April 17, 2005
SleepSmart Headband Alarm Clock Wakens You From Light Sleep Stage

A company called Axon Sleep Research Laboratories has developed a headband alarm clock that awakens you when you are not in a deep stage of sleep.

Have you ever felt that you have had a full night’s sleep, but you still feel tired when your alarm rings? When we sleep, we repeatedly move through several cycles of brain activity. It is incorrectly believed that an extra 15 minutes of sleep would make us feel better. What actually makes us feel alert and energetic, however, is being awoken out of the right sleep cycle.

The scientific community has known about this phenomenon for decades, but the technology has not existed to take advantage of it — until now. Enter SleepSmart: an intelligent alarm clock that monitors your sleep cycles as you sleep, waking you at the ideal moment from the optimal stage of sleep. This optimal moment might be several minutes prior to your set alarm time. However, when you wake up, you will be refreshed and ready for action — just as if you had awoken naturally.

The device is worn on your head and it analyses your EEG brain wave to decide when to awaken you. The device does not appear to be on sale yet.

They claim that being awakened from a lighter stage of sleep will cause a person to feel less tired.

SleepSmart’s technology is based on the existence of sleep cycles. For the sake of simplicity, we will classify the cycles into 3 categories: light, deep and REM (rapid eye movement) sleep. Recent scientific research has learned that the way one feels after waking up is determined not by the length of sleep, but rather the sleep cycle from which that person awakens. When awoken from deep sleep, the sleeper feels groggy, tired, and grumpy. However, if someone wakes up from a lighter stage of sleep, no matter how many hours they slept, they still wake up recharged, invigorated, energetic and alert.

SleepSmart capitalizes on this finding by waking people only from light sleep. In order to do this, users wear a soft headband that passively monitors the brain. The end result is the aversion of sleep inertia and the production of a more energetic, attentive and happy morning.

The headband is the idea of a group of Brown University students.

Share |      Randall Parker, 2005 April 17 03:19 PM  Brain Sleep

Bob Badour said at April 18, 2005 10:31 AM:

I hope they incorporate a blindfold to cover the eyes. I wonder why this hasn't been a part of every science fiction story for a few decades?

Nick said at April 18, 2005 2:29 PM:

Not to undercut the Brown engineers (ah, memories) but there's already a watch available that claims to do this:


Paul N said at April 19, 2005 4:11 PM:

I agree that waking up in the right phase of sleep is nice, but wearing a headband is cumbersome. The watch that Nick linked to seems much more practical to me.

The easiest way to ensure that you wake up at a good time is to have an alarm that goes off, for example, 6 hours after your bedtime, but is very quiet, so it only wakes you up if you're in the lightest phase of sleep.

Sarah said at April 20, 2005 12:59 PM:

I bought the SLeeptracker watch and it NEVER woke me up. I was late to work twice because the watch did not alarm. I think the watch is a gimick tell all your friends before they waste their money!

Susan L said at April 20, 2005 1:17 PM:

The sleeptracker is nothing like this invention. Something on your wrist would not wake up most people. However, something on your head is bound to wake you. I think this invention is brilliant and I can't wait to buy it. Any ideas where?

Swanson said at April 21, 2005 9:09 PM:

What's next? Earplug alarms?

Georges W. said at September 17, 2005 12:51 PM:

I know what's next. Alarms for rectal insertion, developed by the gay community. It has a vibrational alarm. Something in your ass will definetly wake you up...

Kat S said at December 1, 2005 7:11 AM:

I personally can't wait until this invetnion goes on sale.
I have a very difficult time sleeping, which is borderline to insomnia.
Unfortunately for me, I'm a senoir in highschool, and my sleep is getting progressively worse.
On the days that I do sleep, I wake up tired, groggy, and can't keep with it. As others have perceived i'm "out of it" all day!

Stephen Barteau said at February 2, 2006 6:01 PM:

I'm very interested in this. I'm just trying to grasp this idea of how this is to wake you up at the right time yet not be late like Sarah said. I wonder if there would be a range. Don't let me sleep past 6:00am or I'll be late for work but go ahead and wake me up as early as 4:30am if I had enough sleep and I'll go to the Gym.

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