Battling insomnia with a host of high-tech hacks. Do they work?

dreamheadband
Image: Dreem

In the US alone, [there’s] 82 million people who struggle with sleep.

Given those figures, it’s no wonder there are so many tech startups hoping to cash in by “fixing” sleep for sufferers. After a period of particularly bad sleeplessness, I decided to give some of them a go.

[U]nless a device is monitoring your brain activity, it cannot actually tell what stage of sleep you are in, says psychologist Elizabeth Woodward. Rings, watches, or mats, which use movement as a proxy, simply aren’t reliable enough.

That left the last tracking option: the Dreem headband. It’s one of the only sleep trackers on the market to deploy the so-called “gold standard” of sleep monitoring used in the laboratory: electrodes placed along your forehead.

Related article:  Understanding brain states: How your mind functions when tired, versus wired on caffeine

All the while I tested these gadgets, I found my sleep worsening. My anxiety levels went up, almost inevitably: the stress hormone cortisol declines with good sleep, but lack of sleep leads to higher cortisol, and that means more stress. All this effort on finding tech that would help me sleep better was having the opposite effect.

Read full, original post: I tried to hack my insomnia with technology. Here’s what worked.

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