Advanced technologies will revolutionise the way we sleep

April 21st, 2017


In a bid to gain an insight into the trends shaping the world of sleep, leading bed manufacturer, Sealy UK, in conjunction with renowned futurologist and author, Dr Ian Pearson, have undertaken an in-depth study into the Future of Sleep, revealing some astonishing developments.

Commissioned to help Sealy better understand the changing landscape when it comes to sleep, the report is set against a context of rapidly evolving technology and an increased emphasis on personal ‘wellness.’

The study reveals some fascinating findings which will pave the way Sealy to develop high value-added products in the future that will further improve the sleep quality and comfort for consumers.

In compiling the report, Dr Pearson studied a combination of factors including emerging technological, social and economic trends, overlaid with anticipated commercial demand for such innovations. This approach allowed him to arrive at a number of predictions that we are likely to see in the industry within the next 20-years.

Key bed innovations identified in the report

1)    Levitating mattress – using graphene, a relatively new material with amazing properties, this material is a near perfect conductor, making it ideal for circuitry. That means near-sci-fi mattress technology would be feasible, such as magnetic levitation. Electronic magnetic ‘muscles’ could be incorporated into fabrics or filling that would allow a high degree of support variability and control. They could even be used to convert body movement into electricity to power other devices and sensors.

2)    Smart beds that wake you up when you’ve finished a dream – thin polymer membranes incorporating electronics circuits can be incorporated into fabrics, meaning that smart pillowcases or sheets could monitor body temperature and skin moisture levels to indicate stress or relaxation. Electrical nerve activity, indicative of sleep phases or dream states, will also allow alarms to wake someone at the optimal part of a sleep cycle instead of disturbing dreams and waking someone feeling groggy. Similar reciprocation of that same technology would also allow thought recognition, which has already proven sophisticated enough to recognise what a dreamer is dreaming about.

3)    ‘Clean sleeping’ beds that remove odours – electroactive polymers will be used to make fabrics with variable permeability. Circular or elliptical micro-holes would change a fabric’s porosity if stretched in one direction. This science could be used to diffuse scents or other chemicals. Similarly, micron-sized spikes vibrating up and down could rupture bacteria to offer electrical sterilisation function.

4)    Muscle-like contracting fabrics – Electroactive polymers are developing quickly and can emulate muscles contracting when a voltage is applied. These will be woven into smart fabrics that can alter shape or tension. These would allow a mattress to vary in firmness to each customer’s preference. These can even be app-adjusted or automatically reactive to enable active personalised support.

5)    Bio-sign monitoring. Thin polymer membranes incorporating electronics circuits are small enough to be introduced into mattress fabrics, and, being in contact with the skin surface during sleep, would mean that smart pillowcases or sheets could monitor body temperature, skin moisture levels, indicating stress or relaxation, electrical nerve activity, indicative of sleep phases or dream states, allowing alarms to wake someone at the optimal part of a sleep cycle instead of disturbing dreams and waking someone feeling groggy.

Neil Robinson, sales and marketing director at Sealy UK said: “The advances in technology, particularly in the sleep sector are mind-blowing and we’re incredibly excited about the innovations and developments soon to be at our fingertips. As leaders in sleep technology and innovation, Sealy is committed to designing products that deliver on comfort, support and most importantly, provide a great night’s sleep. We’ve been amazed by the findings Dr Ian Pearson has uncovered and we look forward to incorporating certain elements into our progressive research and development department.”