Dr Neil Stanley Independent Sleep Expert
© Dr. Neil Stanley 2013-2024
The Future of Sleep In the November 2012 issue of ‘Business Traveller magazine there was an article about the future of hotel rooms which quotes a ‘study’ done by a ‘futurologist’ for Travelodge Hotels called “Future of sleep”. What is interesting about this report (here) is that it has precious little to do with sleep and is mostly made up of predictions of what technology will be in the bedroom of the future. Now I am sure that this ‘futurologist’ is very good at ‘futurologising’, or whatever it is called, but they seem to know very little actually about the science of sleep and thus the bits that do actually pertain to sleep would almost certainly make your sleep worse if they were implemented. For example, given that every sleep expert advises that one way to improve sleep is to reduce the amount of technology in the bedroom and a number of scientific papers have shown that use of technology before sleep has negative consequences for sleep, it is odd to read that we will be watching a movie and checking our emails on contact lenses as we fall asleep. Another ‘futurologist’ actually stated in 2004 that “.......you will end up in a world where the need to sleep is optional. I would say that will happen within the next quarter of a century." (here). Now if, I claimed to be a ‘futurologist’, (there does not appear to be a qualification to be one so I presume that anyone can call themselves this), and I suggested that in 25 year that breathing will be optional I would be thought crazy but somehow people can say silly things about sleep and get it published in the newspapers and seemingly have it taken seriously. There appears to be a belief that technology or pharmaceuticals will somehow radically change our sleep in future but the simple fact is that there is no ‘future of sleep’, technology and/or pharmaceuticals will not change the way we sleep or our need for sleep any more that they will change our need for food, water or breathing. Sleep is a biological necessity and the so we will carry on sleeping the way we have always slept, in a bed, at night with our eyes closed for, for the most of us, between 7-9 hours a night. So don’t worry about how you may be sleeping in 20 years time, just concentrate on getting good sleep tonight.