Zap for Zzz: £399 headset claims to treat insomnia by zapping the brain with jolts of electricity to help people drift off faster and sleep for longer

  • Portable gadget, which will cost £399, zaps hypothalamus with electrical wave
  • It is responsible for shutting down brain and triggering the transition into sleep
  • Also sends jolts to brain stem, which stimulates the crucial REM stage of sleep 

A headset which zaps the brain to treat insomnia could soon be available to buy and use at home.

The device targets neurons in the brain responsible for sleep with with small jolts of electricity. Its maker claim it reduces the time it takes to nod off. 

The portable gadget, which will cost £399, improved the sleep of more than 70 per cent of insomniacs, according to data.

One third of the population has difficulties sleeping, which means they get less than the eight hours the NHS recommends each night.

A portable headset which zaps the brain with small jolts of electricity could treat millions who struggle to sleep, its maker say

The device targets small electrical currents at the hypothalamus, responsible for shutting down the brain’s arousal signals and triggering the transition into sleep

Medical treatments for insomnia are limited to potent sleeping pills, which can come with a host of nasty side effects.

The new device, called Modius Sleep, claims to work by sending an electrical pulse into the hypothalamus, a small region of the brain located near the pituitary gland.

It is responsible for shutting down the brain’s arousal signals and triggering the transition into sleep. 

The Modius device also zaps neurons in the brain stem – the part responsible for sending messages between the brain and the body.

It controls whether people feel awake or sleepy and regulates how much REM sleep – the deepest, most restful kind – we get.

The portable gadget, which will cost £399, improved the sleep of more than 70 per cent of insomniacs, its manufacturers say


Insomnia means you regularly have problems sleeping. It usually gets better by changing your sleeping habits.

You have insomnia if you regularly: find it hard to go to sleep, wake up several times during the night, lie awake at night, wake up early and can’t go back to sleep, still feel tired after waking up

Everyone needs different amounts of sleep. On average, adults need 7 to 9 hours, while children need 9 to 13 hours.

You probably don’t get enough sleep if you’re constantly tired during the day.

The most common causes of insomnia are: stress, anxiety or depression, excessive noise, an uncomfortable bed or alcohol, caffeine or nicotine.

Insomnia usually gets better by changing your sleeping habits. For example, going to bed and waking up at the same time every day, and only going to bed when you feel tired.

Source: NHS

Modius Sleep has launched today on American crowd-funding website Indiegogo and is available for US customers to buy today for $249, with estimated shipping next spring. 

It will eventually retail for £399 for customers in the UK and Northern Ireland and $500 for those in the US.

It comes after the success of the brand’s first headset, the Modius Slim. It sends electrical signals to the hypothalamus to suppress appetite and trigger fat loss.

But users of the weight-regulating device reported getting a better night’s sleep, which prompted its makers to design the Sleep model.  

Dr Jason McKeown, neuroscientist and founder of Neurovalens, the firm behind the headset, said: ‘After gathering feedback from thousands of Slim device users around the world, what we found was that improved sleep was a welcomed bonus reaction and this became our motivation for making specific changes to our technology to create Modius Sleep.

‘Our new headset taps into the power of the brain’s hypothalamus, which acts as a mini computer and influences many areas of the brain, including weight loss and sleep.

‘Our continued aim is to help people avoid sedatives and sleeping pills as they only mask the underlying problem and come with a host of nasty side effects.

‘We use neuroscience to improve lives through safe, innovative, non-invasive products and we have complete confidence our Sleep device is just as life changing as our Slim device continues to be.’

In an initial 30-day study, 95 per cent of Modius Sleep users improved their overall sleep score with 85 per cent claiming that they were more satisfied with their sleep patterns, Neurovalens said.

A further 71 per cent of people with sleep issues reported positive changes in their night’s rest when using Modius Sleep. 


Colin Burcombe is a 47-year-old minister from East Belfast who has struggled with sleeping most of his life.

In recent years, between the stress of work and after having five children, he’s found it even more difficult to fall and stay asleep. 

Being a light sleeper means the father’s sleep patterns have always been irregular and with frequent nightly visits from his young children, getting back to sleep again is a struggle.

After signing up for updates on the Neurovalens website, Mr Burcombe received an email calling for participants to trial Modius Sleep. 

‘I was quite sceptical and a little bit scared at first,’ he said. ‘But my fears were put to bed straight away as soon as I started the trial and was finally able to get a good night’s sleep after years of struggling.’

He was part of a trial which included tracking sleep for two weeks before and during use of the headset.  

Colin Burcombe is a 47-year-old minister from East Belfast who has struggled with sleeping most of his life

‘I felt like I had tried pretty much every remedy available that claims to help with sleeping; going to bed at the same time, having baths, aromatherapy, increasing exercise, changing my pillow, even sleeping pills but nothing worked. 

‘When I tried the Modius Sleep though, I was shocked at how it worked immediately. 

‘On the first night after wearing it for 30 minutes before sleep, I slept like a log through the night for the first time after years and years of tossing and turning.

‘I have a young family – my youngest child is six years old and often will come into our room when he wakes.

‘Before, I would have been lying awake for hours after he came in, however after using Modius Sleep, I was able to fall back to sleep immediately.

‘I had more energy during the day, was able to concentrate better and was more content. It also made me less irritable, which my family were definitely grateful for.

‘I can honestly say I had the two best weeks of sleep in my life during the trial.’


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