1. Digital sleeping pills – take two every night

Digital sleeping pills – take two every night

Falling asleep in the evening is a constant struggle. Even worse, I wake up around 3am and can’t get back to sleep again. I do not know how many days I’ve spent walking around like a sleep-deprived zombie. But then I discovered digital sleeping pills.

It seems I am not suffering alone. For example, studies performed on large samples in the UK as well as Finland reported sharp increase in insomnia from the mid-90s to mid-2000s. There is also a 2017 report indicating that as many as a third of U.S. adults suffer from major sleep disorders. That’s just off the charts, and unfortunately I believe digital technology is partly to blame for that.

Indeed, there are countless studies and reports indicating that increased use of smartphones and tablets in bed has a negative impact on our ability to fall asleep. Actually, the same issues – ranging from the type of light that screens emit to the cognitive arousal that watching content causes – seem to also apply to watching TV. But mobile devices just make it so much easier to move the activity into bed.

Apps make things even worse. A recent study states that as much as 71 percent of binge watching is unintentional. Given the few seconds that services like Netflix give you to stop watching before the next episode automatically starts, I am not surprised.

So, no wonder the sleeping pill industry is booming and people are popping pills like never before.

Like many others, I am also addicted to sleeping pills. But I put mine in my ears. And although my addiction to them is real, they aren’t really pills. I just call them that because of the way they look and because they really help me sleep.

They are TWS’, or truly wireless earphones. I normally fall asleep with them in. I am sure you wouldn’t like the music I play, but hey, it absolutely works for me!

Another common pattern is that I wake up at 3am and cannot get back asleep. Then, I just reach for my digital pillbox again.

I believe that in the future, sleeping with earphones will become fully socially accepted. In fact, we will be using earphones to shape the sound environment around us both day and night. At Ericsson ConsumerLab, we call this trend Augmented Hearing for obvious reasons. I urge you to check it out, because it will have an important impact not only on you but also on society at large.

Augmented hearing

In fact, as part of our trend research, we found out that as many as 52 percent of advanced internet users already today would like to use wireless earphones to block out a family member’s snoring. In other words, I am not the only one oriented towards digitally medicating my sleep.

Another indication that there is a massive change about to happen is the fact that a variety of products is starting to appear. Bose recently closed an Indiegogo campaign for noise-masking sleepbuds. Their buds, among other things, block “the snoring person right next to your head” – and accordingly overreached the funding target by a massive 900 percent. I wanted to get in on the campaign myself but couldn’t, as shipping was restricted to the US only…

Currently, augmented and virtual reality might primarily be about changing our visual experiences. But our other senses will be digitally enhanced as well. Pop a pair of digital sleeping pills in your ears and try for yourself!

Go deeper inside Ericsson ConsumerLab’s 10 Hot Consumer Trends for 2018 here, and let us know if you are prepared to use wireless earphones all day long – and even sleep with them in too!

In case you missed it: Don’t forget to check out the podcast for our 10 Hot Consumer Trends for 2018 and beyond, with Pernilla Jonsson, Head of Ericsson ConsumerLab and Michael Björn, Head of Research at ConsumerLab.

Written by Michael Björn

Michael Björn is Head of Research at Ericsson ConsumerLab and has a PhD in data modeling from the University of Tsukuba in Japan. One of Michael's keen research interests is the process of assimilation of ICT into everyday consumer life.

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