credit: Warner Bros.
What will those crazy kids think of next? There is now a hat that will help you get to sleep. Yes, you read that correctly, a hat. University of Colorado professor Michael Larson developed a hat called the Sleep Shepherd that can help people with a sleeping disorder finally catch some shut eye.
The hat is outfitted with tiny speakers and an EEG sensor
Larson’s daughter developed a sleeping disorder in her teens, and when she experienced negative side effects from the medication she used to help her sleep, Larson decided to find another way. Larson started developing the Sleep Shepherd to help his little girl out. The Sleep Shepherd has two tiny speakers over the ears that plays various auditory tones, and an EEG sensor. How it works is that the EEG sensor measures the brain waves in real time, and via a biofeedback loop the auditory tones are adjusted to slow down your brain waves.
credit: Cartoon Network Studios
Slowing down your brain waves to make you fall asleep
Brain waves slow down significantly during sleep, so the Sleep Shepherd tricks your brain into believing it’s falling asleep by slowing down your brain waves with the auditory tones. The Sleep Shepherd uses audio tones called binaural beats. Two different sounds will be played in each ear, and this triggers an auditory brainstem response. The beat frequency that’s played over the speakers starts out fast, but starts to slow down very gradually, this causes the brain waves to slow down as well. This in turn slowly puts the brain in a deeper sleep state.
credit: Tokyo Movie Shinsha
The Sleep Shepherd is still in its early life cycle
Though Larson has already had several prototypes, and is currently selling his nifty hat online, the hat has not been optimised yet. According to Larson the hat could be perfected by the results from more research studies, and in the future the hat could include Bluetooth and linked to an app for optimal sleep comfort.