This Headband Wants to Help the World Experience Lucid Dreams

Lucid dreams can be a pretty cool thing to experience, but they’re often fleeting and far too rare. That’s where iBand+ comes in. It’s a headband you wear while you sleep, increasing your chances of experiencing a lucid dream, as well as generally improving your sleep quality. It sounds weird, but there’s some clever science behind it.

Currently available via a recently launched Kickstarter campaign, the iBand+ hopes to revolutionize your sleeping patterns. The headband has four LEDs placed at the correct distance for your eyes, with the LEDs providing visual cues at the right times. Pillow speakers offer audio cues in conjunction with that, being lightweight and easy to disguise.

The iBand+ senses your brain waves with a “laboratory level” of accuracy, while also providing tracking sensors that measure body movement, heart rate and even body temperature.

Through a series of auto learning software algorithms, the iBand+ analyzes how your body rests, adjusting audio-visual signals to induce lucid dreams, as well as entice you into sleeping more easily.

“I personally have sleep problems,” co-founder, Purva Raut, says. “In a bid to…improve the quality of sleep, we started looking for a solution.”

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As she found out, alongside her husband and co-founder Samir Raut, an estimated 50-70 million adults in the US and 1/3 of adults in Europe have sleep or wakefulness disorders. Links have also been formed between sleeping issues and the importance of dreams. “We decided to build a technology that will improve sleep and enable everyone to experience the beautiful world of lucid dreams,” Raut says.

Over the past 5 months, the iBand+ has been tested extensively on eight different subjects. Through such testing, encompassing different mental and physical health conditions, as well as social status and gender, the iBand+ algorithm has been strengthened, ensuring it’s at its most effective. In the long term, the plan is to gather sleep data from volunteers via Kickstarter backers to ensure the algorithm continues to improve the more iBand+ is used.

There are other benefits, too. There’s the potential for it to help as a form of therapy. Samir told us a story of one user who had a fear of heights, but has made great progress through his use of iBand+. Some users reported feeling closer to their own self and their inner thoughts, through what was uncovered at night. The hope is that iBand+ will also work as a significant form of healing aid.

“[One] user was grieving and, according to their report, due to lucid dreaming they got a chance to get a closure and in turn healing was much easier,” Raut says, highlighting its potential.

It’s an interesting concept. While iBand+ can work solely as a sleep tracker, its ability to analyze its users’ sleep cycle means it’s so much more than a conventional tracker. Raut notes that it’ll also provide sleep improvement suggestions, ensuring the more you use it, the better your night’s sleep becomes.

Some of that flexibility comes from its customization options. For instance, you can choose to listen to your own music or something from your audiobook library. It also offers a smart alarm feature, allowing you to wake up with simulated natural sunlight and sounds at the most optimal period of your sleep cycle. Think of it as like a much improved version of a Fitbit or Jawbone wristband, waking you up at the perfect moment.

The downside is that it isn’t the most stylish of devices to wear, which might be off-putting when sharing a bed, but who wants to share a bed with someone suffering from sleep disturbances? A slightly futuristic looking headband is far more preferable.

iBand+ is currently available through a Kickstarter campaign. €129 (about $144) will buy you one iBand+ at an early bird special price, with that rising to €159 (about $178) once all the early bird allocation has been purchased. The campaign runs until October 27.

Science Says You Should Sleep Naked, We Agree

We’ve mentioned before that sleeping in the nude has all sorts of benefits, including deeper, better sleep and helping you stay cool while you rest, but this video from DNews wraps up all of those benefits nicely, and adds some more we haven’t discussed.

Sleeping naked definitely keeps your body cooler than sleeping in clothes, obviously, but it’s that slight temperature difference that can lead to deeper, more restful, and uninterrupted sleep. It’s not the only benefit to sleeping naked though—as the video explains, sleeping naked can be especially good for reproductive health as well, and minimizing the chance of yeast infections for ladies, and helping men keep their testicles cool and avoid low sperm count. Of course, sleeping naked has other benefits, especially if you have a partner, as skin-to-skin contact is not only therapeutic, but a great form of medicine for both your mind and your body. Touching helps you build a stronger emotional bond with your partner, and kicks off the release of oxytocin in your brain, which helps regulate mood.

The video goes into a little more detail about each of these, so hit play below to check out the full thing, or hit the link below to read more about it—and some related articles—at YouTube.

[youtube id=”oMvrXmg581s” width=”600″ height=”350″]

How to Work, Sleep, and Exercise Better

Even if you exercise regularly, sitting at your desk all day will kill you. Literally. One study by the American Cancer Society found that men who sit for six or more hours a day are 20 percent more likely to die from a given cause than men who sit for less than three hours. Other research has linked prolonged daily sitting to high blood pressure, cancer, and diabetes.

How to Work Better

Scientists have found that physical movement inspires creative problem solving. To craft your own ideal setup, follow these suggestions from Todd Meier, an ergonomics expert at insurance company the Standard, and Carey Fitzgerald, an expert in evolutionary psychology at Michigan’s Oakland University.

How to Make Working at Your Desk into a Healthy Experience

  1. A number of pricey treadmill desks have popped up recently, but you’ll get many of the same benefits by simply standing for two-thirds of your day. Ergo Depot’s adjustable-height desk ($750) allows you to create all kinds of workstations. You can even hook up your bike to a trainer—we like the CycleOps SuperMagneto Pro ($400)—with your front tire under your desk.
  2. Sitting on a physio ball like the Gymnastik Standard Swiss ($20) corrects your posture and strengthens your core. Ease into it—your abs will be sore after a few hours.
  3. Awkward wrist, arm, and shoulder positions lead to muscle knots and carpal tunnel syndrome. Your elbows should dangle even with your keyboard and mouse, and your wrists and forearms should be in a straight line. A keyboard tray makes this easy ($139).
  4. To prevent eyestrain, position your computer monitor at least 18 inches from your face. To prevent neck strain, it should be directly in front of you at eye height, tilted up 10 to 20 degrees. Placing it on books works as well as a stand.
  5. A 2011 study published in the science journal Nature found that greenery decreases anger and frustration.
  6. Simply petting your dog increases your level of oxy-tocin, a.k.a. the love hormone, resulting in lower stress levels.
  7. A growing number of studies suggests that images of nature will boost your memory, attention, and concen-tration almost as much as the real thing does.
  8. Exposure to sun-light, even if the UVB rays are filtered out by a window, has been shown to improve mood.

How to Sleep Better

Not getting enough rest impairs your attention, hinders your reflexes, and leaves you prone to emotional outbursts. For athletes, that’s an awesome recipe for poor performance—and possibly injury and lasting shame. Which is why top professional triathlete Andy Potts makes sure to get 11 hours a night despite being a dad to two young kids and following an intense training schedule.

We asked Potts about his methods and ran some of his answers by Dr. Charles Samuels, medical director at the Centre for Sleep and Human Performance in Calgary.

  1. My wife and I share a king-size bed. I’m not a spooning type of guy. All couples should sleep in beds big enough that they won’t wake each other. If your spouse snores, have him or her sleep in another room. —Dr. Samuels
  2. Serta mattress; medium-hard, no pillow top. I like two nice hard pillows. The soft ones drive me crazy, because I want my head to be elevated. Firmness of mattress and pillows is totally personal. Go with what works for you.
  3. A bolster pillow between my knees aligns my back and makes for a more comfortable rest.
  4. I always untuck the sheets. I like unrestricted movement, so that when I roll over during the night it doesn’t wake me up.
  5. I need pitch black to sleep, so we installed blackout curtains, which also reduce street noise.
  6. I use a humidifier, which prevents dry throat and nose, two things that used to interrupt my sleep. Upper-airway discomfort is a common cause of poor sleep. Any kind of humidifier will help. Also try a saline nasal wash, like Ocean Nasal Saline Spray.
  7. I prefer to sleep in 65 to 68 degrees. I’d rather be too cold than too hot. An athlete’s resting core temperature can vary dramatically with training intensity.
  8. Ever since my kids were born, I sleep with earplugs. They’re only noise dampening, so I can still hear the major cries, but the little things no longer wake me.
  9. I set my alarm clock to an easy-listening station so that I don’t wake up to that annoying blast, which instantly puts me in a bad mood. People use all kinds of systems and sophisticated gadgets to wake up happier. Some athletes use bio-alarms, which are sup-posed to wake you at your lightest stage of sleep during a 30-minute window. But there really are no rules about what works best.

How to Exercise Better

There is no reasonable argument for paying $3,000-plus for a road bike but not a couple hundred bucks to have it fit perfectly to your body and riding style. In the past few years, bike brands have invested heavily in fit technology that precisely records your ideal position and then compares it with a database of bikes and components to suggest the best combination. The result: you’re faster (a fit can boost power output by 10 percent) and more comfortable.

How to Fit Your Bike to Your Body

  1. Tron-style fit bikes like the Retül Müve Dynamic and the Guru Experience allow assessment and adjustment of every measurement without the rider ever having to dismount.
  2. Video is displayed as you pedal, and fitters can compare footage of different fits. In some systems, bikes are set on a 360-degree turntable. Others, like 3D Bike Fit, add a second camera.
  3. The Retül harness attaches sensors to your flex points that transmit fit angles to a computer to capture static positions and patterns, like how your knee tracks through a pedal stroke.
  4. Power meters test how a position affects rider output. Small tweaks can make a significant difference.
  5. Your contact points with the bike matter most. Many fitters offer custom footbeds and pedals with varying spindle widths. The Specialized Body Geometry sit-bone tool measures hip width, so you can choose the ideal saddle.

Find the Right Bike

  • Retül: Get fit on the Müve Dynamic at one of 280 U.S. sites. From $300.
  • Guru: Some 60 retailers run the Experience system. From $100.
  • 3D Bike Fit: This San Francisco shop ­offers the greatest number of custom options. From $195.
  • Specialized Body Geometry Fit: The largest selection of components and some 200 fit centers. From $250.