Like a lot of people, I have trouble falling asleep at night. I attribute this to three major factors:
- I have lots of exciting, interesting thoughts that keep me awake night
- I consume enough caffeine to kill lesser creatures
- My cheap apartment is noisy at night
Introducing: The NightWave Sleep Assistant
When I read the The 4-Hour Body by Tim Ferriss, he wrote about a device called the Nightwave Sleep Assistant, which promised sleep in less than 7 (count ‘em, 7) minutes. Tim wasn’t 100% positive about the device, but he recommended it.
I purchased a Nightwave Sleep Assistant, and used it for the past few weeks. If you have trouble falling asleep, you should consider getting one as well.
Features of the Nightwave Sleep Assistant
The device has a blue light that slowly pulses. You align your breathing to the pulsing of the blue light. The pulsing slows down. Your breathing slows down too. You become very sleepy from meditative breathing. You fall asleep. Life is good.
There’s both a 7 minute cycle and a 25 minute cycle. If you’re not tired, the 25 minute cycle is for you. If you’re already sleepy, the 7 minute cycle should be just fine.
The device can also function as a (very blue) flashlight and meditative aid to align your heartbeat to 60 bpm. I have little use for these features, but someone might.
I’ve found the sleep I fall into to be more restful and refreshing than sleep I simply fall into through exhaustion.
If you’re still interested in the Nightwave, you can check it out on Amazon:
Startup Idea: Sleep Assistant Software
It seems to me that the major flaws with the Nightwave Sleep Assistant are both that it a) costs $50 and b) is a separate device. I already have something next to my bed that can give off light and is highly programmable – my smartphone. (I use an iPhone 3GS, but I imagine almost any phone could do this.) This is a device that could easily be replaced by software.
I don’t know if you can make a smartphone backlight pulse – the Nightwave’s light intensity pattern seems to be a sine wave – but if you sold this for $3 and marketed it appropriately, you could make some decent money off the app revolution. Not venture capital-interesting money, but you could probably buy a used car. (If mobile developers in the audience could comment on the viability of this, I’d be happy to answer any questions about the operation of the Sleep Assistant. I could probably help you market it too, but that’s a separate discussion.)
Update September 8th 2011: I’ve spoken with some developers about this, and it’s not that feasible (on the iPhone at least) with the APIs exposed in iOS5. It’s probably still doable, but you’d have to use some of the private APIs, which wouldn’t make it thru AppStore approval. If anyone knows what these constraints are like on Android, please let me know.
(Disclosure: Links are affiliate links.)