Modius Sleep: Can this gizmo put an end to sleepless nights?

As an occasional insomniac, in under a week of using this I noticed I woke less at night

Modius Sleep
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Price: €450
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If you’ve ever had insomnia – real insomnia rather than a single night of disturbed sleep – you’ll know how utterly miserable and debilitating it is. I go through periods of it, and there is nothing worse than seeing every minute of the hours counting down to your daily alarm, knowing your chance for a bit of rest is vastly diminishing.

There is a reason why sleep deprivation is used as a form of torture. At its most severe, it can cause hallucinations, social withdrawal and disorientation; milder deprivation can cause irritability, difficulty concentrating and an increase in appetite.

Pharmaceutical sleep aids can make you groggy, and they’re not really a long-term solution, so there are a host of trackers and sleep aids springing up and claiming to be the solution to your sleep problem.

Modius Sleep is made by Belfast-based Neurovalens. The device aims to solve your sleep problems without the use of medication, helping you to fall asleep more quickly and wake less during the night.


You might remember Modius from the band that promised to help you lose weight. The device uses vestibular stimulation to stimulate your hypothalamus, which is essentially the control centre for your appetite, sleep and fatigue, among other things.

After Modius released the Modius Slim, the user feedback soon began to show another effect: a lot of users reported improved sleep too. That was something that rang a bell with me during my Modius Slim test, particularly when I used the headset before bed.

Swaying sensation

Modius Sleep works exactly the same way as the Modius Slim. The review version I got looks exactly the same as the original, too – a lightweight plastic band – although the Indiegogo campaign suggests there will be some aesthetic differences, with a darker band for the Sleep version. You place two electrodes on the bony bit behind your ear, connect the band and you are almost ready to go. The whole set-up needs an app too, and the Modius Life software includes the controls for the headset, the link for the community boards and the weight tracking.

The band connects via Bluetooth, and like the original, you have controls to alter the intensity of the stimulation. At 1, you barely feel it; a soft tingle behind your ears and a slight swaying sensation are all you notice. Dial it up to 10 and you will feel it, though, with a sensation that is like being flicked behind the ear with an elastic band and a swaying feeling that feels like you are on the deck of a ship.

Or at least that’s the effect it had on me. It differs from person to person, and some people are more sensitive to it than others. Modius recommends that you stick to the lower levels to get used to the sensation before ramping things up.

It feels similar but apparently it’s not quite identical. According to the company that makes the band, Neurovalens, there are subtle differences in the stimulation that make it target sleep rather than specifically weight loss (although that could be a side effect of using the band as a sleep aid).

More pronounced

I used the original band for 30 minutes before switching over to the Sleep version. The electrode placement was the same – I simply swapped the band – but the effect of the Sleep band stimulation felt more pronounced. That could be complete coincidence, but it would, anecdotally at least, back up the claims that the stimulation is different.

That was the only time I used the Slim band; to test how well the Modius Sleep works, I needed to stick to the same routine.

The idea with Modius Sleep is that you use it for 30 minutes before bed, rather than a full hour as you would with the Slim band. Remembering to use it every night might be a challenge, but I got into the habit quite quickly – pop the band on before brushing your teeth and doing your usual pre-bedtime things, just as long as you don’t have to move around too much. The stimulation can throw you off balance, so it’s better to relax.

It took a few days before the Modius band started to have an effect. In under a week I noticed I woke less at night for no reason; shortly after that I noticed that I fell asleep more easily in the evenings. Long term, it would be good to need the band less, and eventually not at all, but it was a small inconvenience in the evening for a much better pay-off.

The good
The band seems to have had an effect on my sleep, which means it is worth the investment long term.

The not-so-good
That swaying feeling could be a problem if you have ever suffered motion sickness. There's a bit of waste involved with this too – the electrodes are single use, and the alcohol wipes are too, although you could get around the latter.

The rest
You get enough wipes and electrodes to get through 75 sessions, and it has a 45-day money-back guarantee.

The verdict
At €450 full price, it's not a cheap solution to your sleep woes. But if it works for you, it could save you money in the long run – and more importantly, save your sleep.

Ciara O'Brien

Ciara O'Brien

Ciara O'Brien is an Irish Times business and technology journalist