The healing potential of a good night’s sleep
Most of us spend about a third of our lives asleep, but until recently, the physiology — and even the purpose — of those many hours of slumber were poorly understood. Increasingly, though, digital technologies are making possible new home-based research and intervention modalities.
Bringing together industry partners, leading sleep medicine researchers, and clinicians, REFRESH (REsearch FRamework Exploring Sleep Health) from the Scripps Research Digital Trials Center is now actively pursuing innovative projects in this exciting area.
Getting too little sleep is a common problem in today’s society, and there are no easy remedies, because the reasons for insufficient sleep often include unyielding work or family demands. But an intriguing workaround might be improving the quality of sleep, rather than its length. One REFRESH project is studying a novel wearable technology that uses auditory feedback to enhance sleep quality. The goal is maximizing the health benefit of sleep, however brief its duration.
The COVID-19 pandemic has focused attention on several aspects of sleep. Because of stay-at-home orders and remote work arrangements, sleep has been altered or disrupted for millions of people around the world. Understanding the health implications is a priority for REFRESH. In addition, for those afflicted with COVID-19, sleep metrics might provide an early indication of illness, potentially allowing for timely isolation and infection control. This topic is now under active investigation at the Scripps Research Digital Trials Center.