As more and more people are embracing artificial intelligence by bringing voice assistants like Google Home and Amazon Echo into their home, smart homes are becoming more common. From smart appliances to smart mattresses, technology is not only keeping up with our needs – it’s predicting them.
From blue light exposure to late-night texting, we are often told of the negative side-effects associated with technology in the bedroom. But in the case of the Internet of Things, technology can actually improve your sleep and help to create a sanctuary.
What is the Internet of Things?
The ‘Internet of Things’ refers to technological devices that ‘talk’ to each other (via the Internet, Bluetooth or other means) in order to make your life easier. It allows devices, from smartphones to appliances, to share data in order to be more efficient in how we do things.
It allows otherwise ‘dumb’ devices – toasters, washing machines, light bulbs – to communicate and operate without a human being involved. If a device can be connected to the Internet or via Bluetooth, it can be transformed to an internet of things device.
How can the Internet of Things improve your sleep?
Using this theory, the Internet of Things can be applied to many household devices. But why should this stop at appliances? Smart room technology is ideally suited to the bedroom – after all, we do spend around a third of our life asleep.
Even big hotels chains like Hilton and Marriott are getting in on the act, trialling smart-room technology to make guests more comfortable. At Hilton hotels, this includes being able to control in-room devices such as blinds and shower temperature with an app on your phone.
The Marriott is trialling sensor presence technology that knows when you get out of bed at night and automatically lights up the path to the bathroom.
But it’s not only smart mattresses and beds that can help you wind down after a busy day – you’d be surprised how a voice assistant like Alexa or Google Home can help to create the perfect sleep environment. Here are some of the commands that can be used in conjunction with smart home devices.
“Alexa, turn down the lights”
Forget the touch of a button… now you’re able to dim the lights without ever having to leave the warmth of your own bed. When the concept of a smart home first originated, lighting was one of the first things that came with it.
Now, you no longer have to argue over whose turn it is to switch the lights out, as Alexa will do it for you. There are plenty of Alexa-compatible smart bulbs on the market, each with their own app in case you lose your voice.
“Ok Google, set the thermostat to 18°C”
Getting the temperature of a room right is instrumental to a good night’s sleep. The human body is less able to regulate its temperature during a deep sleep, compared to a light sleep, so maintaining a comfortable room temperature can make all the difference.
If you wake up in a sweat, you can now ask Google Home to set the thermostat to a more comfortable climate.
Some compatible thermostats can even learn from your heating and cooling routines and automatically adjust the thermostat to reflect this.
“Hey Siri, turn on Classic FM”
Some people like to listen to the shipping forecast to help them sleep, whereas others respond to classical music. No matter how you like to drift off, you can now ask your phone to assist you. When you find yourself in stumbling into sleep territory, instead of rolling over and waking yourself up again, simply murmur “Hey Siri, stop the music” and you’ll be asleep in no time.
As well as smart devices, you can get your home assistant to control ‘non-smart’ devices by using a smart plug. Once hooked up, you can ask Alexa or Google Home to turn on (and off) a whole host of devices – from coffee machines to fans.