A community led vision for ‘sounder’ sleep.
Introducing Hannah, Product Manager at Kokoon
As an athlete and self confessed tech geek, Hannah is obsessed with how technology can be a force for good. When she's not racing her Garmin or blitzing her Nutribullet, she's pouring her energy into crafting award-winning products in the health space, from fitness apps to prescription sunnies. She's found her latest challenge in Kokoon, working closely with our team of sleep scientists to bring to life a sleep aid that our customers simply cannot live without.
If ever there was a year for health and wellbeing to take centrestage, it’s this one. Amidst this, as a society we are waking up to the significance of sleep. Sleep has always been critical for our health, but since lockdown measures were introduced around the world, we’ve suffered from a surge in insomnia, anxiety and wild dreams. With work-life blurring into home-life, weekday blurring weekends, and night blurring day, lockdown has played havoc with our physical and mental states.
During this time, I’ve had the privilege of speaking to our community from their bedrooms and living rooms all over the world. Sleep is unique and personal, and I've been moved by our community’s readiness to share their experiences amidst the chaos so openly and candidly. From insomnia and early starts in Norfolk, the anxieties of balancing career-parenting in Sweden, to the strikes of nocturnal inspiration in Argentina, it’s been fascinating learning what really keeps you awake at night.
Sleep is incredible; it’s the time that our bodies repair, rejuvenate, and give our immune systems a critical boost. It’s the time our minds consolidate our memories and ideas, and creativity can run wild with dreams. Sleep is a remarkable physiological experience, and yet, it’s something that many of us simply cannot enjoy, or even dread.
I learned that whilst our geography and routines vary, we have a lot in common. If you struggle to sleep, it’s likely that you’re a semi-expert in sleep hygiene, typically spending weeks, months and sometimes years trying any solution with a promise of helping you sleep. You’re tired of generic sleep advice and one-size-fits-all sleep programmes. You’re tired of feeling alone at night, staring at the clock as your worries spiral. You’re tired of having to constantly change your lifestyle to try new fixes that just don’t fit. You’re tired...well, of feeling tired.
We feel impassioned to do something about this. Whilst there are many features and uses for our technology, we recognise the need to first focus on making a real difference to the wellbeing of our community: we need to transform these mundane or distressing experiences so that falling asleep is as incredible as sleep itself. This means refocusing the Kokoon App towards creating the best sleep experience possible - either by creating remarkable new bedtime experiences, or simply enhancing the existing routine that works for your lifestyle. We’ve been working behind the scenes on designing this for you. As we now begin the task of building, testing and preparing for launch, here’s a glimpse of what you might expect to see…
An immersive sleep experience
For those who grapple with worries or need help switching off, we’ve created Your Kokoon: a space in which you can go to escape, relax, and listen to your audio, even on days where leaving the house isn’t possible. Forget soundscapes: we’re recreating faraway comforting spaces with immersive 4D audio techniques, to transport you from bed to your own paradise beach, a snowy cabin in the Nordics, or the springtime meadows of Provence. Listen to your podcast whilst there, or simply enjoy laying on the sand, and leave the worries of your day far, far away.
Improving a sleep routine doesn’t have to mean creating an entirely new space or experience. For those who know what they like, we’re also focusing on the small things that we can do to make your bedtime routine better. Rather than having to change your lifestyle to use Kokoon, we are redesigning the app to fit easily into your daily routine. With any great experience, it’s the small stuff that counts. This might mean integrating more fully with the audio that you love, like playing Spotify, Apple Music, or Audible, all in one place from your Kokoon.
It might mean never losing your place from your podcast or audiobook again, with a ‘bookmark’ that detects when you’ve drifted off and saves your place, ready to resume where you left off tomorrow.
It means logging and learning your sleep schedule, adapting content to your sleep patterns and offering suggestions to find your optimum sleep window.
And it definitely means delivering headphones that are small and light enough to wear all night long, for back, front, falling-man, big spoons, little spoons and side sleepers alike.
Being human means one size does not fit all. We won’t be just another voice in your ear reminding you of the evils of screen time and caffeine. Instead, we’ll empower you with a personalised view of sleep data and insights showing what really works for you, and the tools to control sleep for yourself.
Rather than lengthy modules, programmes and lab language, Kokoon members can find short, bitesize sleep coaching sessions. Much like a CBT-I therapist, as the app logs your data our algorithms will learn about your sleep and offer suggestions to make sure you’re learning what works for you. Unlike your traditional headphones, we aspire to create an app that gets better with every use.
Time to sleep
We know what it’s like to lay awake at 2am whilst the world rests around you. Whilst there are many factors to getting a good night’s sleep, the time it takes to fall asleep can be the most difficult and exasperating experience of all.
Whilst we’re a young business, our ‘target’ isn’t app downloads, or the minutes of our content played per day; it’s our members overall seep efficiency, and their Time To Sleep (TTS). Your average TTS is our North Star - the metric that guides the features, content and design decisions that we make.
Over the past few months we’ve dedicated ourselves to improving the accuracy of the algorithms that determine your Time To Sleep. But accuracy is just the start; if we aren’t improving our member’s TTS, then we must work closely with our community to find what might help them.
The world is waking up to the significance of sleep, and over the next few months as we prepare to build and launch our new app, we’re excited to share our designs and the thinking behind them here in our blog, and continue involving our community in testing and informing new tools to transform sleep for good.