Fokke van Meulen, Sebastiaan Overeem (Sleep Medicine Center Kempenhaeghe), Juha Kortelainen, Johan Plomp (VTT), Mikko Saanjanlehto (eLive)
You cannot live without sleep. We all need to sleep, preferably during the night and for multiple consecutive hours. Unfortunately, this is not obvious for everyone. Many people suffer from sleeping problems which may develop into a sleep disorder.
Left untreated, a sleep disorder may disturb night-time sleep patterns and causes daytime fatigue, but also increases the risk of serious health conditions such as hypertension, heart attacks and atrial fibrillation. Despite these risks, sleep disorders such as obstructive sleep apnea often go unnoticed for a long time. This is due to unawareness of its symptoms but also because a proper diagnosis can only be done with relatively cumbersome methodology. This methodology, commonly referred to as polysomnography (PSG) is the gold standard in monitoring sleep.
PSG is widely used in clinical practice, but it has some drawbacks. During a PSG, many wired sensors are used to measure multiple (vital) signs (e.g., Heart rate, Respiration rate, body movements). These wired sensors influence the actual sleep quality and therefore result in a less representative assessment of sleep.
VTT, Sleep Medicine Center Kempenhaeghe and eLive are working together to develop and test a new and fully unobtrusive method for the measurement and assessment of key parameters that are part of the current PSG techniques.
A demonstrator is designed by VTT (VTT FMCW 60 GHz radar system) and uses radar to unobtrusively estimate vital signs such as heart rate, which in turn can be used to monitor sleep. Within a first pilot, the technical feasibility of the radar based contactless measurement setup will be evaluated in a real-life clinical setting, by comparing results of the radar system with simultaneously recorded parameters measured with a conventional PSG system.
As sleep-related disorders increase, creating in-home self-monitoring devices suitable for screening for sleep disorders is essential. eLive examines the potential marketability of the demonstrator. eLive’s current solutions uses ballistocardiograph sensors, and radar-based non-contact measurement offers promising possibilities for the measurement of sleep, that complete and refine their current solution.