WOMEN’S HEALTHSleepPutting the world to bed. A quiet revolution.

Putting the world to bed. A quiet revolution.

Does it feel as if your brain won’t slow enough to let you sleep? Do you wake up in the middle of the night with your mind whirling? Crawl out of bed feeling as if you haven’t had a proper rest? Start-up Zeez Sleep is getting sleepers who have tried everything to sleep well, by pulsing out the pattern of good sleep. A brainwave.

What can you do if you eat well, exercise, have the black-out blinds, lavender oil and a brand new mattress, and still can’t sleep?

Zeez Sleep has been quietly studying sleep for a long time. Now it set to make a big noise: its first product is attracting attention from poor sleepers, doctors and therapists. Zeez aims to get us to fall asleep, stay asleep, and wake up rested, even if we haven’t slept properly for decades. And they do it in a brand-new way.

First, a little about sleep.  We all do it, but what is it? A time when our brain switches off? No. We aren’t conscious during sleep, but our brain is definitely working. The most powerful activity our brain carries out all day happens with deep sleep. Not surprising, then, that it is during deep sleep that our body and mind are restored, and the brain cleaned of toxic debris.

Our brain cells communicate electrically, and when we are awake there is a great deal of fast activity. When we sleep, our brain activity slows and becomes more powerful, so that the frequencies at which our brain cells become electrically negative and positive changes from around 18 – 30 pulses each second in a daytime, thinking, state (18 – 30Hz), to less than one pulse / second (<1Hz). As our brain slows, so does our heart rate and breathing.

The problem is, for many of us, our brain doesn’t slow down in the way it should. There are many reasons for this: stress, hormones, a pattern of alertness carried on from listening for a baby as a new parent, a too-late coffee.  Whatever the cause, the effects are similar. To relax, our brain needs to slow down to a speed of 8 -12Hz (alpha brainwaves) ; to fall asleep, 4-8Hz (theta frequencies), and for deep restorative sleep right down 1Hz. Less than one pulse each second – slow and powerful pulses, associated with repairing the body, fighting infection,  and clearing toxic debris from the brain.

Zeez Sleep seeks to address poor sleep by prompting a good brainwave pattern. Their Zeez Sleep Pebble is a small under the pillow device that produces tiny silent pulses of the same frequencies as those produced by the brain of a good sleeper during relaxation and four sleep cycles. Press the button, and it generates pulses at the alpha frequencies associated with relaxation (8 -12 Hz). These are followed by theta frequencies, and later, at the time when a good sleeper would sleep deeply, slow delta wave frequencies.  Within a few days, most people follow the pattern, and sleep better. Zeez’s surveys show that 79% of users slept longer, waking less, and felt energetic during the day.  A case series study by Plymouth University hospital with people with Parkinson’s was a success, and other studies are underway.

The Zeez Sleep Pebble uses patented electronics in 3-D printed cases. 3D printing is ideal for initial batches, but not for full scale manufacture. Zeez’s founders, ex-insomniacs themselves, were conscious of the urgent need for something to help non-apnoea related poor sleep, and it was hard to retrieve samples. Founder Anna McKay explained that a penny dropped when a tester invited her to dinner following a 2- week trial, and explained calmly and firmly that the only way she would get it back was to “prise it out of [his] cold dead hand”. She realised that she had to start selling. Full-scale manufacture is planned later this year, and in the meantime, the existing 3-D printed version is up for a design award, more independent trials are planned, and the company’s confidence is such that they sell on 45-day return.

Zeez Sleep is not the only company seeking toencourage deep sleep, although the method it uses is unique, a feat of skilled engineering backed by years of testing. Others (e.g. Philips) use sound played through a headband to amplify existing deep sleep frequencies. This is effective where the sleeper already generates enough deep sleep brainwaves. Many of us don’t, particularly as we age, as illustrated by the diagram showing the pattern of asleep in a young good sleeper and an older person.

The Zeez Sleep Pebble can’t make up for a lack of essential nutrition, too much alcohol, or negate the effects of night-time electronics. But if you want good sleep, want to live healthily, it may give the support you need to fall asleep easily, and sleep deeply. What’s to lose, other than your insomnia?

 

Quotes

Anna Maxted, Daily Mail, October 2018

“Of all the tech here, the Zeez Sleep Pebble, a neuroscientific response to our permanently 
wired state, seems the most revolutionary.  The Zeez is a seriously impressive piece of kit.”

For more information please click on our website www.zeez.org.uk

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