep in one device.

Sheex.  Investing in your sleep environment is something we advise at Oklahoma Heart Institute Sleep Care.  Beyond a quality mattress and pillows, sheets play an important part in our level of comfort while we sleep.  Sheex is a product which makes the claim to give you a better night’s rest by sleeping on their sheets.  Sheex are “performance” sheets inspired by athletic wear, transferring body heat, wicking away moisture, and stabilizing your sleep environment to offer a better night’s rest.  These sheets are not only getting the attention of the media, but also the Olympics.  According to the Sheex blog, “The U.S.’s top track and field athletes will rest and recover better in their preparations for the 2012 Olympics on the world’s first performance bedding, a game-changing innovation inspired by the advanced technology of athletic performance fabrics.”  Founded by former athletes and college coaches, the idea for Sheex was born from a conversation at a basketball camp.  Following two years of research and design, Sheex went to market April 2009 as the “world’s first luxury bed sheets crafted from performance athletic fabrics.” 


Sheex sheets are crafted from performance athletic fabrics.

Dr. Kevin Lewis, Medical Director of Oklahoma Heart Institute Sleep Care of Hillcrest Medical Center, stays up to date with new sleep products on the market, but advises they are not a substitute for clinical treatment, “It is fun to see so many new technologies that are focused on sleep coming to the marketplace and helping us raise awareness to the importance of quality sleep for optimal health and performance.  Such items can be quite helpful to a point for the general user, but are not effective nor intended to replace professional sleep medicine evaluations and interventions for those suffering more pronounced sleep impairments or at risk for more serious sleep conditions such as sleep apnea or narcolepsy.”


Disclaimer:  Oklahoma Heart Institute and Hillcrest Medical Center do not endorse the purchase or use of any of the products referenced in this article.  Purposes of this article are to draw attention to the demand for new products and innovations in sleep technology to address a growing number of Americans suffering from sleep disorders and sleep disruption.

Source: Written by Amanda Armstrong, in collaboration with Dr. Kevin Lewis, Medical Director of Oklahoma Heart Institute Sleep Care of Hillcrest Medical Center.