Urgonight HeadbandSource: Christine Romero-Chan / iMore

I'm going to admit it now — when it comes to sleeping, I often have a hard time going to bed and not waking up randomly in the middle of the night. I've tried different things in the past, such as melatonin and even Nyquil, to just knock out, but these were always just short-term bandaids to the problem. Honestly, I've pretty much stopped trying after nothing seemed to change, but then URGONight came along.

URGONight is a wearable Electroencephalogram (EEG) headband and app that utilizes neurofeedback therapy to help the user increase the brainwaves that impact sleep. With this in mind, URGONight can help people fall asleep 40% faster and also cut nighttime interruptions by half. I was skeptical at these claims, but after using URGONight for the past month, I'm a believer.

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Improve your sleep quality

Urgonight Headband Render

URGOnight

Bottom line: The URGOnight EEG headband is adjustable and comfortable to wear during your training sessions. But if you have long hair, it works best if you pull it back so the electrodes can directly touch your skin. The training sessions are short and sweet at only 20 minutes, making it easy to do them any time during the day. URGOnight provides real-time feedback on your brainwaves, and each training session is custom-tailored for you based on previous habits. The app also has an intuitive interface.

Pros

  • EEG headband is fully adjustable and rechargeable via USB-C
  • Training sessions don't take too long, can be done anytime
  • Custom-tailored to the individual user, train at your own pace
  • Real results without wearing anything to bed
  • App is intuitive and provides useful advice
  • Comes with a carrying case

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Electrodes can be finicky with long hair
  • In-app notification saying there is a "weak signal" doesn't help you relax
  • Need app to tell you the battery level of the device

Improving your sleep naturally by training your brain

URGOnight review: Features

The physical hardware of URGOnight is lightweight

The URGOnight system consists of the EEG headband and the URGOnight app. The headband itself is super lightweight, as it is made from what appears to be a soft-touch silicone material, with a fabric covering on the top of the headband and the sides, where the electrodes are.

The headband's front and top are adjustable with the pinholes, so you can adjust it to your liking. The back part of the headband has a stretchy elastic strap, so you can pull it back to fit it on your head. To get a good fit, the URGOnight headband should be snug, but not too tight — otherwise, your pulse may interfere with brainwave measurement.

Urgonight Electrode Usb CSource: Christine Romero-Chan / iMore

The USB-C charging port is on the inside of the top part, underneath a cover. You aren't able to use the URGOnight while it's charging. Like any other peripheral, it takes a few hours to fully charge up the URGOnight from 0%, and once it is fully charged, it should last about two weeks or so of regular training sessions before you need to charge it again. The app will show you the battery level of the headband each time it connects. The power button sits at the center top of the headband, pretty much on the opposite side of the charging port.

Four electrodes go into the URGOnight: two at the ends of the top portion of the headband, and another two near the back, on the silicone before the elastic strap. The electrodes come in a small pouch when you get the URGOnight, and you'll have to insert them into the headband. It's easy — just insert them into the holes and then turn to lock them in place. Once they're in, you don't need to take them out.

When using the headband, the electrodes need to make contact with your scalp, and you should feel them throughout your hair. The bottom electrodes should sit behind your ears, with the two top ones aligned vertically above your ears. The instructions for URGOnight suggest clearing any hair behind your ears when putting the headband on.

To put it in comparison, a traditional EEG system typically uses multiple multichannel electrodes (usually around eight) that are wet from gel. The URGOnight only uses two channels and dry electrodes, so it's a much better experience that you'll actually want to wear and use.

Christine Wearing Urgonight SideSource: Christine Romero-Chan / iMore

One thing I did notice is that since I have long hair, it's a hassle to clear it from behind my ears. I have found the system to work best when I just pull my hair back into a ponytail, so keep that in mind. It's a little annoying, but I have gotten much more consistent results this way.

The URGOnight also comes with a USB-A power adapter with international plug adapters, so you can take it with you anywhere in the world and train. You also get a simple wooden stand to prop your phone up during training sessions, though I found it a little flimsy and just used my own thing. The hard shell carrying case lets you safely store your headband and accessories with a mesh pocket inside, and it zips shut. It's similar to a carrying case for your standard pair of headphones.

Overall, once you find the right fit for your URGOnight headband, it's comfortable to wear due to the materials and how lightweight it is. At first, it does feel a little strange, but you get used to it the more you train.

The science of sleep and how URGOnight helps

Urgonight LifestyleSource: URGOnight

URGOnight uses neurofeedback technology to give you real-time visuals of your own brain activity and gives you audio and visual cues and reward strategies to teach people to identify and modify behavior. This, in turn, influences you to get the desired outcome, which in this case would be better sleeping habits. This same technology is used to treat and manage conditions like sleep, ADHD, improve critical thinking, athletic capabilities, and even musical performances. However, before URGOnight, this was only available in clinical environments with medical professionals. URGOnight is simply making this technological solution widely available to everyone at home.

At night, our brains emit waves that control multiple aspects of sleep, including how fast we fall asleep, progress through various sleep cycles, and how much our sleep is protected from environmental disturbances and sounds. You can improve the frequency of these brainwaves in your unconscious brain by increasing the frequency of sensorimotor rhythm (SMR) brainwaves that are produced during the day when we are awake. The URGOnight headband can detect the SMR brainwaves that we produce, helping us learn to control SMR specifically, so we get better sleep and fewer disturbances at night.

The training sessions are short and sweet, so you can train anytime

Urgonight ScreensSource: Christine Romero-Chan / iMore

Once you get your URGOnight account set up and connect your headband with your iPhone or Android device using Bluetooth 4.0 Low Energy, you'll start the initiation session. This shows you how to set up your headband, lets you visualize your brainwaves to see how it works, and basically shows you how a regular session goes. The initiation session is around 10 minutes long.

After initiation, training sessions are about 20 minutes long each, and you just do it once a day (there is a countdown timer of 12 hours after each session before you can do another one). A training session always consists of a minute of calibration (30 seconds eyes closed with audio signal, and 30 seconds eyes open), and then five 3-minute exercises, with a 1-minute break in-between, though you can skip if you want.

The Calibration step of a session measures your brainwaves to adapt to the difficulty of the upcoming exercises. This will always be tailored to the individual user, so it will be different for everyone. Some tips on making sure you are ready for a training session include being awake and alert, sitting comfortably and remaining still for a good signal, let your mind wander freely, and most importantly, relax physically and mentally.

While training, you can choose from different themes, which change the scene you're looking at and the sounds you hear. Having both visual and audio cues should help you relax, thus getting the SMR brainwaves that URGOnight needs to measure. You'll want to have your eyes open during the exercises, but you can also look away eventually and use the audio cues.

Urgonight ScreensSource: Christine Romero-Chan / iMore

After you complete a session, you get an overall score. This score is not a reflection of your sleep quality but rather your brainwaves. Since the difficulty is always in flux, you may not see a constant increase in score after each session, which is completely normal. When you produce more brainwave activity, you'll fill up the gauge, which increases the level during the exercise. After an exercise, your SMR score is basically the average number of feedback you earned, and you get an SMR graph of your brainwaves. After a session, you get to see your total score and a session graph over the course of five exercises. You can also mark the techniques you used, which are recorded and displayed by default on your next session. It's to help you keep track of what works for you and what doesn't.

URGOnight claims that users should begin to see results in 15 to 20 sessions, which is about 5 to 10 weeks of regular training (three times a week at least). I can attest to this claim because I'm only about 27 sessions in but have noticed better sleep since I've used URGOnight. The first five sessions are about finding your technique, then sessions 5-20 is about training your brain, sessions 20-40 is about taking control of your sleep, and beyond 40 is just making sure you're still on the right track.

I was skeptical, but my sleep has definitely improved

URGOnight review: What I Like

Urgonight CaseSource: Christine Romero-Chan / iMore

As someone who has had issues sleeping in the past, I honestly thought that nothing would work. I've tried several different things in the past, and they just didn't help. So when I was approached with the URGOnight, I was skeptical, but I decided why not? After reading up on it, I was curious to give it a try. Plus, I was really curious about what my brainwaves would look like if they were visualized in an app.

Even though the company suggests doing at least three training sessions a week, I've been training daily since receiving my unit last month. With daily training, I am now more than 25 sessions in and have noticed a significant improvement in my overall sleep. I still have a hard time falling asleep (maybe I should put the phone away), but once I fall asleep, I feel like I'm just out cold. Before URGOnight, I would also wake up often in the middle of the night because of the slightest noise, but even that no longer happens. When I wake up, I feel more energized because I got some good or great sleep, and I realize I nap less during the day.

I also appreciate that the URGOnight comes with a convenient carrying case that holds everything, including the charger, so I can store it all in one place. And when I'm ready to travel again, I could take the URGOnight with me, so I never miss a session. The training sessions are also pretty short, so being able to do it pretty much anytime, anywhere, is great.

The electrodes can be finicky if you have long hair

URGOnight review: What I Don't Like

Urgonight Headband Top PowerSource: Christine Romero-Chan / iMore

My biggest issue with the URGOnight is that the electrodes don't play well with my long hair if I leave it down. To make sure that the headband gets a good signal, I pretty much have to pull my hair back into a ponytail.

I've also noticed that sometimes during my sessions, I get many "weak signal" messages in the app from the "robot." This message also has a subtle audio cue, but it can be annoying when you get it constantly and certainly doesn't help me "relax." I usually have to adjust the headband before the next exercise starts since the app also suggests it, which usually resolves the issue. However, just getting that often is irritating and stressful, not relaxing.

This can be a great tool to help you get a good night's rest

URGOnight review: Should you buy it?

4.5 out of 5

If you have problems getting a good night's rest and have tried everything, then you should look into URGOnight. As I said, I was skeptical of it at first, but it has improved the quality of sleep that I've been getting for the past month, so it does work. I appreciate the company making such an advanced tool available to the masses without dealing with medical clinics. It's also great that you can take it with you and train at any time during the day.

I do wish that the price was a little lower, but I understand why it's a little high. After all, this device is using neurofeedback technology, and that comes with a cost. But it works well and could be considered an investment towards a better, healthier lifestyle.

Catch better Zzz's

Urgonight Headband Render

URGOnight

The URGOnight headband is lightweight and comfortable. When paired with the companion app, you can do short training sessions consistently to train your brain to produce the brainwaves needed for a better night's rest.

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