New conference targets sleep technology

The organizers of an upcoming mHealth conference are hoping it’ll be a snooze. Really.

The National Sleep Foundation’s newly formed Sleep Technology Council (STC) will hold its first-ever Sleep Technology Summit & Expo this October, alongside the 9th Annual Health 2.0 conference. And they’re looking to showcase the latest in digital health innovations that help both the sleepers and those who study them to figure out how to get a better night’s sleep.

“Innovation abounds in sleep technology, as more and more consumers around the world bring sleep tracking devices into the bedroom on their wrists or on their beds,” David Cloud, the foundation’s CEO, said in a July press release. “Sleep is as vital to health and wellness as fitness and diet, so new technologies that help users understand and improve their sleep will have an enormous impact on overall consumer health. We’re excited to bring the innovators in sleep technology together to discuss what’s next.”

It’s not something to snooze over. Studies have shown that some 30 percent of the US population suffers from some form of sleep deprivation, which can have serious health effects. Not coincidentally, the global sleep-aid market, which includes wearable and sensor technology, is expected to top $76 billion by 2019.

Health 2.0 co-founder Matthew Holt said his conference has taken a look at the market before.

“Health 2.0 has delved into sleep health in previous years with panel discussions and product demos,” he said in a press release. “But given how quickly the sleep technology space is evolving, we’re thrilled to partner with the National Sleep Foundation to present a deeper dive under the covers to offer attendees a first look at the technologies breaking new ground for sleep and explore the evolving global investment landscape for sleep technology.”

The STC, whose roots date back to 2014 before it was brought to prominence in July by the NSF, includes notable mHealth companies like Jawbone, MisFit Wearables, Valencell, Beddit, EmFit, MetroNaps and ReST, among others. Its first event, designed “to bring together technology innovators, sleep experts, industry analysts, the venture capital community and media to discover and share technologies that are breaking new ground in sleep and explore the dynamic global investment landscape for this technology segment,” will take place Oct. 6-7 in Santa Clara, Calif., and will include a dedicated pavilion in the Health 2.0 exhibit hall.

“To date, the biggest market for biometric wearables has been fitness and activity tracking products. However, researchers in the field are beginning to connect the dots between activity and sleep, physical activity, sleep, and health,” Steven LeBoeuf, president and co-founder of Raleigh, N.C-based Valencell and a member of the STC’s advisory council, said in a separate press release. “Using accurate wearable biometric sensor  technology to better understand sleep patterns will help us translate heart rate, respiration rate, and activity context data into actionable insights that will not only improve our scientific knowledge of sleep, but will also health us develop new methods of improving sleep and overall health.”

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