Last time, I gave a brief history of my personal fascination with sleep and a few of you echoed my sentiments of needing more sleep than the average person.
The Zeo itself consists of two main pieces: an alarm clock of sorts that actively displays your sleep cycles and a headband that wirelessly monitors these cycles as you sleep. On the first night I tried the Zeo, my excitement got the best of me. I remember laying in bed staring at the monitor which blinked in a way which indicated that I was “awake.” I closed my eyes tightly and tried to will myself to sleep, partially wishing I could stay awake to watch the monitor throughout the night. It was late and I was tired…but I couldn’t fall asleep. “Performance anxiety!?” I wondered to myself, tossing, turning, and flipping my pillow with frustration. Still no sleep. I started to worry about how, exactly, the device worked and mentally chastised myself for not researching more before I nonchalantly strapped something so close to my brain. Finally, at 4AM (at least I am tenacious), I took off the Zeo.
The next morning, I did what any normal person would do, and emailed Matt Bianchi, MD PhD of MGH’s sleep division and asked if the device was safe. His email simply said, “the Zeo has passed all routine safety standards for commercial sale.”
Not satisfied, I emailed Mollie ’06 – aka my advisor on everything related to the brain. She wrote, “My friend (who is an MD/PhD student and Knows Things) says it actually records the changes in conductance of your skin, not even really the brain waves per se, which I guess makes sense, because you just need skin contact, not brain tissue contact (ew).”
Completely satisfied with this response, I wore the Zeo that night without anxiety.
Below is data from one night’s sleep.
Oh no, I feel so exposed! Don’t judge my brain waves!
In the interest of time, space, and attention span, I will wait until the next and final post in this series to interpret the data, show you more, note my observations, and answer some questions that came up in last week’s comments (with the help of the friendly staff at Zeo.) Check back for it on March 21st!
In the meantime, get some sleep.