About Dr. Dan Gartenberg, Sleep Scientist

Founder and CEO of SleepSpace

Hello! My name is Dr. Dan Gartenberg (aka Dr. Snooze), Founder of SleepSpace. I have PhD in applied psychology and am a scientific advisor to CPAP.com and Koko Home. I’ve been invested in sleep research for the past 15 years after learning in college about sleep's role in memory, cognition, and almost every chronic health disease. I then delved deep into the world of sleep science and invented one of the first alarm clocks that could also track sleep. That alarm clock app had some great success back in 2010, ranking in the top 5 in health and fitness. However, I soon realized that I needed to learn more to get to the bottom of how to improve every human's sleep. If sleep could even be improved a small amount, this would have a massive ramification to public health. Studying sleep is also personally fascinating to me because it’s so interdisciplinary. It bridges psychology, neuroscience, computer science, engineering ,and more, while also being one of the main foundations to optimal health. As a biohacker and founder of the DC chapter of the Quantified Self, improving sleep is deeply personal to me. Yet sleep is also still a mystery. Scientists have made great strides in understanding sleep, but there is still a ton we don’t know about when we close our eyes for the night.

Taken together, sleep, diet, and exercise are the “Big Three” biological functions that keep us healthy. A great deal of attention is given to diet and exercise, but less importance is placed on sleep. I want to change this conception, since sleep is quite possibly the most important component of overall wellbeing. After all, when we are sleep deprived, we are more likely to snack on fatty foods and less likely to exercise. Sleep also impacts our productivity, our mood, and our ability to make healthy choices. I've been fascinated by the idea of not just getting enough sleep, but improving sleep quality with naturalistic solutions instead of a sleeping pill. In the next 10 years, I believe every human will be sleeping very differently. This is one of the main things that drives my passion in sleep science: using sound, light, temperature and vibration to enhance sleep during sleep. 

Dr. Dan Gartenberg giving his viral TED Talk called The brain benefits of deep sleep where he demonstrates the potential of sounds for enhancing regenerative slow-wave-sleep (SWS)

Check out SleepSpace CEO, Dr. Gartenberg's TED talk entitled, “The brain benefits of deep sleep – and how to get more of it,” with more than 5 million views. Dr. Gartenberg's work has been featured on NPR, Reuters, Quartz, the Today Show, the New York Times, and more!

As I began to study sleep, I became increasingly interested in how sleep affects cognition. I decided to pursue a PhD focusing on the theories behind fatigue and alertness. My doctoral studies led me to create a test for the U.S. Navy and Air Force that assesses pilots’ vigilance levels to determine whether they are fit to fly. Through my PhD program I learned valuable skills like the scientific method and published more than 15 papers on sleep science in peer reviewed journals. Perhaps most importantly, I figured out exactly how to best help people achieve their optimal sleep. 

Helping people sleep has been my main goal since before my receiving my PhD in applied psychology. But I haven’t always succeeded in developing sleep improvement technology. The first apps I developed  required performing cumbersome 5-minute cognitive assessment in the morning. This meant that the App didn’t work quite right for most people. I realized that people are busy, and no one wants to enter detail after detail about ourselves every day. This realization led me to investigate how I could get the necessary data about a person’s sleep habits in the most minimally invasive way possible.

Around this time in 2018, I launched our second sleep tracking app called Sonic Sleep Coach, when wearable technology first started to hit the market in stride. Wearable tech, like Fitbit, Apple Watch, Biostrap, and Oura Ring are useful because they provide accurate information about the wearer’s sleep / wake and estimates of sleep stages. But these technologies don’t do much for actually helping to sleep better. When your Fitbit tells you that you wake up ten times during the night, it’s difficult to figure out what’s going wrong and how to fix the issue. As more and more wearable tech options kept hitting the market, I realized that combining the information that these products provide with expert sleep coaching and specialists, combined with advances in AI technology is the most effective and accurate way to address sleep problems. Moreover, if sounds, light, and temperature could adjust to improve sleep quality, this could be a game changer for health and longevity. This is when SleepSpace was born, which is now available on the Apple App Store and Google Play Store and adaptively adjusts smart lights and sounds (i.e. a smart sound machine) in order to enhance sleep. 

I then created a science-backed coaching and AI driven service that is completely customized to each individual to provide them with actionable solutions that improves their sleep quality. But before I could start accepting clients, I still needed more precise ways to analyze sleep patterns. To accomplish this, I applied for and received >$3.5 million in grants from the National Science Foundation and the National Institute of Health to develop an algorithm that ascertains sleep stages based on easily accessible data – i.e., information from wearable technology. Since a large proportion of people don't like to wear a device while they sleep, especially people who have insomnia, we needed to find a more non-invasive solutions that could precisely measure sleep while playing adaptive sounds. This is when I invented the SleepSpace Smart Bed that can monitor your sleep patterns without touching you while targeting our proprietary deep sleep stimulation sounds to enhance your cognition. We then successfully ran a randomized controlled trial on people with insomnia and showed that when a sleep specialist uses our technology in their practice, it can effectively treat insomnia (see more here). This work is conducted with our collaborators at Penn State and the University of Arizona. 

I’m thrilled to have recently launched the culmination of these 15 years of research with the creation of the SleepSpace Platform. I hope that our advanced technology and team of expert coaches guided by AI can help you find the root of your sleep issues whatever they may be - whether you are a biohacker trying to optimize your sleep quality, someone that struggles with breathing during sleep, or if you have issues falling asleep and staying asleep. SleepSpace can provide you with clear, customized approaches that fit into your life. If you have any questions, shoot me a line at dan@sleepspace.com or chat with Dr. Snooze AI.

Happy Sleeping!
Dan Gartenberg, PhD of Psychology (Human Factors and Applied Cognition)