Will This Biofeedback Sleep Hat Improve Your Slumber?

sleephatNightcaps — as in hats that you wear while sleeping, not sipping booze before bedtime — have gone out of style with the spread of central heating, but maybe it didn’t have to be that way. For $150, an actual product that’s on the market promises to use biofeedback to monitor your brain waves and lull you to sleep, which is apparently a thing that people really want in a device.

The Sleep Shepherd was funded on Kickstarter back in 2014, and we’re glad to see a crowdfunded project successfully reach the market. Does the Sleep Shepherd actually work, though, and is it worth $150?

The company itself uses studies on 20 adults and 15 adolescents to prove its efficacy, which isn’t a very large sample. Our hard-napping colleagues down the hall at Consumer Reports put the cap on one tester, who found that it was cozy, but functioned pretty much as a personal white noise machine. You can get a nice white noise machine for less than $150, and tuning your radio to static is even free.

This ad on the Sleep Shepherd site compares the lives of couples who do and don't use the product. It's pretty harrowing.

This ad on the Sleep Shepherd site compares the lives of couples who do and don’t use the product. It’s pretty harrowing.

Amazon reviews for the size “medium” hat are mixed, averaging three stars.

“The night before anything significant, this device is no match for my racing brain and just adds to my misery while staring at the side of my eyelids,” writes one reviewer who gave the device only one star. “It’s possible it may have helped me achieve a deeper state of sleep when my mind wasn’t racing to begin with.”

The Sleep Shepherd is not advertised as a medical device, and therefore not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration. We have to question the company calling their product an “all-natural sleep aid” when it’s a hat with speakers and little electronic box on top of your head, since that is not a thing found in nature. That claim is apparently because the cap is meant to mimic the feeling of sleeping in a hammock without needing to hang hooks from your ceiling.

If you want better sleep that costs less than $150 and doesn’t require you to remember to recharge your hat, here’s a video with some ideas for you.

Can the Sleep Shepherd Sleeping Cap Lull You Into Sweet Slumber? [Consumer Reports]