Sleep is one of the most important aspects of our health but for many of us, getting those much-needed hours of shuteye is either difficult or all too often neglected.
Consistently good sleep benefits the entirety of a person’s health and wellbeing: ranging from emotional stability, improved brain function and is even linked to a decreased risk of certain illnesses such as heart and kidney disease.
In a world where work pressures, barrages of Facebook notifications or Netflix binge sessions take precedent over good quality sleep, it’s easy to understand why and how people are suffering from not getting enough rest.
Thankfully the range of wearable technologies available today can help users monitor and indeed correct their sleep cycles if one is inclined to do so.
One of the latest products on the market is Go2Sleep, a unique wearable that promises to monitor a range of sleep metrics including one which the developer states is an undiagnosed killer – sleep apnoea.
In the UK, it’s estimated that there are 1.5 million people with obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA), yet less than half of these (330,000) are thought to be receiving the treatment they need. There’s definitely a market for the condition, as research from the British Lung Foundation shows that investment in the diagnosis and treatment of OSA could save the NHS £28 million and prevent around 40,000 road traffic accidents every year.
So how can Go2Sleep help?
Well, in the three to four-weeks that I spent testing the device, I found it offered a useful amount of data across a whole range of sleep metrics, though it certainly wasn’t without fault.
First of all, the sleek design of the device instantly makes an impression. The cylindrical sensor is lightweight and easy to wear, attaching to one of the three elastic silicone bands, which to comic books fans will resemble their very own Green Lantern, sleep-power inducing ring.
Developer SleepOn states that you’ll feel nothing at all whilst wearing it, and though this is untrue – I certainly had to get used to falling asleep with it on – the device is comfortable enough so it shouldn’t be too noticeable for most people. The charging station is equally as well designed and features a magnetic strip in which the device easily attaches to – just remember which way round it goes.
The device works by monitoring blood flow through the artery capillaries within the finger and whilst I can’t testify towards the accuracy of the wearable’s sensor, the developers do state that it has been tested to medical device benchmarks. Whether this is marketing hype or an honest attempt to display the device’s tech, Go2Sleep does feature an impressive array of sleep metrics for users to ponder and no doubt worry over.
Go2Sleep’s basic sleep monitoring features seem to work as well as one would expect from a device such as this. The sensors embedded are accurate to a degree, though the device seemed to have trouble differentiating between me falling asleep and simply lying in bed; opting to tell me that the 20-30 minutes I’d spent lying in bed before falling asleep was actually rest-inducing shuteye, it was not.
I also found that during the first week of use, Go2Sleep failed to correctly sync with my phone in the morning, preventing me from viewing the previous night’s data. As a newly launched product I put it down to teething problems, though a quick view of the company’s crowdfunding page shows other users having similar scruples with the wearable.
Besides from these flaws, Go2Sleep presents a useful look at a person’s sleeping habits. Its basic features of Sleep Time and Sleep Score offer users a simple overview of their sleep’s length and quality. If they wish to, users can opt in to view information in more detail and view their time spent in the various different stages of sleep. All basic information so far but SleepOn makes a real effort to provide users with a holistic look at their body whilst they rest. Even smaller features such as a person’s Toss and Turn levels (steady!) and Sleep Debts – which shows you how much sleep you’ve lost during the week – are welcome features offering users an engaging and insightful look at their sleep.
For instance, whilst monitoring your heartrate is now an expected feature of most wearables and even mobiles, Go2Sleep’s insight into your BPM while you rest is at best a good look at your health and at worst an interesting look at when you might have been experiencing a particularly engaging dream.
More useful information comes from insights into blood oxygen levels, which, when too low, can be linked to certain conditions including asthma, COPD and even heart disease. And even though we can’t determine the accuracy of Go2Sleep, users should be able to be able to inform their doctor if, for instance, their blood oxygen levels are too low for a long period. All of this brings us to the wearable’s most important feature – Sleep Apnoea. With exceptionally low rates of diagnosis across the world, SleepOn has entered itself into a market in which there should be a high demand for Go2Sleep. I suspect many people may be fervent deniers of having any signs or symptoms of OSA, but they may be surprised.
Go2Sleep monitors the severity of OSA by how measuring how many times your breathing is affected over the course of an hour, otherwise known as the apnoea-hypopnoea index (AHI). The app displays how many times you’re affected during one night and boils it down in a simple to view graph which charts each incident.
The biggest benefit of Go2Sleep has to be its (almost) unobtrusive design and when compared to traditional bulky sleeping tests the device is a sure-fire winner for anyone wanting to assess their quality of sleep and indeed see if they may be suffering from OSA. Go2Sleep isn’t perfect but it stands out as a unique, though admittedly niche product amidst an industry in which wearables can often be seen as simply towing the line.