iWinks newest smart headband promises better dreams and improved sleep for the otherwise sleep deprived tech-savvy consumer.
With increased time devoted to stressful preoccupations like work, more people are suffering from insufficient sleep.
Sleep is critical to human health as it is a necessary, restorative state of consciousness. It has been suggested this state of awareness allows the brain to reset, as during our waking hours we’re constantly taking in and processing information. Sleep also permits for physical recovery and repair.
Both acute and chronic sleep deprivation in humans has been linked to fatigue, weight gain, insulin resistance, impaired immune function, as well as inhibited mobility and cognitive functions.
Chronic sleep deprivation has short and long term consequences. These can include lessened focus and retention, heightened aggression and mood, and an increased susceptibility to illnesses, reports The National Sleep Foundation.
But there never seems to be enough hours in our busy days to get enough sleep, and when we try to most of us experience difficulty falling out right away. In an effort to entertain ourselves on our way to dreamland, we hop onto our laptops, tablets, smartphones, or watch television.
However, research has found the hour before bed should be an electronics-free zone. Studies have shown the presence of artificial light can interfere with the body’s natural sleep cycle, inadvertently stimulating the chemicals in the brain otherwise responsible for inducing and maintaining sleep.
Furthermore, blue light specifically (shortest of wavelengths), is especially harmful to circadian rhythm function – suppressing melatonin levels. Many energy-efficient light sources produce high concentrations of blue light.
In order to aid the sleep deprived, iWinks has created the Aurora smart headband. The iWinks device is meant to be worn nightly in order to optimize the hours we do sleep, improving both the quality of our dreams and overall sleep experience – focusing primarily on the theory of lucid dreaming.
The iWinks Aurora smart headband takes a measurement of brain waves through a user’s forehead to determine when REM sleep has been achieved. Brain activity is notably high during REM sleep. The device then uses both lights and audio from the user’s smartphone to alert the user that he/she is dreaming (while hopefully not waking up in the process). These specialty alerts make the sleeper aware they are dreaming while they stay asleep – allegedly allowing the user to take control of their dreams.
This is done in order to train the brain, in a manner of speaking, to adjust to lucid dreaming. A lucid dream is any dream in which one is aware that one is dreaming. According to Mashable, this is an ideal state of sleep; less stressful.
The Aurora headband can be used on its own, without a device (although the audio cues are only available with a smartphone) and will sync with apps on desktop, iOS and Android.
[Photo Credit: iWinks Aurora Headband video capture]