The common accepted advice about sleep hygiene is that adults require eight hours of sleep a night. That said, for someone suffering from insomnia, this is simply not possible. Insomnia can occur for a variety of reasons including stress, new work habits, mental health issues, and even too much caffeine, but can be frustrating no matter what the cause.
Considering that so many people suffer from insomnia, and that it can last anywhere from one night to a few weeks, many people look for devices or aids that can help them both fall and stay asleep, effectively ending the insomnia spell.
With so much information out there on the subject, it’s often difficult to know where to begin looking for these sleeping aids. To make it easier, this review will look at Dodow’s device that helps people fall asleep.
Breaking down insomnia symptoms and causes
So, what exactly is insomnia? In simple terms, it’s a type of sleep disorder where people find it difficult to fall asleep, stay asleep, or both.
This means that people with insomnia often wake up not feeling refreshed and this, in turn, can lead to fatigue and other symptoms.
With this in mind, is it insomnia if someone struggles to fall asleep for one night every six months?
Well, the American Psychiatric Association (APA) states that about one third of all adults report having insomnia symptoms. They further say that between six and 10% of all adults have symptoms severe enough for them to be diagnosed with insomnia sleeping disorder.
So, while it certainly can be insomnia if a person struggles to fall asleep once in a while, in order for doctors to make a clinical diagnosis of insomnia both of the following criteria must apply:
- Someone must experience sleep difficulties at least three nights a week for a minimum of three months.
- These sleep difficulties must create major distress or functional difficulties in a person’s life.
How do you know if you have insomnia?
Symptoms of insomnia usually include:
- Difficulty falling asleep at night.
- Waking up during the night from sleep.
- Waking up too early in the morning.
- Not feeling well rested or refreshed after a night’s sleep.
- Daytime tiredness or sleepiness.
- Irritability, depression, or anxiety.
- Difficulty paying attention, focusing on tasks, or remembering things.
- Increased errors or accidents in daily activities.
- Ongoing worries about sleep.
It’s important to keep in mind that there are two types of insomnia, primary and secondary insomnia. Primary insomnia means that a person’s sleep problems aren’t linked to any other health condition or problem. By contrast, secondary insomnia means that a person has trouble sleeping because of a health condition like asthma, depression, arthritis, cancer, or heartburn. Secondary insomnia can also be caused by pain, the use of medication, or substance abuse like alcohol.
What causes insomnia, anyway?
With this in mind, primary insomnia is caused by:
- Stress related to big life events like starting a new job, the death of a loved one, a marriage breakdown, or moving to a new city.
- Factors in the surrounding environment like noise, blinking lights, or uncomfortable temperatures.
- Changes to a person’s schedule, like taking a new shift at work or being jet lagged.
Secondary insomnia, in turn, is commonly caused by:
- Mental health issues like anxiety or depression.
- Medications for illnesses like colds, allergies, depression, high blood pressure, and asthma.
- Pain or discomfort when trying to sleep.
- Caffeine, tobacco, alcohol use, or other stimulants.
- Hyperthyroidism and other endocrine problems.
- Other sleep disorders like sleep apnea or restless legs syndrome.
What are common treatments for insomnia?
The most common treatments for insomnia include both pharmaceutical and non-pharmaceutical treatments. The appropriate treatment will largely depend on whether a person suffers from primary insomnia or secondary insomnia, where it may often be necessary to treat the underlying cause or illness that causes insomnia. For persons suffering from chronic insomnia, the American College of physicians recommends cognitive behavioral therapy as a first-line treatment.
With this in mind, some treatments for insomnia include over-the-counter medication (such as antihistamines) and prescription medications that include products like Ambien and Lunesta. There are also practices that can be helpful, which include meditation, avoiding caffeinated beverages near bedtime, avoiding exercise near bedtime, and minimizing the time spent on their bed while not trying to sleep.
Recently, there has also been an influx of other sleeping aids which promise to make falling and staying asleep easier. One of these is Dodow, which we review in depth below!
What is Dodow, and what does it offer insomniacs?
Based on the principle of heart coherence, Dodow’s device promises to make people fall asleep within eight minutes. The underlying principle is a stress and emotion management tool used by, among others, fighter pilots. It’s been recognized since 2014 by the French Cardiology Federation and is one of the simplest and most effective techniques for fighting anxiety.
How does Dodow work for treating insomnia?
To use Dodow, it’s placed on a side table or another place close to the bed. The exercise is started by tapping the touch sensitive touchpad once for the eight-minute mode and twice for the 20-minute mode.
This will then project a blue light against the ceiling of the room. Here, the user then synchronizes their breath with the blue light by breathing in as it expands and exhaling as it retracts. Once the exercise is complete, the device turns itself off and the user will then be in the perfect condition to fall asleep in their position of choice.
It works because breathing based on the light stimulates the baroreflex and re-balances the autonomic nervous system which brings on a state of relaxation and resting. It also slows down the person’s metabolism and stops the secretion of cortisol and noradrenaline while the body starts secreting melatonin, the sleep hormone.
When this happens, the user is no longer in a wakeful state or reacting to external stimuli and can detach themselves from the thoughts keeping them awake.
This all means that, in the time the exercise is completed, the person transitions to the alpha state which is characterized by low-frequency brain waves and is the first step towards a good night’s sleep.
Another benefit is that the system occupies the brain with an activity that is much less distracting and exciting than other thoughts, which means sleep comes easier and the user is more relaxed.
Dodow is suitable for anyone that has night awakenings or suffers from stress that keeps them up at night. It’s also suitable for chronic insomniacs and it makes them focus less on their goal of falling asleep and breaks the vicious cycle of insomnia to move them into a resting state. As they use the device more, they’ll get used to falling asleep on their own which will help alleviate their insomnia.
The device ships in a box, includes a set of batteries, and is priced at $59. Users also have the option to buy an additional lifetime warranty for the device for an added $12. There are also other accessories available like a travel case, priced at $11, and various natural supplements that aid in sleeping.
Alternative Sleep Optimization Devices: Who are Dodow’s competitors?
Dodow is unique in the marketplace. As far as we know, it’s the only device which follows the heart coherence principle to help users fall asleep. In other words, there aren’t many competitors who offer the same (clever!) mechanism treat insomnia, but one can compare it to other devices meant to help optimize sleep, including the Dreem 2 and Whoop. Although all these products aim to make users sleep better, they go about it in completely different ways.
Unlike the Dodow which helps users fall asleep by guiding them through an exercise that puts them into a relaxed state, Dreem 2 takes the form of a headband that the user wears when going to bed. Although it doesn’t help the user fall asleep as such, it tracks billions of data points from the user’s brain and body to measure how long and how well the user sleeps every night. The user can then use this information through an app to improve their sleep.
Likewise, Whoop is a wearable sleep tracker that users wear on their wrist and gives users insights on how to improve their sleep. It has further advanced features like showing users how much sleep they need, and giving users personalized sleep suggestions based on how strenuous their day was and when they need to wake up the following day. Like the Dreem 2, it comes with an app that also lets users view their sleep data and trends over time.
With that in mind, we’ll look at a comparison between these three devices.
Dodow vs Dreem vs Whoop: What’s the best sleep device?
Dodow, Dreem, and Whoop all promise to improve your sleep, but they go about it in three completely different ways. Here’s a quick overview of each company’s device.
Best Sleep optimization devices for insomniacs
|Form factor||Bedside device||Headband||Armband|
|Sleep tracking||No||Yes||Yes, and fitness tracking|
|Price||$59.99||$499||Subscriptions from $30 per month|
Dodow Reviews: What are customers saying?
Dodow advertises that over 500k people currently use the device to solve their sleep issues. There are quite a lot of reviews online by people currently using the device. Here, we’ll highlight some of these reviews.
In the first, the user highlights how her 10-year-old has always been a bad sleeper and struggled to fall asleep. After ordering the device and using it, the child fell asleep on the first night within 15 minutes. The review also highlights that, after 2 1/2 weeks of using the device, every night has been like the first and the child falls asleep quickly and sleeps straight through until the morning most of the time.
The second review is from a husband who bought the device for his wife who often has difficulty falling asleep and staying asleep. The review highlights that, after a few days to get used to it, his wife now uses it effectively when waking up in the night. The interview also highlights how the unit is unobtrusive and simple in design.
The third review is from a qualified sleep counselor who used the device as a means of overcoming anxiety and overthinking. The review highlights the simplicity of the device and describes it as a subtle sleep strategy that helps the user feel gradual relaxation.
Although there are some bad reviews by users frustrated by devices not working, in general the interviews are quite positive. In fact, Dodow states that 76% of users have given the device a four out of five rating or above and that, on average, their users have reduced the time it takes them to fall asleep by 61%.
Dodow is so confident in their product that, if users are not completely satisfied with the product, they offer a 100-day money back guarantee.
Dodow Unboxing: A quick video to show you what’s inside
We got our hands on a device of our own to try it for ourselves. Although I’m not a chronic insomniac, I often toss and turn at night when stressed…or after too much sugar/caffeine. That major caveat aside, Dodow’s device really did help me fall asleep in just a couple minutes! Here’s an unboxing video so you can get a better sense of sizing and see what the device looks like:
The Verdict: is Dodow the best device for treating insomnia?
If one is looking for a simple device that could help them fall asleep easier and alleviate the symptoms of their insomnia, the Dodow might be a good option.On the other hand, if someone is looking for a device that doesn’t necessarily help them fall asleep, but gives them insights into their sleeping patterns and trends, the Dreem 2 to or the Whoop may be the better options.
An important thing to keep in mind, though, is that with increased data and functionality comes more complexity, so while the Dreem 2 and Whoop may offer more insights and functionality, they may be far more complex to use. Also, with the added functionality comes higher prices. So, if affordability is an issue, the Dodow may be well worth a look.
So, the real answer to the question of which devices to pick depends on the needs and requirements of the user and the amount of functionality they want.