Beddr's 2020 Sleep Predictions
We gathered some key members of the Beddr team - specifically Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Jagdeep Bijwadia, Head of Coaching Ed Pienkosz, Head of Product Subarna Mitra, Head of Marketing Carla Borsoi, CTO/Founder Tom Goff, and CEO/Founder Mike Kisch - to think about how sleep in 2020. We explored trends that may impact our sleep negatively and positively in the year to come and provide an in-depth look at each.
THINGS THAT MAY MAKE YOUR SLEEP WORSE IN THE YEAR TO COME
Existential fears: Recession, Climate Change, Politics
People already worry about their sleep deficits, but are there other worries at play? Regardless of your position or political ideology these issues could be challenging your sleep. We know that psychological factors can have a tremendous impact on sleep, and concerns about broader world events can take a lot of energy to research, process, and absorb keeping people from getting the sleep they need. Large, ambiguous fears out of your direct control can feel hard to ignore.
Too much good content
There’s a plethora of choices of where you can spend your time - whether it’s an e-book, the web, podcasts, or a million streaming services. A whopping 88% of Americans say they stayed up late binge watching - meaning this compelling content is keeping people up way past their bedtime. However, staying up late watching the latest show, or refusing to put down your smartphone or tablet can prevent a good night of sleep.
There’s a lot of research looking at different geographic areas and sleep. Often, people who live in urban areas get worse sleep with more noise, light, activity, and 24-hour entertainment, all of which can be distractions keeping you awake into the night. The data shows that rural areas tend to be darke and quieter and more conducive to sleep. There’s also large differences by age, gender, and race that may indicate that you’re likely to get better or worse sleep.
Ongoing Trend: Decisions around work-life balance
We all know that sleep is foundational to stress management, so if you’re striving for work/life balance, it can be tricky when you’re trying to determine how late you should be at the office, whether it’s worth it to pull an all-nighter for a term paper, or if you should go home and get some rest. While work/life balance isn’t a new sleep trend, the myriad decisions one has to make on a daily basis do impact your sleep.
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THINGS MAKING YOUR SLEEP BETTER IN THE YEAR TO COME
Better data means better sleep
Sleep health will become more accessible thanks to technology. The combined power of data collected by apps and wearables and services like telemedicine and coaching, will provide efficient, personalized, and affordable solutions to improve sleep. Home sleep tests, telemedicine, and consumer apps are tools that will make it easier for consumers to get help. Sleep can be hard to self report (do you really know if you slept on your side all night long?) but devices providing high quality data provide insights to be discussed with a practitioner to aid diagnosis and therapy.
People will become more interested in learning about sleep
There’s rising awareness that sleep is critical. For consumers, this goes beyond the basics to an emerging notion of True Sleep. As the notion of good sleep has become part of the social fabric (people spend $30B a year on sleep solutions not all of which have been validated), people are trying to track and learn what good sleep means to them. People are also stepping away from bragging about how little sleep they get or “need” and wanting to uncover the root causes of their poor sleep.
Doctors will demonstrate greater interest in strengthening their knowledge of sleep
Sleep science is only decades old. The body of science around the functions of sleep continues to grow and shows how sleep impacts everything from aging, brain health, to memory. For doctors who are not sleep specialists, we’re seeing an increasing recognition of the scant time spent on sleep in medical school and the need to further their knowledge. This is good for everyone. Informed and curious patients can show up with some knowledge of their concerns and find an informed medical practitioner. Sleep specialists can apply their broader knowledge and help these patients on their path to true sleep.
The “Turn it off” movement
People are beginning to recognize the need to leave the devices behind. Whether practicing technical shabbats, or no screens an hour before bedtime, the benefits of better sleep hygiene are making their way into people’s bedrooms. People are learning how mindfulness, journaling, or meditation, as part of a pre-bed routine, can clear minds and relax spirits - countering some of those trends that may try to rob of us of our sleep.
Low/No alcohol cocktails
Why is this trend important to good sleep? We know that alcohol consumption can have a deleterious impact on sleep. The fact that low alcohol and no alcohol bars are now open means that people may have alternate evening amusements and sleep a little better.
Broadening acceptance for those seeking help for mental health issues
Our world has changed and we’ve begun to hear more from prominent public figures struggling with mental health issues, helping motivate people to open up and address their own issues. We’ve seen more ordinary people talk publicly about mental health. Destigmatizing this is critical for good sleep. Many people suffering from sleep issues may be able to improve their sleep by addressing underlying psychological causes.
Employers beginning to see sleep as crucial
Employers are really seeing how critical sleep is for employees and are supportive of efforts to help people learn more about their sleep and to encourage good sleep behaviors. This is part of the reason Beddr launched programs specifically for employers.
Sleep therapies evolution
For sleep apnea you can currently treat it with CPAPs or dental devices, but more intriguing therapies are on their way such as transdermal, medications for the upper airway. We know that sleep apnea isn’t just about the airway - it involves brain, genetics, and individual anatomy. Treatments may be needed to address specific issues within one person. Add in an ongoing recognition that not everyone who exhibits a condition like sleep apnea is going to react in the same way, medical specialists will approach treating patients with a broader range of therapies to be able to personalize treatment to the patient and situation. At Beddr, we’re expanding our artificial intelligence (AI) to provide the best intelligence to medical practitioners so they can begin to consider those findings in helping people find appropriate treatments. As concerns other sleep conditions beyond sleep apnea, there’s more research on how treatments for sleep conditions impact other areas of one’s health, paving the way for more integrated approaches to treating sleep.