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Zeez Sleep Pebble: Guest Blog by Anna McKay, its creator…

Posted on February 1st, 2018

August 2016, Jenny wrote a blog about using our Zeez Sleep Pebble, a small under-the-pillow sleep device which prompts good sleep by using tiny pulses which match the frequencies and wave form of the brainwaves of relaxation and deep sleep.

I first met Jenny on a sunny day in July 2016. I’d been talking about sleep at the healthy living festival RawFest. Jenny wasn’t sleeping, and I lent her a rather unattractive blue prototype Zeez Sleep pebble. The next morning, Jenny told me that not only did she want to buy it, she wanted to sell them online.

And later that year, she did. By that time we had graduated to making small hand assembled batches using 3D printed cases, the method we still use today.

What’s new since then? In relation to the study of sleep, scientists have learnt more about the importance of different stages of sleep in memory formation, mental health, weight control, and avoiding dementia. And for us, more Zeez users has lead to more insights.

More people, more insights

Around 600 people have now used the Zeez Sleep Pebble, and overall about 80% have responded to it, sleeping longer and more deeply, falling asleep faster, reducing interruptions to their sleep, and improving the quality of their daytime energy. We have had young users, including more children, as well as people who have tried a whole gamut of other treatments and medication, like Jim, more people with PTSD, and more people with Parkinson’s disease like Linda.

We have had enough data from professional sportsmen to be able to analyse it, and to discover something surprising: sportsmen respond to the Zeez better than the rest of us. Amongst 37 professional sportsmen, ranging from personal trainers to international footballers, rugby players and polo players, there’s been over 90% success. Why? No doubt exercise, and generally a better gut biome contributed, but the main difference seems to be mineral intake.

Sportsmen sweat, and know that when they sweat, they lose water-soluble minerals such as magnesium and sodium. So they supplement. The rest of us may sweat too, but are less aware of the need to make up lost minerals, often still believing that salt is an evil to be avoided. And so our brain, which depends on minerals to work, can’t function properly, and our sleep is impaired. This is particularly true for deep sleep, a demanding process: the time when our brainwaves are most powerful.

Since realising that sportsmen responded to the Zeez particularly well (and, yes, they were all men – no professional sportswoman has yet used the Zeez – come on ladies..) we have been encouraging poor sleepers to consume enough essential minerals, and our success rate has increased. In recent months, 90% of Zeez users have kept their devices.

We have also learnt that some people can take much longer than the average person to respond to the Zeez. I used to think that if a person hadn’t responded within a couple of weeks they wouldn’t do so, but have discovered that it can be worth persisting for a month or more, especially where a person has some response to the Zeez, but not enough.

Studies

We chose to work on sleep because we are allowed to do so without prohibitively expensive clinical trials, but we would love independent studies. Some institutions and generous individuals are prepared to work with us even though we can’t pay them, and we are slowly making progress.

  • The Tavistock Parkinson’s group is working with Dr Camille Carroll on a case-series study to see whether the Zeez can help can help people with Parkinson’s-related sleep disorders.
  • We have a possibility of a trial with veterans with PTSD and Larium induced brain injury, if we can raise funds.
  • An addiction clinic is interested in trying the Zeez –sleep quality is a major factor in the success or otherwise of rehab – but the clinic itself is at risk of closure.
  • Two GP groups are interested in testing the Zeez with patients, one of them concentrating on patients at risk of post partum depression, linked to poor sleep.
  • An Australian university is interested in using polysomnograph equipment to monitor the effects of the Zeez.
  • A school for children with learning difficulties, many of whom find sleep hard, hopes to trial the Zeez.

The Future

This year we hope to make many more people aware of the Zeez and its potential to help sleep. We’ll do all we can to encourage research. And we’ll introduce our Alpha device, designed to support relaxation. Look for it here.

Anna McKay 29/01/18