The French discoverers of the Dodow themselves suffered from insomnia and were hesitant to use sleep medication. They looked for a natural solution for their insomnia and were inspired by various methods such as cognitive therapy, meditation and yoga. They discovered that the basis of relaxation has to do with breathing. The principle of the Dodow is based on Asian meditating monks. They manage to reduce the rate of their breathing to just six breaths per minute. In this way they reach a state of total relaxation. With this they inspired the creators of the sleeping gadget Dodow.
The Dodow is a small, saucer-shaped white disc. Three small, blue LED lights project a pulsating light onto the ceiling or wall of your bedroom. The lights work for eight or twenty minutes, they run on three AA batteries. The light acts like a metronome to help slow down and relax your breathing. In this way, stress and restlessness are dealt with naturally. You can slow down the pace of your breathing within 8 minutes.
You fall asleep on average 2.5 times faster than you are used to. They promise that the brain will come to a standstill in eight minutes, as if it had fallen asleep. To scientifically substantiate the effect, they refer to a number of studies that substantiate their hypothesis.
The principle of the Dodow is simple. No application to install on a smartphone, no tracker or necessary computer skills. After a tap on the top, the blue lights will turn on. The Dodow projects a pulsating light disc onto the ceiling of your bedroom. You then synchronize your breathing at the same pace as the lights. Inhale from your diaphragm when the light expands and exhale slowly when the light contracts. You tune your breathing to the rhythm of the light. An inhale lasts four seconds, while the exhale lasts six seconds. Set the timer to eight minutes or twenty minutes if you expect to need a little more time. The concentration on the ray of light and the breathing divert attention from the usual stream of thoughts. The brain activity decreases and brings you to a state that makes it easier to fall asleep. Most people don’t see the light turning off anymore. Does the light irritate? You can switch off the device immediately with a double tap on the top.
Focusing on lowering your breathing triggers a number of physiological processes. The main effect is to lower the cortisol hormone that you develop in a flight-or-fight response. The slower breathing causes a feeling of fatigue due to the decrease in the CO2 level in your blood. The longer exhalation than the inhalation leads to a vasoconstriction (a decrease in the diameter of the blood vessels in the brain). By keeping the rhythm stable long enough, the baroreflex will also be activated. This reflex is a physiological mechanism that rebalances the autonomic nervous system. When the nervous system gets out of balance, it causes insomnia. Melatonin production is re-stimulated and the brain goes into alpha mode (characterized by low-frequency brain waves).
Blue screens are notorious for their disruptive effect on the production of sleep hormones. A general recommendation is to dim all blue screens at least two hours before going to bed, or better yet, turn them off completely. The Dodow was specifically developed to be placed on your bedside table as a sleeping lamp. The blue glow is so weak (less than 1 lux) that it does not adversely affect the production of sleep hormones. After developing several prototypes with both orange (590nm, 601nm) and blue (465nm, 470nm), the researchers found that the effects were more convincing with the blue tint of cyan (465nm). This shade has the greatest reduction in stress.
The more than 300,000 users in 2019 experience sleeping problems for various reasons. Stress, restlessness, AD(H)D, chronic sleep problems, nighttime awakenings and pregnancy are some of the causes of insomnia. The Dodow can also be effective with jet lag. The Dodow can be used from the age of 6, because children can then follow the indication of the light. Compared to other methods, the Dodow has the advantage that it takes little time, is effective and does not lead to side effects or addiction.