The Science of Sleep

Explore our research in the area of sleep
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Sleep well again, with the Somnox Sleep Robot

The Somnox Sleep Robot can have a positive effect on relaxation and sleep quality. Our first research has shown that 75% of our users fall asleep faster and more easily with the Sleep Robot. From the people who took over 30 minutes to fall asleep, the Sleep Robot reduced this time by an average of 21 minutes. View our whitepaper to learn more about the science behind our product.

Waking up to the global sleep crisis

Currently, one out of five people suffers from sleep problems. These problems include difficulty initiating sleep, frequent awakenings and early morning awakenings [1]. The consequences of these symptoms have a large impact on our quality of life [2]. Chronic sleep deprivation can even lead to diseases such as depression, diabetes and, in the long term, even cardiovascular problems [3].

The most important risk factor for sleep deprivation is stress. We take stress with us when going to bed, thus depriving us of a good night’s rest. This results in lower resilience to stress, which further worsens sleep quality [4].

In order to combat sleep problems, many people have turned to pharmaceuticals which can have unpleasant side-effects [5]. In addition, sleep medication only works in the short term and does not solve the sleep problems, but mostly masks them. Through breathing exercises, soothing sounds and by providing affection, the Somnox Sleep Robot can help improve your sleep quality in a more natural way.


Stress activates the sympathetic nervous system. This part of our autonomic nervous system causes shallow breathing and increased heart rate, and therefore poor sleep quality. In order to feel more relaxed, our autonomic nervous system should be in balance [6] and we should appeal more to our parasympathetic nervous system; the part that provides relaxation and recovery. Breathing is the only way to consciously influence our nervous system. Slow breathing techniques, in which you breathe slower and deeper, can reduce perceived stress levels and therefore improve sleep [7-10].

How can the Sleep Robot help?

The Somnox Sleep Robot has been designed to slow down your breathing frequency and to bring your body into relaxation mode during the night. While holding it, you physically feel the breathing of the Sleep Robot and unconsciously adopt its rhythm. In this way it guides you towards slower breathing. The concept of synchronized breathing was based on a study with infants that adapted the regular breathing frequency of a “breathing” teddy bear [11].


Research shows that music has a relaxing effect and therefore can help improve the quality of sleep [12-14]. Furthermore, natural sounds, or sounds that provide distraction (white noise), can provide a calming effect and reduce feelings of stress [15].

How can the Sleep Robot help?

The Somnox Sleep Robot can play meditation music, white noise, pink noise and nature sounds. The sounds can strengthen the calming effect of the Sleep Robot’s breathing pattern. You can select the desired sound through the Somnox mobile application.

All music of the Sleeping robot is custom developed by Manglemoose.


The shape of the Sleep Robot is designed to help you maintain a natural sleep position while hugging it, without deviating from the natural neck and shoulder alignment. In this way, it accommodates the most common fetal sleep position. The dimensions of the Sleep Robot have been determined based on the TU Delft anthropometric database [15].

How can the Sleep Robot help?

The Sleep Robot is designed to be comfy, useful, and easy to use. Affection is mainly ensured by the ergonomic shape of the robot, its weight, and the soft materials used. The Sleep Robots’ shape is designed to allow sleepers to comfortably place it on their chest, wrap their arms around it, and hug it. In this way, the Sleep Robot offers extra comfort to get you through the night.

In the near future, more research will be conducted to scientifically validate the positive effect of the Sleep Robot. Want to try our Sleep Robot? You can now experience it yourself and test our Sleep Robot, in the comfort of your own bed.


References used on this page

  1. Eén op de vijf meldt slaapproblemen [Internet]. Centraal Bureau voor de Statistiek. 2018 [cited 15 April 2019]. Available from:
  2. Bolge S, Doan J, Kannan H, Baran R. Association of insomnia with quality of life, work productivity, and activity impairment. Quality of Life Research. 2009;18(4):415-422
  3. Morin C, Drake C, Harvey A. Insomnia disorder. Nature Reviews Disease Primers. 2015;1:1-18
  4. Bonnet M, Arand D. Hyperarousal and insomnia: State of the science. Sleep Medicine Reviews. 2010;14(1):9-15
  5. Glass J, Lanctôt K, Herrmann N, Sproule B, Busto U. Sedative hypnotics in older people with insomnia: meta-analysis of risks and benefits. BMJ. 2005;331(7526):1169
  6. Buijs RM. The autonomic nervous system: a balancing act. Handb Clin Neurol. 2013;117:1-11
  7. Pal GK, Velkumary S, Madanmohan. Effect of short-term practice of breathing exercises on autonomic functions in normal human volunteers. Indian J Med Res. 2004;120(2):115-21
  8. Brown RP, Gerbarg PL. Sudarshan Kriya Yogic Breathing in the Treatment of Stress, Anxiety, and Depression: Part II—Clinical Applications and Guidelines. The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine. 2005;11(4):711-717
  9. Russo A, Santarelli M, O’Rourke D. The physiological effects of slow breathing in the healthy human. Breathe. 2017;13(4):298-309
  10. Sunil Naik G, Gaur G, Pal G. Effect of Modified Slow Breathing Exercise on Perceived Stress and Basal Cardiovascular Parameters. Int J Yoga. 2019;11(1):53-58
  11. Ingersoll, E. Thomas E. The breathing bear: effects on respiration in premature infants. Physiol Behav. 1994;56(5):855-9
  12. Jespersen K, Otto M, Kringelbach M, Van Someren E, Vuust P. A randomized controlled trial of bedtime music for insomnia disorder. Journal of Sleep Research [Internet]. 2019;(e12817)
  13. Feng F, Zhang Y, Hou J, Cai J, Jiang Q, Li X. Can music improve sleep quality in adults with primary insomnia? A systematic review and network meta-analysis. International Journal of Nursing Studies. 2018;77:189-196
  14. Largo-Wight E, O’Hara B, Chen W. The efficacy of a brief nature sound intervention on muscle tension, pulse rate, and self-reported stress: Nature contact micro-break in an office or waiting room. HERD. 2016;10(1):45-51
  15. Molenbroek, J. DINED – anthropometric database. 4TU.Centre for Research Data. Dataset.