New device developed that rocks insomniacs to sleep

Updated: Jul 01, 2010, 00:00 AM IST

Melbourne: A device, which can simulate the same rocking motion that parents use to put babies to sleep, has been developed in Australia to help insomniacs get their required rest.

The device, Philips Sleepwave, is attached to the mastoid bone behind the ear using a sensor cable and it works by sending electric pulses into the vestibular system.

The electric pulse then stimulates the balance centres in our middle ear to create a gentle swaying or rocking sensation, and once the person is asleep, it switches off automatically.

Paul O’Sullivan, from Philips Home Healthcare Solutions division, says the Sleepwave is the first product of its kind in the world, and it offers a non-drug alternative for insomniacs.

“They’ve known for a long time that people rock their babies to sleep and people fall asleep riding in cars and trains,” quoted him as saying.

“It’s that rocking motion that seems to put people to sleep,” he stated.

The Sleepwave device, which is about the size of an MP3 player, has been tested in Philips’ sleep labs in Sydney and Melbourne and was found to decrease 67 percent of severe to moderate insomniacs down to a level of no clinical significance.

Dr Anup Desai, consultant physician for sleep and respiratory disorders, says the Sleepwave is a novel way of treating insomnia.

Philips Sleepwave, which costs 440 dollars, is available to the public now and can be prescribed to patients by a GP or sleep doctor like medication.