New mattress sensors are being tested as part of a university study to help people who are dealing with individual sleep disorders. Sleep experts at Flinders University in Australia are conducting tests that use invisible sensors that have the ability to pick up on signs of sleep disorders and be able to retrieve the data in order to focus on treatments.
According to one expert, sleep is one part of what is considered to be a healthy lifestyle (with the other two being diet and exercise). Professor Andrew Valkulin states that sleep disorders can also lead to health consequences both in the short and long terms.
The trial received funding from the CRC for Alertness, Safety, and Productivity. The funding started the project known as REMi, which provides the technology for the sensors used to conduct the experiment. REMi was developed by RMIT labs.
The sensors are located on the surface of the mattress. While active, they will detect sleep disorders and provide real-time feedback regarding the sleeper’s current position and the status of their sleep health. One in five Australians is known to Trusted SourceSleep Disorders Approximately one in five Australians are estimated to be affected by a major sleep disorder. These include: Obstructive Sleep Apnoea (OSA), insomnia, Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS), circadian rhythm disorders and central disorders of hypersomnolence. www.aph.gov.au .
Even more intriguing is that these sleep disorders are also a damper on the economy. According to Sleeptite CEO Cameron van den Dungen, the economic cost is said to be around $14 billion. But van den Dungen isn’t that far off. One serious sleep disorder is known as sleep apnea, Trusted SourceFour in 10 Australians have a $26 billion-a-year problem The Morrison government’s sleep health awareness inquiry called for the issue to be made a national priority and sleep recognised as the “third pillar” of a healthy lifestyle alongside diet and exercise, demanding extra funding for research and treatment to help sufferers. www.smh.com.au (and is also fatal if severe).
Because of poor sleep, these issues are costing nearly three-quarters of a percent of Australia’s GDP. The non-financial costs for persons losing their well-being are almost $37 billion. Aside from sleep apnea, other sleep disorders such as insomnia and restless leg syndrome are also being considered for the test.
Van den Dungen added that because it is so costly, there is much-needed research in the space of sleep studies. Flinder University is collaborating with Sleeptite and RMIT as the experiment moves along. The REMi Sleep Diagnosis Evaluation Trial will last about six months and will utilize sensor capability testing, including the following: positively identifying any sleep-related parameters, linking the sensors to the sleep measurements, and creating a special algorithm that has the ability to recognize the quality of one person’s sleep.
Along with the researchers, there will be 30 participants as part of this trial. They will be tested with the industry-renowned polysomnography technology (or PSG for short).
With sleep deprivation being a long-standing concern for many people of all ages, researchers believe that it is important to study what is causing these sleep disorders and what can be done to treat them. Sleep loss can take a toll not just on someone’s physical health but also their mental health as well.
While the experiment is underway, we are confident that the data will be accurate. Many sleep disorders go untreated. For this reason, this can lead to many consequences that are associated with missing sleep.
RMIT sensor technology is the first of its kind to detect sleep disorders. This is a good opportunity to see what the sensors are capable of picking up. Whether it’s signs of sleep disorders or detecting a participant’s sleep quality, the sensors are designed to be accurate but may need some adjustments throughout the trial period to ensure they stay that way.
Sleep studies like this will be carried out in a natural setting in the future. But for now, it will be tested in a research setting in an equivalent to a sleep clinic.