Wearable device said to promote deep sleep

April 11, 2022
Wearable device said to promote deep sleep

Researchers at ETH Zurich, Switzerland, have developed a mobile system, SleepLoop, that can aid deep sleep through auditory brain stimulation – essentially by playing precisely timed sounds through earphones to encourage sleeping. The device is unique because the wearer is not consciously aware of this sound.

The SleepLoop system consists of a headband and bonnet that is put on at bedtime and worn throughout the night. It contains electrodes and a microchip that constantly measures and analyses the brain activity of the person sleeping. As soon as the system senses slow waves in the brain activity characterising deep sleep, it triggers a short auditory signal (clicking) which helps to synchronise the neuronal cells and enhance the slow waves.

Senior participants of a clinical study wore the SleepLoop device every night for a total of four weeks, with some reporting significantly improved sleep. The system was designed to function independently even by users with little technical experience.

“This worked very well. We had surprisingly little data loss and the participants rated the device as user-​friendly,” said Caroline Lustenberger, group leader at the Neural Control of Movement Lab at the University Hospital Zurich.

However, the question of whether a person reacted to the auditory stimulus was, according to Lustenberger, independent of their well-​being during the day. “Some [participants] generally responded well to the stimuli and clearly showed enhanced slow waves, while others showed no response, regardless of their daily well-​being.”

The researchers are now trying to establish a method of predicting how well the device will work on specific individuals, to optimise performance.

Category: Features, Technology & Devices

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