The more you know, the better you sleep. That's the idea behind Zeo, a personal sleep coach device and service offered by a startup by the same name. While Zeo's setup currently includes a wireless-enabled, sensor-equipped headband and bedside display/alarm clock, in the future that may change, Zeo's President and CEO, Dave Dickinson said during a presentation at the Wireless Life-Sciences Alliance event in La Jolla this week.
The company's iPhone app, which Zeo announced at MobiHealthNews' Everywhere Healthcare event in March, and other future Zeo mobile applications may someday include some of the functionality of the company's bedside display device.
"Eventually [sleep data] will transmit directly from your headband to your phone," Dickinson said during his presentation.
Another sleep-focused company that is more clinically-focused than Zeo, called NeuroVigil, which also analyzes EEG signals through wireless headband sensors, already transmits its sleep data directly to BlackBerry mobile devices, according to a presentation NeuroVigil's CEO and Founder gave at TEDMED last year.
Dickinson also shared some important metrics related to sleep: Poor sleep is the number three overall health complaint, after pain and headaches. For the 50 years old and older crowd, it's the number two complaint. About 75 percent of US adults report having trouble sleep each night. Some 100,000 people fall asleep at the wheel each day. Zeo calls this problem "the new epidemic."
Dickinson also noted that recently poor sleep has been found to be a factor in developing diabetes, heart disease, cancer and possibly dementia. According to recent studies, poor sleep and sleep loss are causal factors not necessarily resulting from these conditions and diseases, Dickinson said.
Another interesting anecdote about Zeo: Celebrity Regis Philbin filmed himself using Zeo for his talkshow and the results showed he had sleep issues. While Zeo does not even come close to diagnosing medical issues of any kind, Dickinson said, the Zeo results were enough to encourage Philbin to see his doctor. Turns out he had sleep apnea.
While Dickinson would not answer audience questions about the number of Zeo's sold he did note that they had sold "thousands" and had even sold 1,000 in three days at one point. They even sold 700 Zeos in 24 hours, Dickinson said. Dickinson also hinted that Zeo may be creating informercials for late night and early morning TV. Perfect way to reach those who aren't sleeping well.
Dickinson also said Zeo would be going retail soon -- look for the personal sleep monitor on a store shelf near you soon.
UPDATE: NeuroVigil founder, chairman and CEO Dr. Philip Low wrote in to clarify that the demo at TEDMED was on a $15 phone and the technology is applicable to these as well as any kind of smartphones, including Blackberry and iPhones.