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Sleepium: Better Sleep through Stress Resilience Training

Founder and CEO, Sarah Hill couldn’t sleep until she tried neurofeedback and virtual reality. Trouble sleeping? Join her in the Sleepium challenge.

Written by Sarah Hill
February 10th, 2022

Why aren’t we sleeping well?

As a busy TV news journalist, I struggled with ruminating thoughts before bed for more than a decade. I just couldn’t turn off my mind enough to fall asleep. In the end due to my insomnia, my body revolted with panic attacks that made falling asleep even more difficult. I tried sleep medication but worried about becoming addicted. Only when I tried neurofeedback did I learn how to self-regulate my brain patterns and heart rate so I could naturally learn to downshift my nervous system. Now, I’m combining the power of Healium’s feedback with immersive stories designed to induce sleep. We call it Sleepium. It’s a digiceutical for the self management of sleep through anxiety reduction. You train with an EEG headband during the day for stress management and then view that same immersive content before bed at night. The point is to create an associative or stored memory you can go back to whenever you need to downshift your nervous system. Your own thoughts pack a lot of power to self-heal. 


Sadly, I was 40 years old before I learned how to shift my brain patterns into a more positive alignment. Don’t let that be you.  Neurofeedback has come a long way since the 90’s when I would have to literally glue electrodes on my forehead and sit in front of a computer to watch a boring dot move up and down. With augmented reality, you can now illuminate a solar system with your brain patterns or heart rate, grow flowers, just with your mobile device. With a VR headset you can gently glide through a beautiful butterfly island, immerse yourself in the sparkling galaxy, or touch the bioluminescent glow in virtual reality–all with the power of your brainwaves. These are immersive bedtime stories designed to prepare your mind for sleep. 


I know what you’re thinking: aren’t you supposed to cut out blue light before bed? Yes, but most VR headsets and even your mobile devices now come with blue light filters. Check your settings. In our FAQs, learn how to enable “night mode” on the most popular VR headsets.


Self-manage insomnia

How are you supposed to learn to control your brain patterns and heart rate when you can’t see them? Sure you can pull up a YouTube video and watch it but how do you know whether your brain is responding to the media? Traditional audio or even 2D meditation are not as engaging or memorable as Healium’s stories powered with feedback like an EEG headband or Apple Watch for heart rate because you can actually see those metrics personified as an object to know…am I doing this right?  


Virtual reality may be particularly effective for sleep as the experiences pull the user into a world specifically designed to calm the nervous system. This is a powerful and easy way to downshift after a long, busy day, allowing the body to relax and the mind to settle.


Healium is VR, AR + feedback from consumer wearables you may already have in your home that allow you to learn to self-regulate your brain patterns and heart rate because you can see them shifting in near-real time. It’s kind of like a video game powered by your body’s electricity. Increase your feeling of focused-calm and slowly float up the side of a beautiful waterfall.


Not only does the environment respond to your feelings, but science shows virtual reality can be a powerful tool for insomnia


What else can you use virtual reality for?

Beyond sleep, VR and AR are powerful tools to self manage anxiety, boost focus, mood, and improve human performance among athletes and “tactical athletes” like frontline healthcare workers. In this study recently published in Frontiers in Virtual Reality Medicine, 100 frontline healthcare workers used EEG headbands + Healium during the height of the COVID pandemic. Healium was shown to quickly improve their mood and reduce self-reported anxiety significantly more than just audio alone.  In fact, because VR helps you self manage your stress and improves your mood during the day, that can pay dividends when you try to go to bed at night. 


VR and AR create stored memories of picturesque landscapes and stories which you can recall in stressful situations or before you go to bed at night. 65% of the population are visual learners. While traditional audio meditation certainly still has value for people, the brain ultimately believes what it sees more than what it hears. 


What is the future of VR in sleep therapy?

The future of sleep therapy is sleep training that immerses the user into spatial computing environments to personify the data that comes from their wearables into something people can learn to self-regulate. Take Healium’s 3D Jaguar for instance. It’s a “stress animal” that you control by shifting your brain patterns and heart rate. The more you increase your feelings of focused-calm, the more the Jaguar transforms from an attack position to a relaxed position eventually sitting down right next to you and licking its paw. You can “tame your stress animal” by playing ball with it and learning when you control your thoughts and your breath, the Jaguar responds to your feelings. 


Healium’s newest digital drug “Sleepium” is a digiceutical for sleep but it’s not a replacement for psychotropic, insomnia medication or professional counseling which is one of the best things you can do to help you sleep. It’s a training tool and a new kind of bedtime story for adults that teaches people the power of their own thoughts to self-heal. 


Counting sheep has served us well since Medieval times and now those sheep are being brought to life in our own bedrooms, controlled by our own thoughts. If you’d like to learn how to better tame your stress animal, take the Sleepium challenge :  5 days of immersive stories before bed designed to help you sleep better at night. 


Take the Sleepium challenge

About the Author

Sarah Hill, a former interactive TV news journalist at NBC, ABC, and CBS affiliates in Missouri, gained recognition for pioneering interactive news broadcasting using Google Hangouts. She is now the CEO of Healium, the world’s first biometrically powered VR/AR channel, helping those with stress, anxiety, insomnia, and other struggles through biofeedback storytelling. With patents, clinical validation, and over seven million views, she has reshaped the landscape of immersive media.

Written by Sarah Hill
February 10th, 2022
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