Band-Aid-Like Tracker To Help You With Your Insomnia

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We sleep for around a third of our lives. We’re meant to, at least as reported by CNN.

Sleep study

In reality, many of us aren’t getting enough sleep — in a global study conducted in 2020, over a third of adults reported sleeping problems, exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic.

But for doctors to diagnose most of them, patients usually need to go to a clinic and undergo a sleep study.

Typically, a technician tapes or glues dozens of sensors to the patient’s head and body.

Israeli startup X-trodes is hoping to change that.

X-trodes’ sensors pick up electrical activity in the body while you sleep, including muscle activity, eye movement and brain waves — data you can currently only get in a clinic, according to the company.

Sleep easy

“What we have developed at X-trodes are comfortable, soft, flexible, dry electrodes,” says co-founder and CEO, Ziv Peremen, adding that, unlike a typical clinical test, the tracker is wireless, so “you can sleep in whatever position you like.”

The tracker sends the data to a smart device.

X-trodes raised $4.5 million in funding in October 2021 and is now pursuing approval for the technology from the US Food and Drug Administration.

The device can also make sleep testing cheaper, Peremen says.

By removing the need for a technician and overnight stay, X-trodes’ solution will cost around a tenth of the price, Peremen tells CNN Business.

“You can take into consideration all the other factors — sometimes it’s your partner, sometimes it’s room temperature, external noise and so on.”

The science of sleeping

Better data could also help scientists understand more about sleep, and the link with brain health, emotional wellbeing and chronic conditions.

This field of medicine is still relatively new, according to Rebecca Robbins, an instructor in medicine at Harvard Medical School.

“We’re uncovering some of the longer-term implications of sleep,” says Robbins.

That includes rapid eye movement (REM) sleep behaviour disorder (RBD), where patients appear to act out their dreams during REM sleep.

“We currently don’t have a standard to evaluate and endorse the level of accuracy that we accept for a device,” says Massimiliano de Zambotti, a neuroscientist at non-profit research institute SRI International who leads validation studies of wearable sleep technologies.

A “gold mine”

This hasn’t stopped the demand for tracking gadgets; the sleep technology market was worth $12 billion in 2020, according to the market research company, Pitchbook.

Robbins recommends that companies partner with scientists “to make sure that their algorithms are scoring sleep correctly and are giving information back to their consumers that is accurate.”

X-trodes is currently validating the technology with researchers, Peremen says.

In the long run, the company wants to offer trackers directly to consumers, interpreting their sleep habits over time and recommending ways to improve their sleep.

“Sleep is a gold mine for understanding our health,” Peremen says.

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Source: CNN

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