The Hypnos project was one of the winning proposals for Eureka Eurostars-2 call. The scope of the project is to deliver game-changing neurotechnology for sleep improvement.
One-third of the population in industrialized countries experiences sleep deprivation. Difficulties falling asleep and waking up several times throughout the night are the most common reasons for missing out on sleep hours. Often the repercussions of a bad night of sleep affect our ability to function during day-time as well.
For some, sleep troubles are recurrent. When difficulties falling asleep, waking up at night and day-time fatigue occur more than 3 days a week and over 3 months or more, chronic insomnia is diagnosed. 1 in 10 adults experiences chronic insomnia and the COVID pandemic exacerbated this rate. A 37% increase in the rates of clinical insomnia has been reported from before to peak of the pandemic.
Sleep is a basic biological function, essential for our physical and mental health. Insufficient or non-restorative sleep has important consequences on our well-being as well as on our physical and cognitive performance. According to the World Sleep Society, insufficient sleep is linked to the development of pathologies such as obesity and hypertension, age-related cognitive decline and a lower immune response.
Furthermore, recent studies such as PESA (Progression of Early Subclinical Atherosclerosis) have shown that those who sleep less than 6 hours are 27% more likely to suffer from atherosclerosis, a condition related to myocardial infarction. In the case of poor quality sleep, this risk rises to 34%, making the relationship between sleep and cardiovascular risk clear.
Correlation between sleep and mental health
Brain health can also be affected by poor sleep quality. While we sleep, our brain goes through a “washing-cycle” as the level of toxins that accumulate throughout the day gets lowered. Furthermore, our brain resets its activity level throughout the different sleep stages and has the time to process emotional thoughts and memories.
Although the relation between sleep and mental health has not been fully uncovered, it is clear that sleep plays an important role on our mood and mental health. It seems likely that sleep and mental health affect one another bilaterally. Mental health problems often negatively impact sleep while poor sleep often contributes to initiating and aggravating mental health disorders.
Monitoring and improving sleep
Since sleep is so crucial for our physical and mental health, analyzing how we sleep can provide us insight into how to improve our sleep habits and sleep quality.
This is why Drowzee has joined forces with 2 partners to deliver a new neurotechnology-based tool for sleep improvement with the endorsement of Eureka Eurostars. Our partners are Bitbrain and Akershus University Hospital. Bitbrain is a pioneer in the field of neurotechnology as it has delivered brain-monitoring technologies to the industry and research sector since 2010. Akershus University Hospital is the largest Norwegian hospital and hosts a sleep research laboratory.
Our consortium has the right players to achieve an ambitious mission, to eradicate chronic insomnia through the latest advancements in neurotechnology. Together, we will deliver the next need-to-have device for sleep improvement. Our cutting-edge technology is backed by science and will be tested on chronic insomniacs to verify its full potential.
The first version of the product, the Pendulum, is now ready!
The Pendulum combines a Pendulum App and Headband. The headband is designed to be comfortably worn around the head to collect data about our brain waves, respiration, movement and pulse. Wear the Pendulum during daytime, and you’ll get to train your brain for better sleep. Wear the Pendulum at night, and you’ll get full insight into your sleeping patterns.
Brain Training with the Pendulum
The brain training programme offered by the Pendulum works by strengthening brain patterns related to sleep initiation and maintenance.
All you need to do is sit down and relax for 5 to 20 minutes a day. The Pendulum will start reading your brainwaves and broadcasting audio soundscapes.
The soundscapes are designed to help you relax and play special sounds every time you get closer to a sleepy mental state. Those special sounds work as a reward for your brain, which learns to produce and maintain that sleepy mental state to trigger more and more rewards. The training programme is designed to help you fall asleep quicker and stay asleep. This way, you finally have control over your sleep quality and have the power to work on it and improve it.
How it Works in Practice
Once you log into the Pendulum App, you’ll get to navigate through multiple soundscapes. There’s plenty to choose from and you’ll be able to preview them and choose your favourite. The app currently offers 6 soundscape playlists: Ambiance, Nature, Man-made Things, Hypnotic Thoughts, Isochronic Tones and Breathing Exercises.
Once you’ve completed the training session, you’ll get a score and data about the session. You can review your sessions over time in the ‘My sessions’ tab, where you get an overview of how much you’ve been training, your training scores, and the soundscapes you’ve been using.
For those interested in extra data, the Pendulum offers a sleep diary and prediction feature. In the sleep diary feature, you get the option to report and keep track of how you’ve been sleeping. The sleep prediction feature uses data from your training session and sleep diary to predict how you’ll sleep the coming night. This can give you extra insight into how day-time behaviours affect your night-time sleep.