Smart Bed Stops Snoring
If you have a snoring partner--and 60 percent of the population complains of this affliction--chances are good that you've sent the offender to the couch at least once in order to get some sleep.1 Being kept up by snoring not only is annoying, but it also can have detrimental health effects ranging from fatigue to hypertension. Plenty of products on the market aim to control snoring, but most are notably unpleasant. There are plastic devices you can stick up your nose to keep the nasal passages open. There are heavy-duty C-Pap machines that come with hoses and electrical plugs for controlling the snoring associated with sleep apnea. There also are mouth plates that look like those dreaded retainers buck-toothed teens have to wear.
If none of these available products either work or appeal to you and you want to stop the nightly thunder--either your own or your partner's-- you now have a new option that you might find considerably more appealing…if not a tad more expensive. The Select Comfort Company has introduced an $8,000 smart bed that not only has the potential to control snoring, but has a slew of other dandy features, too.2 Among other things, the bed can track your breathing patterns and heart rate as well as your sleep and movement patterns. How? Sensors built right into the mattress collect the data for both you and your partner. You don't have to wear monitors or anything electronic at all. The information gets relayed wirelessly from the bed to your smart phone, which then calculates a sleep score for you, rating your sleep quality.
Essentially, the fancy gadgetry tells you whether or not you've had a good night's sleep. It's a lovely alternative to going to a sleep lab, but in reality, the information only is useful if you know what to do with it. Although the smart phone app does give targeted advice to help you sleep better based on your sleep-quality score, you might be able to get similar information off the internet by assessing your own quality of sleep and doing a search.
On the other hand, the snoring intervention feature has obvious benefits. If your partner wakes you with his or her snoring, you can press a button that raises their head up six inches. Usually, raising the head stops the snoring cold.
Like all Select Comfort beds, this smart bed is completely adjustable. You can alter the firmness for each side of the mattress, in case you like a soft mattress and your partner prefers it hard. Also, you can raise or lower either the upper or lower part of the bed using voice commands or a remote--whichever you prefer. The bed has a built-in massager, and you can pre-program it so that you wake up to your favorite massage. You also can set the bed to your preferred temperature. The bed will turn off the light on your night stand at a programmed time. So far, it isn't equipped to read you a bedtime story or sing you a lullaby, but as you can see, it does just about everything else.
Actually, a competitive company has developed a bed with some aligned features. The "Aura" bed, a new product from a company in France, emits a soft red light at bedtime and plays relaxing sounds intended to induce sleep. The company says that red light stimulates the production of melatonin, which helps bring about sleep. The bed senses when you move around. When your movements get really active, ostensibly because you're waking up, it triggers the light to switch to blue. Blue light suppresses melatonin, so that you can rid yourself of that sleepy hangover feeling.
What else could a bed possibly offer, save someone cozy to sleep with? But wait--there's a Spanish company that developed a bed that can make itself.3 That's right: the bed has mechanical arms that activate two rollers, which then pull the covers and pillows back to the starting point.
But let's get back to the snore-busting aspect of the Select Comfort bed. This may actually be a worthy feature for some couples. As mentioned above, snoring can trigger health problems in those who sleep with a snoring partner, and also, the person who snores incurs serious health risks. A study last year found that snoring, even in those without sleep apnea, caused a thickening of the carotid artery, which is responsible for supplying blood to the brain. This can lead to atherosclerosis and subsequent heart disease, making snoring a barrier to natural heart health. In fact, the study found that snoring may pose a greater risk to heart health than even smoking or obesity.
The director of the study, Dr. Robert Deeb of the Henry Ford Medical Center, said, "Snoring is more than a bedtime annoyance and it shouldn't be ignored. Patients need to seek treatment in the same way they would if they had sleep apnea, high blood pressure or other risk factors for cardiovascular disease."
Again, most of the standard snoring interventions are unpleasant, uncomfortable, useless, or surgical. If the bed works, it might be worth the price. Considering that the average person spends nearly 3,000 hours annually in bed, it certainly does make sense to buy a bed as thoughtfully as you might a car. This is especially true given that 60 million people in the US alone suffer from insomnia. When you consider that 60 percent of those 60 million, or 36 million, might be kept up because of a snoring partner, the $8,000 investment begins to make sense, particularly when you factor in that the bed has so many other luxury features.
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- 1. "Snoring Statistics." 28 July 2013. Statistic Brain. 9 February 2014. http://www.statisticbrain.com/snoring-statistics
- 2. Smith, Brett. "CES 2013: New Sleep Number Bed Takes Snoring Out of the Equation." 9 January 2014. Red Orbit. 10 February 2013. http://www.redorbit.com/news/health/1113042751/ces-snoring-no-longer-issue-new-sleep-number-bed-010914
- 3. Guarini, Drew. "OHEA Smart Bed: The Bed That Makes Itself." 11 June 2012. Huff Post. 10 February 2014. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/06/11/ohea-smart-bed_n_1587593.html