You wake up feeling refreshed and rested and notice that you are up earlier than you set your alarm. You smile and drift back to sleep convinced that a little extra sleep will make you feel even better. But alas when the alarm rings, you feel as if you had no sleep at all! You have fallen victim to your sleep cycle.
Nyx Devices is hoping to help the average person demystify their sleep cycle by wearing a ‘smart’ nightshirt that is embedded with electronics that measure a person’s breathing. Traditionally, to monitor somebody’s sleep, a lot of gadgetry and an overnight stay at a sleep lab was required. Now Matt Bianchi, a sleep neurologist in Massachusetts and co-inventor of the nightshirt claims that all the sophisticated measurements for brain, muscle, eye and heart activity can be reduced to a single measurement of the profile of a person’s breathing.
Bianchi tells Technology Review that ‘you can tell if someone is awake or asleep and which stage of sleep they are in purely based on breathing pattern." He explains that while deep sleep is characterized by very regular breathing with minimal variations, REM sleep (the phase during which we dream) has a much more erratic breathing pattern.
The company hopes to use this technology to help insomnia patients but they expect that there will be a wider consumer demand. The shirt, unfortunately, will not wake you up at the right time in your sleep cycle but it will give you the ability to monitor your sleep pattern over time and experiment with things that might be making you more tired.
Credit: Todd Warnock/Corbis