Announcing a Major Update to the Simple Things Pack of mySleepButton® for iOS

While we are very happy with the feedback we have received about mySleepButton, we continuously strive to improve the understanding of sleep onset and our techniques to promote sleep. This leads us to update mySleepButton packs. These updates are based on user feedback, log data, developments of Beaudoin’s Somnolent Information-Processing theory, and other developments in cognitive/sleep science.

Today, we are delighted to announce the most substantial overhaul ever of mySleepButton Simple Things pack, for both human and synthetic voices. We will soon update the Android packs accordingly.

NB: 2017-12-16 11:56 AM PT. We have now released an update to the synthetic Simple Things pack.**

To get the update, please go to the Packs screen and touch the Update button next to the Simple Things pack label (or touch “Restore/Update Purchases”). If you don’t yet have a Simple Things pack, now would be a great time to buy one.

Selecting content for mySleepButton packs is not as easy as it might seem. Words that are neutral or pleasant for some users can be quite stressful or stimulating for others. Most people find hamburger and bacon easy and not unpleasant to imagine; vegetarians find meat words unpleasant. Some users enjoy imagining food items (e.g., pastries). But users who are hungry or dieting find them demanding.

Most adults are not bothered by school-related words (such as whiteboard and teacher); but some students find school words quite stressful.

Furthermore, we have customers from all over the world, of different ages, and of different levels of education. Content that might be quite familiar and neutral for users of one age group, location or level of education might be abstruse or shocking to others.

In this round of updates, we have gone further than before in restricting the Simple Things packs to words that are well known by most of our users. The content is more concrete and easier to imagine than ever. For example, we have taken out the word “athlete” but kept several types of athlete (e.g., “a baseball player”). We have gone further in removing content that might be unpleasant for some of our users. We have also taken out words that relate to body parts or sleep (like “alarm clock” and “bed”). We have removed most of the content that is specific to North Americans. We have removed adjectives. We have removed references to forms of life that some users dislike. We have also removed the few words that had a religious connotation. We have eliminated various other categories of words that pose problems to subsets of our users. And we have made modifications based on other considerations.

It is important to keep in mind that a concept might have several properties that, on the surface, might appear to delay sleep onset and yet imagining it might nevertheless promote sleep. Empirical research on this subject is topic is still in its infancy. In fact, previous theories of the human brain’s sleep onset control system (SOCS) had very little if anything to say about many of the central tenets of the theory used by mySleepButton. Beaudoin and his academic colleagues have several experiments in mind to answer questions that had never previously even been asked about the SOCS.

If a particular word nevertheless bothers you, you have several options:

  • on the mySleepButton Settings screen, there is a word filter. You can add the word to the filter and it will be taken out of all packs;
  • you can use mySleepButton with an attitude of mindfulness and acceptance (as we recommend and describe elsewhere on this website), i.e., stick with the word, focus on your feelings; or
  • you can think of a related word and then move on to the next supplied word. That’s one of the major benefits of the cognitive shuffle: it repeatedly replaces the contents of consciousness (“working memory”).

We have other updates in the works for the other mySleepButton packs.

We also plan to provide users with further options to personalize content. We are also developing entirely new categories of cognitive shuffle packs based on recent developments in sleep onset and insomnia research (including the evolution of the Somnolent Information-Processing theory)!

We will continue to update mySleepButton as we receive more data from our users, and research unfolds. So stay tuned.

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