Insomnia affects around 1 in 3 people in the UK, and it targets the elderly more often than other age groups. Startups such as Sleepwave, Moonbird, SleepCogni, and Zeez are taking steps to confront this issue.
These initiatives offer everything from smart alarms that adapt to your body’s movements to handheld gadgets that guide you through correct breathing techniques. Armed with these technological solutions, many people may finally find the restful sleep they’ve been missing, while also improving their overall sleep quality and mental wellness.
Sleepwave is the new motion-sensing smart alarm and sleep tracking app that wakes you up feeling fresh. Sleepwave has invented breakthrough motion-sensing technology that transforms your phone into a contactless motion sensor using inaudible sound waves.
Sleepwave uses the phone’s speaker to transmit an inaudible sound wave and senses your movements by listening for reflections using the microphone. This patent-pending technology enables accurate sleep tracking from a phone beside your bed that is comparable to wearable devices, and a motion-sensing smart alarm that is linked to your body movements.
Sleepwave is solving a big problem
Most people hate waking up in the morning! Fixed-time alarms often jolt us awake at a bad moment for our brain, causing lingering morning tiredness that negatively impacts how we start our day.
Sleepwave is proven to improve your morning wake-up experience with a smart alarm that is in sync with your body movements. Set a time window and the alarm sounds gently at a great moment when you’re primed to wake up well. 91% of testers reported that Sleepwave had a positive impact on their awakenings.
While the number of people dealing with burnout, anxiety disorders, and insomnia continues to peak, breathing as a way to relax and find inner peace is growing in popularity. And because breathing exercises are more effective if you do them correctly and regularly, moonbird has developed a tool that guides you intuitively, like a breathing coach in your hand. Relaxing has never been so easy. And fun.
Slow breathing, less stress
Although not everyone may realise it, breathing is our most powerful tool to help reduce stress and anxiety. Simple, short breathing exercises act as a reset button for your nervous system. Breathing exercises have been known for centuries as an effective self-help tool and the science behind breathwork is vast.
Breathing has the ability to increase our tolerance to carbon dioxide, helping us to short circuit the experience of stress and panic. Increased levels of carbon dioxide have been proven to calm the amygdala – responsible for our fight or flight instinct – and synchronise your heart rate with your breathing rhythm. All of this aids in quickly and effectively reducing symptoms of stress and anxiety.
That is where moonbird wants to make a difference. This innovative, sleek, and compact tool guides your breathing slowly, whilst providing feedback on your heart rate and how your body relaxes via a connected app.
Taking care of your own (mental) wellbeing
The founders of Moonbird, brother and sister duo, Stefanie Broes (PhD in Pharmaceutical Sciences) and Michael Broes (Economist), saw a gap in the market to make the benefits of breathing more widely accessible and understood, via an easy to use, accessible handheld breathing device that allows people to track their progress and manage their stress more efficiently.
Stefanie Broes, co-founder of moonbird:
“We founded moonbird after seeing more and more friends and family members struggling with insomnia, stress, and anxiety attacks. Sadly, the truth is that these emotions are increasingly part of our daily lives, even more so amid the pressure, we’re facing as a result of the pandemic and its impacts felt widely all over the world.
Whilst medication can sometimes be the answer, it is not always necessary and there are other proven techniques people can turn to, which is where the importance of breathwork comes in. Moonbird is designed to be an effective, manageable and discreet tool that goes with you anywhere and everywhere to nip anxiety and stress in the bud as and when it happens. Our technology is making a big difference already, as can be seen through the many customers already benefiting from it in their daily lives.”
SleepCogni, an award-winning British medical device firm, specialises in diagnosing and treating sleep disorders. Their patented bedside and wearable device system empowers sleep professionals to gain a deeper understanding of individuals with insomnia. The system offers various proven interventions, including CBT-I. SleepCogni integrates information on physiology, behaviour, and sleep environments into a comprehensive digital and technological solution.
The company receives financial backing from leading UK venture capital fund Mercia Technologies Plc and, more recently, from the UK’s governmental innovation agency, InnovateUK. SleepCogni collaborates with some of the world’s top technologists, sleep clinicians, and universities. Currently, the firm is transitioning from its research and development phase to clinically validate its device’s measurements, with clinical trials slated for 2018.
September in the UK, can be a month with beautiful weather. Time to drink up mid-day sunshine, as the window of time during which our bodies can make vitamin D narrows. Vitamin D made now will be stored in our body, and help us to sleep well and stay healthy through autumn and winter. It also helps us to absorb magnesium, essential for good sleep, with or without the Zeez Sleep Pebble. So please, take your lunch break, hang out in the park, and sleep well.
Zeez technology is unique. We use brainwave patterns to prompt good sleep, right through the night.
Precision and quiet intelligence make our devices special. Silent, gentle pulses under the pillow prompt us to fall asleep, stay asleep and wake up with energy. No app, no headband, no sticky pads.
Zeez technology addresses the fundamental problem of poor sleep: our too fast brain. We copy the alpha, theta and delta frequencies generated by the brain of a good sleeper, and use those in a timed sequence over 4 sleep cycles to prompt a good sleep pattern. Other devices use electro-stimulation or powerful magnetic fields to penetrate the skull and change brain activity.
Zeez signals are extremely gentle – not strong enough to cross the skull. There is no sound or vibration. Minimise electrical fields in your bedroom, put WiFi enabled devices into airplane mode, switch off your router if it is less than 7.5m from your pillow, and ensure a good environment within the brain by drinking enough water, eating well and supplementing minerals that are missing from our over-farmed soils*, and most people follow the Zeez pattern and sleep better. Usually this takes one – three weeks.
Sleep School are the ‘trusted sleep experts’ with over 15 years experience working with chronic insomnia sufferers and providing evidence based solutions. Sleep School uses clinically proven education and tools to teach users how to sleep better for life, naturally.
Guided by the UK’s leading sleep expert, Dr. Guy Meadows (PhD), the Sleep School app recommends users a personal sleep plan specific to their individual sleep issues and needs including 30-day multimedia courses, 7-day audio-based series, nightly sleep advice and guided audios, and private video sleep clinic bookings with a Sleep School doctor (PhD).
Sleep School believes its success is rooted in a ground-breaking behavioral therapy known as Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT). ACT has 40 years worth of evidence proving it to be effective for anxiety, depression, stress, PTSD and chronic pain. Sleep School has globally pioneered the use of ACT for chronic insomnia to help clients sleep naturally. ACT is endorsed by the UK National Health Service (NHS) and the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).