Poor-quality sleep is one of the world’s most pressing health challenges. One third of people in the West, in fact, don’t get enough shut-eye – which is why researchers in Switzerland have decided to do something about it.
Their potential solution, SleepLoop, measures people’s brainwaves before playing sounds tailored to each individual. These help synchronise the person’s nerve cells, which in turn leads to a better night’s sleep.
This concept isn’t new, but the device that measures brainwaves will be. As part of SleepLoop, University Medicine Zurich researchers will develop one that’s portable and user-friendly.
“It’s important that people can use the devices as independently as possible without the need for constant technical support,” explained lead developer Walter Karlen, who heads ETH Zurich’s Mobile Health Systems Laboratory.
SleepLoop will initially focus on the over 65s. “Older people in particular often complain that they have trouble sleeping,” Karlen added, “so we want to find out whether auditory stimulation will benefit them too.”