How to get a better night's sleep by hacking your brainwaves (NewScientist)

Wearable technology that stimulates the brain to make you sleep more deeply promises to revolutionise your slumber – can it really lead to a better night’s rest? @Guywholikessleep what do you think? Any other recommendations you can make in this area? I purchased the Dreem headband years back, but then discovered they didn’t include the “stims” or stimulations that were supposed to help in creating deeper sleep, in the USA version so I returned it. The Euro version included this feature. Sadly, off the consumer market now.

The start of this revolution is a new generation of research-grade sleep trackers designed to combine the detail of PSG with the convenience of actigraphy. The Sleep Profiler, made by Advanced Brain Monitoring in California, for example, uses EEG to record brain activity and an array of other sensors for heart rate, muscle tone, eye and body movement and sound, all built into a headband that can be worn at home. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has deemed it to be “substantially equivalent to PSG”. Another is the Dreem headband, made by a French company of the same name. It features EEG sensors, a pulse oximeter, a heart rate monitor and an accelerometer, and can also be worn at home. In 2020, a peer-reviewed study pitted the Dreem headband against PSG and found that it matched up.

Also in the pipeline are EEG sensors placed in or around the ears. These aren’t as sensitive as those used in lab-based PSG, but have been shown to reliably identify sleeping brainwaves, which reflect what stage of sleep a person is in.

Full open access article here:

Related Information:


Is it the US or Euro version that no longer is on the market?

Neither are on the market now. But you may be able to pick them up on Ebay for cheap (but the issue might be the phone software may not work on newer phones… need to find out on that point).

They’ve merged with another company now, and no longer support the consumer products:

What you want is the Euro version of the Dreem 2 headband, EU model with deep sleep stimulation:

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Thanks @RapAdmin

Did you ever look into this one. Very legit company and sounds promising:

Wearable sleep headband and mobile app clinically proven to improve the quality of your sleep

Increases your energy in the same sleep time

Developed with doctors and researchers

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Yes - they also killed that product sometime in the past few years. It seems the market for these devices is relatively small.

Man, that sucks. Hopefully it “has historically” been relatively small and all the Oura, Eight Sleep, Whoop and Huberman/Attia/Walker focus on it is/will change that going forward.


I’ve done quite a bit of hacking with respect to brain and vagal nerve stimulation. Mostly with significant success.


I started with a CES device from Mind Alive, a Canadian company.

From their website:

Cranio-Electro Stimulation (CES) is a non-invasive brain stimulation that applies a small pulsed electric current across a person’s head. This small electrical stimulus which is applied laterally across the cranium stimulates endorphins, serotonin, and norepinephrine neurotransmitter production.

I had an early version of their Oasis Pro, which I obtained with the full functionality (it could generate gamma waves if memory serves) typically only available to researchers and medical professionals.

I lent it to someone sometime ago and they never returned it.

Of interest, playing these frequencies/waves across one’s brain encourages the brain to generate the same frequency/waves in response. It sort of tunes the brain to the selected frequency.

One could “play” different frequencies to support different purposes ranging from focused attention (affect of something like Adderal without the drugs) to meditative/innovative thinking to sleep and more.


I’ve also used PEMF on my vagal nerve in a position just below the left clavicle (I spoken about PEMF if various other threads on this site),

This really seemed to help support deep and REM sleep. I would have used it more except getting the coils to stay on at night while connected to the pulse generator.

I once came an across a small PEMF device in integrated coils that just stuck on some kind of double sided tape. Hmmm… worth revisiting.


I had one of the Dreem 2 devices for a time as well. I returned it because it did not have the full functionality that the company originally advertised on its website. It did seem to have promise.


Did you use / benefit from CES for sleep or was that part only from the PEMF?

Very interesting topic, because good sleep is essential.

Over the years I have tried many sleep aids/devices.
One I always thought should work was binaural, tones or music. There are many binaural audio sleep videos on YouTube. Many people claim they work, but did nothing for me that I could detect.
One sleep aid that did work was the YouTube videos for a claimed “NASA”:
“The NASA Power Nap - Power Nap For Concentration - Boost Focus & Performance”

There are several, but I do not know if they are authentic. Of course, when I tried a few of them, I was ready to nap. They did seem to produce a deeper more refreshing nap.

There are a few odd “electronic” electronic sleep aids on Amazon. Here is one, and if you scroll down they have a video claiming to show how it works.

“LANSIGOGBGS Sleep Instrument, Brain Massage Adjust Heart Rate, Headache Focus Attention”

Right now I am not experiencing any sleep problems so I don’t think I need anything.

But, if someone has $35 to spare and wants to take the chance. It would be nice to hear a report on its effectiveness. It has no reviews, but sometimes that is a plus because there are no phony endorsements by the company lackeys.


Did you use / benefit from CES for sleep or was that part only from the PEMF?

I very much benefited from CES and PEMF for sleep.

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I’ve also heard that “pink noise” is beneficial for sleep quality.

Honestly I think CBT for insomnia is most important, I have done the reverse CBT and it has been quite effective in making my sleep worse. :rofl:


Yes - CBT-i is the most well proven therapy for insomnia.

Full un-paywalled article here:

I’ve got a Muse EEG headband They advertise it mostly as a meditation/biofeedback device but it can measure your EEG while sleeping too. I’ve used it a few time for sleeping but it has some issues keeping good electrodes connections so the data is rather noisy.

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What do you think the sleep impact has been? Or is it mostly to collect data - not to impact sleep?

You need to be awake for the biofeedback sessions. They have some sleeping aid features too but I have not tested them yet.
The biofeedback before sleeping did improve my low HRV though. From 20’s to 30’s and then the Eight Sleep Pod from 30’s to 40’s.

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I’m another Dreem user. I picked one up early on and used it regularly for three years. I had three devices altogether. It takes a lot of discipline to wear this type of device.

Did it work? I convinced myself that it did and my sleep improved to some degree. Quality deep sleep has been illusive for me but getting to sleep and getting 7+hrs has become the norm.

I’ve found the Apple “Brown Noise App” good for jet lag and I think it would be good for many who have trouble falling asleep. It also has alternative pink, white etc. I use the free version.

The NASA Power Nap recording sounds promising although I never nap.


I tried it too & it made my sleep so much worse. If one’s problem is not sleeping at regular times or anxiety, I expect it helps. That isn’t my trouble & it did nothing helpful.

I’m reasonably sure there are a number of things that can cause bad sleep. If one fixes the underlying cause the symptom will improve. If not, nope.

The data on CBT-I shows a reduction in time spent in bed, but hardly any improvement in actual sleep duration. It thus is a bad treatment for insomnia since what an insomniac needs is more sleep, not necessarily less time in bed.

Sorry for the late response.
Unfortunately, I do not have recommendations in this area as I do not believe we have developed anything that can enhance sleep just yet. It might be coming , but I think a lot of sleep enhancing will come from sleep hygeine and these devices might be a result of potential placebo more so than true sleep enhancement, although I think opinions vary on this.

I decided to give some information on what the field knows about sleep and the hard part about studying sleep since I see a lot of misconceptions.
1). We do not understand what is actually sleeping. For example, there is the concept of local sleep. There have been significant developments over the past decade that show the brain can enter sleep like states on a local level. Lets take the cortex as an example. Cortical regions can display differences in sleep quality and sleep states that are dependent on prior activity. Stimulating one side of the cortex throughout wake, results in increased Sleep quality and quanity on the side that has been stimulated vs a side that was not stimulated. You also have scenario’s where a brain region can exhibit sleep-like activity while awake and vice versa. So, what I am trying to point out here is the question, what is actually sleeping? ( Good start on the topic
Local Sleep - PMC ) Fun fact, what is so interesting about sleep to me is that sleep arises, even if you lesion any part of the sleep/wake promoting process. What I mean is that, sleep occurs still regardless of location of lesion to brain region. Out of many acute traumatic brain injuries that have occurred clinically, sleep still occurs. SO this again makes one wonder what is truly sleeping?

  1. Sleep is governed by three processes: A homeostatic drive(typically denoted as Process S in sleep models), Circadian timing( denoted as process C in sleep models), and ultradian timing( this is neuron firing, but it far less talked about when it comes to sleep models). The main accepted view in the sleep realm is the two -process model( , where Process C interacts with Process S to give us the phenomenon of sleep. Process C is responsible for the timing of sleep, while process S is the need for sleep. Process S accumulates throughout the day, and then dissapates during sleep. There is debate in the field on whether this interaction is independent of each other or dependent on each other or some mix of both. WE DO NOT UNDERSTAND WHAT IS RESPONSIBLE FOR PROCESS S! Matthew Walker and other podcast scientist’s have talked about adenosine being accumulated that result in the drive for sleep, BUT there is not a clear consensus on if this is true and there are many other sleep regulatory substances(SRPs) that may account for the the drive to sleep. I argue that there is not one substance or thing that accounts for process S but a multitude of factors that cause sleep drive. Hell, it may not even be any accumulation of a substance and could be changes in neuron activity that occurs during wake. Again, we have no idea. We still don’t have a great understanding of gene’s invovled in the sleep process either.
  1. The gold standard for how we measure sleep is through brain wave activity that can get picked up by EEG or PSG. These allow us to distinguish between sleep stages. Sleep stages are characterized as follows:
    Wake: Characterized by alpha waves(high frequency, low amplitude waves) and the presence of high EMG activity.
    NREM(non-REM) sleep: Stage we enter after wake and is the stage where physical restoration and deep sleep occurs. This is characterized by delta waves( low frequency, high amplitude waves) and no EMG activity.
    REM(Rapid Eye Movement) sleep: Stage entered after NREM(in healthy sleep patterns) and is characterized by theta waves( looks similar to alpha waves, but has higher amplitude waves that occur occassionally). This stage is very similar to wake, except there is no EMG activity.
    This is the gold standard for measuring sleep and denoting sleep stages. So I don’t think we have anything just yet out there to achieve this gold standard, but we seem to be getting close.
    My issue with wearables is they aren’t measuring your actually sleep( since they can’t monitor brain waves) but instead measure characteristics of sleep stages, such as movement, heart rate, temperature, etc. So I look at them to be useful more as like a food journal except for sleep, where you can get a general idea of your sleep during the night but not the gold standard. Again, my issue is how are we actually enhancing sleep quality with these devices, when we still don’t understand the mechanisms of sleep.
    Some of the devices I have seen such as sound or stimulation have to be timed just right to enhance the sleep and can actually be detrimental and dsirupt sleep if they are not timed right( such as biurnal beats). I think there is also variability between individuals that make the sound/beat style not suitable for them. Some individuals like sleeping with no noise while other like some white noise, but that all is individual preference.

I think everyone needs to find what works best for them, here is evidence showing that individuals can not tell if they are truly sleeping better or worse as it is subjective, typically people can feel they are performing better but true quantificative studies show this is not the case and they aren’t accurately able to predict there performances on cognitive metrics, especially in individuals that are sleep deprived or getting less than 7 hours of sleep at night.
Finally about melatonin.
Melatonin is invovled in the timing of sleep onset(so it’s invovled in Process C). We all have circadian timing mechanisms that result in the preference in what type of sleeper you are(I.E. early to rise, early to bed or Late to rise, late to bed or in between the two). Taking melatonin at your the circadian timing can actually be deterimental to sleep quality. You can liken it as like an antibiotic for your circadian rhythm.

I am happy to help with any questions anyone has about sleep that I can answer.
Long story short, I think technology will get there eventually to where we will have the capability to improve sleep via wearables, but at the moment I do not think the technology is there yet.