78: How The Dreem headband Monitors Brain Activity To Help You Sleep
The wealth of sleep trackers at the moment have huge inaccuracies whether it be putting your Smartphone under a pillow or wearing a fitness wristband on your wrist. The reality is they aren’t actually tracking sleep patterns, they are tracking movement. I’ve been searching for a more scientific solution and came across a company called Rhythm. They are a neurotechnology company and they are about to debut their first product, an active wearable headband called Dreem.
This will be the first wearable to go beyond merely monitoring sleep, but actually reading brain waves and will influence people to sleep better. They had to invent sensors so small that they could stuff a massive hospital housed EEG into a headband that monitors your brain. I think most of us know that even though we’re asleep our brains are far from being inactive through the night. There is a whole insight of information about how our bodies function by tapping into those brain waves and that’s the only way we can understand and improve upon our sleep. I invited the guys from Rhythm onto the show to talk about Dreem and about how they can turn sleep data into tangible results.
As the CEO and co-founder of Dreem can you explain to the listeners exactly what this wearable headband is?
Dreem is the first active sleep wearable device that can increase the quality of sleep. Contrary to other existing wearable products it doesn’t only monitor your sleep it improves it through brain stimulation during the night.
Do you think we don’t realize how much lack of sleep affects the brain? How does the Dreem headband help users understand what happens when we sleep?
I think people are becoming more and more aware of the importance of sleep. We know when we don’t sleep well the next day we are very tired and mentally and physically unbalanced. Sleep is important for restorative processes during the night. Poor sleep quality over many weeks and months can lead to diseases. Poor sleep over many years can lead to Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s.
We studied in a laboratory using state of the art energy acquisition systems. The product is based on the acquisition of your brain activity. This is state of the art. When you go to a sleep center or hospital to have a sleep exam they will put a device on your head to monitor your brain activity while you sleep. So we started with that kind of device and some big changes we made was to miniaturize it and make it small, portable and easy to use by everyone.
When we are sleeping what patterns does the headband record? Does it produce any reports the following day and what information can be gained from looking at these results?
When you’re sleeping your brain goes through different stages and cycles. When you first go to sleep you go into light sleep, then deep sleep, then you go back into light sleep then deep sleep and then REM sleep which is where you dream.
Light sleep is a transitional change, deep sleep is really critical for cellular regeneration (your body is recovering from the day during this stage). The headband is looking at your brain activity and quality of the neurons. We process this information with the miniaturized computer in the headband.
Does the device help you enter deep sleep faster and help your brain stay in that stage longer?
It helps you fall asleep faster and increases the quality of sleep.
A lot of sleep trackers out there are primitive and have huge inaccuracies. Can you explain what these inaccuracies are and how your dream headband is different?
I think that’s a good question and is a question in line with the current news. I saw an article yesterday about Fit bit going through another trial. So lack of accuracy at the sleep staging and Fit Bit it not the only one. In terms of sleep staging you cannot do sleep staging by wearing a wristband. A wristband only monitors the movement of your body during the night and it’s not accurate at all.
Is the headband available yet? How can listeners purchase and how much does it cost?
A few weeks ago we launched our Dreem first program so you can go on our website www.rythm.co and subscribe to the program. It’s a limited service release of the product. We didn’t want to do a mass market launch right away so we are limiting the number available because it’s a hard product to manufacture. There is a limit of 500 units so people can go on the website, subscribe and we will select people. We are starting the first shipment in the coming days. It is $349 dollars.
What’s next on the horizon for your guys?
We are going to improve the hardware to be smarter and smarter and we are going to create a broader spectrum of features.
What countries do you ship to?
We are launching in France, the United States and England.