BIO International Convention: Sleep aid technologies and research into sleeplessness

BIO International Convention: Sleep aid technologies and research into sleeplessness


Jun 2, 2023

Blog Life Sciences , Healthcare BIO International Convention: Sleep aid technologies and research into sleeplessness

 Sleep is essential to good health and wellbeing. Think of it like housekeeping: Sleep allows the body to cleanse toxins, process the day’s events, and repair systems that need attention. Poor sleep is associated with depression and weight gain, decreased immunity, heart disease, and stroke. But with the modern strains of day-to-day life, getting a decent night’s sleep can be hard. That’s why more and more people are turning to sleep aids to get some shut eye.

It's this factor that’s pushing the market for sleep aids to new heights. BCC Research estimates the global market will reach a staggering $125.3 billion by 2027, with new research into sleep stimulating innovative technologies. Our research team will be attending the upcoming BIO event in Boston, to discover new developments in the world of sleep aids.

Current research focused on sleep

The timeline of sleep research is relatively short, but leaps in the field have already been made. Recent discoveries include hypocretin/orexin, a chemical with a key role in sustaining wakefulness. This discovery has had a profound impact on the diagnosis and treatment of narcolepsy.

New drugs with enhanced risk/benefit ratios have been developed for insomnia (Zolpidem, Eszopiclone), narcolepsy (Modafinil) and restless leg syndrome (Mirapex). In the field of insomnia, drugs such as chloral hydrate and barbiturates have given way to benzodiazepines and benzodiazepine-receptor agonists. New molecules with different mechanisms of action have been developed, and mechanical devices, like the continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP), have been nothing short of revolutionary for treating sleep apnea. The development of dental devices is another therapeutic approach that is helping some patients, although more randomized controlled trials are required to demonstrate its efficacy.

Advances have been made, but some important questions remain. Many of the mechanisms of sleep are still largely unknown. Until more walls are broken down, new treatments may reach their ceiling. In the US, the National Institute of Health (NIH) and National Center of Sleep Disorders Research have focused on proposing new agendas for future research on sleep.

Role of AI

AI is set to impact every industry, and sleep aids are no different. Where previous methods have failed, machine learning (ML) could help doctors identify unique subtypes of tumors that can cause obstructive sleep apnea. 

Similarly, consumer sleep technology (CST) can capture a number of biometrics that can tell us a lot about sleep cycles and sleep quality. Although the significance of CST in sleep medicine is hazy, several commercial manufacturers are already using ML to gauge sleep quality from the vast quantity of data generated by wearable devices. For example, profound neural network studies were performed through metrics generated by the Apple Watch, with heart rate signals being used to estimate sleep stage and screen for sleep-disordered breathing.

AI can help clinicians make decisions quickly and accurately, with the technology being able to analyze vast sums of complex medical data in minutes.  Diagnosis, therapy, clinical scenario prediction, and scientific discovery become more efficient as a result. Through its achievements, AI is increasingly transforming research techniques and facilitating the personalization of medicine, but the impact on sleep science is varied. 

For starters, it can help clinicians make sleep disorder diagnoses. This is accomplished by converting gathered sensor data into pre-defined information, providing a low-cost and objective alternative to manual sleep stage scoring. Similarly, AI can provide health and lifestyle recommendations based on the interpretation of data acquired from wearable devices and mobile apps, allowing physicians to make better decisions. But with AI still on the brink of take-off, the full impact is largely unknown.

Sleep apnea devices

There are plenty of different devices for treating sleep apnea, including masks and breathing devices, continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) devices, dental devices, and much more. CPAP machines are the most frequently used devices used in sleep centers, but for mild sleep apnea and snoring, dental appliances and nasal adhesive are common.

Masks and breathing devices provide oxygen to a sleeper through a mask, with CPAP being used most often in the treatment of obstructive sleep apnea. It comprises a machine with a mask that provides a constant stream of air to keep the breathing passages open. The Provent minimask device is used by patients who feel uncomfortable with a regular CPAP mask and machine or those unable to adjust to the CPAP treatment’s intrusiveness.

ASV devices are used for treating both types of sleep apnea and related snoring. EPAP is the most recent FDA-approved device for sleep apnea. This device can be clipped on the nostrils. It works to increase pressure in the airway during exhaling. Dental devices such as the mandibular repositioning device and the tongue-retaining device adjust the jaw and tongue and are useful in the treatment of symptoms.

Learning more about the sleep aids industry

At the BIO International Convention, the BCC Research team will be keeping their ears to the ground for developments in the health technology industry. We’ll be compiling all our findings into a post-show summary – sign up to receive your copy as soon as it goes live.
To gain access to our industry-leading research on healthcare, consider becoming a member of the BCC Research library. Enquire today to find out more.

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    Olivia Lowden

    Written By Olivia Lowden

    Olivia Lowden is a Junior Copywriter at BCC Research, writing content on everything from sustainability to fintech. Before beginning at BCC Research, she received a First-Class Master’s Degree in Creative Writing from the University of East Anglia.

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