Sleep plays a fundamental role in health and well-being. Bad sleep hygiene, sleep deprivation, and sleep disorders increase risk of cardiovascular diseases and have a negative impact on mood, cognitive performance, and motor function. The vision of the Somnomat project is the development of an autonomous robotic platform, able to monitor the user during sleep and to interact with him to improve sleep quality.
Vestibular stimulation appears to have remarkable effect on sleep and it may be exploited to improve relaxation, to facilitate falling asleep, and to improve sleep quality. In a first step of the project we are exploring this principle by investigating how vestibular stimulation influences sleep and how it could be applied to enhance sleep quality.
Additionally to the capability to provide the desired stimulation, an autonomous system requires monitoring features to track the state of the user and control algorithms to modulate the intervention to be applied. In the first implementation of this closed-loop concept, we are focusing on snoring. Particularly, we are developing an intelligent bed that tries to reduce snoring activity by autonomously influencing the posture of the user during sleep.
Effects of vestibular stimuli on sleep
With this project we aim to gain a deeper scientific knowledge about the impact of vestibular stimuli on onset of sleep and sleep quality. Our findings may build the base for developing new treatment methods to improve sleep quality and may offer new non-pharmacological therapeutic approaches to improve sleep disturbances in the elderly population.
Controlled positional therapy to reduce snoring
Sleep position has been proven to strongly influence snoring activity. Purpose of the project is to exploit this principle and to develop an "intelligent" bed to reduce snoring by actively influencing the sleeping posture of the user. Particularly, the bed will be fully autonomous enabling to track snoring in real-time and to react in an interactive way by adapting the mattress shape and providing vibratory stimulation to influence the posture of the user.