Innovation That Matters

Wearable ring trains users to sleep better by waking them up

Sport & Fitness

Using a wearable ring, a research-based sleep-training method wakes users up at regular intervals to improve sleep in the long-term.

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Sleep is a highly individual and sensitive process, and we’ve seen many examples of devices that claim to help users track or improve their sleep quality overnight. A new wearable is aiming to help users to sleep better with an unexpected approach — waking them up.

Thim, a ring wearable, is based on the work of Professor Leon Lack, whose research has shown that waking participants up at regular intervals for the first hour of sleep improves sleep quality and duration on subsequent nights. Accordingly, three minutes after the onset of sleep, users are woken up by soft vibrations emitted by the device (which are calibrated to be gentle enough not to wake any other occupants of the bed). Thim connects to smart phones via low-energy Bluetooth and the free accompanying app allows users to set the duration of the sleep training period – the team suggests an hour for best results. Previous wearables have struggled with accurate sleep detection. Thim aims to overcome this by including a sleep check: as sleep training starts, users must bend their finger each time the ring vibrates – when no bend is detected, the user is deemed to be in ‘stage one’ of sleep and the wearable wakes them up three minutes later.

Thim also features a power-nap setting, so that users can be woken up 10 minutes after they fall asleep – 10 minutes is the length of time research has shown to have the highest impact on performance enhancement. Currently undergoing a crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter, Thim has a public launch scheduled for Spring 2017.

Where next for sleep-aids? Will smart pyjamas or connected beds find a way into the market?




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