AI Sleep Study Results

Last Updated December 30, 2023

As the world finds itself engulfed in the rapid, evergrowing grasp of Artificial Intelligence (AI), its involvement in mankind's future is becoming increasingly apparent. Be it through relieving the workload of office personnel, automating manufacturing processes, or even assisting in complex medical procedures, Artificial Intelligence certainly holds the potential to usher in an era as significant as the industrial revolution.

So it shouldn’t come as a surprise to learn that AI can also assist with enhancing sleep quality. One current example of AI being used for sleep is through “sleep tracking” devices. AI algorithms can process data from wearable devices, such as smartwatches or sleep-tracking apps, to analyze sleep patterns and provide personalized feedback. This, in turn, helps you identify where you’re going wrong and how you can improve your sleep habits.

Key Takeaways:

  • Artificial Intelligence (AI) is characterized by its strong pattern recognition and data analysis abilities, which allow it to make predictions based on large amounts of data.
  • AI can help enhance the diagnosis and clinical management of certain sleep disorders, like sleep apnea, by analyzing polysomnography data and additional information.
  • AI can also improve sleep quality by addressing mental and physical health conditions like depression or chronic pain.
  • Consumer sleep technologies, like smartwatches, can provide rich data for AI analysis, thereby contributing to improving sleep quality.
  • AI has huge potential in sleep research. Nonetheless, there is still room for improvement, which, once achieved, will surely help more people sleep well.

representation of artificial intelligence at work

A Brief Overview of AI’s Functioning

At first glance, the term “artificial intelligence” might seem like it refers to synthetically created intellect that mimics human intellect. However, it goes beyond mere imitation by performing tasks and processing information at a remarkable pace, surpassing our own abilities.

Artificial Intelligence is characterized by its strong sense of pattern recognition and data analysis. Imagine having a super-smart assistant that can spot patterns and understand huge amounts of information in a fraction of the time that it would take you to do it. That's what artificial intelligence can do.

AI can analyze mountains of data to find trends, based on which it makes predictions. For example, in finance, AI can detect anomalies in stock market data that may impact investments. In healthcare, AI can analyze patient records to identify disease trends, patterns of medication effectiveness, or potential risk factors.

The Use of AI in Sleep: Research and Results

Polysomnography (PSG) is a type of sleep study that records your bodily activities during sleep. Often used in assessing sleep disorders, PSG records electrophysiological data related to your brain waves, blood oxygen levels, breathing, eye movements, leg movements, and heart rate during sleep.

polysomnography (PSG) setup with electrodes

Polysomnography has been in use for a while now, and its recorded electrophysiological database is huge. Consequently, this large database can be fed into Artificial Intelligence. When this database is coupled with additional information, such as demographics, lifestyle, biological data, etc., AI algorithms can more accurately define sleep stages. In other words,  AI can enhance the diagnosis and clinical management of sleep disorders.

One such sleep disorder that AI aims to remedy is -

  • Obstructive Sleep Apnea

Obstructive Sleep apnea (OSA) is one of the most well-known sleep disorders, where your airway can collapse and interrupt your breathing repeatedly during sleep. A polysomnography test is often used to diagnose and analyze this disorder in-depth, but it is rather time-consuming and costly.

A recent study suggests that Artificial Intelligence is useful in managing obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) in three key ways. Firstly, AI can help predict treatment outcomes by assessing the effectiveness of different treatment options. Secondly, AI can contribute to strengthening and evaluating OSA treatments, enabling healthcare professionals to refine existing therapies. Lastly, AI assists in personalizing treatment by enhancing our understanding of the underlying mechanisms of OSA.

Another study provides further evidence supporting AI's effectiveness in addressing sleep apnea. The study highlights promising results in using machine learning (ML) to guide sleep apnea treatment, particularly in predicting outcomes after surgical interventions and optimizing continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy.

The Use of AI Outside Sleep… for Sleep Improvement

Our discussion has so far focused on AI usage in sleep. How about outside of it? After all, sleep can be affected by numerous external factors, the most prominent of which are mental and physical health.

  • AI Implementation in Sleep-Affecting Mental Health Conditions

AI chatbot

Psychiatric disorders are well known to negatively influence sleep. Depression and anxiety are two of the most common sleep-affecting mental health conditions one may encounter. Through research, AI has shown the potential to address these issues.

Let’s start with depression, a condition where your emotional well-being is depleted, leading to issues such as insomnia or hypersomnia (excessive sleepiness). AI chatbots may prove helpful for those suffering from depression, as they offer a therapeutic approach while minimizing the social stigma around traditional therapy.

AI-assisted psychotherapy has also been touted as useful for managing anxiety, as per a study conducted in China. By stimulating the experience with a “real therapist”, an AI chatbot helped deliver psychological assessment and treatment for patients with anxiety.

  • AI Implementation in Sleep-Affecting Physical Health Conditions

sleep-affecting physical health conditions

The list of sleep-affecting physical health conditions is long and includes chronic health problems that affect your organs, chronic pain conditions like back pain, respiratory conditions like asthma, and movement disorders such as Parkinson's disease. AI can assist in handling many of these physical ailments, thus improving sleep.

The best approach to avoiding such physical ailments is through prevention. One way in which AI triumphs in disease prevention is by detecting early symptoms.

However, if a society can’t prevent the occurrence of physical problems, then reducing them is another great strategy. For example, sleepiness while driving (unrelated to alcohol) is often responsible for serious car crash injuries and deaths. According to the UN, automated self-driving vehicles may halve traffic casualties by 2030.

For physical conditions that have already set in, like back pain, Artificial Intelligence may help by providing tailored recommendations. This can include specific exercises, postural adjustments, or lifestyle modifications based on individual symptoms. Pain research, in particular, is an area where Machine Learning has much to offer.

Implementing AI in Sleep Through Consumer Sleep Technologies

Consumer sleep technologies, like wearable smartwatches, smart beds, and sleep-tracking apps, are much less expensive than conventional approaches like polysomnography. As a result, the general public will have access to these technologies, leading to richer, more diverse data for AI to feed on. And the more data AI consumes, the more accurate it can become.

implementing AI in sleep through consumer sleep technologies

Mental health issues like depression and anxiety, along with therapeutic intervention, may also prove manageable through wearable AI technology. Currently, the primary application of wearable AI is in diagnosing and screening anxiety and depression, with limited evidence on its effectiveness for treatment purposes.

So, Is AI the key to better sleep?

Based on data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 1 in 3 adults miss out on a good night’s sleep regularly. Furthermore, the National Institutes of Health discovered that around 40% of adults unintentionally doze off in the middle of the day on a monthly basis. They also estimate that 50 to 70 million Americans suffer from chronic sleep disorders.

According to a consensus by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine and the Sleep Research Society, an average adult should get at least 7 or more hours of sleep daily. As a potential answer to satisfy this need among more sleepers, Artificial Intelligence can and is being applied in sleep research to improve sleep quality and, consequently, sleep duration.

potential improvements in sleep quality

Take it from a sleep clinician’s perspective: AI, though in its infant stages in sleep medicine, has the potential to enhance patient care, aid in diagnostics, and facilitate sleep disorder management. However, a spotlight is also placed on the need to regulate and standardize machine learning algorithms before their integration into clinical practice.

Other studies have shown a similar emphasis, too. Be it through data acquired from consumer technologies like smartwatches or medical-grade techniques like polysomnography, AI allows us to deepen our understanding of intricate sleep disorders. Eventually, it may even lead to a remedy or preventative measure for such issues.

Final Verdict - Using AI in sleep research has enormous potential. However, there is still room for improvement, which, once fulfilled, can surely help many more people sleep better.

Disclaimer: What is said in this article has been referenced from multiple sources and is intended only for educational and informational purposes. Please note that no content in this article is a substitute for professional advice from a qualified doctor or healthcare provider. Always consult an experienced doctor with any concerns you may have regarding a health condition or treatment, and never disregard any medical suggestions or delay in seeking treatment because of something you read here.