We are always working on ways to improve sleep with new ideas and mattress designs for the future – we even have some new products launching very soon, watch this space – so we looked at how innovative technology and other developments will impact how our bedrooms might adapt and change over the coming years, including how we will sleep.
Using our industry knowledge and additional expert insight, we have collated some of the most interesting predictions into what the future of sleep might look like over the next 5, 10, 20 and 30-odd years, and beyond. Read on to find out more…
The future of how to improve your sleep - the bedroom
Personalised optimal sleep environment
Throughout our future homes, intuitive technology will provide a personalised living space for all family members and visitors. Pre-configured profiles may be used alongside live body metric data to always provide the perfect music, temperature and lighting, based on a combination of preferences and needs, and this personalisation will extend into the bedroom.
When to comes to the future of the bedroom, we can expect to go to sleep with sensors strategically arranged within our pyjamas, bed clothing and mattresses to measure brain-body data about temperature, pressure and light. The sensors would link up mechanical beds, thermostats and lighting fixture to create and maintain a highly personalised environment to encourage optimal sleep, based on the real-time data.
Duvets of the future will detect once we get under them and then use smart temperature controls to regulate our temperate, ensuring we do not get too warm or cold while we snooze.
By replicating and maximising natural light, the need for artificial light will be dramatically reduced (which will save is money on our household energy usage). New paints and materials will be manufactured to increase the intensity of the natural light in a room through reflection, to create colour from white natural light, or to replicate the range of light spectrums that are emitted naturally by the sun.
Lighting can boost mood, which can affect sleep. More homes may also be set-up with projectors rather than LCD TVs to again limit the amount of unnatural light our eyes and skin are exposed to after sunset. Also, lamp alarm clocks which light up gradually to mirror a natural sunrise currently exist, but in the future pillows will incorporate the same health-enhancing lighting technology which can combat the symptoms of SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder), as well as waking you up gradually.
Enhanced sexual experiences
Sleep is not the only thing we do in the bedroom… In the future, we may be able to enhance sexual activity by using technology to truly experience each other’s feelings and emotions, and this could be done by linking peripheral nervous systems through active skin electronics.
The future of sleep - how to improve rem sleep and deep sleep
At-home sleep testing devices
While there are already plenty of at-home sleep testing devices (such as wearable technology and phone apps) on the market, more complex versions are likely to pop up in the future as sleep research continues.
While most current devices can track movement and heart and respiratory rate to decipher how much light, deep and REM sleep you are getting, future versions may directly measure sleep brain wave activity to get an even clearer view of your sleep quality. This information can be useful for doctors in relation to detecting and treating sleep apnoea, restless legs syndrome, and other related illnesses.
Future devices may also use the data it gathers to wake you during your lightest phase of sleep, so you can start your day without feeling so groggy.
Chemical drugs, medical devices and implants
Drugs, as well as medical devices and implants, will also play a big part in how we experience sleep in the future.
Already, there are medicinal pills in their infancy which can stave off the debilitating effects of sleep-related fatigue, albeit for a limited duration only, and other solutions are likely to continue to be developed over the coming years and decades.
We might expect developments to stimulate certain sections of the brain, speed up metabolism, permeate the blood brain barrier enabling an amplification of education through sleep, or alter brain and body chemistry completely.
Trans-cranial brain stimulation and implants are also in development... These non-invasive and non-pharmacological solutions map the brainwaves for keeping memories, recharge the nervous system and restore the body to optimise and shorten sleep.
TMS (transcranial magnetic stimulation) technologies, for example, place the patient into trance-like state that only takes several minutes but can refresh as much as an hour-long nap. These technologies can make sleep more efficient by increasing sleep’s restorative value, so that we can sleep less but without any performance decrements.
The future of our dreams
Dream linking, record and playback
Our dreams (and what they might mean) are a topic of regular and interesting discussion, but in the future dream linking and in-dream games, as well as record, playback and resume features, will likely be possible.
Brain monitoring could enable dreams to be recorded and played back at any time to re-experience it again, or even to continue the dream journey from the point of awaking. Communicating with friends could also change forever if dream linking becomes a reality, as it will likely transform our social lives and behaviour forever.
Entertainment and games
Some researchers are already using brain-scanning technology to get very fuzzy pictures of dreams, but we may be able to use these technologies to alter our sleep experience, enabling us to create extraordinary and surreal dreams, which are being referred to as “braincations”.
In-dream games may also be possible using feedback from image recognition and emotion detection, and entertainment may soon be streamed directly into our dreams, instead of being consumed through cinema or TV formats.
We hope the information in this article inspires you about what the future of sleep might look like in years and decades to come.