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Smart Pajamas Monitor Patients With Sleep Disorder

samzenpus posted more than 3 years ago | from the pajama-watch dept.

Medicine 42

Hugh Pickens writes "Emily Singer reports in MIT Technology Review that a nightshirt embedded with fabric electronics can monitor user's breathing patterns while a small chip worn in a pocket of the shirt processes that data to determine the phase of sleep, such as REM sleep (when we dream), light sleep, or deep sleep. 'It has no adhesive and doesn't need any special setup to wear,' says Matt Bianchi, a sleep neurologist at Massachusetts General Hospital and co-inventor of the shirt. 'It's very easy—you just slip it on at night.' Until now people with sleep disorders were hooked up to a complex array of sensors that monitor brain activity, muscle activity, eye movement, and heart and breathing rate but the 'smart pajamas' simplify this by focusing only on respiration. 'It turns out that you can tell if someone is awake or asleep and which stage of sleep they are in purely based on breathing pattern,' says Bianchi. 'That's a much easier signal to analyze than electrical activity from the brain.' Sleep specialists hope the pj's can help patients with insomnia or other sleep disorders since the shirt allows repeated measurements over time in the home so users can log their habits, such as coffee or alcohol intake, exercise, or stress, and look for patterns in how those variables affect their quality of sleep."

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H'mm... (4, Interesting)

dtmos (447842) | more than 3 years ago | (#36216956)

If it can tell if someone is awake or asleep it should have wider application in workplace uniforms.

Re:H'mm... (3, Interesting)

khr (708262) | more than 3 years ago | (#36217178)

If it can tell if someone is awake or asleep it should have wider application in workplace uniforms.

Will the chairperson in meetings have a console with the data? That way they can tell a boring speaker to shut up, they've put all the participants to sleep...

Re:H'mm... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36219222)

Can I get one that looks like a Santa outfit? He knows when you are sleeping, he knows when you're awake...

unprecedented evils never sleeps (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36217008)

however, it's minions frequent silk pajamas all day long, using the hostage ransoms collected from each citizen at least monthly, plus interest & penalty of debt, death & disruptive destruction.

Sleep Cycle (2)

0100010001010011 (652467) | more than 3 years ago | (#36217098)

Sleep Cycle [] for the iOS does something similar. The alarm clock function to wake you up 'on cycle' is definitely worth the $0.99

Re:Sleep Cycle (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36217322)

Similar but much less accurate because it's using movement not breathing patterns. Good luck if you have multiple people, a cat or something that occasionally climbs on the bed.

Re:Sleep Cycle (1)

MagicM (85041) | more than 3 years ago | (#36217354)

Good luck if you have [something other than a person or a cat] that occasionally climbs on the bed.

Good luck indeed.

Re:Sleep Cycle (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36217744)

Well the most common "other" thing would be a dog.

Re:Sleep Cycle (1)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | more than 3 years ago | (#36217486)

That's pretty neat. Anybody know of something similar that works with less robust (expensive) hardware?

This [] looks like a good start with an Arduino/accelerometer.

Re:Sleep Cycle (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36218102)

There is the wii remote which would talk to a computer through bluetooth. I'm not sure if the batteries could keep in on all night though.

Re:Sleep Cycle (1)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 3 years ago | (#36218870)

Lilypad [] .

TI Chronos, or WiiNunchuck plus Arduino (2)

billstewart (78916) | more than 3 years ago | (#36219070)

The TI Chronos watch has a TI MSP430 microprocessor development system built into the wristwatch, with RF link, accelerometers, temperature gauge, and other tools, for $50. (The RF link goes to a USB frob you plug into your PC.) You can also link up to a heart-rate sensor belt. I haven't gotten around to using the accelerometer app as a sleep sensor, but that's on my "stuff I plan to do" list.
MSP430 is the same microprocessor family in TI's Launchpad development board (sold for $4.30.) It's not quite as artist-friendly as an Arduino, but if you're already a C programmer it's pretty cool. The processors are 16 bits as opposed to 8, but there's less memory than in Arduino so you have to program a bit closer to the metal.

The Wii Nunchuck has an accelerometer and some buttons. It uses a proprietary connector which turns out to just be an I2C link with funny-shaped jacks, and there's a "Wiichuck" adapter board for about $3-4 at Sparkfun, Adafruit, and similar places which lets you plug that into an Arduino. It costs a few bucks more than a cheap accelerometer (I paid $20 or so for the Nunchuck), but it's a much more convenient format to fit in your bed than an Arduino plus a breadboard. (I stuck the Arduino in a small box at the foot of the bed, with a long USB cable to power it and upload the data to my laptop.)

An Android phone can be a bit cheaper than an iPhone, and they've all got accelerometers these days.

Re:Sleep Cycle (1)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 3 years ago | (#36218158)

Wont work for me, I sleep as if I was an acrobat on a trampoline. that phone would be on the floor in the first hour.

Re:Sleep Cycle (1)

mortonda (5175) | more than 3 years ago | (#36218960)

Then you might want to go get a real sleep study done. Seriously.

Re:Sleep Cycle (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36304718)

Placing a mild source of electromagnetic radiation right beside your head for a minimum of 8 hours a day? No thanks, good luck with that.

Already a fan, but how valid is it? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36217106)

Being someone who has been diagnosed with narcolepsy, this would have been so much nicer but you can't get nearly as much data. If you want to tell what stage of sleep someone is in, that's fine, but if you want to diagnose someone, you need to test for everything. I was certainly tested for everything even though I knew what I had based on symptoms (such as falling asleep during SATs despite 6 energy drinks, traffic lights, and talking/listening to people).

Data taken from one source isn't enough to test for every diagnosis. It certainly is more convenient that having at least 20 wires attached with a sticky KY substance though. Basically, if people can sleep with that stuff on, you have a sleeping disorder--worst weekend ever...

From TFA, he was saying that it would be an objective way to measure how much sleep one got for people with insomnia or more importantly the quality of sleep, but I feel like that is about all that it is good for.

Re:Already a fan, but how valid is it? (2)

oneiros27 (46144) | more than 3 years ago | (#36217210)

I don't think it's meant as a total diagnosis ... just something to help in treatment once the problem's been identified.

Although, I'd love for better diagnostics stuff .... waking up with goop in my hair and wires wrapped around my neck wasn't my idea of a good time. (how that didn't set off some alarm, and no one noticed, I have no idea)

Re:Already a fan, but how valid is it? (4, Insightful)

snookerhog (1835110) | more than 3 years ago | (#36218850)

While I don't really question the results of my own sleep diagnosis, I certainly question the methods. One nights sleep at the diagnostic center is really just one data point. From a purely statistical perspective, this is already lame. Add to that the stress of having to do the test with a strange bed and all the wires and you would seemingly have a recipe for disaster. Yet somehow, it does kinda work out for some people. I agree that having some sort of cheap, easy home monitoring device that is not decades behind in sensor and transmitter tech would be really nice.

Try a Zeo (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36219142)

Don't sleep studies Just Suck? Mine was a split night, where they wake you up after a few hours and put a CPAP mask on you in addition to all the wires.

Zeo uses a headband sensor - it's not too annoying, especially if you're already wearing CPAP. Unlike the accelerometer-only systems, most of which are designed to be alarm clocks, it can do a better job of monitoring whether you're in deep, light, or REM sleep.

Re:Already a fan, but how valid is it? (1)

Macgrrl (762836) | more than 3 years ago | (#36223784)

My husband suffers from extreme apnea and was thought to maybe suffer from narcolepsy as well. He spent a week in hospital with sensors stuck on his head where they did a sleep deprivation test on him while trying to establish why he had random fits, seizures and blackouts.

The worst bit, other than when he start hallucinating, was getting the 'glue' out of his hair when he got home.

I don't wear pajamas. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36217146)

I sleep naked.

Re:I don't wear pajamas. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36217868)

I like to sleep in tights.

Kinda obvious (1)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 3 years ago | (#36217152)

If you add a LilyPad Arduino to a pajama, then of course you won't be able to sleep well. Those PCB's aren't soft.

Re:Kinda obvious (2)

Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) | more than 3 years ago | (#36217170)

I wonder if it can detect wet dreams too...

Re:Kinda obvious (2)

MagicM (85041) | more than 3 years ago | (#36217452)

I wonder if it can detect wet dreams too...

Regular pajamas can do that.

Is it waterproof? (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36217234)

Because I wet the bed, you insensitive clod!

Beats the normal method (1)

Mabbo (1337229) | more than 3 years ago | (#36217260)

Having had to deal with a normal sleep study, where something like 26 electrodes were attached to various portions of my head, chest and legs, this seems like a step in the right direction.

Re:Beats the normal method (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#36217384)

The technology to replace the sleep lab isn't there yet. I've been using a Zeo Personal Sleep Coach [] for a while now, and it's pretty impressive. It's not anywhere near good enough to replace a sleep lab, but if you've already eliminated the possibilities that require more granularity it's great for training a person to sleep better.

Re:Beats the normal method (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36217568)

The reliability of the Zeo is somewhat questionable in comparison to a trained polysomnographer in terms of actually scoring different sleep stages - a fairly subjective rating task. However, I'd wonder whether the two may be complimentary, or how reliably the two different measures compare.

Plus, from the perspective of a sleep researcher, a reliable home recording device that can assess both EEG-based and respiration-based sleep measures would be heads above wrist actigraphy most commonly used for home sleep studies. I'm just not sure how reliable these measures are.

Re:Beats the normal method (1)

Mabbo (1337229) | more than 3 years ago | (#36217578)

I don't really know how you can train the sleep apnea out of me, but you're welcome to try.

Re:Beats the normal method (1)

snookerhog (1835110) | more than 3 years ago | (#36218768)

electric shocks?

Zeo vs. CPAP (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36219236)

It'll give you a lot of feedback about how well the CPAP is helping your sleep, since most CPAP machines are only measuring your breathing, and maybe you sleep better with the CPAP at a bit lower pressure even though you get a few more apnea events. For instance, now that you're not being woken up six times an hour by apneas, are you actually getting any sleep, or do you still have problems that the apnea was hiding? A one or two night sleep study in a lab environment can tell a lot, but the Zeo or wristband things can give you results over a longer period of time, and they're especially helpful if some of your issues are reactions to medications or caffeine or alcohol.

Smart? (2)

fermat1313 (927331) | more than 3 years ago | (#36217456)

Why is anything that gets electronics embedded into it suddenly called "Smart"? It's a bunch of sensors sewn into PJs.

IBM's Watson approaches "smart". Electronics are actually pretty dumb.

Add'l Use (1)

aujus3 (2119090) | more than 3 years ago | (#36217530)

Could also probably be used to monitor sleep apnea in patients and find out what methods (breath-right strips, CPAP, etc.). I know I'd be interested in finding out more about my sleep patterns (for my wife's sake mainly) and what helps me not snore as much. :-)

Re:Add'l Use (1)

aujus3 (2119090) | more than 3 years ago | (#36217554)

* what methods work or don't work, I meant to say...

Re:Add'l Use (1)

Macgrrl (762836) | more than 3 years ago | (#36223836)

Go have a sleep study done. Chances are that if your snoring is that bad you have some kind of breathing obstruction while asleep. Before getting a CPAP machine, my husband registered a 3.5 on a scale of 1-3 for snoring (the specialist's description). All I know is that it used to rattle the windows.

He used to sleep so badly and have such terrible nightmares he was afraid to go to sleep and would hallucinate from lack of sleep. His condition was pretty extreme, but it started somewhere.

Small problem... (1)

kehren77 (814078) | more than 3 years ago | (#36217734)

I have trouble sleeping with a shirt on. I tend to move around at night and end up getting a shirt-wedgie if I wear one.

Also, I get warm at night. According to my wife I become "the temperature of a thousand suns." I don't see adding layers of clothing as helpful to my ability to sleep "normal."

"samrt sheets" then? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36218082)

You could put these in any fabric.
But is would be harder to position the sheets as well. Would need more sensors then.

Good idea (3, Interesting)

Pen420 (1117851) | more than 3 years ago | (#36219656)

This isn't foolproof. I meditate and can relax myself to the point of machines that detect breathing patterns will say I am asleep but I am wide awake and totally aware of my surroundings. It is a nice step in the right direction though!

Forget Medicine - Aim at Paranoid new parents! (1)

JackCorbae (693005) | more than 3 years ago | (#36222744)

Baby monitors are pretty useless - they only tell you when the bub is making noise and if they're making noise, they're still alive! :) It's when the little buggers are quiet you have to worry. There are mattress pads that can monitor their breathing but if they roll off the pad you'd probably have a minor coronary as you rushed into the room only to find the tot curled up at the far end of the cot. A little pair of smart pj's though ... what a great idea! Bub stops breathing - alarm goes off! I'd pay $100 for that!

is it washable? (1)

nsh (744890) | more than 3 years ago | (#36225878)

someone who is naive tend to never share one's wearings to other without being washed. undershirts tend to smell if unwashed and put on several times. they should be washed. this new equipment is able to washing or not?

Sleep studies are miserable (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36227142)

I was diagnosed after years of fitful sleeping and miserable mornings with severe sleep apnea at the age of 21. Although a killer in college in the social department it changed the quality of my life. If this could be used reliably for sleep studies, it would be excellent. The modicum of cables and sensors, as well as being required to sleep on my back, made my 5 hour sleep study a night in hell. I guess this could be great for some disorders but I feel like apnea would still require the sensors to determine if it's obstructive or neurological.
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