Sleep is integral for a good quality of life despite which many of us ignore it prioritizing all other things in life. It is a universal phenomenon that helps a person get back his/her energy stores, prepares him/her for the next day’s hectic schedule and is the phase during which memories are created and even calories are burned. A life without sleep is impossible. All of us sleep but its only that our quality differs tremendously. Some of us go to sleep instantly once we hit the bed while it takes ample time for some others; some go into deep sleep mode while some others are light sleepers where the slightest of the sound or light could awaken them. In general, every adult’s sleep goes through sleep phases of REM sleep and NREM sleep with the NREM phase occurring first followed by a short period of REM sleep and the cycle starts over once again. There are 3-5 cycles of REM/NREM with an average duration of 90-100 minutes. The NREM sleep consists of four stages from 1 to 4 where each stage lasts between 5 and 15 minutes. Stage 1 and 2 are light sleep stages while 3 and 4 are deep sleep stages. During stage 1 the heartbeat, eye movements and breathing slow and the muscles relax and, these become further slower and more relaxed during stage 2. It is during stage 3 and 4 that heartbeat and breathing slow to the lowest level during sleep and muscles are in maximum relaxed state. The REM sleep occurs some 90 minutes after you fall asleep where the eyes move rapidly from side to side behind your closed eyelids. Breathing becomes faster and irregular and also heart rate and blood pressure increase to near waking levels and this is also the stage during which dreams occur.
There is so much happening in our body while we sleep but all that we can remember is going to bed, experiencing few dreams rarely and waking up in the morning. Some get up in the middle to use the restroom while some others might wake up in a frightened state. There are devices that help the individual to sleep for some more time such as a snooze alarm; there are devices that dim the lights when the user falls asleep and switches on the light automatically when the user gets up or when its time to wake up and there are other devices mostly used for health purposes that monitor the health of the user and give out warning signs when normalcy is not prevalent. Most of these systems are either too simple which prevents them from providing all the required information or too complicated providing the user with results that further confuse him/her. There exists a need to come up with a user-friendly, simple but thorough sleep assist system that fulfills our requirements. The invention patented here relates to a monitoring system consisting of a sleep sensing unit and a base unit that helps us provide the exact kind of sleep assistance. The sleep sensing unit is provided with sensors (such as ballistography-based sensing functions) and the base unit is coupled to the sleep sensing unit set up to receive data from the sleep sensing unit and its own sensors too. It’s the function of the base unit to notify the user of his/her sleep patterns such as how many times the user entered the REM phase, how often he/she got up to use the restroom and also provide a detailed description of the sleep stages and cycles timings.
The sleep assist system developed comprises of a bedside device that is placed near the user’s bed and comprises of any of these-a loudspeaker, microphone, light source, light/temperature sensor, control unit, a first sensing unit adapted to be positioned in the user’s bed comprising of one or more sensors adapted to sense pressure or changes in pressure exerted by the user lying in the bed nearby and an additional sensor device that is in contact with the user’s body and also has contact with the bedside device. The system is configured to monitor the user’s sleep, assess sleep cycles, provide the user with at least one light and sound program and the additional sensory device helps in measuring the user’s heart rate level, respiratory rate level and skin temperature. The sleep assist system can also analyze whether or not the user suffers from sleep apnea and also has the ability to raise an alarm to whomsoever is concerned when the system is used by elderly people, those with medical conditions and pregnant women.
The sleep system designed here helps in both, monitoring and improving sleep quality. It also aims at offering information on the effect of environment on sleep quality and also enlighten each user on his/her sleeping patterns. With such information the individual would be able to understand the factors that wake him/her and compare past nights and compare with the meals and beverages consumed and the activity done the previous day. The user can also set up customized sleep and wake-up programs that includes wake-up time schedules too. The sleep environment information helps the user in understanding what can have a positive or negative impact on sleep quality and also get an insight on the elements that could have impacted sleep quality. The system also allows a mobile device to wirelessly connect to it and access all the data and information stored within it. This helps the user visualize his/her sleeping patterns, understand the reasons behind waking up each night and compare the data with past results. When the user sets up sleep- and wake-up programs the sleep assist system uses this data and starts sending wake up signals to the user at the most beneficial time of sleep cycle-the light sleep stage. The patent was published on Jan 21st, 2016 and for more details regarding the patent please visit any of the sites below:
United States Patent & Treaty Office: http://patft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect1=PTO2&Sect2=HITOFF&u=%2Fnetahtml%2FPTO%2Fsearch-adv.htm&r=293&f=G&l=50&d=PTXT&s1=((health+AND+exercise)+AND+fitness)&p=6&OS=health+AND+exercise+AND+fitness&RS=((health+AND+exercise)+AND+fitness)
European Patent Office: https://worldwide.espacenet.com/publicationDetails/biblio?DB=EPODOC&II=0&ND=3&adjacent=true&locale=en_EP&FT=D&date=20160121&CC=US&NR=2016015315A1&KC=A1
World intellectual Property Organization: https://patentscope.wipo.int/search/en/detail.jsf?docId=US154280677&_cid=P21-JZL084-82488-1
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