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July 4, 2016 AT 6:45 pm

Review: EEG Sleep Aid : Sleep Shepherd Blue

Sleep Shepherd Blue

The Sleep Shepherd Blue is exactly the kind of device that we should be using to monitor our sleep. It records brain activity, lulls you to sleep, wakes you up and even provides the position you were sleeping in. With seventeen million people in the US suffering from sleep related problems the timing of this EEG could not be better. I’ve been sleeping with this on my head for the last week and found that it quickly helped me improve my rest by giving me daily feedback. The Sleep Shepherd was prototyped using Adafruit tools.

Sleep Shepherd - Head Orientation

What I learned:

I sleep a lot on my right side, but my goal is to sleep on my back facing up.

The MisFit app on my Pebble is providing interesting data, but not necessarily correct data. Comparing a wrist based activity tracker to an EEG is like comparing a Commodore to todays Macbook. Both devices would give similar overall sleep hours, but the deep numbers remain hours apart. MisFit provides light sleep, deep sleep and awake. Sleep Shepherd Blue can provide those plus detailed windows of REM and differentiates restless from light sleep.

Cold helps a lot. Once I dropped the thermostat down 65F my deep sleep numbers increased quite a bit.

Eating dinner early and going to bed early also has been quite helpful in improving my deep sleep numbers.

Sleep-Shepherd-Analysis   MisFit Analysis

What I Liked about Sleep Shepherd Blue:

  • The Sleep Shepherd App has a manual Start/Stop button. I like this feature because I know I can get one full nights recording without having several separate files which MisFit frequently does.
  • The soft headphones built-in to the tracker provides binaural beats which makes for a calming white noise. These beats are somewhat complicated in how they function with a goal of slowly bringing our brain down from an awake 50Hz to a deep sleep of 10Hz.
  • The volume control on the front of the EEG is really helpful. I definitely needed to make adjustments to the beats and am glad to I didn’t have to mess around with my phone.
  • It’s simple, it just works and the app does a good job of recording each sleep session.

Some Things I’d like to See Sleep Shepherd Offer:

  • Show me the raw data. The app records and makes graphs, but there is no access to it. It would be great if the Sleep Shepherd App was dumping data into Apple’s Health App. At the moment the previous nights sleep is the only “detailed” data provided. The rest goes into graph modes and are averaged.
  • Playing my own Music or Podcasts through this soft device might be fun. I’d like the option at least to try it out.
  • This is an EEG let’s hack it to do more stuff. I’d love to have the ability to record sessions through out the day. Wouldn’t it be fun to see how your brain is responding to meditation,  smart drugs, programming and soldering? I would include exercise, but I know it’s difficult for these sensors if you are moving about.

 

 


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2 Comments

  1. Consumer reports notes that the company points to two small studies in Europe (20 adults and another 15 teens) to promote its claims. The Report’s tester suggested it functioned about as well as a white noise machine.

    http://www.consumerreports.org/sleep/can-the-sleep-shepherd-sleeping-cap-lull-you-into-sweet-slumber/

    CNET has a review from December:
    http://www.cnet.com/news/sleep-shepherd-hat-tries-to-fight-insomnia-with-noise-in-your-ears/

    The device sounds like it may be interesting for people who want to record ‘brain waves’ of a limited sort. Of course a great way to monitor sleep patterns and body positions is to video your sleep with an IR camera.

  2. Ka1os – Thank you for the additional review links.

    The binaural beets felt a lot like a white noise equivalent to me also. That part of the product I’m not so interested in. I have slept with the audio off more than on.

    I suspect the wide ranging customer experience with the Sleep Shepherd is also due to the aesthetics. My girlfriend was very upset to see a black plastic case mounted to the soft fabric. The LEDs that indicate loss of link can drive people crazy, but I understand why that would be there.

    Clearly you are dedicated follower of the biohacking scene. Where can we follow you?

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