Dreem: Skull Vibrating Headband Believed to improve Sleep

A French health and hardware startup called Rythm has released a skull vibrating headband dubbed Dreem that can help people capitalise on their resting hours. This is the first active wearable that precisely understands and enhances sleep quality.

Health startups are known to overpromise and underdeliver, while hardware startups find it difficult to get their product right. So, the fact that this 50-person startup has launched their $349 flagship product is very impressive.

Rhythm also announced an $11 million funding round and a deal with the French Armed Forces Biomedical Research Institute to supply headsets to the French military for assessment and Paris Descarted University for clinical trials to assess Dreem’s effect on people with “unconventional sleep routines.” The funding is from Laurent Alexandre, a prominent French doctor and entrepreneur, billionaire Xavier Niel, and a few public grants.

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How the Dreem Skull Vibrating Headband works

Although the idea of using skull vibrations to enhance sleep quality sounds more like a “Star Trek” thing than a Silicon Valley invention, Rhythm CEO Hugo Mercier states that their flagship product is grounded in hard science. Dreem is not intended to treat sleep-related diseases such as sleep apnoea, but to make you achieve deeper sleep so you feel more refreshed when you get up.

According to Mercier, lab and hospital-based research shows that external stimuli affect how fast and for how long people enter deep sleep. There’s plenty of research suggesting that deep sleep helps people consolidate and retain memories.

But not all external stimuli are created equal: medical research suggests that skull vibrations are more effective than wrist vibrations or scanning – such as those by Apple Watch or Jawbone activity trackers. Dreem monitors brain activity and produces sounds that affect the sleep cycle at just the right times. However, the device is yet to be medically approved.

Besides the hefty price ($349) compared to competitor devices such as the Apple Watch ($300), Dreem faces other challenges such as the scepticism of everyday consumers with the practicality of vibration as a sleep aid.

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