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The sleep tech taking on the insomnia crisis

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There are few things more refreshing than a restful sleep. But for millions of people, hitting that solid eight hour target is little more than a pipe dream.

According to a 2022 study by insurer Direct Line, 14 per cent of UK adults sleep for less than five hours a night – well below the seven to nine recommended by experts.

Remedies like sleeping tablets offer a short term solution. Are there healthier, long-term treatments out there?

Lou Campbell is a sleep psychologist specialising in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy for Insomnia (CBT-I).

The psychotherapist is Programmes Director at Wellbeing Partners. The company helps support the emotional, mental and physical wellbeing of employees.

Lou tells Health Tech World:

“Sustained sleep deprivation including insomnia is one of the major underlying causes of mental health issues such as anxiety disorders, depressive disorder and even suicidal thoughts and feelings.”

Lou Campbell

In the world of sleep psychology, there are good sleepers and poor sleepers, Lou says.

The way to overcome insomnia is to help a poor sleeper become a good sleeper by establishing a strong psychological link between bed and sleep, which lies at the heart of the CBTI approach.

However, Lou is sceptical of our reliance on tech to tackle our sleep issues:

“Tech only increases the anxiety and focus on sleep.

“Good sleepers don’t use technology to improve their sleep, nor do they think much about sleep at all.

“The only evidence-based solution for improving sleep over the long term – i.e. turning poor sleepers into good sleepers – is to increase the psychological connection between bed and sleep.”

But there’s an app for that…

With the insomnia market projected to hit $6.69 bn by 2029, it’s little wonder tech companies are seeking to prove the sceptics wrong.

Among them, countless apps, from mindfulness platforms to sleep-trackers.

Clementine is an award-winning hypnotherapy app for sleep, confidence and anxiety.

The app has been designed to quieten the body and mind as the user settles down to sleep.

Clementine co-founder, Kim Palmer, tells Health Tech World:

“Clementine’s deep sleep sessions use hypnotherapy which involves being taken into a relaxed state (hypnosis). Perfect for easing into sleep.

“And our sleep sessions help you sleep better by interrupting the disturbing mental chatter that is often the cause of people struggling to get to sleep in the first place.”

One of the benefits of hypnotherapy over other approaches, Kim says, is that it’s both easy and delivers results quickly.

All the user needs to do is lie back and allow themselves to be guided through the process.

Kim adds:

“And don’t worry if you fall asleep during hypnosis, many experts agree that the hypnotic suggestions will still work, and well, let’s face it, if you’ve fallen asleep during a sleep session at bedtime, then it’s worked wonders.”

Rest Re-education

Sleep School has 10 years’ experience of working with chronic sleep issues and providing evidence- based solutions.

The company was co-founded by leading UK sleep expert, Dr Guy Meadows.

Sleep School’s Insomnia App utilises Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) which encourages poor sleepers to focus on symptom acceptance and values-based action.

Dr Meadows tells Health Tech World:

“The goal of act is to promote Psychological Flexibility, which is an individual’s willingness to experience negative thoughts, feelings and poor sleep, rather than get rid of them, in order to be able to move closer to what they care about in life.

“ACT recognises that pain and suffering is a normal part of the human experience and struggling to extinguish it, as seen with CBT, can actually fuel it.

“ACT therefore focuses on changing the context in which people relate to their pain, rather than the content of the pain.”

The app offers a variety of courses, such as the flagship Overcoming Insomnia 30-day course.

In a recent survey, 77 per cent of users felt more sleep satisfaction after completing the course.

If users still struggle to sleep, they can book at 45-minute video consultations with a sleep doctor.

Dr Meadows added:

“We are pioneering the use of ACT in chronic insomnia because we believe that the way in which insomnia has been traditionally managed needs to change.”

Soothing harsh sounds with next generation earplugs

UK company Flare Audio designs unique tech focused on helping people improve their relationship with sound.

The company has spent the past eight years refining its earplug designs for maximum comfort and effectiveness.

Their ‘Sleeep’ earplugs use memory foam to block out sound without causing irritation.

The earplugs have been designed to sit snugly in the ear canal without the need for constant adjusting and rolling like disposables.

Flare Audio also offers Calmer Night – designed to reduce stress-inducing frequencies without blocking sound.

Flare audio co-founder, Davies Roberts, said:

“By reflecting sound off a flat surface and channelling sound directly into the ear, reducing distortion, Calmer Night turns night-time noise into less-jolting sounds to reduce stress at night.

“Sharp sounds before bed sound more mellow, helping you to wind down for a restful night’s sleep.

“Whilst Calmer Night won’t ensure that you sleep through any disturbing noise, such as babies crying or alarms, it will lower your stress response from it, keeping you calmer and ensuring that you can get back to sleep more easily.”

Navigating the Mattress Maze

There are countless mattress brands out, offering bespoke designs, memory foam and breathable material, all engineered to help us sleep more soundly.

Susan Miller is a RPSGT-certified sleep technician and lead researcher at mattress review site, SleepMattressHQ.com.

With so many mattresses to choose from, where should the rest-hungry shopper start?!

Susan says:

“There are many gimmicks and marketing tactics being used by mattress brands to lure customers into buying their mattresses.

Susan Miller

“They are not as useful as some basic parameters that will help you choose an ideal mattress for you.

Apart from budget, prospective buyers should understand how their body type, body weight, body shape and sleeping position impacts their mattress choice.

Susan adds:

“For example, if you are a side sleeper with a bit heavier around the waist, you will need a slightly softer mattress for better contouring.

“On the other hand, if you are a lightweight side sleeper, a medium-firm mattress will be the right choice.

“Usually a hybrid mattress with medium firmness works for most people.”

Soothing Sleepwear

Developed and engineered in Switzerland in cooperation with sleep experts and universities, Dagsmejan sleepwear is designed to improve sleep quality and target specific physiological sleep needs.

Dagsmejan has four patented eco-friendly materials designed to help wearers stay thermo-neutral.

Dagsmejan CEO and co-founder, Andreas Lenzhofer, said:

“At Dagsmejan we are on a mission to find new ways of sleeping deeper and longer.

“By combining the finest natural fibres, with the latest sleep technology and innovative textile engineering, we are creating a brand new sleeping experience.”

The product range includes the Recovery Collection, made with reactive mineral fabric that promotes increased blood flow to muscles, enhancing muscle recovery.

And the Stay Warm Collection, made from super-fine fibres transport excess heat away from the body.

Andreas added:

“From concept to finished goods, every step of the way is scientifically researched and tested.

“Dagsmejan sleepwear is also Oekotex certified to ensure that we take care of not only our customers but also the environment.”

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