Electric Sleep: The Gadgetry Tracking and Hacking The Way We Rest

As activity tracking goes mainstream, an arsenal of consumer technology is rolling out for sleep. But how much do these interventions help?

At 2.16am, I stumble to the bathroom. I catch a glimpse of myself. The light from the red bulb is flattering – I’ve been told to eliminate all blue light on my nocturnal trek – but the sleep-tracker headband, currently emitting the sound of gently lapping waves, kills any woke-up-like-this vibe. I adjust its double straps and feel my way back to bed.

The next time I wake is at 6.30am – after fractured dreams in which the Dreem 2 headband makes many cameos – to birdsong, also from the headband. When I check the app, I see I have slept six-and-a-half hours of my anticipated eight. Anxious to remedy this, I head out for my first coffee. In his new book Blueprint: Build a Bulletproof Body for Extreme Adventure in 365 Days, athlete Ross Edgley warns that this sort of overriding behaviour can bring about “biochemical bankruptcy”. Not now, Ross.

Health influencers like Edgley are all over sleep lately, and no wonder, when so many of us obsess over it. A 2021 report released by the Sleep Health Foundation estimates around one in 10 Australians have a sleep disorder, while a report from 2019 found that more than half are suffering from at least one chronic sleep symptom. Studies have suggested that sleep deficiency can lead to weight gain and a weakened immune system and that poor sleep patterns may contribute to later dementia risk.

In recent years, sleep-fretting has intersected with fitness-tracking, with the latest bio-hacks regularly featured on the podcasts of personal-development heavyweights such as Joe Rogan, whose Whoop Strap – worn around the wrist – told him he was getting four or five hours a night, not the seven or eight he’d thought; and Aubrey Marcus, whose Oura ring measures various biomarkers overnight and gives him a total score in the morning. “If I can get close to 80%, I’m golden for the day,” Marcus told the authors of My Morning Routine.

Wearables, such as watches, rings and headbands, appeal to those of us who enjoy geeking out on our stats, but could they also be cultivating anxiety and feeding into insomnia? Associate Prof Darren Mansfield, a sleep disorders and respiratory physician who is also deputy chair of the Sleep Health Foundation, thinks some balance is needed.

“These devices in general can be a good thing,” he says. “They’re not as accurate as a laboratory-based sleep study, but they are progressing in that direction, and technology enables the person to be engaged in their health. Where it can become problematic is people can become a bit enslaved by the data, which can lead to anxiety or rumination over the results and significance. That might escalate any problems, or even start creating problems.”

As a clinician, Mansfield thinks that the most useful role of these devices is monitoring routine, not obsessing over the hours of good-quality sleep. “There will be some error margin, but nonetheless when we’re looking for diagnostic information, like timing of sleep and duration of sleep, they can capture that,” he says.

Since Mansfield admits his sleep doesn’t need much hacking, I seek out an insomniac-turned-human guinea pig. Mike Toner runs the dance music agency Thick as Thieves, and has been on a mission for five years to fix the sleep issues earned from a decade of late nights in Melbourne clubs and reaching for his phone to answer international emails at 3am.

“I tried everything,” he says. “Magnesium capsules and spray, melatonin and herbal sleep aids. I even signed up for treatment at a sleep centre. You sleep in this room with all these wires connected to you, things coming out of your nose, cameras trained on you. Ironically, I slept better that night than I have any other night.”

He decided to start monitoring his body in earnest, learning about the latest devices from the Huberman Lab Podcast and The Quantified Scientist. Sleep-monitoring wearables have progressed from having an accelerometer to track movements which are fed through an algorithm to predict when a person is asleep, to being able to track sleep latency; sleep efficacy; heart-rate variability; light, deep and REM sleep and sleeping positions.

Toner’s accumulated a few as the technology becomes more sophisticated. He estimates having spent around $1,500 on them, and a further $3,500 for the sleep-centre treatment.

Then there are the cooling devices. Toner beds down on a Chilipad as soon as the weather gets warmer – a hydro-powered cooling mattress.

The idea is that lying down in a cool room – perhaps after taking a warm shower – tricks the body into slumber, since our body temperature drops when we’re asleep.

Non-techy strategies include having hands and feet out from under the covers, or using a fan. Lifestyle guru and entrepreneur Tim Ferriss recommends a short ice bath before bed. Be warned, though: Dave Asprey – founder of Bulletproof, which sells high-performance products – once tried putting ice packs on his body right before bed. As he told MensHealth.com: “I ended up getting ice burns on about 15% of my body.”

Mansfield says that ensuring you’re cooler in the evenings may help with sleep. “Generally, a lower-level temperature is better tolerated at night … 25C can make a beautiful, comfortable day, but can be unbearably hot at night when our own core temperature drops, so 18C or 19C is more tolerable.

“Then in the last two hours before getting up, your temperature rises again – you might have thrown off the blanket in the night and then might wake up at 5am feeling freezing cold.”

And what about the new frontiers of technology? According to neuroscientist Matthew Walker, in his influential book Why We Sleep, in the future, we can expect the marriage of tracking devices with in-home networked devices such as thermostats and lighting.

“Using common machine-learning algorithms applied over time, we should be able to intelligently teach the home thermostat what the thermal sweet spot is of each occupant in each bedroom, based on the biophysiology calculated by their sleep-tracking device,” Walker says. “Better still, we could program a natural circadian lull and rise in temperature across the night that is in harmony with each body’s expectations.”

Mansfield thinks this kind of integration is feasible, and that a thermostat linked to a device measuring circadian rhythms offers plausible benefits in preparing people’s sleep, but he predicts that automated control of room lighting will wind up being manually overridden, because technology can’t necessarily gauge when we’re in the middle of reading a book or having a conversation. “It’s liable to just irritate people,” he says. He’s more interested in technology that will track conditions like sleep apnoea.

As Toner has concluded, no device is a silver bullet. Ultimately, it was a $70 online cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) course that his GP referred him to that fixed his sleep over three months of strict adherence. Now he just uses technology to make sure he’s not drifting off track.

The key lessons? Only use your bedroom for sleep and sex. Set your alarm for the same time, no matter how late you get to bed. Screens off early. No day-napping. Alcohol is a bad idea. All of these things are easily monitored yourself using a good old notebook, and they don’t cost a cent. They just take persistence.

With those good habits in place, Toner is now mindful of how he will put the CBT pointers he’s learned during lockdowns into practice once his life picks up its pace again.

“I used to put this obligation on myself to be there all the time with my artists, but interestingly, coming out of this pandemic, a lot of the artists are having the same train of thought as I am, wanting to avoid late nights,” Toner says.

He’s even coaching some of them for a charity run – quite the lifestyle change for many. “I’ve spent so long fixing this that one of the things I’ve realized, when we eventually go back to work routines, is I’m going to be fiercely protective of my sleep.

By:

Source: Electric sleep: the gadgetry tracking and hacking the way we rest | Sleep | The Guardian

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How Apple Killed The Swiss Watch Industry

A report by Strategy Analytics reveals that during 2019, Apple Watch sold more units than the entire Swiss watch industry: Apple shifted 30.7 million units, up 36% from the 22.5 million it sold in 2018, while the Swiss watch industry as a whole managed just 21.1 million watches, a decline of 13%.

In 2015, the year the Apple Watch was launched, LVMH watch division president and Tag Heuer CEO Jean-Claude Biver said the Swiss industry was not afraid of Apple’s new product, because it could not be repaired in a thousand years or eighty years, nor inherited by children, nor would it ever become a status symbol. As is always the case when disruption occurs in an industry, traditional competitors are not able to see the threat, and continue to try to analyze it according to the variables that were important yesterday.

Later that year, I discussed technology substitution in the watch sector. In May 2017, I pointed out that three years of growing sales of smartwatches and a consecutive drop in exports by the Swiss watch industry represented an unprecedented crisis, one that heralded its demise, consigning it to the past and that while it would retain its followers, they would be a residual market. As I said at the time, when disruption hits, hoping that the inertia of tradition, style and other intangibles will save the bottom line won’t cut it.

Apple’s reinvention of the wristwatch is not only evident in its impressive sales figures: it can be seen by analyzing its usage dynamics. When somebody acquires an Apple Watch, they typically tell themselves they will wear it sometimes, but remain faithful to their favorite traditional watch. After all, the Swiss industry has been trying for years to get us to see watches as a fashion accessory or collectable. For many watch enthusiasts, a Swiss watch was a powerful status symbol.

But once you have tasted the apple, you’re lost. Experience shows that the Apple Watch is more than something that tells the time, and is instead receives notifications, evaluates your physical activity, shows the weather forecast, tells you if your team has won, and a myriad other things, including whether you are suffering from an arrhythmia. As soon as you start using the Apple Watch, you realize one thing is clear: the rest of your watch collection will live on in a drawer from now on.

And every time you’re tempted to take them out and use them instead of the Apple device, you spend the whole day looking at your wrist for information that isn’t there. Your wristwatch, that status symbol, with all its technical complexity, has become obsolete. If it hasn’t happened to you yet, don’t worry: it’s just a matter of time. The Apple Watch is simply another kind of product: a reinvention of the watch for the digital environment.

Over the coming years, as we notice the number of people around us wearing an Apple Watch, we’ll still observe those hopeless nostalgics with their air of superiority, showing off an expensive Swiss timepiece. But they too will grow up, exclusive members of a shrinking market. In the meantime, successive generations of smartwatches will provide increasingly attractive features, watching over our health, overcoming the limitations of previous versions, and winning over more and more people.

If you still don’t believe it, if you think that the sales figures are just a blip or you think that the Swiss watch industry is in a bunker in the Alps planning its revenge… don’t worry, it will pass in time. You’ll get tired of waiting.

Follow me on Twitter or LinkedIn. Check out my website.

Teaching Innovation at IE Business School since 1990, and now, hacking education as Senior Advisor for Digital Transformation at IE University. BSc (Universidade de Santiago de Compostela), MBA (Instituto de Empresa) and Ph.D. in Management Information Systems (UCLA).

Source: How Apple Killed The Swiss Watch Industry

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As MMM looks at how luxury watch maker Audemars Piguet markets watches for hundreds of thousands of dollars, James Wright explores how the Swiss industry has survived the onslaught of quartz and smart watches and mobile phones for telling the time and how industry marketing trends are changing.

Got An Apple Watch 5? How To Secure It In Three Simple Steps

Apple Watch Series 5 security tips

Following the publication of a U.S. patent that mentioned a fingerprint sensor for the Apple Watch, rumors have been rife that Touch ID will be coming to the wearable soon. If you’ve just received a gift of an Apple Watch 5, then rumors won’t help you secure it (or an Apple Watch 3 or 4 for that matter) from those who would use it to unlock other devices, perform Apple Pay transactions or access data. These tips, however, will.

Do you need to secure your Apple Watch?

Although one recent study has suggested that Apple is less trustworthy than Google when it comes to data encryption, that is something of an outlier. Apple has a pretty decent security record when it comes to the iPhone and its iOS operating system when compared to relatively insecure Android devices. Not that the iPhone is immune from device-specific malware as the iPhone only Krampus campaign demonstrates. The Apple Watch, however, doesn’t run on iOS; it uses the iOS-derived WatchOS instead.

So, is WatchOS free from any security issues? Well, if you check the security vulnerability database at CVE Details, you will see plenty of problems that could specifically impact WatchOS. There are 473 vulnerabilities listed in total, ranging from the low severity to the critical. But don’t panic; if you sort the results by “number of exploits,” you’ll notice there have been precisely zero for any of them. And Apple regularly updates WatchOS as it does iOS and operates a bug bounty program to reward those security researchers who uncover vulnerabilities, with a top bounty of $1.5 million (£1.15 million) on offer. So you don’t need to worry about securing it, right?

Wrong.

The security issues you do need to be concerned about now you are the owner of a shiny new Apple Watch Series 5 are, frankly, much the same as you face with any other mobile device. The wearable is, in practical terms, an extension of your iPhone. This means that you need to be aware of how it interacts with your iPhone and the access it provides to the smartphone itself, the data upon it and the services it facilitates.

Apple Watch security tip number one: Set a long passcode

The default four-digit PIN, what Apple refers to as a “Simple Passcode,” is not secure enough. Especially as most people will likely use the same PIN for their Apple Watch as they do for their credit cards, debit cards, smartphone, SIM card, and anything else that requires a four-digit code. Password reuse is a terrible thing, and the same applies to PIN codes which are just pretty bad passwords after all.

To strengthen your Apple Watch PIN, go to the Watch app on your iPhone and click on “Passcode” then disable the “Simple Passcode” option. After confirming your existing PIN, you will be able to set a new 10-digit code. The longer the PIN the more secure, in theory. However, the usability factor kicks in if you are using a random 10-digit code that you can’t easily remember. It’s not recommended to use memorable dates either; a threat actor will likely be able to guess these from social media information.

That said, a six-digit PIN is far more secure than the default and just as easy to remember. Or how about keeping the four-digit PIN you know off by heart and repeating it, in reverse, to create an eight-digit code? So 1234 (please don’t use that) would become 12344321. If you enable the “Erase Data” option, then another security feature kicks in: self-destruct. OK, it’s not quite that extreme, but not far off. After six incorrect PIN code attempts, the Apple Watch will initiate a 60-second delay between further attempts. Get it wrong ten times and all data will be erased from the device.

Apple Watch security tip number two: Get smart with more locking options

Either on your Apple Watch or iPhone, it’s less fiddly for those of us with fat finger syndrome to use the iPhone, make sure that the “Wrist Detection” option is toggled on. This has the effect of automatically locking your Apple Watch when you take it off, necessitating entry of that now longer PIN before unlocking.

There’s also an option to “Unlock with iPhone,” which works in combination with the wrist detection to automatically unlock your Apple Watch without needing the PIN code. As long, that is, the iPhone is close enough to the watch, which you must be wearing. It’s another good usability option with no substantial negative impact on security for 99.9% of people 99.9% of the time. As I said before, good security must be easy to use or people find ways to get around it. Which usually means they disable it altogether.

Apple Watch security tip number three: Lost Mode and Activation Lock

Every iPhone owner is familiar, I’m guessing, with the Find My iPhone iCloud feature or app, or “Find My” for iOS 13 users. If not, then get acquainted as it’s an essential part of your iPhone security posture. And that of your Apple Watch.

As well as being useful in finding your watch if you can’t remember where you left it last, Find My has some additional security-related functionality up its virtual sleeve. Things like being able to remotely wipe your data from your Apple Watch if it is permanently lost or stolen and activating “Lost Mode.” The latter will display a short custom message and number to call if someone finds your Apple Watch. More importantly, it will also disable Apple Pay which ticks a significant security concern box for most people who have lost their wearable.

You should also check that the Activation Lock function is enabled in Find My, and if it can see your watch, then it is. What does this do? How does making your Apple Watch worthless to any thief sound to you? Unless that thief knows your Apple ID and password, Activation Lock prevents them or anyone else from being able to wipe your data from the device. The result, an unsaleable Apple Watch.

For more Apple security advice, read How To Secure Your iPhone: 12 Experts Reveal 26 Essential Security Tips.

Follow me on Twitter or LinkedIn. Check out my website.

I’m a three-decade veteran technology journalist and have been a contributing editor at PC Pro magazine since the first issue in 1994. A three-time winner of the BT Security Journalist of the Year award (2006, 2008, 2010) I was also fortunate enough to be named BT Technology Journalist of the Year in 1996 for a forward-looking feature in PC Pro called ‘Threats to the Internet.’ In 2011 I was honored with the Enigma Award for a lifetime contribution to IT security journalism. Contact me in confidence at davey@happygeek.com if you have a story to reveal or research to share.

Source: Got An Apple Watch 5? How To Secure It In Three Simple Steps

Omega Unveils Two Watches For The Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Image result for omega company

Omega has concluded its 50-year anniversary celebration of the historic Apollo 11 moon mission (at least for now) and has now moved on with an event that is just as important with the Swiss watch brand’s heritage.

Wednesday, July 24, is exactly one year till the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games and to mark this occasion Omega, the Official Timekeeper of the Olympic Games, has unveiled two limited edition watches: the Seamaster Aqua Terra Tokyo 2020 and the Seamaster Planet Ocean Tokyo 2020.

Seamaster Aqua Terra Tokyo 2020 Limited Edition

For this sporty Tokyo 2020 model, Omega has introduced the collection’s first ceramic dial crafted with a polished blue finish laser engraved with the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games emblem. The 41mm stainless steel timepiece includes a sapphire crystal caseback with a transferred Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games emblem.

Limited to just 2,020 pieces, the watch comes with a structured blue rubber strap and includes an additional stainless steel bracelet in its special presentation box. The watch is powered by the Omega Master Chronometer Calibre 8900, which the watch brand says delivers the Swiss industry’s highest standard of precision and magnetic-resistance.

 

Omega designed this watch as a “patriotic Seamaster with a true Japanese touch.” The 39.5mm stainless steel case has a white ceramic bezel ring with its diving scale in Omega’s trademarked Liquidmetal. In tribute to the year of Tokyo 2020, the number 20 on the bezel is filled with red liquid ceramic.

The polished white ceramic dial continues the Tokyo theme with a “lollipop” central seconds hand—with the round end is in red varnish, which represents the flag of Japan.

Also limited to just 2,020 models, this timepiece is driven by the Omega Master Chronometer Calibre 8800 and features a sapphire crystal caseback with a transferred Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games emblem. It has a white leather strap and includes a stainless steel bracelet and additional NATO strap in its presentation box.

Omega has had a long association with the Olympics Games as the Official Timekeeper 28 times since 1932. This association will continue for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

Over the years Omega’s timekeeping technology has significantly improved. For example, in its first stint as official timekeeper for the Los Angeles Games in 1932, Omega arrived with 30 split-second chronograph pocket watches. For the 2020 Games, the watch brand will bring a team of timekeepers hauling up to 450 tons of equipment. During this time Omega introduced several milestones in timekeeping. They include the following:

* A photoelectric cell was used for the first time at the 1948 Olympic Games in St. Moritz, Switzerland. Also known as an electric eye, it works by having the two photo cells aligned with the finish line. As a runner crosses the line, the beam is blocked, and the electric eye sends a signal to the timing console to record the runner’s time.

* The Omegascope introduced the concept of real time in televised sport by superimposing numbers on the bottom of a screen. It was first used at the 1964 Winter Olympics in Innsbruck, Austria.

* The touchpad for swimmers was introduced at the 1968 Summer Olympics in Mexico City. This allowed a swimmer’s hands to stop the clock.

* Omega Scan-O-Vision was introduced at the 1992 Olympics in Albertville, France. It was used for speed skating and could measure time to the nearest thousandth of a second as the skaters crossed the finish line.

* An electronic start system, consisting of a red flash gun and sound generation box, replaced the traditional starting gun during the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, Canada.

* In 2012 Omega introduced the Quantum Timer, which can measure time up to one millionth of a second. There is a maximum variation of only one second for every ten million seconds.

In addition, Omega serves as the Official Timekeeper for the Paralympic Games and the Youth Olympic Games.

Follow me on Twitter or LinkedIn. Check out my website.

In a previous life I was an award-winning daily newspaper reporter who moved to business and trade magazines and who now specializes in high jewelry and watches for publications around the world. My first magazine job was with a design and architecture trade publication where I received a first-hand education and appreciation of how good, innovative design can make the world a better place. It’s something I take with me while traveling the world and writing about the finer things in life. In addition to this blog, you can find me at my “Jewelry News Network” blog and facebook page, on Instagram @jewelrynewsnetwork and on Twitter @jewelrynewsnet.

Source: https://www.forbes.com/sites/anthonydemarco/2019/07/25/omega-unveils-two-watches-for-the-tokyo-2020-olympic-games/#17e70dcef09d