Woman stretching while sitting on Sleep Number bed (1170 x 600 px)

Millions of people have trouble sleeping, but they don’t always know why. And worse, they don’t know what to do about it. But now, there’s a bed that may be able to help you—the Sleep Number’s new Sleep 360 bed. It’s not just a bed. It is a smart bed that automatically collects data from you while you are sleeping and uploads it to the cloud, where it can be combined with other data from your personal Internet of Things (IoT) ecosystem. Intrigued? I was, too, so I spent some time at CES17 talking to Pete Bils, the Vice President of Sleep Science and Research for Sleep Number.

Here is a video of our conversation:

Pete told me that they have tested the Sleep 360 bed in a sleep lab and determined that it measures heart rate, respirations, how much you move—an indicator of restlessness—as well as polysomnography. The data from these measurements are automatically moved into the cloud to run against Sleep Number’s proprietary algorithms. This generates a daily measurement of your sleep quality that they call your Sleep IQ number (not to be confused with your other Sleep Number number, the one that designates the firmness of your side of the bed. (Side note: Pete has his Sleep Number printed on his business card. It is 25!).

Your daily Sleep IQ number is derived from your the biometrics, your bed measures as well as how your night’s sleep compares to the sleep goal you have set for yourself. It is supposed to be a reflection of how well you slept the night before with higher numbers reflecting better sleep. When I asked Pete how he knows this number accurately reflects sleep quality, he said it is because the Sleep IQ number compares favorably to the findings of 18 channel polysomnography—pretty much the gold standard when it comes to measuring sleep quality. More important, he said, is the context of the number:

“If that number is a 77 one night and the next night, it is an 84, that’s when it becomes important because the measurement is constant. If it changes all of a sudden, now the sleeper can ask, ‘What did I do that day that changed it by 10%?’ Then the sleeper can look at other metrics (workouts, diet, exercise, caffeine intake, alcohol intake) to try to explain why there was a 10% increase.”

 

Your Internet of Things ecosystem

The data from your bed can be integrated with other sensor data you might be generating from your personal Internet of Things ecosystem. Pete told me his bed data integrates with data from his Nest and from his running tracker. This allowed him to learn that he sleeps best when his room temperature is below 70 and that he sleeps less well on days that he has run half marathons. The beauty of this is that you can experiment and learn to optimize the factors that enhance or detract from your sleep quality.

Being a bit of an insomniac myself, the prospect of learning my own personal sleep enhancers is very tantalizing. Instead of guessing what is the best temperature, the best time to go to bed, or the best time to eat dinner in order to have a good night sleep, I could track the impact of those choices on my Sleep IQ number.

 

It not only tracks, it intervenes

I asked Pete if, in addition to tracking, the bed could also intervene to automatically improve factors known to enhance sleep. He told me about three things the bed can do for you. One is that it automatically warms the foot of the bed because, he said, “there is a lot of rich literature that shows if you can gently warm your feet at bedtime, you fall asleep faster and get into deeper sleep more quickly than if you go to bed with cold feet.”

Another feature of the bed is that it can detect when you roll from your back to your side. If you are like me, you don’t stay on your side very long because pressure on your shoulder wakes you up. Pete says the Sleep 360 bed detects when you are on your side and automatically decreases the pressure in the area of the shoulder and the hip. Wow, would I love that!

The third intervention is for snorers (and their partners). Biometrics built into the bed can detect snoring and automatically elevate the head of the bed 7 degrees to alleviate mild snoring. If this works, there will be a lot of happy campers out there.

 

Pricey or priceless?

When I asked Pete how much the bed costs, he said that the pricing is not finalized yet; it will be “in line with other Sleep Number beds.” They start at about $2,000, which can be very expensive for most people. But for an insomniac, a good night’s sleep can be priceless, right? I was so excited about the possibilities of this bed that I called my local Sleep Number store when I got back home. Alas, the 360s are not yet available but they said they will call me when they are…I’ll be waiting by the phone.


FULL DISCLOSURE: I was not paid to do this interview nor did I get a free Sleep 360 bed, although I really wish I did!
Patricia Salber MD, MBA (@docweighsin)

Patricia Salber, MD, MBA is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of The Doctor Weighs In. She is also a physician executive who has worked in all aspects of healthcare including practicing emergency physician, health plan executive, consultant to employers, CMS, and other organizations. She is a Board Certified Internist and Emergency Physician who loves to write about just about anything that has to do with healthcare.

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