By marketing his $19.95 RealSleep CD, Seth Horowitz just got in bed with the $20 billion insomnia-cure industry.
He told WalletPop that the low-frequency sounds he embedded in soothing classical music with composer Lance Massey can simulate the brain messages we get when we nod off in a car.
"No other product works in the same way," he said. The CD, being released through Horowitz's NeuroPop company, targets children, and other age brackets will follow, he promised.
If the science sounds a little iffy, Horowitz understands. He has checked out the outrageous claims made by some on the Internet about other supposedly sleep-inducing audio compositions.
"Nothing works 100% on anyone, not even aspirin," he said.
But as a neuroscientist employed by Brown University and a former sleep researcher for NASA astronauts, he carries sandman cred. He's working it, too.
Horowitz got a nice writeup in the Boston Globe this week, opening the eyes of a wary and weary public. An estimated 40 million Americans suffer from sleep dysfunction. Some are inundating the campus lab where Horowitz works in Providence, R.I., with calls asking for when the grownup versions will be ready, he said.
He offers money back to the unsatisfied -- and wants to know exactly what happened. He points to a high success rate, with harder scientific testing to come, he pledged. He said he even sends out duds in free trials without the "auditory misdirection," hoping the unwitting subjects do not succumb to the placebo effect, which would reinforce the effectiveness of his product.
As a public service, WalletPop lists below a few other sleep CDs that are attracting cyberspace traffic. All seem to work on related principles. But first you might want to start with the Tchaikovsky compilation or Mother Goose melodies gathering dust on your shelf. "Lullabies can be effective," Horowitz said, "but it's not getting to the core of the problem."
The Sleep Deprivation CD ($39) touts its use of "binaural beats" in its zzz-gathering arsenal. Binaural beats are a third note that the mind creates between two actual sounds, inviting shut-eye. (Horowitz said he also uses binaural beats as one component.)
The Delta Sleep System (2 CDS for $17.98) from the San Francisco-based Relaxation Company said it melds new age music with "healing sounds" to facilitate Delta brainwaves that bring about sleep.
Dr. Mercola's Sleep Harmony CD ($14.97), which also mentions binaural beats in its web copy, focuses on what it calls "vibrational technology" that "utilizes a specially formulated musical score of harmonically layered vibrational sounds combined with multi-dimensional sounds of nature to slow your brainwave patterns."
Just reading that made me sleepy.
Cheap insomnia cure could be a dream come true