5 Sleep Technologies to be Aware of for 2018
As a new year dawns, fresh technologies are on the rise. In the field of sleep technology, you will find that there are a few technologies that are going to have banner years in 2018. These are some you’ll want to have your finger on the pulse of in your career as a sleep technologist.
Sleep disorders continue to require testing to diagnose. Not only is testing instrumental in the diagnostic process, but it also helps you to identify potential treatments that will work more effectively for individual patients.
Once the testing is complete and a diagnosis has been rendered, the next stage you’ll find advancing technology for is the treatment phase. There are various avenues you can consider for treating sleep disorders and the technology listed below includes essential tools for doing just that.
In October of 2017, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced its approval of the remede System for treating CSA (central sleep apnea). This marks the second approval of an implantable device for treating sleep disorders within the last two years (the first, approved in 2014, was the Inspire Upper Airway Stimulation device). Now that there is competition among implantable devices, we can expect to see growth in 2018 in the number of patients receiving them.
We've reached out to 16 influencers in the sleep technology world to find out what they think 2018 will hold, and also asked for their advice for keeping current in the profession.
At Home Sleep Technologies
Sleep technology is bigger than ever before – and growing as an industry. 2017 marked the first time the largest consumer electronics show in the world featured a section dedicated to consumer sleep technology. As more technologies become available to consumers, there will be a corresponding rise in use of these technologies available to them. Understanding the tech your patients are turning to will help you prepare to contradict misinformation they may be receiving so you can steer them in the right direction to get effective treatment and lasting help for their sleep problems and disorders.
Effective sleep monitors can help consumers struggling to get a good night’s sleep learn important insights into their own sleep issues and offer guidance to help them enjoy better quality sleep at night. The two you should expect to hear more about in 2018 include:
Beddit 3 Sleep Monitor – This monitor measures the quality and quantity of sleep, heart rate, breathing, snoring, and information about the bedroom environment of your patients. It even offers patients the ability to use an alarm clock that helps them wake up at the right time to feel refreshed and ready to face their days.
S+ by ResMed – This nifty device promises patients 45 extra minutes of sleep at night by using sonar to monitor their movements throughout the night and various sleep stages. Not only does it measure patients as they sleep, but it also monitors environmental factors and makes suggestions designed to improve sleep quality and quantity.
Wearables include a variety of devices that patients wear on their wrists that can monitor sleep and make suggestions to improve quality. There is even some, extremely limited, evidence that suggests some of these devices may be able to effectively diagnose sleep apnea. While there is some degree of skepticism, 2018 promises growth in this industry and may ultimately deliver wearable technology that fullfills this promise.
Wearables are attractive to patients because they promise answers and advice with little interference with their routines, activities, or plans -- the promise of better sleep without the inconvenience of a traditional sleep study. However, some of these patients need a professional sleep study so they can receive an accurate diagnosis and treatment of their conditions.
4. Digital Apps
We live in the day of the app. There are apps that can do practically everything. These apps can be instrumental in assisting you to educate your patients about their conditions and how to improve their sleep quality. They can even be used to encourage patients to adhere to their prescribed therapies, which is a boon for sleep technologists, like you, who have attempted countless other methods for encouraging adherence.
Hybrid technologies combine the approaches used in at-home sleep technologies that have few regulations and controls and FDA approved methods for things like testing, diagnosing, and treating sleep disorders. In 2018, we expect to see a rise in this type of approach for developing new sleep technologies.
This “watch” is a portable device used to diagnose sleep apnea. It uses innovative technologies that allow it to deliver accurate screening and detection of sleep apnea as well as adequate follow-up once the diagnosis has been made.
One thing that makes this diagnostic tool so attractive to patients everywhere is that it is non-invasive and testing can be conducted in the comfort of their own homes. This is the environment where they feel most comfortable sleeping, and the fact that it doesn’t involve a series of wires and other tools that may interfere with comfort or sleep progress makes it infinitely more appealing.
The other appealing factor for WatchPAT is that it automates the data analysis process, providing a faster diagnosis. The sooner your patients receive a diagnosis, the faster you can begin the treatment process.
The year 2018 offers much promise in all fields of technology. As a sleep technologist, you are sure to be surprised by the changes that will come about in the way you communicate with your patients and how well informed (or misinformed) your patients may be about their sleep needs and available sleep treatments as a result of these emerging technologies.
The more you know about the sleep technologies on the rise, the better prepared you will be to have informed discussions with your patients about their conditions, their needs, and their responsibilities in sticking to prescribed treatments for their sleep disorder as well as their physical health and overall wellbeing.
The AAST wants to give you every possible edge for advancing your career in 2018 and beyond. Download our ebook, "Predictions for the Sleep Technology Profession in 2018," to hear what 16 sleep industry professionals think the future of the sleep profession has in store.