A Review of the Dreem EEG Headset

Being the second installment of a rather successful sleep aid tool, Dreem 2 lives up to becoming a more functional, useful, and cost-worthy follow up to its predecessor. It exists to please, and, as far as consumers are concerned, it has been working like a charm.

Some functionalities of the Dreem 2 include electroencephalogram (EEG) sleep monitoring, audio provision through bone conduction, and an app to easily look through what is going on in one’s sleep to further aid its user in improving it. It also comes with several programs, soundscapes, and coaching functions that are all jam-packed into one very comfortable headband.

From the get-go, it is pretty easy to point out some good things about it. For one, it is very accurate when it comes to presenting the data of sleep that has been tracked. The application also offers several ways to easily improve sleeping habits. Factually speaking, the entire science behind sleeping that the Dreem 2 is built on is actually backed by several scientific research programs that are truly focused on fixing one’s sleeping patterns.

Another good thing about this headband (which is the second installment) is that it is more comfortable to wear than its predecessor. Worried about harmful waves? Dreem 2 also promises to never emit EMF like Bluetooth or WiFi while sleeping. To further enumerate Dreem 2’s functionalities, it also turns sleep patterns into raw data for sleep researchers to access so they can continue improving this sleeping technology. Lastly, the bone conduction audio provided and installed on the headband is good enough to make anyone never want to go back to wearing earphones ever again.

Portable EEG Device Record your sleep for dreams

Although some problems have risen, they are particularly quite minimal. This includes the lack of a web-based portal for the Dreem data, the data analysis and export options for sleep tracking patterns are quite limited, and it does not offer a carry case if someone wants to use it for travel. Price-wise, it goes for €399 in Europe and $499 in America, which to be honest is quite steep for a device so simple. If ever that becomes a problem after buying the Dreem 2, they offer a 30-day money-back guarantee just in case the product doesn’t spark joy.

Unboxing The Dreem 2

Upon opening the box, it is easily noticeable that this device does not come with a lot of accessories. There are only the charging cables, plugs, and adaptors for international use, some extra padding as needed, and the headband unit itself. Yup, there is no manual or guide inside, all those info are left to be read from the app. Paperwork aside, the headband itself is a fantastic product that one would very much enjoy.  There is a premium feel that comes with it, and it easily justifies the price point of the product. The vibe of luxury does not come from its futuristic, science fiction look, but it is also found within the feel of the material that the headband itself is made out of.

A common problem with sleep aid headbands is that they usually look a bit shoddy and very easy to break. This usually stands as a problem especially that people tend to move around a lot when they sleep and they are very much unaware of how they move around. This would eventually lead to breaking the costly device on their heads that help them sleep. With Dreem 2, that does not seem to be the case. It definitely is not the most aesthetic thing to wear over the head, but it surely feels as if it would not give any time soon. Thanks to designing guru Yves Behar who worked on this headband unit, a certain exquisite feel and look comes with Dreem 2. Truth be told, it has gone quite far from its predecessor.

Speaking of the Dreem 1, here is a check on some improvements that were made for this sequel that works like something straight out of a fever dream.

Dreem 2 is the fifth iteration of the headband unit. Before it was a lab, prototype, beta, and the Dreem. Those were built, tested, and improved prior to Dreem 2’s release. 2016’s first-generation Dreem was more or less the same with Dreem 2 when it comes to visuals, but there is more than meets the eye when it comes to having the first and the second generation go head to head on the specs. Hugo Mercier, the CEO of Dreem, explicitly said that the team wanted to keep the design even though they were rebuilding the machine from scratch to make it more formidable and more functional.

First off is the material. The new material is more comfortable, adjustable, and a lot lighter than the previous make of the Dreem. Most of the headband is made from foam and fabric, with only the arch (that sits atop the head when worn) being a bit stiffer as it is filled with electronics. Compared to the first Dreem, this second iteration is very bendable, so it easily makes for a good fit it would make on one’s temple. To also add, the electrodes at the rear of the band have also been improved, as it is now a bit softer so as not to induce tangling with the hair in sleep. It is now a bit more flexible too, so it feels as if there is nothing being worn even though it is attached to the head.

dreem 2 record sleep eeg

Up next, there are the adjustability strips. These three additional and interchangeable velcro strips were added to help with different sizes of heads. It easily induces comfortability as it comes in small, medium, and large sizes so the headband is surely tight but still comfortable enough to wear for a great sleep ahead. It could easily be classified as a minor upgrade, but it helps in keeping the EEG electrodes in great contact with the scalp, offering better accuracy in terms of sleep tracking and biosensor data.

Lastly, there are the electronics. The bone conduction audio is a rather great leap in terms of technology, as it allows for the transmission of audio from the forehead straight to the auditory canal, no headphones required. After the feedback from the first Dreem, the engineers decided to use a single driver that gives off better and more immersive audio from the bone conduction unit, making it better than Dreem 1’s dual-drive system. Even the touchpad was upgraded to give better control and interactivity, making for a more accurate and precise control system.

Clinically-Based Sleep Technology

The entire philosophy behind the creation of the Dreem 2 relies heavily on clinically-based sleep technology that is scientifically called polysomnography. Usually, sleep clinics require big setups for the magic to happen, but Dreem pushed technology’s limits to make the machine convenient and wearable.

The entire headband unit is covered by soft and hypoallergenic TPU fabric. There are three bands that make up the unit, two for sensors at the front and back of the head, with the third being the more bulky one sitting atop the crown. That houses the controls, batteries, and circuitry of the entire unit.

The shift of use from plastic (Dreem 1) to foam (Dreem 2) was an excellent improvement, furthering the comfort of the user especially with the hefty price tag that is involved here. Also, with the shift of the back electrodes into a more comfortable and flexible material, the entire device is pretty much perfect. Dreem 1 had garnered feedback from being quite uncomfortable to use for sleepers who tend to shift positions a lot when sleeping, but all of that has now been fixed for Dreem 2. With the only rigid part of the headband being the one on the top, it does not bear any weight or discomfort upon use.

Focusing on the EEG sensors, they are quite good in terms of functionality and they are very non-intrusive when the headband is worn. It easily records the brain’s sleep activity and shows real-time neurofeedback data for use in the companion phone application.

What makes these EEG electrodes special are the fact that they are made in house, made from high consistency silicone and carbon of top-secret formulation. This makes everything about it proprietary. To add, not all sleep trackers have EEGs that help in classifying sleep stages, checks on heart-rate and breathing rate variability, and follows algorithms to detect what is going on in sleep. Only the EEG can do this, as most sleep trackers can barely identify sleep spindles, K-complexes, and motionless wake. The EEG helps make the data more accurate and less phony and proudly, the Dreem headband has it.

With six sensors built into one headband, it is certain to get the maximum amount of data needed to verify what is going on with sleep. It is indicated somewhere in the company’s specs of the Dreem 2 headband that the five electrodes are used for measurement with the last one for bias, just to give a more accurate reading through calibrations. The best thing about the overall design of the headband is that it allows for equal pressure from all electrodes to hit the head, giving maximum comfort, optimal contact, and more accurate readings.

Given all these, how accurate is the Dreem 2 as a sleep tracking device? Well, the answer to this one is not a simple yes or no and a drop of facts.

Further expounding on the topic, people who are concerned with sleep science use several devices and metrics to properly measure one’s sleep. It may vary from having a simple diary or even to the use of fMRI scanners that are very costly. The current gold standard is the PSG machines, and that is what most sleep trackers use as a level to beat when it comes to being functional.

The only problem with most sleep trackers is that they usually have any scientific validation upon use, only references from previous studies. This means that there are no peer reviews prior to release, not even a scientific journal to check on its accuracy or functionality.

The true potential of sleep technology stands to be untapped, as most companies do in-house research to make claims for the data that they put out for consumers to buy their products given their proposed “accuracy”. Even though Dreem has been used by several journal publications, the problem is that it does not have any peer-reviewed studies that compare its functionality with that of the PSG. But the fact that they have been featured gives it some edge, easily putting it at the top of the sleep tracker rankings.

Is the Dreem 2 Worth it?

Overall, the $500 value stands for its worth. The entire Dreem 2 package may not seem like much when a consumer opens it up as it arrives at their doorstep, but it truly is a product that packs a punch. The app it comes with offers a lot of guides, from neuro-feedback, sleep monitoring, guided programs for sleeping and relaxation, and even coaching advice. The best thing one can get out of it is the sleep restructuring application that has been modeled from CBTi therapy that is made to battle insomnia.

This FDA regulated headband poses no actual problems for anyone who avails it, only success stories and bountiful nights of sleep. It is the perfect device for figuring out all the possible sleep problems unless the user is iffy about wearing headbands before going to bed. Truth be told, this technology seems a bit too early for its market, like it was transported from somewhere in the future to serve as a gift to humanity today. TLDR, this product is highly recommended and it scores perfect marks all across the board.

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Mann, J. (2019). Review: Dreem 2 EEG Headband and Sleep Improvement System. Retrieved   from https://sleepgadgets.io/dreem-2-headband-review/

Smith, C. (2019). Dreem 2 wants to rescue insomniacs from ‘failing’ sleep trackers. Retrieved     from https://www.wareable.com/wearable-tech/dreem-2-sleep-headset-release-date-    price-specs-7191

The Medical Futurist. (2019). Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Better Sleep? – The Dreem 2      Headband Review. Retrieved from https://medicalfuturist.com/dreem-headband-review/

Ron is a neuropsychiatry intern finishing his Doctorate of Medicine. He has been in the scientific industry for nearly 10 years and specializes in curating evidence-based neuropsychiatry content. As of today, he is also teaching neuroscience to incoming doctors.
Dr. Ron Culvera

Neuropsychiatry Researcher

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