How Home Automation Can Provide a Good Night’s Sleep

Tunable white lighting, temperature control, automated heating pads and smarter beds can improve wellness through better sleep.

Jay Basen
How Home Automation Can Provide a Good Night’s Sleep

CE Pro's Julie Jacobson does her sleep and wellness research at CES 2018. It's really a thing. : CES passerby

A hot topic in health today is the importance of getting a good night's sleep. According to research by Parks Associates 25% of consumers are very concerned about a lack of quality sleep. This is not an unfounded concern as medical research has shown that adequate sleep has been linked to:

  • Improved Memory
  • Creativity
  • Improved Attention in Children
  • Reduced Stress
  • And More

Poor quality sleep has been linked to:

  • Depression
  • Obesity
  • Dementia
  • Other Chronic Medical Conditions

Improved sleep is getting so much attention that some people building new luxury homes are choosing to have dual master bedrooms so sleep interruptions from a partner, such as snoring, or stealing covers, can be avoided.

An automation system can be used to turn a mattress pad on for a few minutes right before bedtime. 

Home automation can be another tool for sleeping well. Lighting in particular is seen as a major influence on sleep. Research has shown that the hue of lighting plays a role in maintaining your circadian rhythm. Cooler colored light helps you wake up in the morning and warmer colored light helps you prepare for sleep.

That's one reason Microsoft and Apple are building adjustable lighting hue into their operating systems so displays will show warmer colors during the evening to promote better sleep.

An automation system can trigger smart lighting to display warmer lighting tones as bedtime approaches to also promote better sleep. To promote a more natural wake process, the automation system can also be programmed to slowly brighten the lighting in your bedroom when you alarm clock goes off using a cooler lighting tone associated with morning. 

For a good night’s sleep it is also important that your home be at a comfortable temperature. In the winter time, your automation system can set back your thermostat a few degrees at night. This not only saves you money on your utility bill but allows you to bundle up under the covers and sleep well. 

A “Goodnight” command that is triggered from a touch panel, smart phone, tablet, Echo/Google Home, keypad, or even a bed sensor that detects when someone lies down in bed can set back the thermostat for you. An alarm clock, which is integrated with your automation system, can be used to automate resetting your thermostat to its daytime set point.

Smarter Beds

A second way an automation system can help you get a good night’s sleep is by preparing your bed for you. On a hot summer night it is a great feeling to climb into a bed when the sheets are nice and cool. However, it is very challenging to get to sleep in the winter time before your body heat has warmed up the bed.

An electric bed pad (such as the Sunbeam Heated Mattress Pad) can warm your bed in preparation for you climbing in. An automation system can be used to turn a mattress pad on for a few minutes right before bedtime. When you get into bed, you can immediately get to the job of falling asleep instead of having to wait until the bed warms up and you are comfortable.

Some people like falling to sleep while watching TV or listening to music. For those people an automation system can be programmed with a sleep timer to automatically turn these devices off after a set period of time. In the automation systems I would deliver for clients I would include the ability for the customer to choose the timer they wanted (15, 30, 45 or 60 minutes). 

Finally, if you live in a noisy, urban environment you can use a whole-house, audio system to play white noise, ocean sounds, or some other soothing sound in the bedroom to drown out the random noises.

There are also a wealth of IoT devices that can help with your sleep. I don’t have personal experience with these products but, on paper, they seem to provide value to people interested in getting better sleep at night.

Poor sleepers can go to a professional for a sleep study, or they might find the right medicine in DIY products like GO2SLEEP. The product monitors your heart rate, blood oxygen saturation, perfusion index (strength of your pulse), and how much you toss and turn. It analyzes this data looking for symptoms of sleep apnea and provides you with reports. 

Some mattress manufacturers are building sleep-monitoring capabilities into their mattresses. Eight, for example, sells both smart mattresses and, for those that like their current mattress, a smart mattress pad that fits over your existing mattress to make it smart. Both provide dual-zone bed warming, daily sleep reporting, a smart alarm, Alexa integration, and more. 

A different approach to giving you a better nights’ sleep is taken by the Sleep Shepard Blue. This device uses brain wave data to give you a better nights’ sleep. 

Jay Basen has been a home automation hobbyist for over 25 years and has worked professionally in the industry for 12 years. With a master's degree in engineering, Jay has been writing software professionally for almost 40 years.