If a partner or a pet kept waking you up three minutes after you fell asleep, you'd be kicking them out of bed pretty quickly, but a new sleep tracker does just that, with the goal of training insomniacs to fall asleep faster. Based on research out of Australia's Flinders University, Thim is a small wearable device designed to readjust a user's sleeping cycles over the course of a week without too much disruption, and is also claimed to come in handy for better naps and more accurate sleep tracking.
There are plenty of sleep tracking devices jostling to join you in bed, but most, like the Juvo, Samsung's Sleepsense and the Sleepace RestOn, are content to monitor sleeping patterns and use the data gathered to provide tips on getting a better night's rest. Others, like the FitSleep, are designed to lull you into dreamland faster, but experts question the science behind them.
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Based on studies conducted at Flinders University in Adelaide, Australia, the Thim takes a more active (and research-backed) role in improving sleep patterns. The researchers found that people who have trouble sleeping could learn to nod off sooner through a process called sleep re-training, where they repeatedly experience the sensation of falling asleep. According to the team, just one hour of interrupted sleep per night, for five consecutive nights, is enough to reboot a person's habits into a more restorative cycle.
"Thim is based on 10 years of university research which has shown a better way of improving sleep," says Professor Leon Lack, a researcher on those studies and the inventor of Thim and the Re-Timer glasses. "For the first time, our research is being transferred into the home environment through Thim."
Worn on a finger when the user goes to bed, the Thim prompts sleep re-training by vibrating gently once every minute. A twitch of the wearer's finger tells the device that they're still awake, and it will repeat the process until it doesn't get a response. Knowing they must have dozed off, it then waits three minutes before vibrating again to gently wake the person. Since they aren't in too deep yet, it's only a mild interruption, meaning sleep won't be too far off again. Thim will continue waking the wearer every three minutes for an hour, after which it lets them drift off undisturbed for the rest of the night.
With its once-a-minute check-ins, Thim is said to be able to determine the point a wearer falls asleep much more accurately than other trackers, which studies show can be consistently wrong. Through the iOS and Android app, the device can monitor the usual data and calculate a sleep score, or be set to nap mode to wake the wearer up exactly 10 minutes after they fall asleep, which the team claims is the perfect power nap duration to not leave you feeling groggy.
The team is currently running a Kickstarter campaign to fund Thim, where pledges for the device start at AU$129 (US$100). With 20 days to go, the campaign has raised almost $80,000 of its $120,000 goal, and if all goes to plan, Thim is expected to ship in May 2017.
The campaign pitch video can be viewed below.