The use of wearable sleep technology (i.e., devices worn on the body to measure aspects of sleep such as sleep/wake cycles) is increasing among consumers. Benefits of wearable sleep technology are that it collects information about a person's sleep in their natural environment and can record information over an extended period of time, compared to having a polysomnographic study in which the “first night effect” and having incomplete data in a sleep diary can negatively impact results. However, little guidance exists regarding how to use these devices effectively in clinical and nonclinical settings (e.g., sleep research, consumer market). In addition, scientists have concerns regarding the devices’ validity, accuracy and reliability in measuring various sleep parameters (e.g., sleep stages, sleep/wake cycles).
A Brief History of Polysomnography The earliest recorded theory of sleep is from c450 BC. At that time, a Greek physician by the name of Almaeon described sleep as a loss of consciousness as blood recedes from the surface of the body¹. A few other theories came out regarding sleep. However, all theories encompassed a similar theme: Sleep was seen as a passive state in which the brain was simply “turned off.”
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Welcome to the third Trends article. In the previous edition, we explored a perspective on how our field has evolved from a trade to a profession to meet the needs of the complex patient and numerous other demands in our modern sleep disorders settings. In this issue, we’ll take a comprehensive look at the role of the sleep navigator from both a bird’s-eye view and from a worm’s-eye view and share recommendations on how you as a sleep professional can fit into this role.
In Part I of this article from the Q2 issue of 2018, I discussed the emerging and growing technology of the sleep medicine community. I also talked about the mantra of that time as “entering the field on the cutting edge of technology that would revolutionize the field of sleep medicine.” Just a few decades ago, there were no state licensure laws or any “real” credentialing requirements. And, of course, no HIPAA laws, either.
Technology has allowed us to link with people all around the world. From connecting with friends and family abroad to discovering new cultures while sitting in the comfort of our own home, access to the internet has transformed the way we communicate.
Technology has made our lives a lot easier in many ways, but it has complicated it in others, too. Especially when it comes to your security. As humans increasingly rely on apps and devices, more and more of our data is being stored on various platforms. That includes the devices we use to track our sleep. Any data we hand over to a device is typically stored on a server in the cloud. And sometimes that data can be compromised. But should we be concerned about our privacy when it comes to sleep data? D. Reed Freeman Jr., a leading authority on privacy and cybersecurity, says the answer isn’t so black and white.
It’s not uncommon these days to see people walking down the street with a FitBit or an Apple Watch. These wearables can track a slew of things: your steps, calories burned, your heart rate. They also can track your sleep. But what does that mean? And is the data it collects valuable in any sort of way?
Wearables have become ubiquitous in our modern society, especially with both weekend and professional athletes. In particular, there has been a rapid implementation of wearables that monitor sleep into professional sports teams since 2008. However, this has created some unique legal challenges that need to be considered. The potential problems with these devices are the accuracy and legitimacy of the data from the wearable, the privacy of the data collected and the ownership of the data.
It seems like every industry is being changed by artificial intelligence, or AI.
This is the fourth article in a series on the changing face of sleep technology. The past three articles focused on technology and the economy. This article focuses on how all these changes could directly impact the future sleep technologist.