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Waking Thoughts

Are you getting enough sleep?

Without having any way for you to respond immediately to this query, I am going to assume “no.” That seems to be a safe guess, as, according to the National Sleep Foundation, nearly seven out of 10 Americans say they experience frequent sleep problems. The Foundation also says that 50 to 70 million Americans are affected by chronic sleep disorders and intermittent sleep problems. Mind you that “chronic” and “intermittent” combined cut a pretty wide swath, so it’s no surprise the numbers are large.

Perhaps the reason why so many of us toss and turn at night is because we are sleeping wrong. Prior to the advent of evening lighting systems from oil, gas, or whatever other means — when nightfall meant you stayed close to home for safety and because there was not much else to do — our ancestors subscribed to a polyphasic sleep pattern, or segmented sleep. This pattern involved four hours of sleep, then a natural waking to two hours of mild activity such as reading or visiting neighbors, then four more hours of sleep until morning light.

Related: Riding the Wellness Wave

Once the electric light bulb came around and provided a world of things to do after dark, segmented sleep went the way of the horse and buggy, and a monophasic sleep pattern — which is a solid, uninterrupted rest — became the norm. Some experts believe that segmented is more natural for humans, and we are forcing ourselves into a solid slumber, hence the large number of sleep problems.

We are told that eight hours per night is the prescribed amount, which is hard enough for most of us to achieve just from the day’s commitments, let alone any technological distractions. And there are plenty of those — televisions, home theater systems, cell phones, tablets, laptops, gaming systems, and so on — many of which we install and/or make it easy for families to enjoy.

So technology giveth and technology taketh away. But now we may be able to provide some relief.

Related: Need to Know: Aging-in-Place

An exciting evolution in AV and smart home technology is occurring as it moves from comfort, convenience, and entertainment to include health and wellness as part of the electronic package. In this issue, we look at overall home health and how custom installers can have an impact on our customers’ lives through air and water filtration, as well as natural lighting and other possibilities.

A company named Delos is doing just that with its DARWIN system, which promises sleep improvement by using automated lighting and shading to re-create natural light patterns and re-align with circadian rhythms. Not only is circadian disruption believed to be a major cause of sleeplessness, but it also is suspected in other ailments such as lethargy and anxiety.

This has the potential to be a welcome and life-changing service that we can offer to clients. And perhaps you’ll even sleep better knowing that you are providing your clients with a better quality of living.