When we heard that the Dodow, a digital sleep lamp from France was created by insomniacs, we just knew we would have to try it. It already has more than 60,000 users. It arrives boxed, with clear, easy to understand instructions.
Aesthetically, the Dodow looks good. It’s a small, compact, flat white battery-powered disc that sits on your bedside table. Once in bed, you switch off the lights and simply tap the touch-sensitive surface, once for an eight-minute session and twice for a twenty-minute session. Once finished, the device automatically shuts off.
Like a metronome, the Dodow projects a halo of blue light on to your ceiling that pulses slowly at scientifically determined intervals—when it expands, you take a slow, deep breath from your diaphragm. When it contracts, you release your breath. You then continue timing your breathing to the light until you drift off.
By synchronizing your breaths with the light, Dodow creates a relaxing hypnotic effect, stimulating a physiological mechanism that restores the balance to your autonomic nervous system. Studies have shown that slower, controlled breathing is one of the best tools to ease stress and mental turmoil, helping people get to sleep faster. Dodow lets you achieve this relaxing effect, lowering your heart rate so you feel drowsy and sleepy.
Usually when we can’t fall asleep we tend to toss and turn, count sheep and repeat until we doze off…three hours later. But studies have shown that doing the exact opposite (i.e., forcing yourself to keep your eyes open) could help you get drowsy faster. This is because sleep is an involuntary physiological process, meaning it can’t really be controlled by those aforementioned efforts.
So, following this argument, when you try to keep your eyes open and slow your breathing down to Dodow’s six respirations per minute, it will kick off your body’s natural resting state. Not to mention that you’re watching a hypnotising blue light, so your insomnia should basically be kicked into the long grass.
We put Dodow to the test with a small group of poor sleepers. Eight did not stay awake past the eight-minute mark. The remaining three were asleep by the twenty-minute mark. Certainly, concentrating on one’s breathing gives no time for anxious or negative thoughts to surface and even if you do the full 20 minutes of breathing and are still awake, comfort yourself with the thought that at the very least, you will be in a mindfulness meditative state. If you wake during the night the process can be repeated to encourage you back to sleep.
The Dodow runs on AAA batteries, so no charging or wires needed and because of its small size, it’s ideal for taking with you when travelling. It definitely has the thumbs up from us and moreover would make a brilliant Xmas present for anyone who struggles to chill out at bed time.
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