Still Awake? How to Use IoT for Sleep

March 11, 2020 • Shannon Flynn


If you’re having trouble sleeping, you’re not alone.
According to the CDC, more than one-third of Americans don’t get
the recommended seven hours of sleep a day. Thankfully, technology may have a

There could be several factors contributing to your lack
of sleep, from blue light exposure to disruptions during the night. Whatever
the causes, sleep deprivation can affect your health, both
mentally and physically. To help get better sleep and avoid health risks, you
can turn to the Internet of Things.

Here are five IoT for sleep technologies that can help catch some z’s.

Mobile Apps

Your phone’s functionality expands every day. Among the
countless other services smartphones offer, mobile apps can track your sleep to
help you get more rest.

Apps like Sleep Cycle pick up on signals like movement or
snoring when you place your phone beside your bed. Using this data, you can get
a picture of your sleep cycle and have the app wake you up during your lightest
sleep phase in a given window. This way, when you wake up, you won’t be as


Wearable tech is one of the most promising areas of the
IoT. Fitness trackers are among the most popular wearables, and many of these
can help improve your sleep. Like sleep-centered mobile apps, fitness trackers
can monitor your sleep cycles.

By looking at these cycles, you can figure out the optimal
times to go to sleep and wake up. You want to organize your sleep schedule so
that you don’t wake up during REM sleep, which will make you feel tired and

Bedside Devices

CES 2020 showed off a variety of sleep technologies, including
several bedside devices that help you fall asleep and wake up. These gadgets
can play peaceful audio to lull you into dozing off and emit soft light to
awaken you peacefully.

As part of the IoT, they can connect to your phone or
smartwatch. This way, they can extend their services through these devices if
you’re traveling. Some, like Hatch’s Rest+, can connect with other IoT devices
like Amazon Echo.

Smart Pillows

It seems like every day there’s a new “smart”
device. Now joining the ranks of smartphones and smart fridges is the smart
pillow. On top of giving you a place to rest your head, the Zeeq Smart Pillow
can track your sleep patterns and stop your snoring.

Small vibrations encourage you to move when the pillow
senses you snoring, which will help you breathe better and thus rest better.
The Smart Pillow can also connect to Alexa and IFTTT.

Sound Masking

You may find it hard to sleep because of the noise around
your room, house or apartment. Sound masking IoT technologies like Nightingale can cover
unwanted sounds while providing soothing ones in their place.

Nightingale consists of two speakers plugged into
different sides of a room that project a “sound blanket.” This
blanket masks distracting sounds with peaceful white noise to help you fall
asleep and stay asleep. Like other IoT devices, it can connect to IFTTT or a
range of smart speakers.

Tech to Avoid Before Sleep

Not all technology is beneficial in getting a good night’s
sleep. Screens like phones or TVs emit harmful blue light, which can hinder your
brain’s production of melatonin, a natural sleep hormone. If you use a
smartphone app to track your sleep, try to make turning it on the only way you
use your phone around bedtime.

Watching TV or playing video games can also make it harder
to fall asleep. On top of the blue light they emit, these activities also
engage your mind to a level where your brain will try to stay awake.

Some technology may distract you from getting a healthy
amount of sleep, but the IoT now provides ways to reverse that. Using one or
more of these technologies, you’ll be able to sleep longer and better.