From the rise of influencers to the explosion of wellness fads, a lot has changed in sleep technology over the last decade. But it’s not just dairy alternatives and 12-step skin care routines we have to be thankful for. Along with rising trends toward healthy living, there’s a new appreciation for a good night’s sleep, and the tools you need to achieve it.
Throughout the decade, CEOs and shift workers alike started to make shuteye a priority. But how did we get here? To kick start the new year we’ve created a review of the biggest trends in sleep from 2010 to 2020.
From Musty Mattresses to Bed-in-a-Box Delivery
In the early 2010s, mattress shopping was still synonymous with big-box stores. To make things worse, millennial consumers seemed to be either overwhelmed by the plethora of mattress options, or simply uninterested in the idea of investing in a good night’s sleep. That all changed in 2012 when JT Marino and Daehee park decided to take on the archaic industry by founding Tuft & Needle. T&N was the first direct-to-consumer sleep company to provide a simple, one-style-fits-all solution to mattress shopping, spearheading an innovative bed-in-a-box and home delivery movement that made buying a bed easier than ever before.
Work Hard, Play Harder
The beginning of the decade was business as usual. Instead of looking to health and sleeping habits to maintain productivity in work and school, Americans were more likely to turn to amphetamines or “study drugs” to boost their alertness. According to QuintilesIMS, roughly 16 million Adderall prescriptions were written for adults between ages 20 and 39 in 2012. The resulting culture was one of overwork and restlessness that would come to a head halfway through the decade. Advances in sleep technology were just around the corner, ready to shake up how we sleep.
The Great Technological Divide
Not all Americans were wired on study drugs during the 2010s, but most of us were tuned into another new technology—smartphones. The increasing use of iPhone and Android devices mirrored the rise of endless applications and tracking devices. Meant to make our lives easier, they simultaneously demanded we spend more time tuned into work and the world around us. Along with social media and 24/7 email availability came new concerns surrounding the way technology affects our health. In 2013, a study from the Mayo Clinic revealed that the light emitted by mobile devices affected users’ sleep habits by interfering with the body’s release of melatonin, the sleep hormone.
This discovery was the catalyst for a new movement to stay unplugged.
Deep Sleep on The Horizon
In 2016, eight years after Gwyneth Paltrow kick-started the rise of wellness culture with the launch of goop.com, Ariana Huffington published The Sleep Revolution, a go-to guide for making deep sleep a daily priority. Along with encouraging readers to keep smartphones and computers out of the bedroom for a better night’s sleep, Huffington challenged the idea that sleep deprivation is essential to achievement and success. By spreading the gospel of sleeping better, Huffington triggered the rise of new wellness trends, as well as major growth in the sleep market.
The Golden Age of Sleep Aids
Along with the proliferation of new direct-to-consumer mattress companies, Huffington’s digestible self-help book contributed to boom in the sleep industry. During the second half of the decade, new technologies like sleep trackers and weighted blankets earned reviews in prestigious publications like The New Yorker. This turned a once stagnant industry into a $70 billion market seemingly overnight. According to Fast Company, these sleep aids generated $69.5 billion in revenue worldwide in 2017, demonstrating just how much people were willing to pay for a good sleep.
Boom and Bust Sleep Cycles
Fads come and go, and not all sleep companies are built the same. Since 2017, several mattress startups have fallen off the map, while other more experimental products like sleep robots have failed to catch on. Today, the hype around sleep has simmered, leaving us basking in the afterglow with a healthier mindset and a slew of amazing new sleep innovations to help us get the rest we need. Gone are the days of dismissing self-care in favor of early mornings and late nights.
If the lasting legacy of the 2010s is a renewed appreciation for self-care, we’ll take it—pillows, sleep robots, and all.
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