The Japan Times recently listed a couple of ways businesses over there are cashing in on insomnia.
First up, Panasonic Electric Words is offering a device called the Restino - it controls light and sound to help you fall asleep. You set the clock to when you want to wake up, and then simply lie there as the music and lighting lulls you to sleep. Apparently there is also a sensor that knows when those summer nights are just too muggy for you to sleep and it will switch on the air conditioning for you.
Also from Japan is a 'capsule hotel' - they bill themselves as the ultimate healing place for sleeplessness. Expect bare minimalism here - all white interior, no vending machines and no background music. Again, the structure's light is supposed to encourage drowsiness in the evening and help you wake in the morning. They even custom make the pillows (which are made of four different kinds of material) and the mattresses are made of a 'highly resilient' material which apparently prevents them from interfering with the sleeping process.
These sound just as gimmicky as the Hôtel de Marc's sleep pod - although they sound fun, we fear that as more of these products launch, the public's perception of insomnia will be negatively affected. After all, if all you need to fall asleep is a fancy bed then how serious can insomnia be?
We need to shift our priorities away from marketing gimmicks and instead focus more on researching and understanding insomnia.
Last updated: May 11, 2010