Sana’s $400 sleep goggles promise to put an end to insomnia

1 min read


Most adults don’t get enough sleep. There could be many reasons for that – including our stress-laden lifestyles, video games, parties and Netflix binges. When a lack of sleep comes from a personal choice that’s fine, but many people are unable to sleep, or take forever to sink into slumber.

This new set of goggles from Sana Health promises to put an end to insomnia, for those who have $400 to spare, that is. This chunky device is more than just a typical sleep mask though. While it does block light, it also emits pulses of light and audio to help you drift into dreamland.

The audio-visual combination apparently triggers patterns in the brain that are just like the ones you’d experience in the best, most restful stages of sleep. According to Sana Health, once you’ve trained the goggles to work with your brain, it’ll knock you out within 10 minutes. Importantly, they apparently help users sleep through the night. The goggles also measure things like pulse, breathing and other indicators, and can tailor the output to the user’s biometrics.

“It uses audio-visual stimulation to trigger specific patterns in the brain. In the same way that when you go into a nightclub, and hear fast music and see strobed lights, this produces an excited state in your brain, this device produces the patterns your brain needs in order to produce deep states of relaxation,” says Sana Health founder and CEO Richard Hanbury.

Hanbury began working on the goggles as a way to combat his own chronic pain and sleep-related troubles. The company has secured $1.3 million round of seed funding from Founders Fund, Maveron and SOSV and others, with the goggles set to cost $400.

While it’s easy to balk at that sort cost, for those with chronic insomnia, it’d be more than worth it. As somebody who suffered chronic and debilitating insomnia for years, you can’t put a price on good sleep.

Last Updated: May 29, 2017

Geoffrey Tim

Editor. I’m old, grumpy and more than just a little cynical. One day, I found myself in possession of a NES, and a copy of Super Mario Bros 3. It was that game that made me realise that games were more than just toys to idly while away time – they were capable of being masterpieces. I’m here now, looking for more of those masterpieces.

  • Alien Emperor Trevor

    “once you’ve trained the goggles to work with your brain”

    But what if you’ve got a stupid brain that refuses to learn? No, of course I’m not talking about you self #2.

    • Kensei Seraph – Terran Ghost

      I think that it’s the other way around.

  • Then I am happy for the worlds richest 1%. May you finally have something to help out that insomnia

  • Original Heretic

    Insomnia is terrible. I struggled with it for over a decade. Did so much research on it, trying to find natural and inexpensive ways of getting around it.

    • Unfortunately the only way I found was with sleeping pills but your body gets immune to it over time. Now it’s back to staring at the roof for the night.

      But what I have found to help me personally is setting up a tv and laptop with Twitch streams. Set them to auto shutdown at a certain time, and fall asleep to the sound of your favorite games being played. Stardew Valley and WoW being a good one for me.

      • Original Heretic

        Media (TV, laptop, etc.) is actually a huge cause of insomnia. It’s the light, it triggers the brain into a more wakeful state.
        That’s why it was reckoned that it was the advent of electricity that caused insomnia to really become a problem. Light stayed on longer, it tricked the brain into thinking it had to keep working for longer.

        • Indeed it is a big cause, but for some reason it allows me to focus on the sounds of the stream and trick my brain into using that to think about instead of thoughts wandering where ever and usually to a bad place that keeps you awake.

          • Original Heretic

            Have you tried melatonin tablets?

          • I have, and an assortment of other stuff. Only ones that work is prescribed sleeping pills.

          • Original Heretic

            Well, dude, I’m not going to be one of those assholes that tells you try this or this or this. Always annoys me when people do that to me.
            Like, if I have the flu, and people start telling me what meds to take or how to treat it.
            I’m generally the guy who replies with “Thanks so much. You are correct in assuming that I’ve reached nearly forty years of age without once having anyone recommend to me how to combat the symptoms of flu.”

          • miaau

            Well, yes. And you are Welcome!


            Find what works for you and all that. Look at me. Preaching to the choir

          • I feel that way about people wanting to give me “herbal solutions” xD

            Just want to tell them “come to my house for a week and match my sleeping pattern and we will see how you feel about herbal solutions”

          • miaau

            Herbs are great. We love them.

            I have a herb garden in the courtyard outside my kitchen door. It is awesome.

            When we cook, we go an get and crush, blend, or other use as needed.

            I highly recommend a herb garden, even a small one in boxes in your kitchen, to anybody that enjoys cooking occasionally.

          • Original Heretic

            I don’t think THOSE are the kind of herbs he’s referring to here…

          • miaau

            Oh. Really? You sure?

            Oh well, live and learn then.

          • When I was at my worst, and some motherfucker would say “Have you tried a glass of warm milk” Or “Maybe a small whisky before bed” or “Valerian root helps you sleep” or “Chamomile tea helps you relax.” Nearly turned homicidal.

          • miaau

            When I was at my worst, and some motherfucker would say “Have you tried a glass of warm milk” (Ok, I got nothing, but I think that idea sucks,)Or “Maybe a small whisky before bed” (a central nervous system depressing agent, good for you. A small one may, very slightly help you relax, but sleep?) or “Valerian root helps you sleep” (why, do you hit yourself on the head hard enough?” or “Chamomile tea helps you relax.” (Not really, some people, get this, haha, some people actually WAKE UP FROM THAT STUFF) Nearly turned homicidal (yes. UNFORTUNATE for me, my wife is one of these people who always want to help, so she will be the one giving helpful suggestions. And they do work, for some people, in some situations. Most of the, um, some of the time)

          • Original Heretic

            The only think Chamomile tea relaxes for me is my vocal chords. When I do a show where I have to sing or a one where I have the lead and have about 1000 lines to say in one night, then it helps to soothe those.

      • Dresden

        I also do that, the problem is I’ve noticed that I’m too reliant on it and it’s becoming a problem for me personally. Need to try and ween myself off of it slowly.

        But I do agree, those chill streams are usually the best to fall asleep on.

        • It’s a crutch that I am willing to accept. But if I ever get a significant other then it’s going to start causing problems.

      • Alien Emperor Trevor

        That’s funny, I use Twitch to help myself fall asleep as well. If I’m struggling to nod off I just think about it and BOOM, lights out.

        • I sometimes think back to the puns you used that day. And Boom! 😛

          • Alien Emperor Trevor

            See, I’m helping!

    • miaau

      Yes, yes. AND?

      Did you find the magic solution?

      • Original Heretic

        Yeah. I found what works for me.
        Something that keeps my brain from being overactive and relaxes me.

        • for me, what seems to have worked well (after years of medicating, including self medication and prescribed medication) is sensory deprivation. I use earplugs and an eyemask, so i hear nothing and see nothing. I still struggle to seelp soemtimes when I have *thoughts* but I generally sleep ok these days.

          • Original Heretic

            It’s the thoughts thing that keeps me up. Specifically in relation to my side/dream job of being an author. My head is almost constantly abuzz with various story and plot ideas. It gets very difficult for me to push those aside.

          • miaau

            I also “write” stories in my head, sometimes triggered by seeing something, remembering something. Yeah, I get that one. Totally.

            My day job can keep me up at night, development of new systems, business models, all that stuff. Keeps me on my toes and thinking a lot.

          • Original Heretic

            When it gets really bad for me (and it does still happen, every now and again), it’s not just the falling asleep that’s the problem, it’s the staying asleep. My overactive mind conjures up some totally fucked up dreams, I end up waking up at least 5 times during the night. Having to get up in the morning after that is the worst nightmare ever.

          • Dresden

            I have exactly the same problem. My mind is too active even when I sleep sometimes.

            Take yesterday as an example. I was fortunate enough of falling asleep just after 10, yet I woke up at 1 again and it was like I was daydreaming for those 3 hours about random stuff. Didn’t feel like sleep at all.

          • Alien Emperor Trevor
          • miaau

            I have always avoided the sensory deprivation thing, as I have SPD, so, oddly enough, the complete absence can freak me out as too much would.

            I refuse to medicate for sleep, as I react badly to the pills, i.e. they work too well and for too long.

            I find that waiting till I am really sleepy works, I wake up refreshed. these things of going to bed when a little tired or at a set time, neither comes close to working for me.

          • I medicated, and it was a mistake I’ll never repeat. Got addicted to stilnox, which ended up having diminishing returns – so I couldnt ever sleep without without aid, and I’d need to start taking more of them. Coming off of them was a hell I wouldn’t wish on anyone.

          • miaau

            Ouch. Brave of you to share, thanks. A warning indeed. Not just for sleeping pills, but a crutch in general.

            Cannot even imagine something like that, says the man who quit 2 to 3 packs a day of strong cigarettes.

          • Original Heretic

            Sensory deprivation freaks me out a bit as well.
            I remember having have a complete mould of my head done. Whole head, covered in dental putty (think that’s what it’s called, it’s the stuff dentists use to make moulds of teeth), only a hole for my mouth to breath. Couldn’t open my eyes, couldn’t hear anything.
            Though I suppose my claustrophobia didn’t help either.

  • Kensei Seraph – Terran Ghost

    It only takes me an average of 45 minutes to fall asleep at night.
    Of course I was able to fall asleep within 4 minutes in a university lecture.

    • miaau

      For me, I think that is a long time, but people differ.

      If I lie for that long, my thoughts may even have taken a dark turn in that time.

      • Kensei Seraph – Terran Ghost

        I have plenty of practice avoiding the dark thoughts.

  • miaau

    I struggle to fall asleep. As a rule, I only go to bed when very, very tired, then I fall asleep in a reasonabe timeframe. Also, if working till 02:00 AM, I play a game, or watch part of a movie or read or something else, to calm and distract my brain, Else I will take a very long time to fall asleep.

    I have used similar “googles”, with sounds. They really do work, the brainstate stuff, IF you do not fight it. That said, I can use it to help me relax (something I struggle to do in a very big way), but cannot imagine trying to sleep with it. A cheap-ish kit, that would work, was, when I looked, about R8000, but that is googles, headphone and a machine to control and plug into.

  • For the Emperor!

    If this is legit, and it works, I will surely get myself some! I am currently on permanent prescribed sleeping pills just to get a few hours at night, and it leaves me groggy as hell in the morning so I don’t get up for gym 🙁

  • Gr8_Balls_o_Fire

    That’s well worth it

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