Insomnia sucks. I know...I've been there many, many times.
Nothing is more frustrating than laying in bed and worrying...not able to fall asleep...
EXCEPT waking up in the middle of the night...sitting bolt upright, heart thumping, my mind stricken with panic...
What if I lost my job?
Will we have enough money to get by?
Did I make a mistake on that report I gave my boss?
And more recently, things like...
Are we going to be able to get enough food delivered?
What if they locked down the state and my parents got sick?
Some of the worries running through my mind are legitimate. Some are completely irrational...
But all of them seem more urgent and scary at 3 am.
Small fears are magnified out of all proportion.
Big fears are monstrous.
You NEED Your Sleep...
The irony is that all that gripping anxiety at night--much of which is overblown--robs you of your much-needed sleep and makes calamity more likely the next day.
Operating on 4 hours of sleep actually does increase the number of mistakes you'll make at work, makes you a worse driver, and a less patient parent, spouse or friend.
Over time, it also invites serious health consequences.
And it's not your fault, of course. Our brains have evolved to quickly perceive and react to threats.
The early human who didn't hear a lion rustling nearby at 3 am didn't survive. Our species has a long history of waking up in fight-or-flight mode, and until recently that feature served us well.
However, now it's a problem.
But There Is a Solution...
Actually, there are a couple. Ideally, we'd go to sleep quickly and NOT wake up during the night.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and meditation are solutions that can produce that outcome over the long term.
But what I was looking for was a solution that would help me get to sleep--or get BACK to sleep--quickly...in the SHORT TERM...so I don't lose those precious hours of sleep.
How I Hacked My Overactive Brain
Nature gave us our fight-or-flight reaction, but luckily it also gave us a way to calm down after that reaction.
That process is called the baroreflex.
The way you initiate the baroreflex is by controlling the duration of your inhales and exhales. This balances the autonomic nervous system and allows you to feel relaxed so you can get to sleep.
The baroreflex is triggered after your breathing slows from 11 breaths per minute to 6 breaths per minute, with the inhale lasting 4 seconds and the exhale lasting 6 seconds.
Get the Benefits of Meditation (Without the 30 Years of Practice...)
This is one of the reasons that meditation is so effective at calming your mind. If you've ever tried meditation, you know that the very first exercises usually involve paying close attention to your breathing.
Meditators intentionally manipulate the baroreflex.
Like any other pursuit, meditation takes a LOT of practice. But the hack I found is that there's a device that allows you to manipulate the baroreflex without any knowledge of meditation, without any knowledge or skills of any kind really.
This device is called the Dodow light. The Dodow helps you effortlessly control your breathing to trigger the baroreflex without even thinking about what you’re doing.
You won’t need to count to 4 while inhaling then count to 6 while exhaling.
Simply time your breathing with the slowly pulsing blue light.
A Proven Solution
The Dodow has been proven to help you fall into a deep, restful, regenerative sleep more quickly and stay asleep longer.
It does this in part by helping you slow down your busy mind.
The Dodow shines a circular light on the ceiling that increases and decreases in size rhythmically, like a metronome.
Focusing on the rhythmic light while controlling your breathing calms the mind and helps your body relax so that you can quickly fall into a deep, restful sleep.
All you have to do is stare at the ceiling, something most sleepless people find themselves doing naturally.
Inhale when the light expands and exhale when it contracts.
While focusing on the light, your mind is less prone to thinking about things that cause stress.
If you're still unsure of the science behind this, here's the Sleep Doctor's take on this device:
But Does It Work in the Real World?
To see if the Dodow lives up to the hype, I tested it with the help of my significant other.
Why did I need help?
Because it's pretty hard to time how long it takes you to fall asleep without an observer. So I took a little time to set it up and read the directions, then I used the device per the instructions.
It typically takes me about half an hour to wind down and fall asleep once my body hits the bed, which is longer than I'd like.
I'd rather be clocking some sleep cycles in that time.
The first night I was getting used to it and it didn't seem to shorten my time to sleep.
However, each night after that I was able to fall asleep in 10 minutes or less; it took less than 5 minutes in one case.
Getting BACK to Sleep
For better or worse, I was also able to test it as a way to get back to sleep after waking in the middle of the night.
This was the bigger test in my mind because I'm typically up for 2 hours when that happens.
Dodow was effective for this as well, putting me back to sleep in 15 minutes at the most.
That was a big win because while I know that meditation helps me sleep faster, I have trouble disciplining myself to actually do that. This had roughly the same effect and was much easier to execute.
All in all, at least for me, the device did what it was supposed to in two different situations.
They claim Dodow puts you to sleep 2.5 times faster than normal and my results exceeded that.
My Take on the Benefits
- Puts you to sleep FAST
- No ingesting dangerous toxins or chemicals
- No side effects
- Similar therapeutic effects from breathing exercises used in yoga and meditation
- Easy to use while traveling & works to help jet lag
- Looks clean, no wires or cords
- Adjustable light intensity so it doesn't disturb your partner
What Other People Think
I'm not the only person who has given the Dodow a spin and been impressed by the results. Below are some videos of other folks who have tried Dodow for themselves.
A Great Offer
What clinched the deal for me was that when you compare the cost -- in time AND money -- of sleeping pills, meditation classes and other sleep hygiene gadgets, the Dodow is very inexpensive.
It's just kind of a no-brainer...
And luckily, though supply chains are disrupted around the globe, they still have Dodow devices in stock. (Like most supplies these days, the longer you wait to order the longer the shipping times may be.)
Your Questions Answered
Below are questions we've gotten from readers about the Dodow device.
Q: Can the Dodow sleep light cause headaches?
A: There is no evidence to suggest that Dodow causes headaches. There have been no harmful side effects reported. Dodow causes sleepiness with nothing more than a rhythmically flashing light. It is non-addictive and non-toxic.
Q: Doesn't blue light at night cause sleeplessness?
A: The blue light produced by televisions and computer screens has been shown to suppress melatonin secretions which makes it more difficult to fall asleep. In fact, experts will tell you to turn off your television and computer at least an hour before going to bed.
The most common advice is to read a boring book while the body’s melatonin levels recover from exposure to blue light. The blue light produced by Dodow is not nearly as intense as the blue light produced by your television. Such a dim blue light has not been shown to cause sleeplessness.
Blue light has, in fact, been clinically proven to naturally relax people. Researchers at the Brain-Computer Interface Lab at the University of Granada proved that exposure to blue light for 10 minutes relaxed stressed participants.
This stress reduction when combined with controlled breathing actually helps you fall into a deep sleep.
Q: Can the Dodow light intensity be adjusted?
A: The intensity of the blue light can be adjusted easily and should be, depending on the height of your bedroom ceiling. Use a brighter setting if you have high ceilings in your bedroom. Dim it down if your ceiling is lower. You can also dim it if the blue light bothers your partner. The light shouldn’t bother him or her. It should actually help your partner relax and fall asleep more quickly, too. If he or she doesn’t like it, though, simply turn down the light intensity.
Q: Does the Dodow light stay on all night?
A: There is no need for the Dodow light to remain on all night long. It works by helping you fall into a deep sleep, then its job is done. Two settings allow you to choose how long you want the light to stay on. You can turn it on for 8 minutes or 20 minutes. For an 8-minute session, simply tap the surface of the Dodow once. If you want it to stay on for 20 minutes, just tap the device twice. The 20-minute setting is best for the first few sessions.
Q: Will I have to use the Dodow for the rest of my life?
A: Dodow literally trains your brain to relax and fall asleep more quickly. You may be able to fall asleep without the Dodow device after using it for only a few months.
Q: Does the Dodow help with jet lag?
A: Sleeplessness due to jet lag can be easily remedied with Dodow. This is a completely portable device that uses batteries. You can even use it while you’re travelling in Europe without bothering with an electrical adapter
Q: Will Dodow help me fall asleep when there are noisy people in the house?
A: Yes, Dodow will help you fall asleep even if you are trying to sleep in a house where people are still moving about and making noise, a hotel where there is normal activity around you or even an apartment with noisy neighbors.
It works by drawing your focus and attention away from the noise and triggering your baroreflex. When you’ve triggered your baroreflex and autonomic nervous system, the noise will be much less likely to get your attention and keep you awake.
Q: Are there other devices similar to Dodow?
A: No, there really aren’t. Dodow is currently the only device like it on the market.