Sleep. According to a 2016 study by the CDC, one out of three Americans isn’t getting enough of it. And maybe the sleep tracker on your Fitbit, Apple Watch, or other favorite wearable is suggesting that you’re one of those three. But as pretty as those sleep tracker reports are, they can’t give you a true diagnostic assessment of your sleep – something that can be used by your doctor for diagnosis to help you sleep better. Historically, if you wanted a comprehensive sleep study done, you’d go to a sleep lab. Cerebra.health is poised to change all of that.
According to Cerebra’s CEO Dawson Reimer, Cerebra “brings true sleep analysis right to your home in a way that’s more technologically adept than what’s done in a sleep lab or through a sleep apnea test.” And more importantly, Cerebra is helping people who struggle with sleep, finally get the help they need – Cerebra will even refer you to the right treatment or clinician.
The company that would become Cerebra.health was started by an internationally respected respirologist, Dr. Magdy Younes. After successfully developing medical devices in other fields, Dr. Younes was determined to solve the two big problems in sleep diagnosis:
1. That it could only be done in a sleep lab
2. That the manual analysis of sleep was so crude that it actually missed most of the information that was being collected
According to Dawson, Dr. Younes spent his own money to build the software and the first generation of the hardware. Cerebra’s vision? Change the way we talk about sleep and how analysis is done. “We’re bringing it to people in their own homes, making it accessible for the first time,” said Dawson. Dawson also reminds us that sleep is a huge problem in society: “Everyone has a story about how their sleep quality is negatively affecting themselves or someone they love.”
“They can’t even begin to understand what the problem is,” said Dawson. “And a person’s path to a better sleep can’t begin without understanding. We have hardware and software that can bring that understanding to people and that’s an exciting mission to be a part of.”
Where the Sleep Lab Falls Short
Sleep labs can be expensive, and let’s face it, the environment just isn’t conducive to… well… sleeping. And Dawson says the way analysis is done is “broken and antiquated.” A human spends a couple of hours identifying the stages of sleep, pouring over the data, and making a few subjective conclusions – just like they did in the 1960s.
“There are tons of things happening in your brain when you sleep,” explains Dawson. “Things that are far more intricate than anything that can be seen by the naked eye, that our digital analysis extracts in way that a human alone cannot.”
A Deeper Look at What’s Happening While You Sleep
So what can Cerebra see, that the sleep lab couldn’t? You would not believe it if we told you, so we’ll let Dawson do that: “In the EEG, you can see the processes by which a person forms memories and consolidates information from the previous day,” he explains. “There’s actually an electro-impulse that reflects that, called the sleep spindle. Our software is the first commercial software validated for detecting sleep spindles and quantifying them. We presented data at a recent conference that shows how features in your EEG can predict your cognitive function the next morning.”
Dawson says that researchers have also used Cerebra’s data to determine “how much a person’s sleep is disturbed by different degrees and different amounts of noise.”
Multi-Night Sleep Studies Are Coming
Cerebra also plans to launch multi-night sleep studies, which are difficult to make available at sleep labs. Multi-night testing doesn’t just give you more confidence in your results, it also makes it possible to see what interventions and treatments work best.
“For example, if I tried melatonin and some other sleep nutraceutical – what are the relative effects of treatment A versus treatment B on my sleep?” said Dawson. “Or, how does changing my environment or changing my sleeping patterns affect my sleep?” The opportunities are endless.
And best of all, Cerebra analyzes your sleep where it happens – “not on your wrist, beside your bed or in your breathing. In your brain and in your own bed,” said Dawson.
Prevent and Treat with Sleep!
Sleep is critical to every system of your body. Go without it for extended periods, and you know what happens. You start to fall apart – mentally and physically. And Dawson tells us that yes, sleep is critical to every system in our bodies. AND…it’s critical to the recovery from, management of, or prevention of almost every disease in existence, including:
“We envision a future where sleep becomes a part of the management of a host of different disorders and conditions,” said Dawson. “And we want to create a solution that fits into that.”
Dementia and Sleep
While the medical community is still waking up to how critical sleep is to preventing and managing certain conditions, the research is getting harder to ignore. For example, “in the past 10 years, researchers have found that disturbed sleep, including sleep fragmentation, abnormal sleep duration, and sleep disorders, is a risk factor for dementia.” Dawson tells us that we already knew that the elderly population has struggled with sleep, and now that may factor into whether or not they will have dementia – or Alzheimer’s
“And that’s just one example of how sleep is tied directly to your physical health,” explains Dawson. “And I could have the same discussion around almost any disorder that’s out there.”
Customers Want Businesses to Become More Sleep Aware
Dawson tells us that aside from selling their at-home sleep tests in Canada (the hardware and software are both Health Canada-approved), many opportunities have opened up for Cerebra in the business sector. As more people become more sleep-aware, professionals at pharmacies, doctor’s offices, fitness centers, elite training centers, and other health-related businesses are getting questions that relate to sleep problems and data from their customers’ sleep trackers.
“I think people will go after solving their sleep problems, and what Cerebra hopes to be is a real clinical solution for those who need it – these businesses’ customers.”
Rebranding to Cerebra.health
Cerebra recently took a closer look at all of its brands and created a unified company brand. In doing so, they took the time to reflect on who they were as a company – world leaders in digital sleep, innovators in sleep science, a company that’s changing the future of sleep healthcare through academic research. They also wanted the language that they used to be as accessible as their science – something you could experience in the comfort of your own home.
“For us, it was a natural choice to join the .health movement so we could clearly position ourselves as leaders in the health landscape,” explained Dawson. “We believe the .health domain name communicates the value of our core technology. It’s something that consumers can understand, and in our case, bring into their own home.”
We’re excited to have Cerebra developing the future of sleep studies on .health! Thank you Cerebra for waking us up to this important issue, and we hope to see you in the States soon!
For more information visit Cerebra.health!