This band-aid like tracker could shed light on your insomnia
But for doctors to diagnose most of them, patients usually need to go to a clinic and undergo a sleep study. Typically, a technician tapes or glues dozens of sensors to the patient’s head and body. The sensors are connected by wires to a computer, which sends data to the technician, who monitors the patient from a nearby room.
While at-home sleep tests for sleep apnea are relatively common, they typically only measure breathing patterns. X-trodes’ sensors pick up electrical activity in the body while you sleep, including muscle activity, eye movement and brain waves — data you can currently only get in a clinic, according to the company.
“What we have developed at X-trodes are comfortable, soft, flexible, dry electrodes,” says co-founder and CEO, Ziv Peremen, adding that unlike a typical clinical test, the tracker is wireless, so “you can sleep in whatever position you like.”
The tracker sends the data to a smart device. X-trodes’ software analyzes it and generates a report, which doctors can use to investigate the patient’s sleep problem.
A home test can also lead to more accurate results than one in a clinic, according to Peremen. “You can take into consideration all the other factors — sometimes it’s your partner, sometimes it’s room temperature, external noise and so on.”
The science of sleeping
Better data could also help scientists understand more about sleep, and the link with brain health, emotional wellbeing and chronic conditions. This field of medicine is still relatively new, according to Rebecca Robbins, an instructor in medicine at Harvard Medical School.
“We’re uncovering some of the longer-term implications of sleep,” says Robbins.
Peremen says X-trodes has already sold a version of its technology to 40 research groups — at a cost of $10,000 per kit — to help them study sleep patterns.
“Once you have a solution like X-trodes, that you could wear for several nights in a row, you dramatically increase the chance of catching this pattern,” Peremen says.
But for many at-home sleep trackers on the market, including those that measure how long you sleep and how much REM sleep you’re getting, accuracy remains hard to prove, experts say, especially as our understanding of sleep continues to evolve.
“We currently don’t have a standard to evaluate and endorse the level of accuracy that we accept for a device,” says Massimiliano de Zambotti, a neuroscientist at non-profit research institute SRI International who leads validation studies of wearable sleep technologies.
A “gold mine”
Robbins recommends that companies partner with scientists “to make sure that their algorithms are scoring sleep correctly and are giving information back to their consumers that is accurate.”
X-trodes is currently validating the technology with researchers, Peremen says.
In the long-run, the company wants to offer trackers directly to consumers, interpreting their sleep habits over time and recommending ways to improve their sleep.
“Sleep is a gold mine for understanding our health,” Peremen says.
— Rachel Crane contributed to this article.
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Published for: Ipodifier