Safety Snooze is a real-time device, worn when sleeping. It detects muscle contractions on the user’s wrist using Electromyography-Sensors and also detects an increase in the user’s heart rate using Green Light Photoplethysmography-Sensors. The combination of an increase in heart rate and muscle contractions would indicate the user is experiencing a sleep paralysis episode. The device will then emit a vibration on the user’s wrist waking them up and stopping sleep paralysis. 8% of the population suffer from sleep paralysis, 4% on a regular basis. Shane a member of our team is part of this 4%.
The basis of this project was to design a device which helps suffers of sleep paralysis. Sleep Paralysis is a temporary inability to perform voluntary movements. It occurs during the transitions between waking and sleeping. It results in poor quality of sleep, having a negative impact on the suffers life. Sleep plays a key role in the general good health and well-being of a person. Ongoing sleep deprivation can raise a persons risk for certain chronic health problems. It has negative effects on almost all systems in the body. Currently, suffers of sleep paralysis are prescribed with anti-depressants to reduce the effects of this condition. Although anti-depressants have a much-needed place in the marketplace, there is an increasing number of people becoming addicted to them due to prolonged use and misuse. Also, there is a growing trend in recent times in the use of alternative remedies for aliments which were once only solved using medication. This trend is especially prevalent among younger generations. Sleep Paralysis for many, is a lifelong condition and therefore the prescription of antidepressants is not a safe or suitable solution to this crippling problem. The best aspect of our design is that it is suitable for everyone regardless of their size or ability or disability . Our device will work efficiently as the wrist strap can be change size accordingly once the person has feeling in that wrist. Sleep Paralysis episodes can vary in duration from a few seconds to several minutes. Suffers are conscious during their episodes and often have their eyes open. As a result of the paralysis, individuals can find it difficult to breathe – this sensation is often described as a weight pressing down on the chest region. This results a sense of terror filling the sufferer, causing the persons heart rate to increase and the person also tenses their muscles. Our Sleep Paralysis system will recognise these readings and with the use of an And Logic system it will cause a vibration to be emitted. The use of an And Logic system ensures that the user is only woken when they experience an episode as it needs to recognise both an increase in muscle tension and an increase in heart rate and not an isolated occurrence.
There are two main reasons for using a vibration to wake the user up firstly the alarm stimulus is limited to the person who needs the alarm and doesn’t disrupt the sleep of other people in the same room as the user. Secondly, many people find it easier to wake up to a vibration on their wrist when compared with a regular audible alarm which is easier ignored.
Sleep Paralysis affects all corners of society and therefore when designing Safely Snooze we had to ensure it was suitable for all to use. Although the device involves complex concepts, the interface of the device is user friendly and easy to use.
Our device achieves Principle 1, 2 and 6- due to the fact that it only needs to be set up once, from then on our device can just be applied to the wrist like a watch each time before sleeping. This means it is suitable for lots of people with diverse abilities and individual preferences. It also requires minimal effort so doesn't cause fatigue.
Our Device also meets Principle 5, this is due to the design of our device. Our device is designed to detect 2 readings , a dramatic increase in the both of these readings alerts the device to a sleep paralysis episode thus emitting a vibration and waking the sufferer up. The use of an And Logic system ensures that the user is only woken when they experience an episode as it needs to recognise both an increase in muscle tension and an increase in heart rate and not an isolated occurrence. Due to the use of both readings this greatly reduces error within our device.