Sleep Quality monitoring for improved effectiveness at work and at play
After 20 years in the sleep disordered breathing field I have seen so much change in the public’s knowledge of sleep. The focus 20 years ago was on identifying extremely compromised patients with really severe challenges achieving and maintaining sleep. I have spent many years discussing sleep testing equipment both in and out of the hospital environment. The last 6 years have been spent working with sleep clinicians increasing patient access to sleep data with products like the Nox T3 which is a portable sleep monitor for physicians and dentists, with an interest in treating sleep apnea and snoring. Recent innovations in wearable technologies have introduced the measurement of Sleep Quality to the general public and are changing the way people talk about sleep. I smile to myself when I ask “how did you sleep last night?” and I get an answer like “Sleep quality was below 70% last night so I need to take it easy today”. It is really impressive how these new devices have become so accepted in such a short amount of time.
— dentalaegis (@dentalaegis) June 16, 2016
— Jen Flash, RD (@JenFlashRD) September 29, 2016
In a recent article by Ken Belson at the New York Times entitled “To the N.F.L., 40 Winks Is as Vital as the 40-Yard Dash” there was a great article about active players in the NFL using sleep quality to shape practice and game day routines.
“The wristbands send the data to the players’ smartphones, allowing them to monitor their sleep better and make adjustments on their own. A player with a score of around 90 on the 100-point scale has about a 10 percent reduction in alertness — nothing serious. A player with a score of 70, by contrast, will have a 43 percent reduction in reaction time — a significant impairment to his performance.” – New York Times
— Rebecca McCall (@Becks_McCall) September 9, 2016
— Fatigue Science (@FatigueScience) June 12, 2014
There is still a long way to go with these technologies. Most patients do not want to or unable to use the data that has been collected. A study by tech consultants Endeavor partners, found that more than half of the US consumers that have owned an activity tracker no longer use it. Is it possible that the lack of actionable next steps and personalized health plans have led to lack of long term usage?
Technology manufacturers are working hard to develop robust back end solutions to provide the analysis that provides the kind of information that can be used to change behaviors based on collected data. Some tech companies are working on direct to physician models others are building applications that build out personalized health plans.
Algorithms developed by the US military convert sleep data, from the Readibands worn by the Seattle Seahawk Players, into a number correlated to the players alertness. This allows the coaching staff to personalize training programs and improve the players overall health along with their performance.
I am confident that what we are witnessing here is a continuation of a “Health Data to the People” movement which can only be a good thing. I expect that patients will continue to take a greater role in their health using robust technologies that help interpret data and give real world tips that are actionable and useful.
I am confident that we will learn a great deal about ourselves in the next 20 years.