Sleep Scan Slumber Tracker Pad Makes Bed Rest Better

It sees you when you're sleeping; it knows when you're awake... no, not Santa Claus, the Tanita Sleep Scan Mat! By monitoring your sleep patterns, this unobtrusive electronic device can help you plan a more restful sleep.

The Tanita Sleep Scan Mat is a thin pad that slips under your mattress - you won't know its there but make no mistake: it'll be keeping tabs on you while you slumber. Scary as this might sound, it's actually a good thing to have someone (well, some THING) watching over you.

The various sensors embedded in the flexible Sleep Scan SL-501 pad record the sleeper's breathing pattern and heart rate in real time, over a set period of time. In addition, by noting the sleeper's range of motion the type and depth of sleep can be determined.

The SL-501 (Tanita's PDF here) compiles and stores this data on an SD card and then analyzes the statistics using dedicated software. When displayed graphically, certain patterns become evident and at that point a diagnosis can be made.

It's thought that approximately 1 in 5 people suffer from some sort of sleep disorder, the precise nature of which is difficult to determine. Sleep disorders are often associated with - and may sometimes be the root cause of - conditions and illnesses that can lead to chronic disabilities and a reduced quality of life.

The type of comprehensive testing required to pinpoint sleeping problems was previously only possible in a hospital setting at great expense, so the estimated 36,750 yen (about $395) retail selling price of the Tanita Sleep Scan SL-501 isn't all that steep. Look for it on Japanese store shelves in mid-May of 2010. (via Impress Watch and Trendhunter)