Wearables

Can a smart sleep mask help with insomnia and jet lag?

Can a smart sleep mask help wi...
The Neuroon sleep mask monitors your sleep wirelessly and provides custom bright light therapy
The Neuroon sleep mask monitors your sleep wirelessly and provides custom bright light therapy
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The Neuroon sleep mask provides different bright light therapies depending on need and work schedule
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The Neuroon sleep mask provides different bright light therapies depending on need and work schedule
The Neuroon sleep mask monitors your sleep wirelessly and provides custom bright light therapy
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The Neuroon sleep mask monitors your sleep wirelessly and provides custom bright light therapy
The Neuroon sleep mask measures multiple elements related to your sleep habits
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The Neuroon sleep mask measures multiple elements related to your sleep habits
The Neuroon sleep mask can be adjusted to time zones when traveling
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The Neuroon sleep mask can be adjusted to time zones when traveling
The Neuroon sleep mask can help alleviate symptoms of jet lag
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The Neuroon sleep mask can help alleviate symptoms of jet lag
The Neuroon sleep mask has a custom nap function
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The Neuroon sleep mask has a custom nap function
The Neuroon sleep mask connects via Bluetooth to the iOS and Android app
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The Neuroon sleep mask connects via Bluetooth to the iOS and Android app
The Neuroon sleep mask is lightweight and resembles a typical sleep mask
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The Neuroon sleep mask is lightweight and resembles a typical sleep mask
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For night shift workers, those who have trouble falling or staying asleep and anyone who's suffered from jet lag, the makers of a new sleep mask think they have a solution. Resembling a regular sleep mask, the Neuroon is a wireless device that connects to a mobile app to monitor your brain waves, analyze your sleep patterns, and use bright light therapy to supposedly help improve sleep quality.

The Neuroon sleep mask is built around the premise that bright light therapy can help people who have difficulty falling asleep or waking up during normal hours. Studies have shown light therapy's effectiveness and sleep clinics have been incorporating it since 2014.

Light therapy typically involves lamps that generate faux sunlight directly onto the body at intervals and timing that depend on the individual's particular sleep situation. In this case, though, the light is in the mask itself, with different combinations of light coming from the white and colored LEDs inside.

The light therapy programs are determined based on data collected through electrodes that touch the skin on the user's forehead. Unlike other sleep masks that only measure the user's pulse and body movement, the Neuroon also measures brain waves, body temperature and eye movement.

Depending on the user's need and situation, the light therapy can be implemented before going to bed to ensure quality sleep, before waking up to provide a less abrupt waking experience, or during the day to either enhance energy or relieve the effects of jet lag. We aren't sure how many people will want to put on a sleep mask only to stay awake and shine some light on their eyes, but that's the working theory anyway.

The Neuroon sleep mask connects via Bluetooth to the iOS and Android app
The Neuroon sleep mask connects via Bluetooth to the iOS and Android app

Three different components make up the Neuroon system: the mask itself (made of hypoallergenic material), a removable sensor pack (this is the part you take out and charge via microUSB), LED lights and electronics encased in the mask and the companion mobile app.

When the sleep mask is connected to the app, it generates a sleep analysis, for things like how long it took the user to fall asleep, sleep duration and sleep patterns. This data is added to a sleep score that also includes the user's reported experience while asleep. Several different light therapies can then be cooked up depending on the data and individual user's sleep needs.

The Neuroon sleep mask can help alleviate symptoms of jet lag
The Neuroon sleep mask can help alleviate symptoms of jet lag

Some of the modes in the app include:

  • Jet Lag Blocker: helps combat the sleep disorders associated with rapid time zone changes
  • Sunrise: uses bright light therapy to wake the user when he or she is in the lightest rather than deepest sleep phase
  • Personal Pause: lets users plan ideal nap times based on their historical data
  • Biorhythm Adjuster: uses light therapy to adapt the user's circadian clock to irregular wake up times and lifestyles often associated with shift work

The modes that integrate into normal sleep times sound useful, but some of these sound like they would require people to strap on a mask for light therapy sessions during the day while awake. Wearing a mask while you're sleeping is one thing; putting one on just to plan for better sleep later that night is a lot to ask.

Another company attempting to address the sleep quality issue with a sleep mask solution is Napwell which, in 2014, introduced a sleep mask that incorporated an alarm clock and LED lights to wake the user up gradually. Perhaps that's all products like this really need to do.

The Neuroon sleep mask costs US$299 following the completion of a successful Kickstarter campaign that raised over $438,000 in 2013. It finally started shipping to backers last month and is now available for to the public to order from the product page below.

Source: Neuroon

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1 comment
HensleyBeuronGarlington
I've read and seen other products using light, red LEDs to be exact, that fade in and out almost like breathing that you can of course sense through your closed eyes. And that gradually, you kind of sync up and breathe with the lights or your brain focuses on that calming rise and fall of light or something. Does this product do that? I think paring a mask that can do that, with the Kokoon sleep headphones would be like having your personal isolation chamber to catch some zzzs whenever needed. I want something like that combo to help me sleep better at night. I work regular hours, but go on-call every month for a week. Getting calls all hours of the night can be quite unsettling for in the course of week. Just anticipating calls and being worried about missing a call are enough to keep me awake already.