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An Alarm Clock Designed to Wake the Sleeper at a Point in His/Her Sleep Cycle When He/She Will Feel the Most Refreshed and Alert

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000131861D
Publication Date: 2005-Nov-21
Document File: 5 page(s) / 22K

Publishing Venue

The IP.com Prior Art Database

Abstract

A normal night's sleep consists of several cycles of Rapid Eye Movement (REM) and Non-REM sleep phases. During REM sleep, which lasts approximately 20 minutes, the brain is active and the sleeper is often dreaming vividly. Throughout Non-REM sleep, which lasts approximately 70 minutes, the brain is in progressively deeper sleep and the sleeper is resting. Each cycle lasts approximately 90 minutes, then repeats itself several times throughout the night.

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SLEEP-CYCLE-OPTIMIZED ALARM CLOCK

An Alarm Clock Designed to Wake the Sleeper at a Point in His/Her Sleep Cycle When He/She Will Feel the Most Refreshed and Alert

Disclosed Anonymously

A normal night's sleep consists of several cycles of Rapid Eye Movement (REM) and Non-REM sleep phases. During REM sleep, which lasts approximately 20 minutes, the brain is active and the sleeper is often dreaming vividly. Throughout Non-REM sleep, which lasts approximately 70 minutes, the brain is in progressively deeper sleep and the sleeper is resting. Each cycle lasts approximately 90 minutes, then repeats itself several times throughout the night.

When a sleeper wakes in the middle of a REM sleep phase, they can feel scared and disoriented. When a sleeper wakes in the middle of a non-REM sleep phase, particularly in its later stages, they can feel exhausted, as though they did not sleep much.

In the absence of external stimuli, the sleeper will normally wake up after the end of a REM sleep phase, before entering a new non-REM sleep phase. When this natural waking process occurs, the sleeper feels more refreshed and alert, even if the overall duration of sleep is shorter.

Traditional alarm clocks are designed to wake the sleeper at a specific time. It is only by chance if this time coincides with the end of a REM sleep phase. Most of the time, sleep is interrupted at an inopportune time. As a result, the use of a traditional alarm clock is often associated with poor quality sleep, when the problem is actually the point in the sleep cycle when the sleeper is awakened, and not the quality or overall duration of the sleep itself. The user often compensates by exercising, taking a jarringly cold shower, or using stimulants such as caffeine (found in coffee and tea).

Some alarm clocks include a "snooze" function. The user presses a button to turn off the alarm and have it sound again in 5 to 20 minutes. During repeated use of the snooze function, sleep is continually interrupted and may not contribute to a feeling of refreshment, even when the sleeper eventually wakes up.

The proposed solution is a Sleep-Cycle-Optimized Alarm Clock (SCOAC) monitors the sleeper to determine when REM sleep has ended, and wakes the user at that time. This is accomplished through the use of a sensor that measures brain waves, heart rate, muscle twitching, eye movement, skin temperature, and/or some other indicator of sleep stage. The sensor uses Bluetooth wireless technology to transmit this information to a Bluetooth-enabled mobile device.

A software application on the device analyzes the data to determine the current stage of sleep. Once it determines that the user has reached the optimal waking time (the point where REM sleep has ended and non-REM sleep is about to begin), it sounds an alarm to wake the user.

Prior to going to sleep, the user enters the latest time at which they would like to be awakened, e.g. 7:30 am. The SCOAC uses historical data to determine the duration of o...