🦄 vol. 39
matt chats about sleep 😴
sleeping beauty 😴
In the midst of market chaos, Musk’s Twitter tomfoolery and Instagram’s (unsolicited) revamp, I thought it might be somewhat centring to return to one of the basic pillars of human existence: sleep.
By the time you’ve reached 25 years of age, you’ve had close to 60,000 hours of sleep. And if Malcolm Gladwell’s 10,000-hour rule-of-thumb is anything to go by, we should all be experts at sleeping. The reality, as I’m sure you guessed, is anything but. Per The Economist, over 30% of Americans get less than 7 hours of sleep in a night. And if it wasn’t bad enough, the pandemic saw a spike in Google searches for “insomnia”.
Pff, big deal… 👀
Well, actually one could argue that it may just be the biggest deal.
A handful of cherry-picked insights on sleep:
Sleep deprivation impairs the clearance of the molecular detritus and waste products in the brain, which are produced while we’re awake. And sadly, data suggests we never really catch up on sleep.
Sleep increases DNA repair (and prolonged wakefulness actually promotes neuronal DNA damage, which in turns promotes sleep — thankfully).
While associational, extended periods of sleep deprivation are linked with increased incidence of depressive symptoms.
And over a lifetime, studies suggest that inadequate sleep quality and quantity is associated with increased incidence of heart disease, diabetes and Alzheimer’s.
If that’s not enough, sleep deprivation wreaks havoc on our “hunger hormones” and often results in weight gain.
Well, how can we improve? 🤔
Interestingly enough, Malcolm Gladwell’s commonly referenced 10,000-hour rule is often misquoted. It’s actually 10,000 hours of deliberate practice. And as we’ve seen the rise of wearables, with now just over 1 billion wearable devices used worldwide (think Oura and WHOOP), we have slowly moved toward the quantified self. And with more data, comes more actionable insights.
And so… 🤓
Here are a few startups that are focusing on the variables that affect our sleep:
Forget AirPods, Kokoon🎧 has developed wireless earbuds that play relaxing music to combat the effect of errant noise on one’s sleep. If that’s not enough, they also track a user’s sleep stage based on blood-oxygen levels.
Unwanted light wreaks havoc on your sleep cycle, which prompted Dreamlight 🥽💡 to develop a mask to block out any unwanted rays. But its ~R3000 price tag may become justifiable when you realise it also plays soothing audio and emits light to wake you when you’re in a light sleep stage.
And perhaps the most important variable in sleep: temperature🌡 . Your core body temperature is responsible for you falling asleep and rising from your slumber. Eight Sleep 8️⃣ 🛏, who have raised just over $150m in venture funding, developed a dynamic temperature-modulating mattress that aids your sleep (and costs ~R30,000). Monitoring your health parameters, the mattress adapts to your needs to ensure optimal temperature for physiological sleep. The best part? Each side of the bed is independent of one another, so you don’t have to fight over the sheets with your partner.
Show me the money 🤑
The vernacular of the start-up world is littered with acronyms and jargon. Founders speak of their burn rate, VCs may place heed on CAC, ARR or LTV, and some of us only get as far as gross margins. A good place to start for any idea? TAM.
Total addressable market (TAM) is the overall revenue opportunity for a product or service, given a 100% market share. And when your value proposition is improving sleep (and the accompanying benefits), your TAM is, well, every single person on the planet 🌍.
As a result, the sleep industry is said to be worth $12.5 billion. And that’s also influenced by the fact that sleep deprivation, through resultant poor health and loss of productivity, costs the US economy about $400 million a year. That’s a lot of guacamole 🥑.
Sleep is really important (like super-duper important).
Lack of sleep has marked health effects and economic implications.
There are heaps of startups trying to solve for better sleep (and there is heaps of money in the space).
Post-script: Most of this research (and a handful of the first draft) was done while awake at 3AM waiting for a trauma case to come to theatre. Try that for irony.
soon after reading matt’s piece, sash learnt about gucci’s (expensive) sleep tech collab with oura
karl enjoyed this substack as a tl;dr on the current venture implosion
matt hasn’t stopped talking about the elon musk interview from the all-in summit