Why sleep technology is a hot investment that just keeps getting hotter
With 70 million Americans suffering from chronic sleep problems and increasing research pointing to sleep loss as a key contributor to other health problems, it’s no surprise that sleep has become a desirable, if elusive, commodity. For this reason, investors, researchers and manufacturers are pouring time, money and energy into developing scientifically proven sleep products that help consumers sleep better and support their overall health. From smartbeds and sleep trackers to healthier and more effective sleep aids, the market for sleep products continues to grow and expand. We’ve rounded up some recent developments in the science-backed sleep industry that are seeking to promote better, safer and healthier sleep support—and also utilize sleep products to promote health beyond the bedroom.
Eight Sleep is imagining a biometric future. Recently emerging with a $500 million dollar valuation and raising $86 million in funding, Eight Sleep has lofty goals for its future. In fact, the smartbed manufacturer envisions a future in which it puts its technology to extremely important use—Eight hopes its sensor technology can continue to grow more sophisticated using biometric technology to eventually help detect a variety of diseases including cancer. And, it has investors on board big time.
Supermoon Capital wants to support research and science-backed burgeoning sleep technology with lots of money. Supermoon Capital recently launched a $36 million fund solely dedicated to sleep. The organization is eager to support products that can help people looking to sleep better, medical teams working to address the sleep disorders and sleep research that helps unlock the biggest unknowns about how we rest. With backers like medical product supplier ResMed and like-minded philanthropists, the sleep-focused VC firm is poised to be an invaluable champion of what is sometimes called the “night market.” According to Crunchbase, venture capital funding into sleep-related technology and products has grown from $375 million in 2017 to $488 million in 2020. As of September, $747 million in venture capital investments has flowed to 37 tech companies working on sleep. At present, Supermoon is funding six companies: Clair Labs, Endel, EnsoData, FreshBed, SleepScore Labs and Cerno Health. The firm plans to expand that number to fifteen.
Sleep Number is launching its answer to sleep tracking: My Sleep Health. On a more basic level, Sleep Number is the latest to boast a new sleep tracking mechanism. Its data-driven and customizable My Sleep Health uses the data that Sleep Number’s 360 Smartbed collects while the user sleeps to offer actionable insight in the following categories: duration, efficiency and timing. While sleep tracking is not entirely new, breaking the data down in this way makes it more clear and a little easier to connect with a sleeper’s overarching goals. It also helps users detect changes in their sleep routine and understand when they are getting less than optimal amounts of sleep or more but less efficient sleep. Paired with the brand’s overarching proprietary technology like SleepIQ, which monitors breath rate and heart rate during sleep, Sleep Number is giving sleepers holistic insight into their health through their nightly sleep habits.
So what will the future of sleep look like and will everyone have access to it? Acknowledgment and understanding of the value of sleep is in many ways a relief—if we can simply get more and better sleep, theoretically we could all live happier, healthier and longer lives and spare ourselves the stress and heartache of quite a few illnesses. Obviously it’s not that simple but it sure feels like we’d all be better off if we could crack the better sleep code—and it seems that investors, researchers and manufacturers agree.
But what exactly will the future look like? Will we all sleep with high-tech sensors in our beds or attached to our bodies to monitor our sleep? Will the technology be accessible to all consumers or just those who can afford it? Will sleep health become a government or workplace subsidized focus—will sleep tracking or other devices receive insurance coverage? After all, a more well-rested workforce is proven to be a higher performing workforce and decent sleep can prevent more costly illnesses down the line. How will the way we address health, wellness and rest reflect the evolving values of our society? Should sleep really be an investment? Isn’t rest a right? It is fascinating to think about sleep and health in general as something with so much capital behind it. We know that losing sleep is costly, but is getting enough sleep becoming more expensive?