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Getting a full night’s sleep
Rosaria Mannino and Luca Rigazio: Koko Labs
BY PETER BOWES | WEDNESDAY SEPTEMBER 14, 2022
Do you have a problem sleeping? The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says insufficient sleep is a public health problem linked to chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes, heart problems, obesity, and depression. The implications for human longevity are obvious.
So what can be done to get a better night’s sleep – even if you think you’ve tried everything?
The Silicon Valley startup, Koko Labs, has developed Full Sleep, a six-week program guided by artificial intelligence (A.I.), using a non-wearable bedside tracker and the tried and tested sleep improvement technique, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia (CBT-I). In this episode we meet Koko’s Chief Product Officer, Rosaria Mannino, and A.I. guru Luca Rigazio, to learn more about this pioneering technology.
This episode is brought to you in association with Full Sleep, a program that helps you reimagine your long-term relationship with sleep, incorporating a non-wearable bedside tracker and CBT-I – Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia. Preorder Full Sleep now, with a discount* for its limited launch period, and try it out for yourself. *Limited to the first 100 qualified customers.
Read a transcript
“The impact on your mental health, on your physical health, on your future health, on your ability to have not only live longer, but live a better life, live a fuller life, live the life you actually want to live – sleep has the most impact on all of those desires..”Rosaria Mannino, Koko Labs
Topics covered in this interview include:
- Struggling with sleep and how it affects our daily lives
- Overwork, stress and travel and how they can lead to insomnia
- The goals and aspirations of Koko Labs – focused on aging and sleep
- REST: Radar Enabled Sensing Technology
- CBT-I: Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia
- Embracing a passion for A.I. to help people with their sleep
- Marrying human psychology with bleeding edge technology to create a new solution for insomnia
- Full Sleep and how it works as a standalone, non-wearable devise.
- A six-week program combining A.I. based algorithms and real-person guidance to sleep better
- A feedback loop to create sleep-promoting habits
- Safety and security relating to radar-based devices and data storage
- Compatibility with other sleep-inducing hacks
- How to experience Full Sleep from Koko Labs.
This interview with Rosaria Mannino and Luca Rigazio was recorded on August 31, 2022 and transcribed using Sonix AI. Please check against audio recording for absolute accuracy.
Peter Bowes: Getting a good full night’s sleep is for me the most important part of a lifestyle focused on good health, well-being, and longevity. But why, for many of us is it’s so difficult to achieve. And how could REST help us? REST being Radar Enabled Sensing Technology.
Rosaria Mannino: It’s like having a sleep coach in your bedroom with you as you’re overnight. So if you’re struggling to sleep, you have someone there who’s kind of guiding you and helping you to fall back to sleep.
Peter Bowes: Hello again and welcome to the Live Long and Master Aging podcast. I’m Peter Bowes. This is where we explore the science and stories behind human longevity. This episode is brought to you in association with Full Sleep, a program that helps people reimagine their long-term relationship with sleep, incorporating a non-wearable bedside tracker and CBT-I Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia. There’s already a lot to unpack there. Lots of acronyms too. So I’m pleased to say we have two guests to explain these acronyms in plain English, hopefully. Joining us from the Silicon Valley startup KoKo Labs, which is behind full sleep. Rosaria Mannino is the company’s chief product officer, and Luca Rigazio is the vice president of A.I. artificial intelligence with Koko Labs. Welcome to you both.
Rosaria Mannino: Hello. Thank you for having us.
Luca Rigazio: Hi. Thank you.
Peter Bowes: Very good to talk to you. I want to go just to start with to the heart of the matter and maybe get a sense from both of you what it means to get a good night’s sleep. Rosaria.
Rosaria Mannino: Yes. Oh, man. So what’s interesting is I have in my lifetime, I don’t think I’ve ever really struggled that much with sleep. I’ve been one of the lucky ones. But I have a partner now of seven years who struggles almost nightly with good sleep. And so it’s something that I have I became even more aware of and even more attuned to over the past seven years, to really see the struggle and the challenge of not getting a good night’s sleep. And so for me, it’s really it’s interesting because it’s less about the sleep itself and it’s really more about the feeling you get the next day. So being able to feel like you’re your best self, being able to be alert and awake and, you know, seize the day as as cheesy as that might sound. And seeing my partner struggle with it and realizing that it’s not something that that everyone really can, you know, it’s something that people do struggle with.
Peter Bowes: That’s exactly my point as well. And I don’t think it’s cheesy at all to frame it like that. I always say if I don’t get a good night’s sleep, there’s nothing in the next day that will really go well. You might be focused on your diet, you might be focused on your exercise regime, but you won’t do them as well without that good night’s sleep before. Luca.
Luca Rigazio: I agree. I’m the grumpiest person when I don’t sleep well, I typically sleep very well. And the few times I don’t sleep well, mostly because I overwork maybe. Or yeah, if I’m stressed out, then the day after I’m super grumpy. And also I like to ride my bicycle and I ride really slow the day after, which it’s not cool. So yeah, I rather sleep well than not.
Peter Bowes: And I think you’ve perhaps identified some of the reasons why you don’t sleep well. But is there, Luca, any one thing that you think maybe your current role, of course, with this company has redefined your thinking in terms of sleep, but previously, was there something that you knew you weren’t getting right but you couldn’t fix?
Luca Rigazio: Well, in my previous life, I used to travel a lot to Asia, so I guess it was more like travel related, not just the jetlag, but also, you know, the changes in routine and diets that go with that. So, you know, typically those transitions were a little bit hard, but in general, these days it has to do with lifestyle and stress. And and, you know, they’re also part of our programs that address that. I feel that many people might have similar issues. And when it hits you, if you kind of go back to your normal routine, then then you really feel it. You know, it really affects you.
Peter Bowes: Well, let’s talk a little bit about you both individually. Luca, you just mentioned in your previous role, you did a lot of traveling. I’m curious, just tell me a little bit about your career and what’s brought you to this point in terms of what you do with this company?
Luca Rigazio: Basically, I just do A.I. I always wanted to do A.I. Artificial intelligence even before when it became the cool thing to do now. Now everybody that that really wants to do cool tech wants to be associated with AI. But I started one of the first deep learning groups in the Silicon Valley in 2014. But I was doing A.I. even before it was cool. So what’s cool about Koko Labs is really the fact that we are combining really bleeding edge technology both at the hardware level and at the A.I. level with really a passion for helping our customers and trying to solve a complex problem in a creative way. So this blend of like bleeding edge technology, bleeding edge A.I., bleeding edge hardware and the dedication to solve real problem. To me, it’s very inspiring. So yeah, that’s why that’s why I’m here.
Peter Bowes: And Rosaria, I know the two of you have very different backgrounds, which is probably a huge plus for the company bringing together different skills. Just tell me a little bit about your experience and your obvious passion for what you do now.
Rosaria Mannino: Yeah. So I unlike Luca, I didn’t, I wasn’t passionate about A.I. to start for me, the passion was really about human behavior, human psychology. It’s something that since I was young, I was always really, really curious about. It led me to to my studies in economics. It then led me to several roles at different companies to focus on human design, human centered design. So I kind of I spent a good chunk of my career studying and working in and around the field of human centered design. And so for me, that human psychology, that kind of behavior change is an area of real interest of mine and real kind of curiosity. I’m my own guinea pig. I have my bookshelf is full of self-help books and, you know, and different books to read about why we think why we think the way we do, why we act the way we do. And so I got connected to Koko a few years ago, and for me it was this really great marriage of human psychology, thinking about how you help people change their behavior, which is one of the most challenging things for us to do in life, combined with working on a product and a space that was around older adults, was around aging, was around trying to solve a real problem. I’ve spent a lot of time in tech and getting gotten a little fed up with the products that are out there and services that are out there are just nice to have in my opinion. You know, I love getting things in two days or next day or same day with Amazon, for example. But for me, I got really excited about being part of a team that was trying to solve, as Luca mentioned, like a real salient problem. How do you help people sleep better? How do you help people make the most out of their day? How do you help people who really do struggle with sleep? We are focused and designing a product not for people that are curious about their sleep or, you know, would like to maybe measure it. There’s a lot of products out there for that. For us, we’re really designing something that we believe will help people fix their sleep for people who really, really do struggle with chronic insomnia, with chronic sleep problems. And so for me, this this role is and this team is this great combination of that human psychology and that mission and that passion on trying to solve a real problem for people.
Peter Bowes: I think what’s particularly exciting, you mentioned self-experimentation. I talk to a lot of people on this podcast who are one person experiments, and you know, there’s nothing as we all understand, there’s nothing particularly scientific about that. There’s often times no control group because you are your own control. But equally it’s exciting to do, isn’t it? Because you can see in real time and anecdotal evidence for something, whether it’s sleep or some other intervention in your lifestyle, can be very powerful.
Rosaria Mannino: Yeah, I am. This is a slight tangent. I hope you don’t mind, but for me it’s it’s been in the past few years, it’s really been meditation and mindfulness. And so I’ve tried to incorporate a practice around daily meditation, you know, daily gratitude, journaling, things like that. And that’s something that I have I have witnessed and experience the change that that has made in terms of in terms of my life, in terms of my mindset, in terms of, you know, anxiety levels, things like that. And so that yeah, that’s just an example. And I think when we, when we think about our product, a part of design and human centered design is its stories. It’s the, it’s the single story and the single anecdotes. And so when we design this product, a part of designing it was talking to people, was having people co-create this with us and really listening to their stories, understanding their situations and trying to design these products on a like individual by individual basis. And so that is something back to that human behavior and human psychology. I think we’re all test cases, but the best products and best companies take those individual cases and really try to design for them and think about them.
Peter Bowes: Yeah, that’s really interesting. And that is why I talk in this podcast about the stories and the science behind human longevity, because they go together so well. So let’s get into your story. We’re going to talk about full sleep, which is the product, the company is Koko Labs. Could you maybe just give me a quick outline of Koko Labs, how it started, what it exists for, and what the aspirations are?
Rosaria Mannino: Yeah, I can start. And then Luca was one of the original individuals to join, so he might have some good stories from back in the day.
Peter Bowes: Great.
Rosaria Mannino: So the company itself started over five years ago now in the Bay Area. It was founded by a couple of individuals that had experienced through their family, loved ones that struggled with different aspects of aging and being able to maintain their independence. And so it was really rooted in, you know, very personal stories to try to help the loved ones they had in their lives. And so this group got what ended up happening as they got this group together of experts across disciplines you’ve met. You know, Luca is a leading expert. He’s too modest, but he’s a leading expert in A.I. And we have folks from different disciplines, from design, from products, from marketing, from, you know, cognitive, behavioral and psychology that got together and really thought about how do we take the most novel technology and how do we think about applying that to problems that are in people’s lives? And so the Coco Labs itself was really grounded and founded around taking radar technology and trying to apply it to problems in the aging space. There was a lot of the work the team did over the past five years to figure out what the right first product was. We did some work around fall detection, but where we landed with our first product was around sleep, and that was a really exciting first use case for us to build. But Luca probably has some great stories from from early days.
Luca Rigazio: Yeah. So when they met some of the co-founders, they, they were just out of Stanford doing PhDs for like some, some crazy, you know, advanced technology they could barely talk about. And the idea was to take some of those findings and and bring them into into a consumer application. Yeah. Like Rosaria said, it wasn’t even clear what the what the first use case was, because this technology has broad applications. When I actually also want to make a point when we say radar, in a sense, there is that kind of lineage to almost like what people think about the radars that are used to track airplanes or like the militaries are using to intercept missiles and all of that. But in reality, you know, the physics is the same. But like when you’re taking something that like, you know, spins on top of like an aircraft carrier and you’re trying to squeeze it down to like a tiny little box, you’re effectively changing everything, including the amount of power you’re emitting because, you know, of course, you know, we do not want to fry our users. So the power is so low, right? That is like even much below, say, your WiFi, much below your 5G phone. Right. And so, you know, when when you’re trying to collect data from that, you need to re-engineer all the system from scratch. Right. And to do it at the consumer level, it’s a big endeavor. So when I first joined, the team were just four or five people and we just rent a small office and we didn’t even have the Internet connection. And I’m a big data kind of guy, so I cannot just work out of the Mac. And, you know, we didn’t have, you know, big funding. So we literally went in there and started to wire up the office and, you know, get like GPUs and motherboards off Amazon. And we started building, you know, and that was much fun for me because while I’m a techie, an engineer, you know, of course I do A.I. But I like all sorts of technologies. And, you know, there was really this kind of like garage, you know, feeling that you often hear about like Silicon Valley early teams while working on extremely bleeding edge technology. So it was much fun and it still is. You know, we’re a bigger, much bigger team now. But like this whole approach that is so characteristic of the Silicon Valley of finding like interesting application and matching them with bleeding edge technologies and then literally just going there with your hands and your brain and build stuff. That’s that’s what’s so, so amazing, you know, of the startup scene in the Valley in my in my opinion and experience.
Peter Bowes: So really interesting background there to the company let’s talk about full sleep and really dive into it from the beginning. What it is, how it works, what your aspirations are.
Rosaria Mannino: Yes, I will. The the best way I can describe it and the easiest way I can describe it is it’s like having a sleep coach in your bedroom with you as you’re overnight. So if you’re struggling to sleep, you have someone there who’s kind of guiding you and helping you to fall back to sleep. So one of the – hopefully that makes sense, but that’s kind of like one of the maybe you have a follow up question like that to me is one of the easiest ways to just kind of picture it in your mind.
Peter Bowes: And just to then break that down. What is in the bedroom with you. This is not attached to your body like some devices are. This isn’t a wristband. It isn’t a ring. It isn’t a headband. It’s it’s actually sitting by the side of your bed. The hardware.
Rosaria Mannino: Yes. So this is one of the. It honestly feels like magic for someone who is not a tech person. It feels it feels like magic. So you don’t have to wear anything. You don’t have a watch. You don’t have to have a ring. It’s not in your phone. There’s no screen. It’s essentially the size, approximately the size of a water bottle. And it sits next to your bed. It looks like a little speaker. And this device does a few things. One, it will track your sleep. So it does all the things that the the watch might do or the ring might do. So it keeps track of your your sleep. How many times you get up during the night, when you gone to bed, when you get up in the morning. So it does all of that. So it tracks your sleep without having to wear anything. But then what it also does is it provides this guidance in the moment. So it can sense when you’re getting in bed and when you’re ready to sleep and it will automatically play, for example, a wind down for you. So guided meditation or guided relaxation to help you fall asleep so you don’t have to remember to press anything. You don’t have to look at screens, you have to bring your phone in the bed. But it has these different we call them interventions, but it has these different moments where it guides you through these different techniques that will ultimately, when you practice them and you build a habit around them, they will help you sleep better.
Peter Bowes: An obvious question that comes to mind is: How can it track you? How can it make from its hardware and its software? How can it make an association with you? And obviously, bear in mind, many people don’t sleep alone. There could be.
Rosaria Mannino: Yes
Peter Bowes: Well, two people in that bedroom. How does it focus on you? Luca, this sounds like one for you.
Luca Rigazio: Yeah. First of all, we see and we don’t see that’s important because, well, you don’t want to have a camera in your bedroom. Right? So this is not a camera we don’t see. There is no concept of pixel. You know, we’re not infrared. We don’t see at night, you know, but we can detect tiny movements and we can detect where they come from. And based on that, we can reconstruct the activity in an environment, in this case, in the bedroom. So by using advanced algorithms, including AI based algorithms, we can map out the situation in the room and we can tell, you know, where the primary sleeper is and where the secondary sleeper is. So based on that, we can then just zero in on the main sleeper and and track that specifically sleep patterns.
Peter Bowes: And so the focus is the primary individual, the secondary sleeper, as you put it, has nothing to do with it. That person is is incidental. They are not dictating in any way how the device responds to you.
Luca Rigazio: Yeah, we’re basically trying to filter it out. I mean, you know, this is a product decision we’re assuming, and I may be like, Rosaria, you should you should discuss about that. You know, we’re assuming that, you know, we have we are focusing on one single person. And so if there is a second person, we want to filter it out, then we have the capabilities to do that.
Peter Bowes: This is the Live Long and Master Aging podcast. Our guests are Rosaria Mannino and Luca Ragazio. So from Koko Labs, we’re talking about Full Sleep, a program that helps people reimagine their long term relationship with sleep with the help of a new non-wearable device that sits by a bed. So Rosaria, having acknowledged and accepted that the device is monitoring you, it is giving you signals in terms of music and a wind down and it’s following your behavior. How then, let’s move to the next step, how can this device be used to improve your sleep?
Rosaria Mannino: Yeah. So this device is the foundation to us, personalizing a program around around you and our program. So the second kind of pillar we have our device. The second pillar of our product is a customized program that we deliver via our app and that programing is grounded and based in CBT-I, the other acronym that you mentioned. So Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia. And this is a proven evidence-based program and protocol that has been used for years to help people improve their sleep. So what we’ve done is we taken these principles that have been, that is evidence based, that have been proven time and time again. And what we’ve done is we’ve added technology to it and added data to it so we can actually create a customized program for you based on what we’re seeing through the device. And so this is really great. And you can imagine as a loop, a feedback loop, so the device will see things and based on that will recommend certain content. Will recommend certain aspects of the program. Then we can see through the device if you are following these behaviors and the habits that we recommend. Right, and then we modify. If they’re not working for you, we might suggest something else or we’ll celebrate what it does work for you and we’ll give you feedback through the data that is working. And so this is really cool loop that happens where we’re not just presenting you with data where you’re like, I don’t know what to do with this. What we’re actually using that data to modify the recommendations and suggestions and guidance we give to you through the app. And so there’s this really great feedback loop that happens between the device and our program itself.
Peter Bowes: And I think it is important to stress, as you just said, that CBT-I has been around for some time and what is obviously crucial is going to be the feedback and the way in which the individual is advised to, the suggestion is made to change aspects of their lifestyle as it relates to sleep. So what kind of interventions are likely to be involved in improving that process?
Rosaria Mannino: Yeah, so there’s a series of interventions that are used in CBT-I and some tend to be more effective than others, but it’s very person dependent, it’s very person specific. So the pillars of CBT-I, there’s Cognitive: So this is really unpacking as we talk to behavior and human psychology. This is unpacking the negative associations and thoughts that you have with sleep. So the really unfortunate part about sleep challenges is this vicious cycle. So it happens is you stress about not being able to sleep and your mind kind of races and so you’re in bed and that stress and anxiety around not being able to sleep actually makes it hard for you to sleep. And it’s this negative thought loop and thought kind of cycle that you get into that’s really hard to break. And so a big pillar of CBT-I is to actually work with you on unpacking those negative thoughts. So that’s one. The second is around behavior change. And so there’s habits that you build, that you they’re habits, we they’re hard for us to undo. And there are some habits that are more detrimental to your sleep than others. So one, for example, is you might lie in bed for hours, not sleeping. And that happens if you have an insomnia and you can’t sleep, you might be lying in bed doing other things, reading on your phone, tossing and turning. But what happens is you are no longer associating your bed with sleep. So it’s kind of the Pavlovian dog bell response. So if you no longer associate your bed with sleep, it gets harder for you to feel sleepy when you’re in the bed. And so part of our intervention, one of our interventions is called bed reset. It’s kind of our term for it. But stimulus control. And what happens is you should actually get up out of bed after 20 minutes. If you haven’t been sleeping in bed, that’s really hard to do in the middle of the night. It’s hard to know how long you’ve been awake for lying in bed. And it’s really not fun if it’s cold outside. I live I live on the East Coast if it’s cold and you don’t want to get out of bed. But our device can sense that you have been awake for 20 minutes or more and we nudge you through light and sound to get up out of bed and then we celebrate if you’ve actually done that. So that’s another example of how kind of device. But the other pillars is really around behavior and habit change. So these are a couple examples, something core to all of this. So obviously we have our program, we have our device, but we do have a sleep coach. So something that we are we really believe is that technology is very crucial and important, but we also want to combine it with human coaching. So throughout the entire program it’s very much self-guided, but you also have a sleep coach that you can reach out to if you have questions, someone that’s kind of checking in on you and helping to hold you accountable. So that’s another kind of third, third important component for our program.
Peter Bowes: Luca, could I maybe ask you a safety question? I’m sure safety is an issue that will come to mind for many people when you’re talking about having yet another device in your bedroom that is in some way communicating with you through radar. You did touch on this earlier, but maybe you could elaborate in terms of how safe this device is.
Luca Rigazio: Yeah. And, you know, this is this is a concern for sure in people’s minds, right? Like you’re yet, again adding another device in your life and how safe it is. The thing is, we’re using radar frequencies or radio frequencies that are very high. They really tend to bounce off things they don’t really penetrate. And also, we have an extremely low power. The amount of like power these these radio waves carry is a fraction of your wi fi. And it’s like a tiny, tiny fraction of like your phone. So even if you put your phone on airplane mode. Then you just keep it next to you. You’re probably getting a comparable amount of radiation than our device emits. And if you have a wi fi on in the house, well, there you have it. Same thing. And as I mentioned also, you know, because wi fi needs to travel through longer distances, right. It tends to penetrate things much, much more. Right. So this is this is extremely safe. And and it’s something that, you know, we are also very concerned about. And we’re always testing and making sure we don’t go over any recommended power limits, which are already very low. And we try to stay even below those, even though it makes our life harder.
Peter Bowes: And what about other devices? We all have devices all around the house and including our bedroom, and most likely a phone sitting by the bed. Is a) there any likelihood of interference with the phone or b) should the phone not be there at all? What about the the alarm clock? What about the other digital device that you might have sitting? Maybe you have an Oura ring or something else that you’ve been using for some time and don’t necessarily want to give up. Is it compatible with Full Sleep?
Luca Rigazio: Yeah, we’re more concerned about fish tanks. It’s a little bit of a joke, but it isn’t. So if you put your device behind the fish tank, it’s probably going to see the fish tank and potentially the fishes, but not you. So anything else we’re pretty good. There are situations where, yeah, my mom likes to bring a big bottle of, like sparkling water to bed when she goes to sleep. I might have to remind her not to put that in between her and the device, but as long as the device has a view of you, the main sleeper, we’re good. And it acts a completely different frequencies than any of your typical devices, much higher frequencies, as I mentioned. So they tend not to to interfere. And even the microwave, for instance, doesn’t interfere with us. So we’re pretty safe in that in that regard.
Rosaria Mannino: One thing to add, though, we do encourage in the program that people do not sleep with their phones in the bedroom. And actually a lot of people who do struggle with insomnia tend to intentionally keep their phones outside the bedroom because they know if they can’t sleep, they’ll grab it and kind of start rabbit holing. And we have designed our device to have an alarm clock. So this is something that as part of the program, we do recommend a certain bed in wake time given the what we’re seeing of your sleep, but you can also modify it. So we wanted to, to further design it. So another, another reason why you shouldn’t have your, your phone in the bed is that you can actually rely on the device as your alarm clock as well.
Peter Bowes: One thing that’s interest me in this is that obviously a lot of people who are struggling with their sleep, who are clearly the most likely to use this device, may well be trying other interventions that work to some extent for them, but maybe not 100%. Now, that could be pharmaceutical, it could be CBD oil, it could be any number of other interventions that people feel as if they are getting some benefit. To use Full Sleep do they have to deny all those previous interventions or is there room to mix and match?
Rosaria Mannino: Yeah, it’s a great question. So we do encourage people when they’re trying the program, if they can stop some. We’ve heard CBD, we’ve heard, you know, marijuana some a lot around trying to help with that only because we really think to improve your sleep, you have to. It’s these deeper things that we’ve talked about, the behaviors and the mindsets and the feelings. So it’s something we encourage you to wean off or stop, but it’s not something that there’s any risk of kind of contraindication, if you will, between people that are already trying some techniques and seeing some benefit. I would say that the large majority of people that we’ve spoken to have tried at least one other thing in the past, a white noise machine, like you said, CBD oil, meditation, you name it. This is not their first rodeo. They often are experts in in sleep, have read a lot, have tried a lot. But it really is with us. What we’ve seen is it’s the combination of things and the customization of things that really make this time around and this product and this program to have the impacts that I think they’ve been looking for, they haven’t been able to have from piecing together some other tools or techniques.
Peter Bowes: So you have a six week program, which is quite an intense program, in that you encourage loyalty to the program every single night to get maximum effects. Could you just talk me through those six weeks and how they unroll?
Rosaria Mannino: Yeah. So we have we have six weeks. It is self-paced. We do have daily lessons, like you said, that we encourage you to do. Their short. You can do them in a couple of minutes. They’re hopefully very engaging. They have little quizzes meant to be very informative. Part of this is educating folks to. The science behind sleep and why they’re struggling to sleep. So really making sure that that people have that that education, that understanding. So these quick little lessons you’re also asked in the morning to fill out what is called the sleep log. So this is a really key piece to track your progress and to be able to assign in bed wake time and for you. But this is something that our product and our device actually helps to prepopulate. So we see certain, we see the data, we see when you’ve woken up and gone to bed. And so we just asked you to confirm. So we make that step very easy for you and then we just ask that you try the different techniques that we guide you through each night, so you’ll read a lesson. It’ll teach you about a certain technique, and then at night, the device will automatically guide you through that technique, through, through, you know, whether it’s an audio wind down or, as I mentioned, kind of another technique overnight. So we make it very easy for you to try out these habits. Again. You learn about it in the lesson. You can try it out at night through the device. And there’s a there’s a reason why it takes six weeks. Some people will see benefits sooner. Some people may even need up to eight weeks. It really depends how much how much they’re struggling with sleep and it depends how frequent, how much they’re trying. These different techniques are really putting into practice, but most of the audience that we have, they’ve struggled for years, sometimes ten years would sleep issues. So it does take a little bit of time and it takes motivation and, you know, it takes that that kind of resolve and that effort to really try to see change. But it was important for us. We try to make it as easy as possible for you to to try out these techniques, to learn the behavior changes that you should try out and to put them into practice.
Peter Bowes: And what if you don’t sleep in the same bed every night? What if you travel a lot for work and you just simply have to move away? And perhaps during the process of traveling, your sleep patterns get disrupted and all of a sudden you find yourself in a hotel 300 miles away late at night, and you might think, well, that’s going to spoil everything. Does it? How do you accommodate that?
Rosaria Mannino: Yeah, that’s a great question, because life happens and it’s very hard that, you know, that six weeks can be kind of focused. So we do encourage people to not start the program until they unless they feel they can really dedicate a chunk of time to it. So that is one thing. But our device, it is possible for you to bring the device with you. If you’re going someplace for another evening, there’s just a process of which you re establish it and you set it up and kind of retrain it. But we do try to encourage you to have a dedicated period of time where you kind of focus on it. If you get through the program and you -a life event happens, we ask you to contact us and we can we can put your program on pause and have you resume later on. So we do understand that life happens and we do have some opportunities to be flexible around that. But we really think that people will will really see the benefit if they can try to dedicate time those six weeks to the program. It’s something that we really have lasting results after.
Peter Bowes: And what about two other things that clearly impact people’s sleep, children and pets? I know one of my dogs at 1.30 in the morning just a couple of nights ago decided she really had to go out into the garden. She doesn’t sleep in the bedroom, I hasten to add. But nevertheless, what I’m saying is things happen with other living creatures during the night and they too are going to disrupt your sleep.
Rosaria Mannino: Yeah. So we right now with our product as is, we are not able to support people who have who must sleep with their pet in the bedroom. So that’s something that that people should know and that’s something we’re working on being able to support later on. But we cannot support individuals who have their pets that need to sleep in the bed with them.
Peter Bowes: Is that because of the movement?
Rosaria Mannino: Yes. And Luca can speak to this. That’s something that as we get more data and as we continue to improve our system, we will be able to filter out. But at this at this current moment, that that’s an additional noise source that that we’re we’re not quite able to filter out. But Luca, I’m sure you can speak to the specifics.
Luca Rigazio: Yeah, my mom just found a little cat and she invited him in the house. Him or her. We’re not so sure yet. And she started to sleep with with me. And yeah, sometimes she bites and I wake up in the middle of the night, so I’m sympathizing. We’re not really considering them as a target, so to speak, in our system. But we can we can identify them. Their vital signs are very different, their breathing rate, their hearts, you know, so we can we can clearly see their movements. They’re smaller most of the time. And so we think that the next generation of the product should also consider pets in our system. The question there would be how do we integrate it with the overall user experience and in program for CBT-I? So again, we’re not doing it now, but we have the potential to do that and introduce the basically a pet category into our system.
Peter Bowes: And Luca, let me ask you this. We’ve heard a lot during the last 30 minutes or so about how the device essentially gathers data on what you’re doing and how you’re responding to the hours as they pass by during the night. And a concern of some people might be, well, who is monitoring that data? Where is it going? Where is it stored? Who has access to it? The usual sort of privacy concerns that people have about modern day technology.
Luca Rigazio: Yeah. So again, as an AI person, researcher, developer, I love data. Without data, we cannot make progress. So there is always a tension there about collecting data as much as possible and empowering the user to do whatever they want with their data. So it’s not really our data, it’s the final user customer data and we want to allow them to, first of all, see it, visualize it when they want, download it, you know, give full access to the dataset, also remove it from our server. As far as who will see it at scale, these products should be pretty much automated, so only algorithms should see it with few medical interventions. So the medical intervention, you can think about it as what normal CBT-I would be or people would need to, you know, would be required to fill in a sleep log and basically a sleep log and, you know, adding a bunch of like information about their lives that could condition their their sleep and then share that with with the physician. So nothing different from that. But in in a slightly more modern form through through algorithms and A.I. And then whatever is on the server, we certainly want to to use with the the customer permission to improve our system because this benefits them as well as everybody else. But, you know, if they want to opt out, they should certainly be allowed to opt out at the end of the six week program. You know, we can delete the data and just make it go away.
Peter Bowes: Interesting. So, Rosaria, in conclusion, I think a lot of people who have issues with sleep and as we’ve said, many people struggle for many years would go into this skeptical. They will think, well, this is just another device. It’s not even attached to me. How can it possibly work? So I’m curious, people listening to this, how can they experience this device and try it out for themselves? It is at the beginning of the marketing stage for you, isn’t it?
Rosaria Mannino: Yes, it is. So we are, we have a prelaunch that we’re working on now. So preorder campaign where individuals can go to FullSleep.com and are able to apply and then ultimately purchase the program which includes the device and the coaching app as well. So right now we’re offering it for a discounted price of $120. Originally, it’ll be $360. That’s only good for our first 100 units. So we’re really at the beginning of our product of our program, but it’s a very exciting time for us. I think that we have we’ve talked to so many people that have tried, like you said, have tried so many things. And there is a healthy dose of skepticism. But there is also a motivation, a desire to fix their sleep. We have talked to very few people who have given up. They’re looking for an answer. They’re still looking for a solution. I think for us, this is taking cutting edge technology, as Luca said, and combining it with something that has been proven time and time again to work. So our early studies show that this is extremely effective and extremely easy for people to comply to and stick with. And so this is something we’re very excited to be able to get these first hundred units in the hands of people and to be able to help people with their sleep.
Peter Bowes: And so those 100 units are available now over the next few weeks.
Rosaria Mannino: Yes.
Peter Bowes: And I guess what will be very valuable for you is the feedback from those early users. You’ve been working on this for a very long time, but out there in the real world, I guess it’s going to be interesting to see how people respond.
Rosaria Mannino: Yes, that’s why we do what we do is that we’re looking for feedback. We really want to create a product that helps people. And so, like you said, part of these 100 units, we’re really excited to get it into people’s hands so we can make it better. We know this is this is the first version of our product, as Luca mentioned. And a lot of work has gone into it up to now, a lot of user research, a lot of studies, a lot of pilots. But we know that there’s more we want to do to improve it. And so we’re very excited to get these in people’s hands so we can make it even better and create even more products to help even more folks, you know, be able to actually sleep well.
Peter Bowes: Well, coming full circle back to where we started. I really think sleep is so crucially important, not just for your everyday health, but this is a podcast about human longevity and what it’s going to be like in a decade’s time or three or four decades time as human beings. And I think if we sleep well now and tomorrow and the next day, that is key to living a long and healthy life.
Rosaria Mannino: Yeah. This is – if there is anything to invest in from a human from a personal perspective. To me, this work has just shown me like if you if you focus on nothing else in terms of your health. Sleep is the thing to focus on 100% the impact on your mental health, on your physical health, on your future health, on your ability to have not only live longer, but live a better life, live a fuller life. Live the life you actually want to live. Sleep is hands down, has the most impact on all of those desires. So this is from a self-help. I try everything under the sun. Sleep is hands down the most important thing.
Peter Bowes: Yeah, I totally agree with you. Rosaria, Luca, thank you both very much indeed. This has been really, really interesting.
Rosaria Mannino: Thank you very much. And I hope you have a good night’s sleep tonight.
Peter Bowes: Thank you both. I look forward to certainly following the progress of a full sleep over the coming months and hopefully trying it out for myself. Full details of everything we’ve been talking about are available in the show notes for this episode, including how you can preorder full sleep with a discount for its limited launch period, which is right now and try it out for yourself. I’d be very interested to hear how you get on. You’ll find the details at our website LLAMApodcast.com That’s LLAMApodcast.com. The LLAMA podcast is a health spun media production in social media. We’re @LLAMApodcast. You can contact me @PeterBowes. We’ll be back with another episode very soon. In the meantime, thanks so much for listening. And as Rosaria just said, sleep well.
The Live Long and Master Aging podcast, a HealthSpan Media LLC production, shares ideas but does not offer medical advice. If you have health concerns of any kind, or you are considering adopting a new diet or exercise regime, you should consult your doctor.