Written by IEEE | August 1, 2018

Although an integral part of our everyday lives, the subject of sleep is not one we often talk about, and it has only recently become one that’s widely studied. Prior to 1952, studies of sleep mostly focused on dreams and dream interpretations; it wasn’t until the 21st century that sleep physiology, sleep deprivation and sleep disorders received the attention of medical and public health professionals.

Today, much has changed on the subject of sleep. It’s become common practice for doctors to ask how much sleep patients are getting, in order to better understand how their health is impacted by their sleep habits and patterns.

Taking it a step further, researchers at MIT are working on a way to capture sleep data wirelessly to measure and analyze sleep patterns. Using an AI-enabled device that emits radio waves, and an algorithm that analyzes those signals, researchers gain the ability to monitor an individual’s sleep in their natural environment for a long period of time, rather than forcing them to intermittently visit a lab. You can read more about it on IEEE Spectrum here.

Plus, the applications of this data go well beyond the study of sleep disorders, providing insights into other factors that can affect sleep quality: “Doing this wirelessly in your own bedroom, you could really see the impact of drugs, and progression of diseases by long-term monitoring,” says Dina Katabi, a professor of electrical engineering and computer science at MIT, who led the work, according to the article.

Another emerging area in the study of sleep is the application of machine learning.

In the near future, you may be able to purchase a mattress that incorporates machine learning to help you sleep. The bed won’t use a separate app. Instead, it will adjust to your sleep patterns, mostly by using air to reposition the mattress in real time.

The bed also includes a foot warmer, allowing it to optimize your sleeping temperature. For those who snore, artificial intelligence is learning to predict when you’ll start, and can make adjustments to help alleviate the tendency.

If you have trouble sleeping, don’t lose hope – sleep research is steadily evolving with today’s newest technologies, and may well lead to more products that can help you get a good night’s sleep.


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