We live in stressful lives in a hectic world that isn’t always kind to our bodies and minds. With a third of American adults saying they get less than the recommended amount of sleep, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, it’s clear that our hyperconnected days are impacting our ability to sleep at night.
But a simple device called Dodow might be able to help. With just a bit of light, French company Livlab claims it can help people fall asleep faster, and without sleeping pills, by tapping into one of the body’s natural mechanisms. The device works using a pulsing night light, which a user is meant to follow along with her breath, activating a reflex that causes her heart rate and blood pressure to decrease.
Livlab cofounder Alex Dujoncquoy explained the process to Digital Trends: “[The device] shines a light on the ceiling and you breathe at the rhythm of the light, and it takes you from around eleven breaths per minutes, which is the normal breathing rate, to six breaths per minute, which is a very slow rate that triggers a small mechanism called baroreflex, which gets you from an alert state to a ‘rest and digest’ state.”
Stress is often responsible for the inability to fall asleep, as we stay up at night worrying about work, school, children, parents, or whatever other issues might run through the mind. The goal of Dodow is to calm the “fight or flight” aspect of stress, and bring the autonomic nervous system back into balance by stimulating the baroreflex, which itself can be activated by slow, rhythmic breathing.
“Bascially after eight minutes of this exercise you’re mind and body are more relaxed,” Dujoncquoy said.
“This won’t knock you out,” he added. “It’s like a sleep warmup for people who have trouble falling asleep and may need a bit of training to get used to falling asleep faster.”
Dodow is in talks with a French hospital to arrange clinical studies with the device. And although it hasn’t been clinically validated, Dujoncquoy said Dodow users report falling asleep around 2.5 times faster than before using the device.
The company is now looking to introduce Dodow to the U.S. market.