In part 1 of this two-part investigative piece (published last week), we derived the correlation between the pandemic and sleep using the power of our consumer data. In part 2, we will explore how both consumers and the sleep aid industry stakeholders are driving the narrative around insomnia remedies. We will also examine some cutting-edge technology-based solutions enabling the war on insomnia through the lens of NWO.AI's extensive repository of patent documents and other scientific literature.
Natural remedies for sleep disorders
According to a report by BCC Research, the global sleep aid industry is expected to “grow from $81.2 billion in 2020 to $112.7 billion by 2025”. The industry encompasses products ranging from health supplements, OTC and prescription anti-insomnia medication, mattresses and pillows, to sleep aid devices.
- Cannabis as a Sleep Aid (+2165%)
The sedative effects of cannabis and its active constituents, cannabinoids, have long been known. Preliminary research has found evidence that “endocannabinoids play a prominent role in sleep and sleep neurophysiology”, while THC and CBD have been used to treat chronic health conditions including chronic pain and PTSD, which can lead to improved sleep as a secondary outcome. This year, NWO.AI detected multiple inflection points related to cannabis as a sleep aid. The legal cannabis industry in the US, making up more than half of the global legal marijuana market, is projected to reach $43 billion by 2025. However, the cannabis market takes a breather from its upward movement over the past 6 months, and we see that cannabis as a sleep aid is trending down.
- CBD Oil Tincture as a Sleep Aid (+62%)
Even though NWO.AI predicted multiple inflection points relating to CBD oil tincture for aiding sleep, interest around the product remains pretty low and seems to be on a downward trend going into 2022, before a slight rebound. This is perhaps due to consumer skepticism as not all of these products have proven to be effective and none of them are approved by the FDA. Additionally, consumers likely prefer other ways of taking CBD: vaping is the fastest way for the body to absorb the compound for its desired effects.
- Melatonin gummies as a Sleep Aid (-40%)
Besides melatonin’s effects on sleep, researchers at the Cleveland Clinic made an interesting observation in January last year—the coronavirus could potentially be blocked by the sleep hormone. Another study published in November 2020 has shown that melatonin usage reduces the likelihood of Covid infection, which makes sense as melatonin recalibrates the immune system.
With melatonin readily available over the counter, the spike in interest around melatonin gummies registered by our platform suggests that more people are starting to take melatonin to induce sleep. As people’s sleep-wake cycle regulates itself in winter when there are fewer daylight hours, they may not find much need for melatonin, which explains the decline in melatonin gummies in the colder months.
- Banana Tea as a Sleep Aid (+21%)
With consumers experimenting with home remedies for improving sleep, banana tea as a sleep aid is at an inflection point. Magnesium deficiency has been linked to sleep disorders, and the magnesium and potassium content in bananas may improve sleep by decreasing inflammation in the red blood cells and increasing relaxation.
- Ashwagandha as a Sleep Aid (+36%)
Another natural remedy, Ashwagandha is an adaptogenic herb that contains the compound Trimethylene Glycol which induces sleep. The root extract has multiple health benefits that include reducing the effects and symptoms of stress and anxiety disorder. NWO.AI detected several inflection points, with the biggest spikes in summer as the herb not only improves sleep, it also reduces fatigue caused by the summer heat.
- Lavender Bath Oil as a Sleep Aid (+66%)
Lavender essential oil is commonly used for relaxation and sleep, as the soothing aroma slows down the heart rate and blood pressure, especially when used before bed. Taking a bath is a relaxing activity in itself and breathing in the aroma of lavender during a bath can help consumers sink deeper into relaxation. Interest in the product is at an inflection point and is forecasted to sustain in 2022, contributing to the growth of the global lavender essential oil market which is valued at $34.2 million in 2020 and expected to reach $49.4 million by 2027.
How tech is fighting the war on insomnia
NWO.AI's patent database offers extensive global coverage dating back to the 1700s, enabling clients to unravel the entire life cycle of a technology-driven trend. Moreover, clients can use the tool to identify frontiers of innovation occurring in any industry. Within seconds the system populates a list of microtrends related to “sleep device” from the lens of scientific literature.
Here are the key inflection points:
- Hybrid oral device (+260%)
A hybrid oral device is a non-invasive solution for sleep apnea patients to reduce or eliminate snoring, especially for those who can’t tolerate the continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine due to its side effects that cause discomfort. Though we’ve seen a massive spike in chatter around a hybrid oral device, interest in the product will trend downwards in the winter - when cases of cold and flu are prevalent, making it uncomfortable to use a hybrid oral device - and pick up again in spring 2022.
- Respiratory therapy/ventilation therapy (+32%)
Used to treat complex or central sleep apnea, respiratory therapy or adaptive servo-ventilation (ASV) is one of the newer forms of non-invasive therapy on the market. The ASV device detects abnormalities in breathing and adapts its airway pressure according to the patient’s breathing patterns instead of sticking to a pre-set pressure, which reduces the discomfort experienced by CPAP users. However, interest in the device remains pretty low as this treatment is not recommended for people with heart failure as there is some prevalence of sleep apnea being a primary comorbidity in heart failure, and adherence to respiratory therapy devices has remained at a flat for the past 20 years.
- Melatonin Secretion (+173%)
We’ve already established that melatonin is essential for sleep, and may help combat Covid-19, especially due to the fact that sleep is important in helping the body heal. People who aren’t seeing results from taking melatonin supplements could be interested in other products that encourage a circadian rhythm reset and melatonin secretion, such as a light therapy device.
- Multifunctional pillow (+255%)
A good pillow plays a big part in getting a good night’s sleep and there’s been huge interest in the multifunctional pillows lately, perhaps due to a surge in demand for the product among Generation X and Baby Boomers who are suffering from chronic sleep disturbances and have become increasingly concerned with the negative health impact that poor sleep and snoring can cause. Covid has disrupted the production and supply chain of multifunctional pillows, which explains the low interest in the product last year. However, it’s forecasted to trend downwards as the high cost of production of multifunctional and smart pillows makes the product unaffordable for middle-class consumers, consequently hindering the growth of the smart pillow market, making the product unaffordable for middle-class consumers.
- Organic and multifunctional mattress (+14%)
A Technavio report revealed three emerging trends driving the global mattress market from 2017 - 2021: preference for customized mattresses, growing demand for eco-friendly mattresses, and the need for multifunctional beds. We’ve indeed seen a spike in patent filings around mattress bodies in January 2021.
- Body surface temperature adjustment (+102%)
For the most comfortable sleep, doctors recommend a bedroom temperature of 60 to 67 degrees Fahrenheit. This temperature range signals our body that it’s time for bed and helps to decrease our core body temperature, coinciding with the release of melatonin. Fortunately for those who are unable to maintain optimal bedroom temperature, smart mattresses feature built-in cooling/heating and sleep tracking, which can be useful in extremely hot or cold seasons when sleep disruptions usually occur. During these extreme seasons, we see a bigger interest in sleep devices that regulate mattress body surface temperature.
- Quilt (-57%)
The right bedding can improve sleep quality, but it’s not surprising that just any old quilt isn’t going to cut it when it comes to treating sleep disorders and insomnia. However, weighted blankets stimulate serotonin production, reduce cortisol, and increase levels of melatonin. Researchers have found that “insomnia patients with psychiatric disorders experienced reduced insomnia severity, improved sleep, and less daytime sleepiness when sleeping with a weighted chain blanket.”
- Body Pillow (-5%)
According to this study, hugging a cushion-like huggable device such as a body pillow reduces cortisol level as it mimics the physiological effects of human touch. Sleep apnea patients on CPAP machines can also use specially designed body pillows to alleviate discomfort. After a massive spike in interest in body pillows in January, the product has been trending down.
A Final Note
Did you know that there were 352,049 patents granted in 2020 within the US alone? Keeping up with the frontiers of innovation across industries can be extremely cumbersome even with an army of patent experts. NWO.AI solves this while also teasing out technology microtrends that are ripe for adoption by consumers across geographies. Get in touch with us to discuss how we can help your business transform unstructured & noisy data into insights in seconds.
NWO.AI's predictive platform enables leading Fortune 500 companies and government agencies to anticipate and track global cultural shifts by aggregating, analyzing, and producing actionable reports on human-generated data. We are leveraging petabytes of external, noisy, and unstructured data from various sources - including search, social media, blogs, news, patent databases, SEC filings and we are continuously adding more sources. Our mission is to answer the what, when, and most importantly 'why' behind a consumer trend and enable our customers to detect these shifts as early as possible.
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