Thursday, October 17, 2019

Design Brief #2: Discussion with Sleep Expert, Mason

I met up with Mason Tan, a sleep expert from Active SG to discuss potential collaboration and testing. I also wanted to understand more of the sleeping aids and hacks the athletes are currently using now and see if I can make it accessible to the public, or if the general public can adopt certain hacks / approaches.

Image by Wennman, National Geographic

I prepared some questions for our discussion:
1. Has Sport SG developed any sleep tech or sleep aids?
2. Do they do any study on sleep aids?
3. Which sleep aid works better?
4. Do they have a lab for testing?
5. Are there any interest groups for sleep so we can collaborate
6. Please share some interesting facts on sleep
7. Any tips or hacks to fall asleep gathered from users during sleep clinics/workshops?
8. Any best sleeping tips for athletes, recovery sleepwear?
9. Which mobile app works best for sleep induction?
10. For sleep induction, activating which senses would be most effective? Scent, Hearing?

He shared about many things from scientific data such as
- Everyone requires different amount of sleep
- Sleep reduces adenosine, chemical that causes you to feel tired. Caffeine blocks off receptors of adenosine.
- Types of sleep and sleep cycles

to sleeping hacks such as
- How to stay on schedule, sleeping routines
- Room brightness exercises
- Optimal temperature for sleep - warm shower and wearing socks
- Avoid certain food
- Power naps
- Avoid depressing news before bed and think about enhancing feel-good factors.

Two interesting things he also shared with me was Tottenham Hotspur football club and their cutting-edge sleep technologies, the Premier League club says the sleep tech helps to optimise recovery between matches and training by providing players with the best possible sleep environment.
Image by Tottenham Hotspur

'The mattresses are made from naturally cooling medical grade foam, with ‘PostureCells’cut into the surface of the mattress. This relieves pressure, supports good postural alignment and aids temperature regulation.

These factors also ensure good blood circulation around the body, helping to accelerate recovery after exercise for stars such as England striker Harry Kane.' - Geoff Scott, Spurs' head physiotherapist 

Another was the Nat Geo article on sleep, it shares topics such on how a healthy night's sleep look like and how blue lights keep us from getting enough.
Image by Wennman, National Geographic

His recommendations and suggestions throughout our discussion:
  • Read Matt Walker's book: Why We Sleep 
  • Look at apps such as Headspace
  • Do research into sleep doctors Cheri Ma
  • Naps between work hours may be worthwhile to look at but there is the stigma of sleeping at work but in Japan, dozing off means you've been working hard. 
  • Look at studies of pilots who nap strategically 
  • Look at hotels that helped to optimise sleep as usually travellers are unable to sleep properly on their first night at a new place. 
  • Guinness world record has also removed the sleeping challenge as there have been records of people becoming mentally unstable after an extended period of sleep deprivation and some of them become a different person and some may never recover their sanity.
  • What happens when people want to wind down after a long day of work? I know parents who treasure their 'me-time' at night where they just want to scroll mindlessly
He will check some of the questions I have for him with Dr Richard Swinbourne, a sleep doctor at Sport SG. It was a really fruitful discussion as I've learnt so much, which is incredibly helpful when I move into creating sleep aids.

Update: Dr Richard Swinbourne uses Fatigue science, an app used at SSI, which combines wearable tech with biomathematical science from US Army research lab. I'll be meeting him next week for more discussion.

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